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Thu 10 Oct 2019 03:21 PM

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Paying for laundry 'essential', not a luxury, says JustClean co-founder

Faith Capital deputy chairman and CEO Mohamed Nabil Jaffar said that the culture of the GCC means many will always opt to outsource their laundry

Paying for laundry 'essential', not a luxury, says JustClean co-founder
Athbi Al Enezi, the managing partner and co-founder of Kuwait-based JustClean

Having laundry done professionally is a “necessity” – rather than a luxury – that people will continue to pay for in the Arabian Gulf even in times of economic downturns, according to Athbi Al Enezi, the managing partner and co-founder of Kuwait-based JustClean.

Established in 2016, JustClean gives customers access to a variety of laundry services through an easy-to-use app that connects them to hundreds of laundries around the region.

In an interview with Arabian Business, Al Enezi said that the firm is unconcerned about the possibility of people opting to do their laundry themselves rather than outsource it during lean economic periods.

“It’s like getting your haircut every week. You have to get your haircut, and you have to get your laundry done,” he said. “It’s a way of life. It’s not one of those things that you drop out, and it’s not that expensive.”

Over long periods of time, El Enezi added, outsourcing laundry is roughly comparable to doing laundry at home.

“If you compare the way laundry is done in the GCC compared to Europe and other places, it’s fairly cheap,” he said. “It balances out [as one would] be spending at home on detergents and other things. It’s essential to have clean clothes, like it’s essential to have your hair cut and eat.”

Culture

Faith Capital deputy chairman and CEO Mohamed Nabil Jaffar – who was installed as CEO of JustClean after the venture capital fund invested in the firm in 2017 – said that the culture of the GCC means that people are more likely than not to choose to launder their clothes externally.

“Our clothes, as Arabs, are not easy to launder. To wash and iron a dishdasha can take up to 40 minutes. It’s not easy. Same thing with the ghutrah,” he said, referring to the traditional headdress of the Arabian Gulf. “It’s a lot easier and faster to send them to the laundry, and they just do it better.”

Laundry, he said, can be compared to a preference to eat out or order food.

“In the old days, people used to cook at home. Today, everyone eats out,” he said. “And now most people wash outside. That’s why there are thousands of laundries around.”

In February 2019, Faith Capital announced it had closed a $8 million Series A round of financing in the company, allowing it to expand in the GCC and bolster the logistics and SaaS (software as a service) arms of the business.

Al Enezi added that he believes that the demand for laundry service is among the main drivers of the firm’s expansion.

“Our numbers are growing, and we get a lot of inquiries about how to set up a laundry,” he said.

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