Having spent more than 20 years in the textile and garment industry, Salomon Mishaan saw firsthand the lack of innovation in professional garment care and the lack of attention to the well-being of the customer and the environment. So he decided to change things.
We recently spoke with Mishaan, president and founder of OXXO Care Cleaners, offering revolutionary garment care for the same price as traditional cleaners, with added benefits, such as 24/7 ATM-style pickup and customer loyalty rewards. Through Mishaan, we learned what he looks for in potential franchisees, the day in the life of a franchisee and, lastly, where he sees the franchise headed in five years.
We’ve come up with a concept and a way of doing dry cleaning that is completely revolutionary. We don’t do anything like traditional cleaners. We don’t work with any polluting chemicals. We use GreenEarth — it is not petroleum- or chemical-based, but rather sand-based. It was originally created for shampoos, and it is very safe.
The other important thing we do is keep quality customer service in mind. We don’t work with steam presses used by traditional dry cleaners. These were originally developed 80 to 100 years ago when they wanted creases to be in clothing forever, but they can burn your clothes. Ours are not steam presses, but electric irons — making them extremely efficient and better for customers’ clothes. Finally, we show customers we value their time by giving them 24/7 convenience to pick up and drop off their clothes.
Our program has some beneficial features for the franchisee, as well. Everything is automated, so staffing and rent is more efficient and there is less room for error.
Franchisees have access to very efficient equipment, and they pay less rent because they’re occupying a smaller space. Build-out is also easier — we don’t need a chimney, diesel fuel, steam pipes and the like since we don’t work with industrial steam boilers.
Above all, our owner-operators can offer guests a top-notch experience with a completely air-conditioned, boutique-style space that was designed with the customer in mind.
What do you look for in a potential franchisee?
For us, potential franchisees don’t really need to know anything about the dry cleaning industry. We teach them everything they need to know. We’re just looking for someone who is entrepreneurial. Most of our franchisees are professionals who have come out of the business world. We look for people who have the potential, as well as a certain amount of business experience. They do need to have a net worth of at least $300k to $350k.
Where do you see the franchise in five years?
We’ve been growing steadily since we’ve opened, and I see us expanding to at least four to five times the size of where we are now. Right now, our franchisees and our systems are doing well. We have an item 19 in our FDD and ours includes rent and royalties. We are very transparent and honest about how well our franchisees are doing.
Can you describe a typical day in the life of a franchisee?
They come in, they open the store, they get the equipment warmed up. They also allow plenty of time to get people in position and manage their team. The advantage of our business is that franchisees come in and can leave in the afternoon. They clean up as they are working, so they’re able to have the work-life balance many entrepreneurs are seeking.
What motivates you to keep going?
Today’s dry cleaners are still set back 50 years. The modern equipment is only an adaptation of the old equipment. In the textile world, you see materials continuing to be cleaned with old systems that ruin peoples’ clothes. People are fed up by traditional dry cleaners.
I’m very passionate about how we are changing dry cleaning; I believe in it very strongly. The reason I continue doing it is that there is always new technology and ways to do things better. I like to be ahead of the curve. And, I’m flattered that a lot of companies are now trying to copy the way we do that.
What makes me feel comfortable is the growth of our franchisees. It shows that people are happy with what they are doing and that things are going well — which is a motivating factor.
We also have stores in Indonesia. When I went for the grand opening, they asked the master franchisee who brought it, and he said: “I looked all over the world for dry cleaning — for something different — and what I found was OXXO Care Cleaners.”
Please tell us your secret to success…
You have to believe in what you do, and you have to do it with passion. It has to come out of your heart. Of course, money is an incentive, but it is not the reason you do something. You need to get up in the morning and be happy about what you’re doing. You have to do things well and make sure that people will appreciate what you’re doing for them. You also have to be resilient with the economy.
What is the worst job you have ever had and what did you learn from it?
I have always enjoyed my jobs, but I have experienced many challenges working in construction and textiles. Ultimately, I learned that even if you run into potholes along the way, you have to learn from your challenges and mistakes.
What is one trend that really excites you?
Since I come from the textile industry as well, there are trends in the fashion industry that I’m following. For instance, I’m fascinated by the fact that designers are constantly introducing new materials. I’m always looking at trends in fashion.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
I look at Instagram often — I like photos and pictures. I also use Dropbox, and I like “Teamviewer” a lot because I can connect to my main computer so easily. Plus, the people who run the POS have their own cloud there. We can see if their sales are going up or down and help them out.
Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor?
My father has been my best mentor. He was my mentor until he died. I worked with him and for him, and I spoke to him every day. The advice and things mentors tell you are completely unconditional. They have no agenda. My son is starting a business in Colombia and I hope to be his mentor.
Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be passionate and love what you do. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and if you enjoy positives and negatives, then you are going to be successful.