In Ghent in Belgium, a sociable laundrette combines coffee shop and hair salon
In Ghent in Belgium, the Wasbar is having a go at breathing a new lease of life into the laundrette by making it more social-friendly.
This start-up business, opened in 2012, is a place in its own right. Its two founders, Dries Henau and Yuri Vandenbogaerde, both twenty-something, wanted to create a convivial place to wait for your laundry finish. They imagined a “social” laundrette, and the Pinkeye studio designed the warm and welcoming place that it is now.
Electrolux and Ecover, partners in the laundrette, freely distribute washing powder. The machines all have names straight from the 1920s, such as Philomena, Germaine and George, and the prices are all comparable with other laundrettes in the area (approximately 0.15€ or 12p per minute).
The social-friendly laundrette is situated in the heart of the student area of Ghent, and offers everything that students’ love: a cheap laundrette, the opportunity to have a drink or a snack, WiFi access so you can work as you wait and so on. As the two entrepreneurs realised that a haircut takes about 40 minutes, roughly the time it takes for a laundry load to finish, they also set up a miniature salon in one corner of the laundrette.
Wasbar targets young people who wouldn’t normally dare go to a laundrette for fear of wasting time and being bored. Thanks to this new way of thinking about service provision, the innovative business attracts new clients, and increases its profits through selling refreshments, snacks and services.
Practical information: Wasbar – Nederkouter 109, 9000 Ghent, Belgium