Have you ever sipped organic coffee in a beautifully designed environment while your clothes washed and dried in energy-efficient machines? No? Well, Celsious is here to change that and turn laundry day into a pleasurable and fulfilling experience.
We chatted with the founders, siblings Corinna and Theresa Williams. This is what they had to say.
You both have backgrounds in fashion. What inspired you to start a laundromat?
Corinna: We wanted to get our fashion cared for in the best and most sustainable way possible. I moved to New York from Germany about five years ago. Having lived in Europe all my life, I was used to always having a washing machine in my apartment.
Even the most basic of washers there feature at least five different washing programs for different types of garments – from delicates to wool to heavy soiled. Living in the city was really the first time I had to frequent a laundromat. And it was not a pleasant experience.
The place on the corner of my Upper East Side apartment was grimy, there were two wobbly chairs for seating and ghastly lighting. What’s more, my white linens and towels accumulated a nasty grayish-brown tint. I went looking for better options, until I reached my first “ah-hah” moment: there were none!
Second “ah-hah” moment: My then-roommate and French friend explaining to me how the only way to possibly get her whites completely white was to fly them back to Europe and give them a good wash there.
A task as simple as getting and keeping a white sheet bright should not require intercontinental airfare, I thought. That’s how the idea of Celsious was born.
Why is eco-consciousness important to you?
Theresa: It is how we were raised and has always been a part of our lifestyle. There was absolutely no question that we would run our business, which is so much an extension of our lifestyles, in an eco-conscious way.
How did you raise the capital to start the business?
Corinna: We were fortunate enough to raise capital through our friends and family!
What differentiates CELSIOUS from the average laundromat?
Theresa: There is nothing like Celsious yet. And we’re talking about New York here – the place where literally everyone has tried to open everything under the sun.
Yet a clean laundromat that is aesthetically pleasing, efficient yet eco-friendly and offers added amenities like a coffee bar has not been done.
But it’s about time! New Yorkers have long understood the importance of being conscious of what they put in their bodies in terms of food, what they put on their bodies in the form of cosmetics.
Laundry is just a natural extension, which not many people are aware of yet. Clothes live on your skin, which is the bodies’ largest organ. It absorbs everything. The “wellness aspect” aside: Which New Yorker doesn’t like to economize time?
We’ve worked very hard with our fantastic consultants to build Celsious into the fastest laundromat in the city. Plus, in the short time (15min for our fastest wash, 16min in the dryer) it takes for you to get your laundry washed and dried, you can meet some friends for a cup of coffee – at the same spot.
What is one of the most gratifying things about what you do? What is the most challenging?
Corinna: The most gratifying thing about this is customers’ positive feedback. There is nothing better than hearing that we’ve created value for the community, that we’ve improved someone’s life significantly by turning a dreaded task into the most enjoyable part of their day.
Recently, we’ve had a new customer who suffers from allergies cry happy tears after having discovered us and the fact that we offer FREE unscented bio-degradable non-toxic detergent!
Theresa: The most challenging aspect is definitely juggling the demands of running a brick and mortar location seven days a week (7am to midnight!), while managing a growing team, strategizing on how to build the business and brand – whilst maintaining partnerships, friendships and trying to fit in some self-care.
Where do you see the business in 5 years?
Theresa: We want to bring Celsious many more NYC neighborhoods.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Corinna: Don’t ever think it is going to be easy! Every step of the way will be challenging in new ways. A good idea is literally only a tiny fraction of what makes a business: perseverance and the grind is the rest! If you’re a firm believer in your power and abilities, don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t succeed.
To celebrate their six month anniversary, Celsious is offering FREE washes and dries on June 1-3!
They are located at 115 North 7th St Brooklyn, NY 11211– Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)