Wafty will pick up your laundry, wash your clothes, fold and deliver your load
For students, doing laundry can be very time-consuming. First, separating colours and delicates before loading your clothes into the washing machine takes time. Then everything has to either air dry or run through a cycle in the dryer before you can move on to folding it all. The next thing you know, you have just spent three hours doing laundry when you should have been writing an essay that’s due tomorrow. Sound familiar?
If you are a student living in downtown Montreal, then Wafty is at your service. Launched on Oct. 1, it is a laundry service “for students, by students,” according to their website. Wafty—an acronym for “wash and fold to you”—will pick up laundry from your home, clean and deliver it, nicely folded, within two days.
The business was founded by three Montreal students: Marlin Jayasekera, a second-year Concordia software engineering student; Parker Graham, a second-year art history and economics major at McGill University; and Nicholas Auclair, a first-year Concordia mechanical engineering student.
Graham and Jayasekera had spent the last year brainstorming ideas for their own business. While laundry wasn’t initially on their mind, the students realized after moving out that it can be one of the most time-consuming chores. Doing laundry can take a few hours a week, and for students, that time can be better spent working on assignments or studying for exams, Graham explained. Not only was time an issue, but Jayasekera said he faced the issue of finding a place to do laundry since his building doesn’t have a laundry room. This is what inspired the idea for Wafty.
It didn’t take long before Jayasekera learned that creative business ideas are often initially met with skepticism. When he told his mother about his plan to start a laundry service, he said she responded with: “You don’t even do your laundry! And you’re going to do other people’s laundry?”
Nonetheless, Jayasekera and Graham pursued the idea of creating a service that would make it easier for students to do their laundry. The more they developed the idea, the more people encouraged them to make it happen. According to Graham, when he proposed the service to friends, they often responded with disbelief that no one had thought about offering a laundry service to students before. It was then that he realized Wafty might actually work.
Auclair, an old friend of Graham’s, joined the duo a little later. He said he was intrigued by the unique learning opportunity the business provided. “We’re constantly learning through trial and error,” Auclair said. “So if we see that something is not working, we adjust.” “Having one extra person to separate the load was very helpful, no pun intended,” Jayasekera said.
When the trio realized doing all the laundry themselves would be inefficient, Graham said they decided to outsource their laundry to increase productivity and be able to help out more students. Unfortunately, several local laundromats laughed when the Wafty partners made their pitch. “You have to be persistent, and you can’t get discouraged by rejection,” Auclair said. The Wafty founders said they went through many ideas and versions of their laundry service before finding the most productive business model. “It’s been a rollercoaster to get to where we are now,” Graham added.
Every pound of laundry costs $1.99. All you have to do is pack up your clothes and they will be picked up and dropped off at your home on weekdays between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The laundry is washed and folded at the laundromat Wafty partnered with in the Milton Park borough.
According to Graham, the products the Buanderie Du Parc laundromat uses are 100 per cent natural. And for every 15 pounds of laundry a student has washed, Wafty donates $1 to the British Columbia-based One Tree Planted, an organization that plants one tree for every dollar donated.
The first time Wafty got an order from a client the trio didn’t know personally, they said it felt like an accomplishment—and the business is still growing. Graham justified Wafty’s success because it’s an affordable and convenient service for students. “As long as you’re a student and struggling [with laundry], we’ll come help you” Jayasekera added.
To try out Wafty’s services, visit their website.
Feature photo by Sandra Hercegova