Kleen Cleaners, established in 1947, is Edinburgh’s oldest drycleaner and one of two in Scotland to be granted a Royal Warrant from Her Majesty The Queen.
Housed in a traditional Edinburgh building, the business illustrates values such as craftmanship, attention to detail and pride in its work. It was named Service Provider of the Year in the Scottish independent Retail awards for 2012.
Yasmina Ely, who runs the business with her husband Yusuf, says that for her the first essential of good presentation is impeccable cleanliness and the whole approach is geared to making life easier for customers.
The shop design is in many respects traditional. The curved windows, a feature of the building, are used to great advantage, showing aspects of the business such as wedding dresses and wedding dress boxes and the business’s vintage and designer boutique.
The interior design is based on top quality materials and emphasises the customer-friendly approach.
The double-sided counter was built two years ago and the design allows two customers to be served at once. "Customers don’t like waiting and parking round here is a nightmare so it’s important to be able to serve them quickly," says Yasmina Ely.
The counter incorporates areas where garments can be hung at a height that accommodates long dresses.
Keeping both shop and equipment in good order is clearly a priority. The shop is painted every two to three years and equipment is well maintained to ensure a long working life.
The business is very much on show to the customer. Membership certificates for the Textile Services Association, The Guild of Cleaners and Launderers, and Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce are all displayed. The back area is also open to the customer view.
"We thought about whether we should do this, but decided it would be good to show how staff work. We have two Hoffmann presses as well as two ironing tables."
A central boiler supplies steam and allows the shop to offer steam pressing, a service not universally available.
Kleen Cleaners has also taken modern business thinking on board. The website has a stated "Green" policy, that highlights the commitment to recycling. Yasmina Ely says she is always on look out for ways of extending the policy and has recently installed specialist wetcleaning equipment that reduces its use of chemicals.
But a belief in traditional service and quality remains and Yasmina Ely says that in many ways the old style of cleaning and finishing is often the best.

Applying the principles of good design throughout

Shaun Mason of Mason McLean talks to Janet Taylor about the factors that influenced the design of this upmarket business

Good presentation goes beyond what you show to the customer, says Shaun Mason. It’s a state of mind for the whole team and the principles must be applied throughout the premises right up to the back door.
The overriding principle is that "Everything must be clean."
He also points out that a well designed shop is not just the result of a large spend. "I didn’t have a massive budget" he says but he still managed to achieve the look he wanted.
Mason believes in keeping it simple and chose a black and white colour scheme with more white than black.
The counter must be practical with sufficient space to inspect garments, including long gowns and wedding dresses, while another staff member takes work in from a customer.
He undertook much of the design for point of sale and promotional material, using stock library images that could be adapted.
Packaging is also important. The business doesn’t use branded materials but they’re good quality and the same applies to rails for hanging stock.
Mason believes that "the customer should see what we do so the clothes that we clean are on show." He adds that they are packaged and on rails but he tries to find garments that are interesting or visually particularly attractive and place them at the end of the row. There is also a dedicated rail for wedding dresses. On occasions the business has used dresses as a display within the shop.
The shop window must always look clean. To reinforce branding, he does include posters in the window, but these are chosen for aesthetic reasons.
In line with his view that the way the shop presents itself should carry through beyond the reception area, Mason says that the workers’ environment is also important.
Staff need a clean, orderly space to work in and as far as possible the standards should be similar to those in the front of the premises.
Staff need to feel confident about the business and having a good working environment will ensure this.
So does he believe that the machines should be on view?
Mason says that this is largely a matter of individual choice. He prefers to keep the two areas separate. A small part of the work area is currently on view but this will be closed off when the shop is next refurbished.
Presentation is of course an ongoing matter and refurbishment will become necessary from time to time.
Mason says that the front of the shop was completely redecorated about three years ago. The frequency does depend on individual circumstances to some extent, but personally, he would recommend redecoration at least every three years.

Displays help to bring in customers

Wood’s Dry Cleaners, a family run business with shops in Bridgnorth and Shifnal uses window displays to great advantage. James Wood talks to Janet Taylor about the approach to creating an image that’s good for business

The shop’s appearance and its displays are crucial to the way Wood’s runs its business. They show the customer what the shop can offer and indicate its high standards. Window displays play a particular role as they highlight some of the specialist areas such as wedding dress or suede and leather cleaning.
James Wood, who runs the Bridgnorth branch, says the displays are themed according to the season, so wedding dresses feature in the summer, while a winter theme might focus on heavy coats and padded jackets.
The shop is double-fronted and the display theme goes across both windows. The business is sited on a busy main road and Wood believes that these themed displays will jog the memory of passers-by, reminding them that it’s time to get the featured garments drycleaned.
Inside the shop, the care with presentation continues, There are dedicated shelves for folded clothes as well as cleaned clothes on hangers.
All clothes are visible, says Wood but staff try to angle the hanger so that the tickets are out of sight, as having pieces of paper clearly visible on the packaging could make the overall appearance untidy.
Tidiness is very important says Wood as is cleanliness. Windows are cleaned weekly and general maintenance of the front carried out at regular intervals. We try to renew paintwork every 2 – 3 years.
Wood’s also requires its staff to look smart. The business does not have an official uniform but James Wood says he does want to avoid the casual T-shirt look seen in some businesses. A formal look, with black and white the favoured colour scheme is encouraged.
As with any good presentation what the customer sees is important. The drycleaning equipment is visible from the counter and Wood feels this is a positive. Customers don’t need to see all the detail of our work but if they can see that clothes are being dealt with on site rather than being sent away, it gives them confidence in the business as a whole.
Asked for his general advice on presentation, James Wood says that for him the most important factor is cleanliness and tidiness.
If a customer walks in and sees that the shop looks as if it isn’t cleaned regularly and is untidy they may think: " If the owner doesn’t look after the shop properly, how can the business look after my clothes?"