Dry Cleaners in Croydon: Meet the Masters
Ahsan has been in the industry since he was 17 years old. He has built up a huge amount of experience relative to his peers of dry cleaners in Croydon.
What makes him a master dry cleaner? It’s his knowledge, experience and dedication. After a long day servicing his South London customers we caught up with the man behind such a successful dry cleaning business.
Childhood nickname: I don’t have one – everyone’s always called me Ahsan
Best present ever received: 27 presents for my 27th birthday from my girlfriend
Favourite snack: Watermelon
Can often be found saying: ‘Quick and clean!’
Where have you come from and how did you get to where you are now?
I was 17 years old when I came to this country and the first job I had was in the dry cleaning industry. I’ve always loved clothes and had a wardrobe full of them. I take pride in my possessions so I’ve always been interested in the best ways to take care of them.
Why have you persisted with your dry cleaning career?
I was given a lot of responsibility at my first dry cleaning job and found myself managing a lot of things. I realised that I was doing everything. So I thought if I’m putting my all in now, why not put my all into myself and believe in my own ability. So I did. My boss was very encouraging and that gave me the motivation to believe I could do it and do it successfully.
What four things must you have to be a successful dry cleaners in Croydon?
You’ve got to have a strong work ethic and you can’t rush anything, patience is a virtue. You’ve also got to have the experience because knowledge is everything and last but certainly not least you’ve got to keep your customers happy with quality.
So where has this work ethic come from?
I didn’t complete a degree or get a ‘good’ education so I’ve always felt like I’ve had to prove myself. Not everyone believed that I could have a successful career as a dry cleaners in Croydon so I wanted to set an example and build a business not only for myself but for my family. That’s what I work for, I don’t work for money.
What gives you the most satisfaction from dry cleaning?
When my hard work pays off. Being your own boss is a different feeling from any other job. When you’re at work you’re constantly checking the time, you come to work and when the time’s up you’re finished! But when you work for yourself you don’t stop until you feel satisfied, so when that hard work pays off, it’s satisfaction like you’ve never felt.
Why do you think you have become so successful in the dry cleaning business?
My customers love me! At Christmas time they come with presents and cards. I have a good reputation and that’s always driven my success among the many dry cleaners in Croydon.
What do you think customers love most about your services?
I hate complaints so I work hard to ensure I don’t receive them. Customers trust that I put 100% into everything I do so they’re satisfied. Trust is everything and they trust me – you’ll never have a problem once the customer trusts you.
How do you get the best results from your team?
At the dry cleaning operations centre no one is boss, everyone is equal, we’re all a family. I let the team do anything as long as they do their work and give 100%. You can’t ask for anything other than that. After working so hard for someone else and realising how much they relied on us it stayed with me, and always will, you have to respect your staff. You’re nothing without your team. If you are fair your staff will repay you with effort and hard work.
What do you enjoy most when working with ihateironing?
Matt (CEO) is a very good person, I trust him and he trusts me. We support each other and I think that’s why we’ve been so successful. I love the fact that Matt visits us personally, he really listens to us and it’s more like a partnership. I feel like it’s my own company!
How much longer do you see yourself in the industry?
I hope to be in the industry forever (laughs) unless I win the lottery, but I’ll probably miss it and come back!