This Denver startup wants to be there for you when the laundry is too damn much

5 min. read
FairMeadow laundry service’s Khara and Javier Muniz (left to right) and Linda Vasquez pose for a portrait, Oct. 17, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

By solving their own laundry problem, the founders of the new, Stapleton-based wash-and-fold company FairMeadow created a service that could potentially solve everyone’s laundry problem.

It was pretty simple: They realized that, just like themselves, almost everyone hates doing their laundry.

The company has three founders, Javier and Khara Muniz and Miriam Quintana, all of whom have tech backgrounds. They used their innovation skills not only to streamline their process but to make their services half the price their competitors, too.

"We found a solution for our laundry issue that we could share with our neighbors," Khara Muniz said. "We went on our neighborhood’s Facebook page and asked, 'If a doorstep laundry service existed in this neighborhood for this price, would you sign up?' And just within hours, we got two neighbors who were like, ‘Here’s my money, here's my dirty laundry, just take it.'"

Javier Muniz and Khara Muniz used wash-and-fold services — which require you to drop of and pickup your laundry — when they were living the typical life of young Bay-area professionals who were often short on time. That lifestyle, however, abruptly ended after they had all of their clothes stolen.

But they continued to ponder the idea of starting a doorstep laundry service in their twenties. Then they had kids, and it took their laundry demands to another level.

"We were thinking, ‘Why does doorstep laundry service not exist?’ Then we had children. And then we were buried in laundry. It was just endless amounts of laundry," Khara Muniz said.

When they surveyed the landscape of wash-and-fold services in Denver, they were shocked at how expensive they were, so they decided to create a doorstep delivery wash-and -fold service with a price point they could afford.

FairMeadow laundry service co-founder Khara Muniz drives on a delivery mission, Oct. 17, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

“For us, we thought, ‘The laundry services in town are so expensive. Why?'"

The wash-and-fold services that currently exist charge by weight and use an on-demand system, meaning you order the service when you need it. Not only does that force prices upward for the consumer, but it also makes it difficult for customers to budget for it as their laundry demands can vary from week to week.

Instead of following that model, FairMeadow charges by volume, operates weekly and charges like a subscription.

Most wash-and-fold services charge around $1.90 per pound of laundry. FairMeadow charges $15-$18 per bin, which hold about 20 pounds of laundry each. That means if you do your laundry once a week and have around 20 pounds of laundry every week, and you could cut your laundry prices down from around $152 per month to $60-$72.

“The service is laundry, but what we're really selling is free time,” Javier Muniz said. "We're selling them their time back and that, to us, with being parents of two children, it's so precious.”

They want their company to be good for the community.

The trio says they're focused on the customer experience and the experience of their employees. Currently, they are a team of nine consisting of the three founders and six employees, who at the moment all happen to be Latinx.

One way they try to create a quality environment for their employees is treating them like humans with needs as opposed to laborers who can be instantaneously replaced. Employees are allowed to bring their children to work, and the company hopes to one day be able to provide a child-care facility.

According to Javier Muniz, Denver is the perfect city for them to get their operation started.

"What really helps us in Denver is that people are really open to try new things. There's other cities like San Francisco and New York that, a lot of them have these services already, but I think it'd be harder to launch our business there because there are so many challenges that come with population density that's that high and Denver's kind of in a sweet spot where the population density is high enough that it can support a business like ours, but it's not so high that it makes it impossible to operate," he said.

Here's how it works.

First you visit the FairMeadow website, which will give you step-by-step instructions for how to subscribe to the service. After that, the founders will set up a meeting with you to walk you through the service and how to load your bins. After that meeting, someone will come to pick up your full bin, wash and fold your dirty laundry, and return the bin back to you with your laundry folded in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

"We actually did research and found at that the Japanese culture and the French culture all fold their laundry very differently... we took the best of what folding we thought would be most delightful to find in your bin," Khara Muniz said.

Neatly folded clothes arranged for delivery by FairMeadow laundry service, Oct. 17, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The company services Stapleton, Park Hill, Mayfair, Glendale, Hill Top and Cherry Creek, but the founders say they may be able work with residents near the edges of those neighborhoods.

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