How This Founder Left The Oil And Gas Industry To Start A Laundry Service With 85K Active Customers

Published: February 25th, 2023
Khushbu Agrawal
Founder, Diva Laundry
Diva Laundry
from Dubai - United Arab Emirates
started March 2009
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I’m Khushbu Agrawal, CEO of Diva Laundry group of companies in Dubai. I’m an Indian national and an MBA holder in HR and marketing with 15 years of work experience in laundry service in the UAE. Given Dubai’s diverse market, we’re proud to say that Diva Laundry is rated as one of the top 3 retail laundry services in size and revenue in the region.

Diva Laundry is about offering laundry services to Dubai residents with a focus on quality and timely delivery. We have a team of experts for specialized services, including shoe and bag cleaning/repair, and leather cleaning.

Our focus is to provide excellent cleaning and ironing finish for all items we handle. To ensure only the best results for our customers, we use best-in-class Italian machines, bar-coded tagging, and steam ironing in our 24/7 camera-monitored facilities.

Our highly-skilled and trained staff has a collective experience of 10+ years handling all kinds of regular and tricky garments. Diva has a team of 16 drivers covering almost all locations in Dubai. Our total staff strength is about 90 team members, dedicated to delivering customer items on time.

Our annual revenues have almost doubled over the past 2 years. This says a lot about how much our customers love and appreciate our work.


Current sales revenue figures are very promising and have depicted an upward trajectory every month for the past 2 years. Accordingly, we reward our staff with bonuses, commissions, and other incentives.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I have been in the laundry business for about 15 years now. I started my journey in the oil and gas sector in Dubai. Eventually, I realized that my calling and abilities would be better utilized if I started my venture.

There was a huge gap in the market at that time for decent laundry service providers that customers could rely on without worry.

I tried a few of the most reputed names in the market, but I felt none provided a common solution in terms of good quality and ease of placing orders under one roof.

We consulted a few known acquaintances working in the laundry industry for quite some time about the scope and availability of a decent laundry service.

Upon thorough market research (analysis of current players, their offerings, price points) and potential revenue projections, I was positive about the potential this idea had.

This is how I ventured into the laundry business to give better offerings than market competitors were charging at that time.

I am passionate about what I do, and I believe that hard work and dedication come with their rewards. Any business needs to develop a robust process-oriented system to ensure a pleasant and uniform customer experience every time they avail of our services. I entered the laundry industry with the same thought.

Our customers have shown their appreciation with great reviews and repeat orders. Last month alone, our customer base grew to more than 85,000 active customers.

My biggest lesson from starting my own business is that the quality of human resources and how you take care of your people are essential to building a successful venture. You’ll be surprised by what people can do if they are motivated to work and stay with you.


Take us through the process of designing your service.

We started initially with a team of 15 employees (including drivers, pressmen, washermen, and call center agents). Now we have grown to a team of over 85 people as of today.

The overall cost of setting up initially was 1,500,000 USD.

We believe in simplicity and convenience in daily chores like laundry. The whole service experience is a result of carefully designed processes (with clear KPIs for all departments). It's being followed and improvised on a regular basis based on customer feedback.

Customers have the option to place an order through multiple channels as per their liking - Call, Whatsapp, or email. And our team arranges for a home pick-up and delivery.

Once laundry items arrive in the facility, our team of experts - tag, clean, and iron them. All items are electronically tagged (to avoid any mix-ups) and segregated very carefully as per items’ cleaning requirements by a team of textile experts.

The items are then either cleaned in best-in-class Italian machines or hand cleaned depending on the fabric type and texture. Our cleaning machines are fully automated with 20 program options for different types of fabrics, textures, and colors; fed by a mix of up to 8 chemicals (depending on cleaning requirements). We only procure chemicals that have a long-standing market reputation of high effectiveness (for stain removal and brightness) and help preserve the fabric texture at the same time.

For ironing, we are one of the few laundries in UAE that offer 100% steam iron for any item, for which we have customized pressing machines for different items.

We have very strict guidelines for quality checks. There are always at least 2-3 checks for each item by quality checkers at each stage before items are finally sorted and packed.

Expect anything less but only “HARD WORK” during the initial years. It's important to be consistent in efforts to make something successful. Giving up is easy. Moving forward despite the challenges is always difficult, but can be rewarding in the end.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

What matters most is trusting yourself with a great idea. We go the extra mile to implement and see it in action. Attention to tiny details and an all-around approach to solving both big and small problems gave us an extra edge over competitors.

For us, ensuring great quality and timely delivery has helped increase and maintain the current customer base manifold.

Our first set of customers were the higher middle class and higher class households in the New Dubai area who were looking out for decent quality focused laundry to take care of expensive and delicate items especially.

We offer regular and festive discounts for our customers (new and old) and release all our new service offerings on social media to attract new customers. We take feedback and complaints very seriously, as we believe that there is always scope for improvement.

Honestly, we did not have to resort to extensive marketing to acquire our first set of 100 - 500 customers. They referred each other which speaks volumes about our services.




How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We are a profitable company. Current sales revenue figures are very promising and have depicted an upward trajectory for the past 2 years. Accordingly, we reward our staff with bonuses, commissions, and other incentives as a gesture of appreciation from our side for delivering great service. Last year, we expanded into shoe and bag cleaning / repair and soft toys cleaning / disinfection.

Our customers have provided very positive feedback about this service. Soon, we plan to expand into other laundry-related verticals where we believe we can offer better quality and service than competitors.


Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

As much as good employees are crucial for a great customer experience, the importance of having efficient procedures cannot be undermined. Focusing on good processes and best practices goes a long way in making operations self-driven. This is key factor in saving you valuable time for growth planning and ensuring stability.

For example, we have automated our laundry processes on a large scale. All items are electronically tagged once they arrive to avoid missing and mixed up items mishaps. Our facility is 24/7 camera monitored.

Improvisation means changing old habits and changing the way we work. Employees often resist change. The ability to guide your teams and taking hard decisions is key to success

For example, when we introduced wet cleaning service recently, there was a change needed in how we go about the classification of items i.e. dry cleaning vs wet cleaning. These are new skills and the team is concerned about the quality and output. But this is about changing the habit of classification of cloth and adopting new technology. With careful planning and proper training, the team is very confident and we are launching the services very soon.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We actively use Monday task manager boards, and Basecamp project management for internal coordination and smooth teamwork.

We have an in-house developed software and drivers app to manage smooth communications between call center, operations, and drivers.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. It's a great guide for anyone planning to start something new and aspiring to succeed.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

My advice to new entrepreneurs is to focus on great customer experience. What differentiates a business in a highly competitive market is a great customer experience. Never worry about competition, it is about being good and consistent in providing your services.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!