We caught up with Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd, Co-Founders of The Laundress to talk about how the idea came about from working in fashion. They spill the secrets to balancing home and work life and their sleep success.
How did your careers in fashion influence your decision to start The Laundress and how has the demand for it changed since then and now?
Lindsey Boyd: We had accumulated an amazing wardrobe – from silk dresses and cashmere sweaters to tweed jackets – during our careers in fashion and were looking for ways to properly care for them. We felt the dry cleaner should be the very last resort—dry cleaning can damage fabrics, set in odors, and is just not good for you or the environment. We both studied textile science and fiber care at Cornell so we knew there was a way to create a better, cost-effective solution.
Today, the landscape of the market has changed in a good way as people understand the importance of better everything in their lives, from healthier food choices to cleaner cleaning and beauty products! The demand for brand transparency and awareness of ingredients has really increased.
Gwen Whiting: When we were first starting The Laundress, people thought we were insane! We both had fashion careers, so to them, it was incomprehensible that we’d be involved in what people thought was a grocery store commodity. Once they finally saw our vision executed, the connection between fabric and fashion made much more sense, especially with The Laundress’s mission. Coming from luxury brands, we translated those strong product principles to The Laundress—using the best ingredients, the best design, and having a strong purpose, which is to solve laundry and fabric care struggles. Fabric and function are at the heart of our brand.
What were your initial goals with launch and how has the plan and reach evolved?
LB: We noticed a void in the market when we heard people’s concerns about dry cleaning: Between the expensive price tags, unnecessary toxins, and the risk that an item may return damaged, we knew we had to find a solution. Our textile backgrounds gave us the education we needed to know that dry clean items can be laundered at home, so The Laundress started as a brand that made fabric a priority in the laundering process. We began with 13 core products, like our Wool & Cashmere Shampoo and Delicate Wash, made for fabrics like cashmere and silk. Now, we continue to produce fabric-specific formulas as well as products and tools that go beyond the laundry room, such as our cleaning and home storage collections.
What are the main benefits of using clean laundry products over the run of the mill standard ones?
GW: From a financial standpoint, our customers will spend less on dry cleaning bills and replacing damaged items by using The Laundress at home. Our formulas help remove all types of stains, prevent common issues such as fading, and allow you to wash what’s known as “dry clean” fabrics like cashmere, silk and other delicates. Everything we make is free of allergens, petroleum, phosphate, phthalates, and artificial color so they are great to use for the whole family.
What does your night time routine look like? Do you have any rituals?
LB: I have two young children, so we typically read, play games and have dinner together. Before bedtime I try to squeeze in a bath and will go to bed early unless I am out with friends or on a date night with my husband.
GW: I shut off and wind down—I put all my devices behind closed doors in my office. Then I do my face wash and night cream routine, take Calm Magnesium powder with warm water, apply some essential oils, tuck in, and watch the end of day news.
How does sleep affect your work day?
LB: Sleep is so important for your mind and body. I have so much more energy when I get a good night of sleep and it allows for me to get up early and workout. Plus, my sheets are Brooklinen and washed in The Laundress No. 10 so why wouldn’t I want as much sleep as possible?!
GW: A solid sleep is key and sets me up for a better day.
How has your company shaped who you have become as leaders?
LB: I am constantly learning from my team. They’re continuously teaching me how to become a better leader and they make it so easy for me! Listening and communication are the backbones of good leadership.
GW: It is a great responsibility and honor to be touching so many lives—both our team and our consumers, by giving them effective products they feel good about using.
Best piece of advice you have been given:
LB: As a mom, wife and entrepreneur, creating a work/life balance can be tricky. It’s important to take care of yourself in order to be the best version of you in every way possible.
GW: You only have one life—live it well!