Drycleaning has often been described as a craft, and though the term may be regarded by some as slightly old fashioned, this is a just description.

The best drycleaners and their staff bring to the task of cleaning clothes and household materials years of experience and knowledge both of the process, the chemicals involved, and of textiles.

The garments they are asked to clean are often complex, and may be designed by those whose point of view is largely aesthetic and takes little account of the care process the garments will need after they are sold.

These craft skills are not static, they must constantly evolve as new technologies are introduced, and textiles change.

While not all drycleaners conform to the best standards, those who do are indeed masters of a craft.

But the this is just one aspect of drycleaning industry.

Drycleaners have to be not just excellent craftsmen, but businessmen and women.

The drycleaning shop must be profitable, and that involves many different skills – management both of staff and the business itself, financial acumen, administrative skills, entrepreneurship, an ability to think and plan ahead and to deal with authority.

While no-one would expect drycleaners to be lawyers, they must have an awareness of relevant laws that may affect the business and know where to get help to comply when this is necessary.

High street drycleaners are also retailers, and they need to be proactive in their skills, to make the most of their services, and attract customers, and therefore sales and profits.

It has been said that the most successful drycleaners are not drycleaners but businessmen.

So which is the most important – craft or business skills? There is no real answer.

Both sets of skills are essential and must exist, not necessarily in one person, but within the operation.

Those ultimately responsible, must have a wide set of business skills, but they must also be backed by craft skills and the business owner will need knowledge and understanding of the craft even if these skills are not in day-to-day-use.

The drycleaning business is not just one set of skills but a range of different ones that complement each other and are brought together to make a successful entity.