What is it like working together as siblings?
Corinna: It is one of the best things about running this business!
How did you come up with the idea to open a laundromat ?
Corinna: I moved to New York from Germany in 2012. 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-ha” moment: there were none! That’s how the idea for a welcoming, clean, efficient and eco-friendly laundromat, like Celsious, was born.
What advice do you have for people looking to be more sustainable?
Theresa: Start small, with one thing you really care about. In our case, it happens to be laundry. But for you, it may be food waste, or fracking... If it’s something you really care about, you are more likely to stick to it and take sustained action.
What tips do you have for creating less waste?
Theresa: The absolute easiest way to create less waste is to consume less. That said, we all need to buy certain things. If you do, be an informed consumer and look into all aspects of what you are about to buy. Will you use it? For how long? And, when it comes to waste, what does the end-of-lifecycle, the moment where you may want or have to discard the item, look like. Can you ensure that it doesn’t end up in a landfill? Photo: Francesca Rao
What advice do you have for someone starting their own business?
Corinna: Be prepared. To give it your all, all the time; for the journey to be completely non-linear and definitely for the naysayers. Theresa: No matter what the business is you’re going to go into, it’s going to be a wild ride with a steep learning curve. Don’t be afraid to embrace that and familiarize yourself with all aspects of your business by doing them yourself at least once before outsourcing.
We really admire how every aspect of your business is so carefully considered— from the laundry detergent you offer to where food on your menu is sourced— can you tell us a bit about why quality and sustainability is so important to you?
Theresa: Our mom was an early adopter of organic lifestyle… Corinna: ... I still remember that very distinct, grainy smell of early day health food stores and organic food markets. Theresa: Our childhood home, which our parents built, was constructed with non-toxic materials (coconut fiber insulations, cork flooring, zero VOC paint etc.), so quality and sustainability are values we were literally brought up with.
Tips on keeping your laundry in the best shape between visits to the laundromat?
Corinna: If you take good care during and in-between washes, your garments will actually last longer. If you re-wear certain items, it’s always a good idea to spray them with a linen spray between wears. Most of them contain alcohol, so will kill bacteria and germs. Once your laundry makes its way into the hamper, there are some simple guidelines to follow in order to make the subsequent wash and dry as effective as possible: Make sure you untangle smaller items like socks or underwear from larger items they may get stuck in (pants, fitted sheets, pillow cases), unbutton shirts and zip up anything that has zippers on it. This will reduce wear and tear on your elastics, buttons and generally fibers of your items during the wash and dry.
Favorite cleaning products?
Corinna: Apart from our own range of eco-friendly laundry products, I make most of my home cleaners with vinegar, alcohol and essential oils. That said, Sonett has great soaps, cleaners and specialty liquid detergents (also in our online shop) that we swear by.
Photo: Erica Gannett
Top 5 products from CAP?