Salomón Mishaan is President and Owner of International Cleaners Corporation, a franchising company that owns the global OXXO Care Cleaners ® concept. With more than forty years of experience owning and managing companies in a diverse set of industries, Salomon, strong believer in the wellbeing of future generations, was the first entrepreneur to venture into environmentally safe dry cleaning in the United States, way before Green became a household term.
In 2000, Salomon brought a revolutionary European boutique style, open air cleaning concept to the U.S. market, modernizing it with the use of GreenEarth® solvents, 24/7 ATM-style service, energy efficiency and automation. OXXO opened its first store in Hollywood, Florida in 2002. The franchise has grown to 50 franchises to date, including six in Indonesia. In November (2016), OXXO announced its aggressive multi-unit franchising strategy.
Perhaps most remarkable is Salomon’s ability to motivate all of his franchisees to truly embrace conscious environmental practices in their stores through the use of biodegradable bags, recyclable hangers, and other best practices. OXXO has been ranked repeatedly among the top U.S. Franchises in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500.
1. Tell us about the OXXO Care Cleaners concept.
OXXO Care Cleaners® has developed a franchise opportunity unlike any other in the industry.
24/7 automatic drop-off and pickup: OXXO Care Cleaners® offers its customers the convenience of round-the-clock service. With this franchise opportunity, your customers can access their garments through an easy-to-use, ATM-style window literally any time of the day or night.
Eco Friendly, we don’t use harsh chemicals and our process has independent electric equipment so we don’t need an industrial boiler, that works of diesel fuel and must be turned on and feed steam to all the equipment just to start one machine. As consumers continue to look for ways to practice sustainability, OXXO’s “Green Eco-Friendly Solvent” and process, provides cost-effective and non-toxic garment care that doesn’t harm your customers, their clothes, the environment or the store personnel.
A hand-ironed finish: Instead of using the industry standard method of steam pressing, all OXXO Care Cleaners® garments are hand-ironed to provide a detailed and beautiful look and comfortable feel. Traditional steam pressing compromises air quality and it actually shortens the lifespan of customers’ garments.
2. How and when did you become involved with OXXO Care Cleaners?
In the year 2000 I brought my family to the USA from Venezuela, so I took my clothes to the dry cleaners. I saw how dry cleaners in the US had not innovated its process for at least 50 years. Coming from the textile industry I saw how they stilled work with antiquated equipment like steam presses originally built for the garment industry and how they burnt the costumer’s garments. They also work with Perchloroethylene a very contaminating chemical that leaves a stench and fades the colors.
Coming from industries that manufacture raw materials for different industries and having experience in ISO programs, with a passion for doing things right from efficiency, quality, care for my employees and customers, and the environment not to mention the way I dress, I saw an opportunity to revolutionize the dry-cleaning business.
I put together a group of professionals I had worked with in the past and we developed the OXXO concept. In 2001 we opened the first store with all the innovations I have mentioned and the business took off. We were the first franchise to think about the ecological aspect so we were the first to use GreenEarth (an ecological solvent), give hand ironing quality, and the convenience of the automation with a 24 HR pickup and delivery ATM. The rest is history, and as they say imitation is the highest form of flatter.
3. What was your background prior to joining OXXO Care Cleaners?
I have been the President of OXXO Care Cleaner since it’s founding in 2001. Before that I have been involved in the direction of different Manufacturing companies in Venezuela and Colombia including, blister packaging, yarn, fabrics and textile dying. Managing plants that are manufacturers of vinyl products and high-pressure laminates, as well as management of Inversiones Mishaan, a real estate development company in Caracas, Venezuela. I am now a Board member of these companies.
4. What are some of the advantages in being a OXXO Care Cleaners franchisee?
The advantages of being an OXXO franchisee other that the concept in itself, as I mentioned above with the 24HR door, automation, the ecofriendly insight, and the quality it provides. At OXXO Care Cleaners we guide our Franchisees in every step of the process. From training to site selection to build out and marketing a new franchise, the OXXO support team is with you to build one of the industry’s most profitable franchises.
After training, we will continue to provide ongoing support delivered both online and onsite at existing franchise locations to ensure that franchisees are always up-to-date on the latest franchising trends and techniques in the industry.
We take great pride in providing our Franchisees ongoing, extensive support, and training to help them develop and operate their OXXO Care Cleaners® franchise.
5. Who is your ideal franchisee?
We ask that candidates meet the following criteria before being considered to be a franchise owner:
- Passionate about the OXXO Care Cleaners® brand
- Be at least 21 years of age
- No dry cleaning experience required
- Have excellent credit
- Access to adequate capital
- Minimum of $250,000 liquid assets and $500,000 net worth
- Be an Entrepreneur or businessman with retail, management and/or customer service–related experience (preferred, not required)
6. Tell us a little about the Dry Cleaning Market?
The dry-cleaning market is a very resilient business, it is strong when things are good as well as when they’re not so good. When things are good, people have the income to go to the cleaners and when things aren’t so good both spouses must go to work so they send things to the clearers. In bad times sales, do drop but the business continues.
Because of the recession back in 2008, during the past five years the industry only suffered the impact and from 2008 to 2013, revenue fell at an average annual rate of 2.6%.
There are a lot of new materials that require dry cleaning along with growth that is tempered by the continued trend toward business-casual clothing. For the next years, industry revenue is forecast to rebound considerably. Now with the post-recession bounce and employment gains, the industry will ultimately benefit from greater overall demand for professional clothing cleaning. All in all, it’s a good lasting business.
7. What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
It is very important to select the correct franchisees, they must be committed to your concept, understanding it and be passionate on what they are doing.
It is important to have the correct people in your organization, they as well must be passionate and understanding of the concept and transmit this to the franchisees.
You must speak clearly to everybody, so there are no misunderstandings. This is something we demand from all our people and it has helped us avoid misinterpretations.
You must be open to new ideas from your franchisees but they must be coherent with your concept.
8. Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
My father, Jonas, whom I worked with for years, was not only an inspiration but a great teacher. He showed me the importance of the value for your word, to be positive and optimistic on all you do. Confidence and believing that you are doing the best possible. These are things that have contributed to my success.
9. What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
The most important thing is understanding it will be your business and the reason you get up in the morning, so it is important you get into a business you have a connection with and will be passionate about. OXXO is a business for people that care, care about other people, the environment and the glamor in fashion. If you connect with these things, then you have the right choice.
10. In your opinion, why do you think that OXXO Care Cleaners would be a great opportunity for someone?
OXXO is innovating the dry-cleaning industry, with its technology with our APP, 24 HR ATM and equipment. We are satisfying our customers, who include the millennials, which are becoming more demanding and followers of the new fashion trends. In today’s economy, a greater segment of people are worried about environmentally safe options and requiring more time to attend their personal needs without affecting their schedules. For them, OXXO Care Cleaners is a perfect fit. Our three pillars, Eco-friendly, Convenient, and quality, will prove to be what our customers are looking for. Our Franchisees are ready to offer that to their clients and therefore grow our brand to new levels of success.