KANSAS CITY — Hangers Cleaners of Kansas City was featured recently in an episode of “Cool Runnings,” a web-based magazine from MSN.com and Sprint that spotlights innovative small businesses.
“For most people, drycleaners are mostly boring establishments one needs to visit every few weeks,” says Antonio Neves, the program’s host. “That’s not the case with Hangers Cleaners. When Joe Runyon founded this ecofriendly company, he wanted to make cleaning dirty clothes both fun and good business.”
Runyon explains the drycleaning process to Neves, how he decided to enter the industry and why he picked the liquid CO2 process. “We hit the home run with liquid CO2,” he says, but there’s more to running the business than that. “Being ecofriendly is great, but if we don’t get your clothes clean, don’t press them right and don’t have prices that are fair, why in the world would you continue to use us?”
The segment, and a shorter highlight piece, focus on Runyon’s humorous marketing slogans, such as hanger capes that read, “You’re the 23rd person I’ve seen naked—please recycle hangers,” and “Doubles as a car key.” Emphasizing CO2’s lack of odor, employees’ uniform shirts say “Sniff me!” and van wraps advertise, “No harsh chemicals, and no funky smell!”
The management team decides what’s funny, with Runyon embracing the fact that Hangers is a “quirky” operation. “One of the lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is to let the business reflect your personality a little bit,” he says. It gives Hangers an advantage over companies entering the market with deep pockets, he says. “There are things I know I can do that [a] corporate marketing department would never let them say.”
To view the full report, click here. For highlights of Hangers’ marketing strategies, click here.
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