Ludovic Blanc, founder and CEO of Blanc Naturally Cleaner, is a man with a mission. He wants to eliminate the toxic chemicals which are both unhealthy and environmentally damaging from the commercial laundry world, and he wants to dramatically improve standards of service in the industry.
In Europe, eco-friendly cleaners are already operating, says Ludovic, but when I opened our first shop in Marylebone in 2013, hardly anyone else was providing ecologically friendly laundry services.” The second shop opened in October 2014 on Lonsdale Road in Notting Hill.
As well as introducing modern, eco-friendly techniques, Ludovic’s business has also been at the forefront of using innovative technologies to improve customer service. At the Marylebone shop, you can pick up your laundry 24/7 thanks to a vending system which automatically delivers the package to a door which the customer has access to. Ludovic plans to introduce this to the Notting Hill shop as well.
Originally from Provence in France, Ludovic moved to London and spent a decade working in corporate banking and finance working for variety of firms including JP Morgan before breaking away to set up his own business.
“I was keen to get a fresh start, remembers Ludovic, and I’d been working on my business idea even while I was still in banking. The downside was that suddenly, after being used to the corporate life, I was all on my own. That’s when I went to the Portobello Business centre, which I’d found on the internet, and Colin Rutt was appointed as my advisor.
Although I was up to speed with my business plan because of my commercial background, Colin was able to help me in a number of key areas. He also gave me a wealth of good advice – because he’s in business himself, he’s someone that really knows what he’s talking about and can offer practical help.
For example, he was able to help me find a key employee, the tailor that works with us, and he also put me in contact with other useful people. Finding a property to launch my business was one of the major tasks I faced and Colin was able to put me in touch with the right property agent who helped me to find the Marylebone premises.
Ludovic has also launched an online shop Blanc Home, selling various eco-friendly cleaning products, many of which are also for sale in his stores. The site also sells other laundry- and clothes-related items and home wares such as natural washing powder, moth repellent cedar balls and premium French soaps. More idiosyncratically, the store offers automatic apple peelers, vintage wooden clothes pegs and vintage wire storage baskets. Selected items are available at the physical shops.
“I very warmly recommend the Portobello Business centre, Ludovic concludes. If you’re on your own starting a new business, the Centre offers practical help as well as support and advice on everything from writing a business plan to raising finance.
77 Lonsdale Road, London W11 2DF
79 George Street, London W1U 8AQ