TDS LAUNDRY TEAMWORK: (from left) Rona Tait is pictured with Lucia Pekarova, Account Manager, who started at the launderette with Rona in 2006 and Hayley Blackwell, Operations Manager, who joined the team in 2010
TDS Laundry won the LCN Laundry Entrepreneur Award in 2017. Owned and managed by Rona Tait, TDS Laundry has been in business since 2006 when Rona took over a self-service launderette in Twickenham and began offering a laundry service to domestic customers. Not content to stop there, Rona looked to a laundry consultant for advice with plans to set up a small, commercial laundry service for boutique and owner-managed hotels.
Today, an all-female management team run this efficient, service-focused business, catering to a wide range of customers in the London and the home counties. From a small unit in Isleworth the laundry has grown to provide a bespoke service not only to privately-owned hotels but beauty spas, Formula 1 racing, rugby clubs and film companies. In 2014, TDS moved to its current 6000 sq. ft facility and now employs around 30 staff, 80% of which are female. It has a sister laundry on the Isle of Skye.
Very much aware of the environmental burden the industry puts on the planet, Rona’s most recent goal has been to make the laundry as sustainable as possible.
The laundry currently processes around 25,000 kilos of laundry per week and runs a fleet of four vans that pick up and deliver across the area. Other sustainable practices in place include reducing single use plastic by placing clean linen directly into hamper bags.
“We all have to consider everything we do and how we do it, and to work in such a way as to meet what sustainable goals we can,” states Rona. “This is very important to me, to my business. We need to do all we can and by offering a more environmentally friendly service down the supply chain, my customers can be confident that they are using a sustainable supplier.”
Christeyns Speed O system
Having heard about the use of ozone in washing machines, Rona researched the available options. She was looking for a solution that provided ozone and chemicals from the same supplier, a complete package that had already been tried and tested. Rona visited Petersfield Laundry in Hampshire who use Christeyns Speed O system and was so impressed she didn’t even feel the need to run trials in her own laundry.
In April 2019 her four machines were set up to run with ozone. Speed O boxes, that convert O2 to ozone, were installed behind each machine with a central wall-mounted, auto-dosing system located close by. Due to the varied types of clients and the fact that TDS run an intelligent, hand-worked service, the machines were pre-programmed with over 25 different wash options.
“Ozone is an easy fix when looking for a more sustainable wash option. The Speed O system was installed quickly and benefits were apparent from the word go,” explains Rona. “We now wash in cold water for most items, our wash times have reduced from 45 to 30 mins and we can process 80 loads per day instead of 70. In addition, our water and energy bills have reduced significantly. My staff like the system and the linens and garments are just as pristine as before.”
When ozone gas is introduced into an environment with bacteria, mould or any other organic material, it oxidises these unwanted substances, leaving no chemical residue, only oxygen. The ozone also opens up the fibre structure making towels and other fabrics softer and fluffier.
Russell Pannell, Christeyns technical manager, explains: “Ozone works best at cool temperatures which not only cuts down on energy use but also prolongs the life of the linen. As it does not require strong chemicals, there is no colour loss in dark fabrics and workwear either. The ozone expands the fibres to improve optical brightness and give the fabric a nicer feel. As there are no alkalis in our Speed O detergents, they are kinder to the soil and the ozone also cleans the drains at the same time!”
TDS offer a very high level of bespoke customer service. For example, specialist small linen napkins for a private members club are processed individually by hand. Rugby shirts are hand finished and folded, number up. Huge white, black and green screens used in the film industry have to be carefully washed and dried and cannot be handled via a standard laundry process.
“Our customers and linen suppliers now look carefully at their supply chain and the practices they operate,” continues Rona. “I hope this move to Speed O will open up new business as we prove ourselves to be a sustainable supplier; customers want to hear about positive initiatives, they want a clear conscience. For a hotel property, sustainability helps them win business, as travellers become ‘greener’ and more environmentally aware.”
“Working in partnership with Christeyns means we always have their technical expertise to fall back on. Russell visits every month but is readily available by phone, should we have a query. We are a unique laundry but Christeyns understands the way we operate and our needs.”