Every friendship experiences different phases. For childhood friends Kyle Lampkin and Michael Behfar, one of those phases included starting an on-demand laundry service — Laundr.
Growing up in Miami, Florida, Kyle and Michael met when they were 12 years old. They stayed connected as they went to college — separately attending the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida. While in school, both came to agree on one main inconvenience throughout their week — doing laundry. It was always a chore, took too much time, and honestly, does everyone’s socks find their way out of the laundry hamper? There had to be a better way.
While neither Kyle nor Michael intended to become an entrepreneur, it was clear that a regular 9 to 5 was not what they wanted to do. As college students, they really just wanted to solve their laundry problem and make some money.
“I didn’t necessarily want to be an entrepreneur, but I knew that I didn’t want a ‘real job,’ that sounded like a death sentence.”
Laundr, Kyle and Michael’s on-demand laundry service, did not come to be overnight. It took a lot of trial and error to make the app the business it is today. Actually, it took some time for the friends to realize that there is a business behind an app. While the year they spent learning to code helped make their app a reality, there were a lot of logistical questions that had to be standardized for the sake of customer experience and success.
Many of these questions had to do with the three different aspects of Laundr’s business model: the individuals who needed their laundry done, the drivers, and the people doing the laundry. It took some creative problem solving to make sure that all three of these elements were fully functioning at the same time. In the early stages, this meant that Kyle and Michael found themselves folding a lot of clothes.
“We got into the game to not do our own laundry. Now we’ve done more laundry than I would’ve ever imagined.”
When COVID-19 hit the nation in February 2020, Kyle and Michael saw the concept they had worked so hard to build lose 75% of its business. They had to once again put on their thinking caps and get creative in order to survive the economic downfall that so much of the country experienced. This led them to create unique smelling “detergent bombs” — detergent with fragrances like coffee vanilla and cucumber watermelon that are not seen elsewhere in laundry.
This addition of product to Laundr’s service model showcases the team’s ability to adapt and think long term. There’s a lot ahead of this young company, especially with the possibility of expansion to larger markets like Miami and Orlando. But there’s no denying the positive environment that Gainesville has made on this growing business.
“Gainesville breeds a culture of productivity.”
No matter how much Laundr grows, Gainesville where it all started — the laundry problem and the laundry solution.