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Boston Herald - Concierge Cleaner

Couture Cleaners

Customers willing to pay for attention to detail at Style

By Jill Radsken
Thursday, November 25, 2010 -

Enter a new luxury cleaning service called Style.

“You ask, and are willing to pay for it, and I’ll figure it out,” said Charles Ickes, director of the premium services division at the family-owned Dependable Cleaners chain in Quincy. “It’s the ‘Yes’ factor.”

“Yes” means guests at the Mandarin Oriental hotel can have their garments dry-cleaned within hours. That the woman with the designer dress - and its thousands of sequins - will have it returned in pristine condition. That the bride getting married at the Boston Harbor Hotel can have an on-site presser for her bridal party.

“No is not an option for the right clientele,” said Ickes, who launched Style after years of working at Madame Paulette, a similar luxury cleaning company, in New York.

Style at Dependable quietly launched this summer, and Karen Gilman was one of the earliest customers. The Back Bay resident started using the service after a gray metallic jacket purchased at Bloomingdale’s came back from another cleaner a different color.

“I don’t worry about what kind of surprise I’ll get when they come back,” she said. “The attention to detail is amazing.”

But what does that kind of attention cost? Laundering a men’s dress shirt starts at $5.96 while a woman’s blouse is $16.78 and a dress costs $30.68. Style services typically take about four days, but the Mandarin couple who needed their outfits within hours paid $370. And the Boston Harbor Hotel bride paid $450 for three hours of pressing.

Said Ickes: “She tipped the presser $100.”

Style is only available at select Dependables (including Brookline and both Newbury Street locations and the home-delivery route in Wellesley), but Ickes plans to expand to MetroWest this winter and next spring. Forthcoming services include: online closet management (they monitor your storage stash) and wardrobe delivery to your vacation destination.

“We want to keep it under 1,000 items a week,” he said. “This isn’t for everybody.”

But Gilman isn’t “everybody,” and wouldn’t take her Roberto Cavalli pieces anywhere else.

“I’d be paranoid at a less-sophisticated dry cleaner,” she said. “It’s so worth it to have that personal attention.”


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