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Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd are the founders of The Laundress, the line of eco-friendly fabric care products they launched in 2004 as a way to make the act of doing laundry, well, a little more enjoyable. They've created a line of detergents and washes that in some way can eliminate the need for a dry cleaner—if done properly. Both educated in textile and apparel management as well as "fiber science," Gwen and Lindsey have recently collaborated with companies like Le Labo and J.Crew and quite frankly, our laundry addiction has been taken to a whole new level. So we figured it was time to meet the girls who are making us look forward to laundry day.
Racked: You launched The Laundress as a way to take the feeling of doing "a chore" out of laundry. How did this idea originate?
Gwen Whiting: We knew if we had the proper products and educated others on the basic principles of fabrics (the process is very simple), it could be enjoyable.
Racked: Between the two of you, you've worked for Chanel, Brooks Brothers, and Ralph Lauren. How did you two meet? When was the "aha moment," when you realized you wanted to go into business together?
Gwen: We met in college at Cornell University. We actually had this moment right before graduating college, but it was for another concept. We knew we needed some time in the workforce and to learn from the best luxury brand-based companies. Years later, the time was right and we put all our energy into getting The Laundress officially launched.
Racked: In some ways, you've eliminated the need for a dry cleaner. How?
Lindsey Boyd: We knew that most of fabrics are washable from our fiber science/textile background. While most tags say "Dry Clean Only" because of the manufacturer, we encourage people to read the fiber content tag versus the garment care tag and wash accordingly to the fabric. The Laundress product is formulated for different types of fabric so you can wash accordingly and skip the dry cleaning process. Washing is a more favorable cleaning process than dry cleaning. When washing, you can remove stains and odor in its entirety and safely clean embellishment. And it is better for the environment.
Racked: What are your favorite products that you've created—and why?
Gwen: We love all of our products! From our classic core collection of detergents to our newer foray out of the laundry room into home cleaning, as well as our growing collection of cleaning tools and storage items. Everything we make is driven from our own needs and improving the way things are done and made before. Our first product and the impetus of why we started The Laundress was the wool and cashmere shampoo. We love this product year round.
Racked: You've collaborated on a line with Le Labo. How did this come about and why? What has the response been?
Lindsey: We wanted to collaborate with a high-end perfume, creating the most luxurious detergent out there. Gwen and I thought Le Labo and The Laundress had great synergy. We loved everything from the scents Fabrice and Eddie create to the simple, yet chic, packaging and branding. It proved to be the perfect match as we launched our second fragrance this year.
Racked: Now, you've also collaborated with J.Crew. How and why did this collaboration come together?
Lindsey Boyd: Coming from our apparel backgrounds and creating a line of products that revolved around proper care for clothing, this would of course be a natural fit.
Racked: Two of the products you created for J.Crew are the cashmere wash and the shirt wash. How are these two products to be used?
Gwen: The cashmere wash can be used to hand wash or machine wash your sweaters, scarves, wool pants and more. The shirt wash is formulated to wash cotton, linen, and synthetic shirts without having to run to the dry cleaner. Your shirt will smell better and last longer—don't worry about losing buttons or fraying collars.
Racked: What is your long-term goal with the brand?
Lindsey and Gwen: As we continue to grow and educate our clients about proper care for their clothing and homes, we hope to be the "go-to brand" for washing in every home worldwide.
Racked: What are you working on next? What upcoming scents/products are coming down the pipe?
Lindsey: We are currently working on candles to launch this fall. We have had a lot of requests for candles because everyone loves our scents. Stay tuned as there are a few more thing that we can't reveal just yet.
Bonus: For the next week, the Laundress is offering Racked readers and exclusive 15% discount on all products on their website, excluding Beckel, Jiffy, and Barbantia. Head on over to the site to shop and enter code "RACKED" at checkout through Tuesday, May 22. Happy cleaning!