Peters’ Cleaners is a Peterborough-based garment cleaning business that was hit hard at the start of the pandemic. Offering garment cleaning services for fabric items in physical shops that had to close, their revenue halved but their costs didn’t.
Owner and Managing Director, Vicky Whiter, recalls her experience saying, “with the weak spots of the business well and truly exposed”, she acted quickly to change their business model and looked for new, innovative ways to serve customers.
Through this period came an ambitious business plan to launch new, fully-automated garment cleaning pods that customers could drop off and collect from at any time. There are currently two 24/7 pods alongside two traditional garment cleaning shops in the Peterborough area, with big plans to roll out the pods nationally.
The challenge: How do we get people excited about the future of garment cleaning? Ask them to drop their trousers…
As Vicky came from a background of working in a traditional business model, there were huge challenges facing her to launch this new idea. Being the only person in the business responsible for the ambitious growth, she needed support to fill the gaps.
With the ever-changing digital landscape and wondering how they would generate excitement over the new pods, Vicky knew “marketing is not my strong suit”. Although she spent time upskilling herself in marketing through online courses, she needed an experienced professional marketer on the team.
Realising she not only needed financial investment to deliver the initial product launches, but also needed business and marketing guidance, Vicky began to look for support. Through talking to other local businesses, she found out about Growth Works and applied for funding.
The solution: Fully funded strategic support, peer learning and funding to ignite crowdfunding campaign
Vicky was able to hire a new Marketing Director, Clare, and “go all-in with their marketing efforts”. This position was something that would not have been possible, or deemed as important, before the growth plans with the garment cleaning pods and their grant application.
This led to the new slogan of ‘there’s never been a better time to drop your trousers’, and supporting statement saying their pods offer ‘garment cleaning for how we live now’. These marketing messages add a playfully fresh and modern take on garment cleaning, moving away from the traditional expectations.
In 2021, Peters’ Cleaners used part of the funding received from Growth Works to hire a professional videographer to launch a high-quality crowdfunding campaign. The crowdfunding campaign they put together well-exceeded their target, raising over £270,000! Without Growth Works’ financial support, they would have not been able to produce such good-quality marketing videos to elevate the campaign to receive more funding.
With professional videos, not only for the campaign but for future uses, they are now able to up their marketing efforts and see results faster. Without worrying about saving up for the next stage of their growth, they’ve been able to test different marketing channels at once. With an accelerated learning process, the data they are collecting now will be instrumental to the future of the pod launch rollout.
Growth Works offered Vicky both one-to-one mentoring and peer support alongside a revenue grant. When joining the peer support programme, Vicky said it helped to give her a support network of “local talent” and that “everyone has been really supportive, not coming across anyone that’s put my ideas down”. This meant she had people available.
Talking in this environment helped to build confidence in herself, in turn making the presentation of her business better.
The outcome: Exceeding crowding funding goals and a growing team of award-winners for innovation and technology in Peterborough
Vicky has exceeded her original crowdfunding ambition by reaching £276,670 from 235 investors at the time of publication.
Peters’ Cleaners’ MD Vicky has recently been recognised for contributions to innovation and technology by winning TWO local business awards, increasing their brand recognition.
This has helped with morale for the current staff as they’ve seen a reward for their hard work and have been recognised as being a part of a forward-thinking team. With a new marketing manager already in place, the rest of the team will need to expand to reach their growth goals.
Hiring in the Peterborough area, Peters’ Cleaners are looking for more staff to support the additional pods and keep up with demand. The revenue grants and support Growth Works has given them the opportunity to elevate their business growth, and in the words of Vicky – “why wouldn’t you get free access to experts?”.
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