Interview: The Laundress Founders Gwen Whiting & Lindsey Boyd

The Laundress - founders Gwen and Lindsey with their No.10 products
By   /  October 24, 2014

The Laundress offers a range of carefully-crafted laundry products that clean clothes safely, effectively without any of the harmful chemicals that can be found in.  This is the designer category of washing products with detergents designed for every different fabric and purpose packaged in stylish bottles that are oh so lightly scented.

We talk to founders Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd about launching the Laundress and for their tips on preserving your clothing investments.  They have created products that make you want to stop sending your clothes to the dry cleaner and wash your own clothes. 

The Laundress Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd Ironing

How did you two meet and decided to start The Laundress together?

We met in college at Cornell University studying in the same textile program.  We knew in school that we would start a company together at some point.

How did you come up with the name? 

The Laundress is the woman that does laundry.  All the great classic artists loved to paint, the Laundresses is about our passion to clean, to do laundry beautifully, our quest to perfect the art of cleaning.

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Where do you live and your favourite places to shop?

We both live in New York City.  Gwen lives in the West Village and Lindsey lives on the Upper West Side.

We both love discovering new stores and places- but our go to for basics is J.Crew.  For big stores but not too big we go to Barney’s and Bergdorf’s which are well curated.

What are the main problems you are solving with The Laundress for your customer?

Everyone has dirty laundry!  Clothing care labels and fabrics are very complicated and nobody likes the dry cleaner either.  We help people every day know how to best care for their clothing and homes. 

How is the Laundress different from other eco-friendly detergents out in the market?

Our products are made with the best ingredients at the highest level of active ingredient concentrations.  We know our products are the best in the worldwide market.

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What do you think of using cheaper eco-friendly everyday products like Baking Soda and Vinegar to clean your clothes?

Baking soda and vinegar have great natural properties and can be used many ways.  Neither however, used alone, have good enough properties for cleaning clothes.

Why is dry cleaning bad for your clothes?

There are many things that are bad about dry-cleaning; just a few are listed below.

  1. The chemicals are toxic and are not good for you or the environment.
  2. The process doesn’t necessarily “clean”, it also often sets in stains and odor.
  3. Damages often occur while in the dry cleaning process as well.
  4. Items are batched together and the solution is reused over and over.

The Laundress, Lindsey Boyd and Gwen Whiting - Wardrobe

What is the effect of bleach on your clothes?

There are different bleaching systems. Chlorine bleach is the strongest and is very harsh and the most damaging to fabrics.  It yellows synthetic fibres, and break down all natural fibres making them deteriorate over time.

We use an oxygenated bleaching system which is safer and is more gentle.  It is safe for synthetics and will not break down cotton or linen.

No bleach whatsoever should not be used on wool and silk.

How do you wash breathable fabrics (cotton, silk, cashmere, wool) and keep them looking fresh and new for a long time?

Hand washing is always best for the most gentle care and keeping things new looking forever.  Also, treat items well in between washing with steaming, freshening, de-pilling, and storing properly.

Please check out our website for more ways on treating each type of fabric.

Techniques - Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd, founders of The Laundress show us how it's done

The top 10 tips for caring for your wardrobe from your 12 years experience in the business of laundering that any busy women can adopt easily. 

  1. Stain Removal
    Remove old and new stains such as red wine, coffee, and yellowing underarm stains with the Stain Solution – a pretreat solution.  Spot treat upholstery, pretreat grease and dirt stains, and hand wash items with the Wash & Stain Bar.
  2. Protect Items
    Protect small, delicate, and embellished items with the Mesh Washing Bag Bundle. Ideal for hosiery, lingerie, sweaters, and more – these bags will prevent clothing from tearing and snagging in the machine.  They’re also the perfect solution for keeping your smaller items together.
  3. Whiten
    Maintain whiteness and brightness with oxygen bleach by pre-soaking fabrics or adding it to your laundry detergent.  A terrific alternative to chlorine bleach, the All-Purpose Bleach Alternative is safe for all colours and fabrics except silk and wool.
  4. Launder
    Each Laundress detergent and wash is carefully crafted to work its magic on specific fabric types for optimal care and results.
  5. Soften
    Eliminate static, prevent wrinkles, ease ironing, and keep clothing soft with this naturally derived softener.  Fabric Conditioner is recommended and best used with every other wash.
  6. Dry
    Line drying helps preserve fibres, colours, shape, and elasticity, while also saving energy!
  7. Starch
    Using a natural cornstarch will impart body to fabrics, a higher resistance to soils, and will help to ease ironing.  Stiffen Up will leave a perfectly refined finish that will not flake, coat, or damage your fabrics –it smells great, too!
  8. Finish
    For the ultimate finish, use Ironing Water while steaming/ironing.  To maintain that freshly laundered scent, use Fabric Fresh between wearings.
  9. Lint
    Remove lint, hair, fuzz, and pills from clothing, bedding, and upholstered furniture with the Clothing and Upholstery Brush.  Cohabiting with loveable, furry pets? Use the Pet & Lint Brush to eliminate fur and pet hair. 
  10. Storage
    Storing in plastic causes yellowing. Cotton is a must; use the All-Purpose Storage Bag for seasonal or long-term storage – it’s breathable and protects from both moths and moisture. 

What is your favourite product from The Laundress?

Lindsey loves the delicate wash because she is always hand washing her items.  Gwen loves the stain solution because she never has to worry about getting a stain out. However, we love every item in the collection – as we develop each product for our own personal needs. 

What is the most important thing to do to when treating stains?  Can your products remove stains that have been there for a while?

It is important to treat each stain according to the fabric content. We always recommend pre-treating stains, especially stubborn stains. Our stain solution removes old and new stains, even from vintage and previously dry cleaned items. 

Check out the stain removal guide at the The Laundress blog

An interesting piece of information about laundering that we don’t know but should.

At least 90% of our wardrobes are washable – so get laundering!

Lindsey Boyd and Gwen Whiting of The Laundress having fun blowing bubbles

Where to buy?

The Laundress Stain Solution, 16oz

The Laundress Stain Solution, 16oz

Want to give The Laundress a “spin”? You can find their products at the following 10/10 locations, and at all Lane Crawford Home and Club Monaco stores.

  • 10/10 HOPE
    • Shop L802, Eslite, 8/F Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
    • Shop B11, Lab Concept, Queensway Plaza, 93 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
    • Shop 260-61, Cityplaza, 18 Tai Koo Shing Road, Tai Koo, Hong Kong
  • 10/10 SPACE, Flat 1B, Fairview Mansion, 51 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
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