Some problems feel impossible, but two Australian buddies decided they needed to do something to help the homeless. So they decided to wash their clothes.
Lucas Patchett and Nicolas Marchesi decided that if they could bring some dignity to the homeless people they saw, maybe that could help them get their lives together.
What if we could wash the clothes of the homeless and help them feel a little better about themselves?
So these two guys just out of college decided to try an experiment. What might happen if they put a washer and dryer into a van and drove it to sites where the homeless hung out at night? Show up once a week, with a washer, dryer and a bit of suds.
Today Orange Sky Laundry has sixteen vans outfitted with washer, dryers, generators and soap to make a difference in the world. Their first van, “sudsy” cost about $100K but it helped bring in donations from both individuals and corporate sponsors to help them wash away some sadness.
A Clean Dream and an Orange Sky
By taking action, they guys figured out what they needed, what they didn’t know and how to keep the momentum going. They soon realized that since it took an hour to clean a load of clothes, so much of the volunteer’s time was spent listening to their homeless friends. They don’t call them clients or customers or some other corny word — the homeless they serve are just their friends.
Marketing Lessons without any Spin (Cycle)
- Marketers often fear taking action. We over think what could go wrong and want to a roadmap to the future. Lucas and Nicholas just acted and understood that their core mission was to bring dignity to an underserved population. They need a path would become clear as they got in motion.
- Marketers often want a complete game plan in PowerPoint. Often, an agile approach helps you understand how to meet the higher need you set out to achieve. Washing clothes have become a by-product of creating conversations. It wasn’t what they expected, but it is as important as clean clothes. Their business model is getting clearer, and no amount of slides in PowerPoint would have ever predicted the actual value of their mission. Washing clothes is a by-product to building community, connections, and relationships.
- Marketers often want to understand the numbers. As their movement grew, they started to realize many revenue opportunities to help manage the costs. Companies wanted to provide appliances, vans, service technicians and even laundry detergent. Someone realized that they could license or create products for retail that became part of the cause. Although both guys still live at home with their parents (they are in the early 20’s), they aren’t taking a salary out of this business. They are just trusting the universe will take care of them.
Motivation comes in lots of places. When I learned about this organization, it inspired me to realize how much you can accomplish when your heart is driving your effort.
I guess the truth always comes out in the wash.Click here to donate to this charity
Are you stuck in a spin cycle? Let’s talk marketing. Contact me here.
Photos: Screen grabs from Orange Sky Laundry