CTO, BLANC Living
BLANC drycleaners was founded in 2011 by Ludovic Blanc. Ludovic and co-founder and partner Mathilde wanted to build a business that mattered, and to help to improve people’s health and the environment by 'cleaning up' an industry that was toxic and rather set in its old-fashioned ways.
BLANC has replaced the toxic (carcinogenic) chemical used by traditional drycleaners, called perchlorethylene or PERC, with the health-friendly and efficient alternative: wetcleaning. The company is committed to following ethical and evironmentally friendly work practices in its business. Check out Ludovic Blanc's video on post Covid-19 sustainability on the company's website, below.
Events Executive, Guild of Cleaners and Launderers
Ken Cupitt has always been a fervent supporter of The Guild and a strong believer in its role as the main provider of education, information, and support services within the laundry and drycleaning industries for which, in his retirement, he continues to work tirelessly and without remuneration. In fact, it is true to say that due to Ken’s unstinting efforts and tireless devotion to the affairs of The Guild, that today the it is still able to provide strong industry support when so many similar industry bodies have fallen by the wayside.
For many years Ken ran his own commercial/industrial laundry and is a very well respected industry member and holds a senior position in The Worshipful Company of Launderers.
One area that probably goes unsung more than most is the tremendous effort that he has put into the GCL Examinations as well as his considerable support for the GCL and its primary aim to improve the knowledge and skills of the industry in the UK.
If anyone in the industry needs the answer to a problem then Ken is the Oracle to go to for an answer.
Ken joined the Guild in the 1960s and is one of its longest serving members, From joining as a normal member it was not long before his talents showed through and he was asked to join the National Council, where he remains to this day as chairman, having graced every senior position on the Council. It is true to say that the Guild has survived, where many trade associations have failed, solely due to Ken’s leadership skills and sharing his knowledge and experience in the textile care industries either through the Guild and other associated bodies.
Ken was responsibe for drawing up the STCC Charter.
Managing Director, Fill Refill Co and Ideal Manufacturing
Phillip (or Phill) started Fill, a closed loop model of supplying eco laundry and cleaning products to end users without single use plastic. Fill products are designed to work great, look cool and reduce packaging waste. Fill products are made at the family run ideal factory in Northamptonshire with real chemists… combining biodegradable ingredients to create simple, modern and effective eco cleaning and products. No dyes. No harsh chemicals. No plastic bottles. Less waste.
Phillip is also now MD at Ideal, the company founded by his dad, Dr Mike Kalli who disrupted the traditional commercial laundry industry as a handsome young chemist in the 1970s. Taking it further, Mike made the brave (some say crazy) decision to manufacture product himself, going up against the ‘big soapers’ of the day with more efficient chemistry that significantly reduced water and energy consumption in industrial laundries. He wanted to ensure consistent supply, quality and flexibility…knowing he could do it better.
Phillip joined his father in 2008, arriving with very different skills; an interest in painting, a degree in literature and a background in the music industry. His creativity, sense of fun, passion and drive to make change has meant that together, they have chemistry.
Focused on developing new ideas and doing things better, Phillip is intent on making professional detergent manufacture and supply more accessible, sustainable, transparent and… well, cooler.
Today Ideal is proud to still be an independent family-run laundry, textile care (they DON’T do dry cleaning) hygiene and eco cleaning product manufacturer with high hopes, strong ethics, unrivalled enthusiasm and a commitment to responsible detergent formulation, manufacture and supply.
Not interested in being the biggest, the aim is to make Ideal better, to continue a great British manufacturing story for generations to come.
Phillip gave us the inspiration for the illustrations on these pages. He drew ideas in felt pen on scraps of paper on the train on the way to an STCC meeting and our illustrator Tex interpreted them.
CEO, Aquapak Polymers
An experienced CEO with a successful record of leading customer centric manufacturing and service businesses. In Mark’s career he has led growth, setting and delivering strategy, M&A, integration, operational improvement, cost alignment and leading teams to optimise their performance. Mark strives to model high integrity in parallel with the relentless pursuit of achieving business outcomes. He has a track record of doing this in a diverse range of business settings.
Mark has been CEO, Aquapak Polymers Ltd since 2018. It is a proprietory polymer technology company focused on developing environmental polymers for the circular economy. Aquapak has developed a highly functional dissolvable polymer (Hydropol) with multi end of life options. The aim and ambition of the business is to help brands, retailers and manufacturers to redesign their packaging and products with a polymer that ensures no loss of functionality but enables them to deliver their desire to eliminate single use plastics.
Previous roles have included: President, Coveris UK (2013-17). Coveris is a food and consumer packaging company owned by Sun Capital, a roll-up of five companies (Paragon Print and Packaging, Exopack, Kobush, Paccor and Britton) to form the fifth largest global packaging business. He had full P&L responsibility for the UK business with a T/O of £370M, 2500 employees, integrating the acquisitions, setting strategy and leading all aspects of sales and manufacturing.
Publishing & Events Director, Laundry and Cleaning News International
Chris is publishing & events director for Laundry and Cleaning News UK & International editions. He brings a wealth of experience to the laundry sector and for many years has ran successful events and publishing teams focusing on B2B markets and is now dedicated to the textile care industry. His ability to engage with colleagues and clients ensures that ideas are turned into reality making him a real asset to the committee.
In addition to event management, Chris has organised awards, conferences and round table debates; and published magazines, annuals, supplements. With his financial and analytical skill set Chris is able to deliver projects seamlessly on time and within budget. Friends and colleagues might say in business and in his personal life that he is too organised but he relishes a challenge. Chris is also an ace tennis player and waiting for the day they re-name the hill 'Milton Mount' at Wimbledon.
Editor, Laundry and Cleaning News International
Kathy Bowry has been editing Laundry and Cleaning News for nearly four years now and is committed to promoting best practice in the industry. Quick to admit she is not a launderer or textile care expert she relies on the experts to keep her informed of developments – and in line – while bending her skill set to producing LCNi, LCN and , keeping the industry informed on the subjects that matter to them.
Kathy recycles and repurposes as many items as she can and is rarely seen without her jazzy re-usable insulated coffee cup. (Looking at Conor's entry it seems we may be well on our way to to becoming coffee addicts on LCN).
Managing Director, Laundry Efficiency
Colin Oakley is the managing director of Laundry Efficiency, which is a family run business based in Staffordshire. Between Colin and his son Graham, they provide commercial laundries with innovative solutions that help all size laundries become more productive, save money and most importantly become energy efficient. Their hard work in the industry has seen them win the FSB Green Business of The Year for the West Midlands two years in a row.
Managing Director, National Drycleaners
Adrian is the owner of this family owned and run dry cleaners est in 1897 by Henry Redgate Snr offering specialist drycleaning, complemented by its quality laundry service. A founder member of the STCC, Adrian is committed to turning the tide on single use plastic and has been researching sustainable alternatives for his own business and the industry in general.
OXWASH was founded by synthetic biology student Kyle Grant, at the end of 2017 as Kyle was left disappointed and frustrated by the quality of the existing laundry services provided by Oxford Colleges and the lack of a focus on sustainability.
OXWASH offers students, Oxford residents and businesses a sustainable solution to their laundry and drycleaning requirements as orders are collected and delivered by electric bike, and all detergents used to clean clothes are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. The company is growing rapidly and currently consists of four full time staff including couriers, marketing and part time processing staff. Funding to date has consisted of private capital but a seed round is looking inevitable in the short term.
Kyle believes there are many markets that need to be brought kicking into the 21st century, and in his opinion, laundry/drycleaning is one of the best nuts to try and crack.
"Technology has come so far in the past 50 years and the industry is ripe for disruption. The advent of renewable energy sources, rapid advances in energy storage technology and fantastic local companies developing green detergents make a unique and sustainable solution to laundry. It's a fantastic and surprisingly creative market to work in," he says.
Managing Director, Telford Laundry
For more than 30 years Paul Woodhead and his family have worked hard to grow the business into the substantial commercial laundry operation that is today located at Stafford Park Industrial Estate in Telford. Through membership of the National Laundry Group, Telford Laundry can provide commercial and industrial laundry services right across the country.
The company strives to boost its green credentials and reduce the impact upon the environment.
This extends to both the operation and the culture within the organisation. Telford has taken steps that include the use of technology to minimise water and chemical use and the development of operations and product lines to make the most of our resources and product waste. Further measures are in place for continued improvement.
Technical Services Manager, TextileServices Association (TSA)
Shyju Skariah MBA represents the TSA on STCC and is responsible for TSA's Knowledge Networks and over the past few years he has achieved notable successes with his many projects.
TSA cares about the environment and promotes sustainability and energy efficiency in all areas of the industry, from textile management to machine maintenance. It consults its members through working groups, forums and special interest groups to ensure it accurately represents the industry’s views.
The TSA team, comprises: Administration and membership, Emma Andersson; technical services manager, Shyju Skariah; and chief executive David Stevens,
Director, Textiles for Life/Rythms by Design
A responsible textile specialist with more than 18 years of ‘fibre to end product’ experience throughout the fashion and textile industry.
Key areas of focus and speciality include applying a ‘cradle to cradle’ approach specifically focused on the development, sourcing and procurement of responsible textiles including the aftercare of textiles targeting the luxury hospitality, spa and wellness sectors.
Fatemeh’s work over the past 15 years has been purely focused on sustainable solutions in an industry which she is deeply passionate about. Fatemeh has chosen to be part of the STCC panel since there is significant evidence that an increased cross section of the industry is now ready to join forces for the purpose of creating positive change in a way where people, planet, productivity and profit all equally matter and benefit.
Positive change since joining the committee:
Working with hotel on-site laundries on how to improve their carbon and water footprint (including their usage of single use plastics).
Raising awareness and knowledge of the various grades of plastic and their impact (e.g. 1-6 found on all types of plastics with only 1-3 being recyclable and biodegradable).
Textiles For Life/Rythms By Design Limited
19-21 Crawford Street Studio 53, London, W1H 1P
Managing Director, Total Fabric Solutions
Colin is owner of Total Fabric Solutions which is highly focused on the dryceaning service industry offering:
Full technical support
Thirty three years' industry qualified experienced personnel
Bespoke production planning
On site training to NVQ standards
Extensive working knowledge of the Solvent Emissions Directive
Association with trade organisations
Links with key Machinery supply chain
Independent garment inspection.
Colin's broad spectrum of knowledge covers drycleaning equipment, consumables, practice, S/NVQ operator training and management and,which according to an endorsement from Steve Anderton, MD of LTC Worldwide, is probably unparalleled in the UK.”
Managing Director, Total Laundry
As an owner of a holiday letting company, Sarah required a laundry to service her holiday lets. So, she purchased Total Laundry in Chichester, West Sussex, in 2013. She is a a member of the TSA, Guild of Cleaners & Launderers and currently, Senior Court Assistant in the Worshipful Company of Launderers.
Sarah's background prior to working in laundry and hospitality was with the BBC in local radio. While there she was involved in the ‘Re-Think Rubbish with the BBC’ initiative in the early 2000s. This focused on the reduce, re-use, re-cycle ethos which has been brought to the fore all these years later.
The STCC 'Hang single use plastic out to dry' campaign is the result of a grumble she had with Kathy and others, including consultant Ruth Mitchell at a TSA Conference, where she bemoaned the fact the chemical manufacturers expected us to dispose of chemical bottles and what a complete waste of resources it was for these perfectly good bottles going into landfill. The baton was picked up by Kathy, Chris and Conor and has evolved to become STCC.
Sarah really dislikes waste and although not perfect, she says, she does try to reduce, re-use and recycle as much as possible both in business and at home. After all, a thousand mile journey starts with one step…
Just back from holiday as we launched this site, Sarah wrote: "On holiday, I checked out the linen trolleys and cages at various hotels and I did invite myself on to a laundry van, much to my husband Steve’s dismay (he loves me really). What did strike me is that the laundry van was very clean. It was a purpose built box van with shelves on one side and cage space on the other. The flatware did have plastic covers, but the towels were baled as our illustrator Tex has so ably illustrated.
"As they were looked after in transit, they stayed clean. Sometimes, we need to reduce the need for plastic by just being mindful and clean in our place of work and thus reduce the need for protection in the first place."
Project Manager, UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT)
Martin Jenkins is responsible for the day-to-day running of the membership and the main point of contact for drycleaning. UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) has assumed responsibility for the drycleaning membership and associated services from Textile Services Association (TSA).
UKFT is a voice between government and industry. Following consultations, there is potential for greater lobbying with government on behalf of the drycleaning industry relating to issues including the use of solvents, plastics and the environment. As an example, UKFT has recently become involved in the Sustainability in Textile Care Committee, and will be actively engaged in dialogue on the Minimisation of Plastics in Textiles.
CEO, BC Softwear
Barbara was born in Sweden, and spent her early childhood there until the whole family moved to UK, in her early teens. She completed a Business degree at London university, after which she started a successful 20-year career in IT software, selling business solutions software to large corporates.
Following a short spell of redundancy in the dot.com boom and bust of the early years of 2000, she got the idea of a complete change of career, following a visit from friends who had moved to Turkey, who were looking at exporting products from Turkey. One of the products was honey, the other towels. Towels were quickly chosen, and Barbara also chose the hotel and spa industry as the target audience. That was the start of BC Softwear, the name which was a pun on Barbara’s back ground, which has grown from nothing 16 years ago, to the substantial company it is today, supplying over 85% of the UK Spa industry.
In 2019 BC Softwear made a Pledge to the Cleaner Seas Project to remove all single use plastic from their towels, slippers and flip flops. This has contributed to a saving of 50 tonnes of plastic. In 2020 BC Softwear launched SmartSoft – a collection of energy saving bathrobes, towels and spa linen. The sustainable range provides significant savings in energy, water and drying times. Having an environmental conscience means that the company has also invested in in a range of environmentally friendly technologies at its factory, to help reduces its own carbon footprint. Saving 60% on water consumption by changing its dyeing and rinsing process; Reducing the amount of natural gas consumed in its processes and through the factory’s solar power plant the company has saved over a million trees and replanted trees in a 28 million sqm area – that is eight times larger than New York’s Central Park. Barbara Cooke says’ We have gone out of our way to ensure that the SmartSoft collection still offers the softness and luxurious feel that is inherent in all our existing ranges providing a vital combination of both sustainability and luxury’.