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Couture dry cleaners: Not all “couture cleaners” are alike

By: Stu Bloom

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RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale, Arizona is one of the few couture cleaners in the USA

There are thousands of dry cleaners in the USA who claim to be "couture dry cleaners" or "couture specialists". Can this possibly be true?

There are 26,000 dry cleaners in the USA.

Of those 26,000, thousands call themselves “couture cleaners”, “couture care cleaners” or “couture care specialists”. And every one of those thousands of dry cleaners will tell you that they have the technical skills, institutional experience and equipment necessary to care for your “expensive, couture garments”.  

To illustrate the absurdity of this notion, just think about this: In the metro Phoenix area, there are even dry cleaners who claim to be “couture cleaners” that have no in-house cleaning capability (they subcontract their work out to the lowest bidder) and charge $7.50 for a two piece suit.

Couture cleaners? Couture care cleaners? Couture care specialists?

The experts say otherwise…

 

In a February 2017 article in the industry publication Cleaner & Launderer, dry cleaning expert, trainer and columnist, Kenney Slatten, debunks that myth.

More specifically, he comments as follows…

RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale, Arizona is one of the few couture cleaners in the USA

We agree. As Slatten implies in his comments, the reality is very different.

So how can you distinguish between mere claims and actual performance?

Here are 3 ways:

1. Look for industry leading quality standards

 

Every true quality cleaner has standards that they consistently follow. These standards are always in writing. And always in detail

It’s how true quality cleaners hold their fabricare associates accountable. And how their clients, in turn, hold them accountable.

On every order. On every item.

So before you select a couture cleaner, ask the cleaner for a detailed list of their quality standards. Then use that detailed listing as a checklist to determine whether or not the dry cleaner delivers according to their standards. 

At RAVE FabriCARE, our standards are detailed and in writing. Using these standards as a yardstick, we created an easy-to-use checklist so that you can compare our work to the work delivered by your “couture cleaner”.

2. Look for national recognition

 

In the words of Kenney Slatten, couture-quality cleaning is something that’s only achievable “by a small handful of cleaners.” 

Yet, there are thousands of so-called “couture cleaners” in the USA (you can make your own assessment by googling “couture cleaners”).

Some of these “couture cleaners” are part of a marketing and branding organization masquerading as a standards organization. 

In return for a payment of about $500 a month, this marketing and branding organization will “certify” any cleaner as a “couture cleaner”. Even chain dry cleaners with 10 to 20 locations who charge $10 to $15 for a two piece suit!

At RAVE FabriCARE, we don’t buy our endorsements from some marketing and branding organization. We prefer to have the quality of our work judged by nationally respected, non-compensated, independent, authoritative third parties.

By the way, there is only one organization that certifies true quality cleaners based on rigorous standards — Leading Cleaners Internationale. 

3. Look for retailer recognition

 

In every major city, there are always a number of dry cleaners who claim to be “couture cleaners” because one or more employees of some boutique or department store allegedly uses their services.

When you probe a little deeper, you’ll find that the boutique or department store itself  is not a client and doesn’t send their soiled inventory that needs cleaning to that cleaner.

The notion that you can claim to be a “couture cleaner” on the basis that one or more employees of a boutique or department store allegedly uses their services is, of course, absurd.

And the reason is simple: There are many boutique and department store employees who use the services of discount cleaners (cleaners who charge $2 or $2.75 per piece). I know of no discount cleaner who would claim to be a “couture cleaner” based on the fact that one or more employees of a boutique or department store allegedly use their services.

By contrast, RAVE FabriCARE is used and recommended by more upscale department stores, clothing boutiques, custom clothiers, bespoke tailors, bridal salons, fine linen stores, and handbag and shoe salons in the metro Phoenix area and elsewhere than all other Valley dry cleaners and restoration dry cleaners combined.

These stores know RAVE FabriCARE because they regularly call on us to clean and/or restore inventory that has soiled and customer owned garments that have been rejected as “uncleanable” or “unserviceable” or that have been improperly cleaned and/or finished by other cleaners

Over the years, we’ve demonstrated that many so-called “uncleanable” or “unserviceable” garments were eminently cleanable.

We love “couture cleaners”

 

At RAVE FabriCARE, we love these so-called “couture cleaners”. 

Why?

Because we want you to experience the quality of their work.

Why?

Because that’s the only way you’ll have a yardstick against which to measure the quality of our couture work relative to the “couture work” delivered by these so-called “couture cleaners”.

After all, you are more likely to appreciate the steaks at Mortons or Ruth’s Chris if you’ve eaten at a Ponderosa or Sizzler steakhouse. You are more likely to appreciate the hotel experience at Ritz Carlton or Park Hyatt if you’ve slept at a Sheraton or Ramada. You are more likely to appreciate the shirts crafted by Charvet and Stefano Ricci if you’ve worn shirts sold by Brooks Brothers or The Mens Wearhouse.

 

Do you own any couture quality garments? How do you care for those garments? Have you ever entrusted a couture garment to a dry cleaner who claimed to be a “couture dry cleaner” but clearly had no basis for making such a claim?

 

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Filed Under:

Couture Garments

Author

Stu Bloom

Stu Bloom is Founder and President of RAVE FabriCARE. RAVE FabriCARE, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, cares for fine garments, household textiles and accessories and serves clients throughout the USA and Canada. Stu is the author of various ebooks on these subjects, all of which are available from www.ravefabricare.com/freestuff. He is an evangelist for true quality cleaning and is a contributor to and editor of True Quality Cleaning, RAVE FabriCARE’s blog. You can find Stu on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Additional Resources:

http://ravefabricare.com/services/couture-garments/

http://ravefabricare.com/services/services-to-couturiers-upscale-stores/

http://ravefabricare.com/about/who-we-are/

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