While the sun slowly disappears behind the rooftops of Berlin, Stefan Michaelis hurries through the streets of the big city – a huge laundry bag clamped under his arm. As usual, he stayed later at the office than expected. But the stress is not over for the young Berliner, because his favorite shirts still have to be cleaned. A quick glance at his watch shows, however that it is going to be a close call. Stefan rounds the final corner – too late. The laundry is closed. “That’s exactly what motivated me to found Jonny Fresh in 2013,” the 34-year-old recalls. His plan: to have dirty laundry picked up at home and customers can save a lot of time and effort.
We simply wanted to make something fresh, young and modern out of a dusty old service.
Stefan is a young, athletic guy. At the age of 21, the Berliner-by choice founded his first start-up – at the time as a freshman student. But now a cleaning service, how does that fit together? “Very well “, says Stefan and his co-founder Sebastian Schmidt. ” We simply wanted to make something fresh, young and modern out of a dusty old service”. And that is how we came up with the name of the start-up:” Jonny stands for the general public, and Fresh is a cheeky, new thing,” explains Stefan with a wink.
But how does the mobile cleaning service actually work? Very simple: the customer places his order via the app. At the same time, he or she selects a delivery time window, i.e. they determine the date and time of collection. An algorithm developed by Jonny Fresh processes the booking and determines an ideal route for the driver. He picks up the dirty laundry directly at the customer’s home or office and drives it in a Mercedes-Benz Citan to a cleaning partner in the city. Jonny Fresh brings the laundry back at the latest 48 hours later – freshly washed and ironed, of course. “We take laundry off their hands and give them more time for what’s important,” explains Stefan proudly.
However uncomplicated the concept of Jonny Fresh may be, it was by no means easy for Stefan and Sebastian. Our first plan was to set up a sort of laundry packing station,” recalls Sebastian. But the two business partners quickly realized that this was not going to work. Due to high costs, the two had to rethink in order not to risk their professional future. Then the idea of Jonny Fresh arose. Several founders before Sebastian and Stefan have tried delivery services for laundry – and failed mercilessly after a few months. But the two Berliners are convinced: their concept is better. And the time is ripe for Jonny Fresh.
And so the Berliners ventured into a time of trepidation. Even though Stefan already had some experience with start-ups – the fear of failure remains. “The first few weeks were very nervous,” he recounts. But the customers arrived faster than expected – and stayed. Meanwhile Jonny Fresh is considered a real success: In 2016 the start-up company booked more than 350,000 cleanings and the delivery service has also expanded to Vienna, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt and Hanover.