About Matt Connelly

Matt Connelly started ihateironing from his bedroom in 2014…

…and has since grown the company into becoming one of the leading drycleaning services, with over 70 drycleaning partners and a growing head office team. Prior to this, Matt established Shoreditch’s first co-working space, The Hatchery, and developed an entrepreneurship network of 12 East London universities. He also led the Tech City Bootcamps for digital entrepreneurs. In 2022, Matt won the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the British Business Awards for his role in successfully leading ihateironing through the pandemic and continuing to support local businesses across the UK from going under.

we are a company with a conscience, we try to do our bit to help those in our community that are less fortunate than us

On his industry career

I spent a lot of time with a great local drycleaner when I was in the early stages of establishing the business. I think this gave me a very different perspective from the other founders who followed me into the industry with app based solutions.

You need to put yourself right in the centre of things to make sure you get the full experience and know what to expect for your business and the team you hire.

I developed a great appreciation for the amazing service a good local drycleaner can give, and this fostered my ethos of combining the best local drycleaners with the things that I already had knowledge of through my years helping other startups grow and become successful, namely technology, marketing, systems and customer care. We have a company where everybody matters and everyone plays a big part in our success. People who thrive on this responsibility are attracted to ihateironing and do well in our company. The other big pull is that we are a company with a conscience, we try to do our bit to help those in our community that are less fortunate than us and I think this really resonates with a lot of people who want to work for a company they are ethically aligned with.

Different members of the team are constantly coming up with ideas on how we can put our service to good use by partnering with charities, such as Crisis, or improving our sustainability initiatives.

On industry developments

Our business has led to the biggest shift in the domestic drycleaning and laundry market in the last 50 years. We were the first app based drycleaning and laundry service in the country. It was a concept no drycleaner had heard of when we first came to market over 10 years ago. Since then, lots of other app based delivery companies have come and gone but we continue to grow each year. What really interests me now is the improvements in cleaning technologies. I think we’re getting close to a tipping point where the more eco-friendly cleaning options can start to become as effective and efficient in cleaning as the more traditional methods which use harsh chemicals.

I think in five years AI will be integrated throughout operations to help with quality control, automation within production processes, delivery logistics and customer service. It’s an exciting time. It’s very early at the moment and we’re still a little way off the quality and cost effectiveness of AI solutions in each of these areas being accessible to all within the industry.

We focus on the customer rather than the noise or competition, this means we are consistently moving forward and innovating rather than copying the latest trends. We see it a lot in the industry where competitors are mimicking what we do as a business. Unfortunately for them it means they will always be a year or two behind us because they are copying what we were thinking about for two years.

We think about what will still be important in five or 10 years’ time and let that be our guide. There is no image of the future where we don’t see that having beautifully cleaned clothes ready to wear with minimal effort won’t be important. Our tools and techniques to achieve this will change but that core premise is likely to be unchanged.

Matt Connelly won the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the British Business Awards in 2022

On collaboration within the industry

I think the better the reputation of the industry as whole the better we can all do as businesses within it. I think there is no reason to stop us sharing knowledge and working together on systems and technologies to enhance the eco and sustainability practices within the industry. Around 300,000 items are cleaned through our network of drycleaners every month.

This gives us unparalleled insight into what systems and processes produce the best results. We are highly skilled in understanding when a particular cleaning centre is producing results that are significantly above or below standards. We can then quickly identify best practice or areas that need improvement. Within our own company, encouraging a culture of collaboration really comes down to recruiting the right people who want to work together and help one another, and then making sure collaborative work and achievement is celebrated. We also have to be pretty ruthless if anyone comes into the business that isn’t a supportive colleague. We make it clear that changes need to be made or they cannot continue to work with us.

On the industry’s commitment to sustainability

We’ve taken significant steps towards sustainability by reducing our reliance on single-use plastics, with plans to completely eliminate them by the end of this year. We’re also embracing more eco-friendly transportation by transitioning to electric vehicles, reducing our carbon footprint in the process. Through initiatives like our eco slots, we’re encouraging customers to choose environmentally conscious options that minimise route times and overall environmental impact.

Another focus is that we’re committed to eventually transitioning away from carcinogenic cleaning products, prioritising the health and safety of both our customers and the planet.

There have been a lot of inspiring and noteworthy sustainability initiatives within the industry. I think Blanc cleaning did some great work in becoming the first of the larger cleaners to not have any perc machines in their cleaning centre despite it being a challenge to be cost effective and deliver quality cleaning. It was a case of their founders leading with their values and it was an impressive example for the rest of us.

I think it’s important for leaders within the industry like ihateironing to set an example and set the standard. When a company like ours that serves up to 20,000 customers a month embeds a practice, then customers will come to expect and demand that other players within the industry follow suit.

The ihateironing team work with local charities to provide clean and professional business wear for those who need help for interviews

Matt Connelly started ihateironing from his bedroom in 2014…

…and has since grown the company into becoming one of the leading drycleaning services, with over 70 drycleaning partners and a growing head office team. Prior to this, Matt established Shoreditch’s first co-working space, The Hatchery, and developed an entrepreneurship network of 12 East London universities. He also led the Tech City Bootcamps for digital entrepreneurs. In 2022, Matt won the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the British Business Awards for his role in successfully leading ihateironing through the pandemic and continuing to support local businesses across the UK from going under.

we are a company with a conscience, we try to do our bit to help those in our community that are less fortunate than us

On his industry career

I spent a lot of time with a great local drycleaner when I was in the early stages of establishing the business. I think this gave me a very different perspective from the other founders who followed me into the industry with app based solutions.

You need to put yourself right in the centre of things to make sure you get the full experience and know what to expect for your business and the team you hire.

I developed a great appreciation for the amazing service a good local drycleaner can give, and this fostered my ethos of combining the best local drycleaners with the things that I already had knowledge of through my years helping other startups grow and become successful, namely technology, marketing, systems and customer care. We have a company where everybody matters and everyone plays a big part in our success. People who thrive on this responsibility are attracted to ihateironing and do well in our company. The other big pull is that we are a company with a conscience, we try to do our bit to help those in our community that are less fortunate than us and I think this really resonates with a lot of people who want to work for a company they are ethically aligned with.

Different members of the team are constantly coming up with ideas on how we can put our service to good use by partnering with charities, such as Crisis, or improving our sustainability initiatives.

On industry developments

Our business has led to the biggest shift in the domestic drycleaning and laundry market in the last 50 years. We were the first app based drycleaning and laundry service in the country. It was a concept no drycleaner had heard of when we first came to market over 10 years ago. Since then, lots of other app based delivery companies have come and gone but we continue to grow each year. What really interests me now is the improvements in cleaning technologies. I think we’re getting close to a tipping point where the more eco-friendly cleaning options can start to become as effective and efficient in cleaning as the more traditional methods which use harsh chemicals.

I think in five years AI will be integrated throughout operations to help with quality control, automation within production processes, delivery logistics and customer service. It’s an exciting time. It’s very early at the moment and we’re still a little way off the quality and cost effectiveness of AI solutions in each of these areas being accessible to all within the industry.

We focus on the customer rather than the noise or competition, this means we are consistently moving forward and innovating rather than copying the latest trends. We see it a lot in the industry where competitors are mimicking what we do as a business. Unfortunately for them it means they will always be a year or two behind us because they are copying what we were thinking about for two years.

We think about what will still be important in five or 10 years’ time and let that be our guide. There is no image of the future where we don’t see that having beautifully cleaned clothes ready to wear with minimal effort won’t be important. Our tools and techniques to achieve this will change but that core premise is likely to be unchanged.

Matt Connelly won the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the British Business Awards in 2022

On collaboration within the industry

I think the better the reputation of the industry as whole the better we can all do as businesses within it. I think there is no reason to stop us sharing knowledge and working together on systems and technologies to enhance the eco and sustainability practices within the industry. Around 300,000 items are cleaned through our network of drycleaners every month.

This gives us unparalleled insight into what systems and processes produce the best results. We are highly skilled in understanding when a particular cleaning centre is producing results that are significantly above or below standards. We can then quickly identify best practice or areas that need improvement. Within our own company, encouraging a culture of collaboration really comes down to recruiting the right people who want to work together and help one another, and then making sure collaborative work and achievement is celebrated. We also have to be pretty ruthless if anyone comes into the business that isn’t a supportive colleague. We make it clear that changes need to be made or they cannot continue to work with us.

On the industry’s commitment to sustainability

We’ve taken significant steps towards sustainability by reducing our reliance on single-use plastics, with plans to completely eliminate them by the end of this year. We’re also embracing more eco-friendly transportation by transitioning to electric vehicles, reducing our carbon footprint in the process. Through initiatives like our eco slots, we’re encouraging customers to choose environmentally conscious options that minimise route times and overall environmental impact.

Another focus is that we’re committed to eventually transitioning away from carcinogenic cleaning products, prioritising the health and safety of both our customers and the planet.

There have been a lot of inspiring and noteworthy sustainability initiatives within the industry. I think Blanc cleaning did some great work in becoming the first of the larger cleaners to not have any perc machines in their cleaning centre despite it being a challenge to be cost effective and deliver quality cleaning. It was a case of their founders leading with their values and it was an impressive example for the rest of us.

I think it’s important for leaders within the industry like ihateironing to set an example and set the standard. When a company like ours that serves up to 20,000 customers a month embeds a practice, then customers will come to expect and demand that other players within the industry follow suit.

The ihateironing team work with local charities to provide clean and professional business wear for those who need help for interviews

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