Susan Toft is the CEO of Laundry Lady and our 2020 AusMumpreneur QLD-NT Digital Innovation Silver Award winner.
Laundry Lady now operates in three states (Queensland, NSW and Victoria) with a team of 35-plus contractors, and growing all the time!
Their mission is to deliver timely and quality laundry services at the click of a button through our flexible work at home network of Laundry Ladies and Lads.
Their vision is to save people time, one laundry basket at a time.
Their goal is to to build the business nationally throughout Australia. As Laundry Lady expands, they are always looking for new contractors in all areas.
When did you start your business?
Laundry Lady began as a ‘What if?’ idea back in 2012. I imagined the kind of help I needed at home with small children, and so I began online and now we’re doing hundreds of laundry loads for mums, dads, and businesses.
In recent years, I have been able to invest more time and energy into the business. This has resulted in more contractors (35 and growing), a new administrative HQ on the Sunshine Coast, and additional service locations. In 2020 we expanded into Melbourne, and at the start of 2021 we launched into the busy Sydney market.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
I created Laundry Lady because I wanted to help others also struggling with the work/life balance, by providing laundry services to busy people, and by creating a flexible work from home business that could be replicated all over Australia.
Laundry Lady is all about flexibility – flexibility for me as a busy mum (no more missing sports days), flexibility for the laundry contractors, and a flexible option for our valued customers. From a business perspective, I identified a market need. I saw there was a gap in the small to mid-range commercial laundry services on offer. The concept of a mobile laundry service, which is home-based yet fully-scalable, was the solution.
What are you most excited about in your business?
The demand for our service is just phenomenal. Even throughout COVID-19, we experienced a strong uptick in bookings from our southern customers in particular, in areas like Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong and Bendigo.
In the coming 12 months, we are most excited about growing our on-the-ground team (contractors), recruiting in our head office, and launching into even more areas.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
There have been lots of highs and lows; times where I’ve thought about throwing it in, and in 2020 revitalising our business to not only survive COVID but thrive through it. The most challenging thing, initially, was trying to juggle paid employment while launching the business. Trying to grow without investment was another hurdle early on.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Get connected to other businesses by joining networking groups. They will connect you to knowledge, build your network, keep you motivated and supported.
Know the reason why you are starting the business. When things are tough you’ll need to focus on this to keep you going. And know that starting a business will be hard on your relationships. Set yourself boundaries. The people in our lives are more important than all of it.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
We’re a business that’s built by mums, serviced by mums, and helps mums. ‘Mums’ form an important part of our business on both fronts – as contractors and customers. So, it was the perfect fit.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
It helped generate media exposure for us, and resulted in some collaborations. For example, we learned more about fellow entrant and award-winning business Kiddo. App, learnt from each other on our tips for running similar business models and have since teamed up on a Mother’s Day giveaway.
It’s also been good for morale and a real boost for our contractors. They can see how Laundry Lady is a viable business, and in turn they are recognised for their hard work.
What surprised you most about the awards?
It was both a shock and an honour to win Silver in the Digital Innovation Category (Queensland) in 2020. I was impressed by the line-up of inspiring businesses in the running for these awards – I certainly know how hard it can be for judges to select someone from so many worthy nominees and I am truly grateful for the award.
How did the awards help you in your business?
The recognition and connections made through the Awards program was very beneficial for The Laundry Lady. Any opportunity where we can promote our services and connect with like-minded individuals is always embraced.
What advice would you give to others mums thinking about entering the awards?
Just do it. If nothing else, do it to work on your business – reflect on where you are now, where you are headed, and what your ‘why’ is – and meet other like-minded mums in business.
What’s happening next in your business? Any big plans for the future?
For us, it’s all about location, location, location. We are hoping to grow into more areas, and provide even more home-based opportunities for mums, dads, students, and those who may have been impacted by job cuts as a result of COVID-19.
We want to provide the best possible service to our customers – homes, holiday rentals, businesses, NDIS participants and more – so we’re always looking to enhance our online booking experience and meet the needs of our clients, no matter where they live.
All images featured here are from Laundry Lady.
2021 GLOBAL BUSINESS MOTHERS AWARDS
The 2021 Global Business Mothers Awards recognise the best and brightest mothers in business globally, acknowledging success in business & innovation.