Today on Roots and Leisure, we have two really talented entrepreneurs – based out of Gujarat. Meet Coen and Kathak – the creators of gentlewasher – a beautifully crafted, manual washer for delicate clothes.
About the Founders : Kathak and Coen
Coen Vermeer has a post-graduation from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Kathak Mehta has a masters in Technology and Innovations Management from the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad. She is also pursuing PhD in Management from Institute of Management, Nirma University. Both Coen and Kathak are currently based in Ahmedabad.
- Tell us a little bit more about yourselves.
Coen : Both Kathak and I love to create things – especially physical products that actually solve a problem. As a kid, I would spend hours playing with Lego. From building underwater palaces to castles in the sky; building things was my passion. During my studies, this untamed optimism grew stronger. After watching a documentary on India, I had made up my mind. So after graduating, I came all the way from Amsterdam to Ahmedabad. Once here, I saw that India has really beautiful handcrafted textiles! So I guess that moment was when the seed for gentlewasher was planted.
Kathak : I am currently pursuing my Doctorate in Management, but I try to keep myself busy with things I love – like exploring cultures, food – which led me to write for food blogs, and also explore new places through frequent off-beat travels. I also have a passion for clothes and the rich heritage of textiles in India, so this whole idea of innovating in the lines of changing the way clothes are being washed, made a lot of sense to me.
- So how did you guys go about launching Monono? Enlighten us a bit about your first product – the gentlewasher.
Having a common vision, Coen and I got together and we started Monono, about two years back. The first product that we have developed is called gentlewasher- a washing device specifically designed for delicate clothes that need personal attention.
Its patented drum profile is designed to preserve fabrics so that your delicate clothes will stay intact wash after wash. Perfect for items that need personal attention – like nightwear, lingerie, dupattas, kurtas, tunics, dresses, expensive office wear shirts (which you tend to wash after every wear), silks, georgettes, chiffon, cashmere etc. In short, all your favourite, branded, expensive and/or designer clothes.
- So what is the mission here? To replace washing machines with this manual washer?
Not really. The gentlewasher is a welcome addition next to the washing machine.
While washing, clothes are often segregated – the heavy clothes are washed in the washing machine, and delicate clothes are washed by hand (by domestic help or self). This is almost a routine followed by everyone – and has not changed in decades. We researched the pain points involved in washing delicate clothes by meeting with many women in Ahmedabad to get a first-hand experience of the problem.We found that the washing machine is known to damage the delicates and using a brush is also harsh on delicates, besides being a cumbersome process to manage.
That is where the gentlewasher fits in. Instead of brushing the delicate clothes piece by piece, the gentlewasher takes care of 8 kurta’s/shirts in less than 5 minutes. It is extremely easy to use, durable and has zero maintenance.
- What is the inspiration behind the brand name – monono, and what does it represent?
Monono is an adaption of a Japanese phrase which means ‘having empathy for things’. Empathy towards people is one aspect but empathy towards things around us is equally significant. One such thing around us is our delicate clothes. As much strong is our attachment for our delicate clothes, as much is the love and care they deserve! We think that it only makes sense that the same consideration is given to take care of these clothes while washing. And thus gentlewasher was born.We have put in a lot of love and care in designing the gentlewasher. And we urge all of you out there to adopt it for your utility and convenience.
- Where can we buy the gentlewasher, and how much does it cost?
You can buy the gentlewasher at the flagship Monono store in Ahmedabad (located at 10, Rajpath row house, Opp. Ahmedabad International School, Bodakdev). It is priced at INR 11,000/– and would soon be available to buy on www.amazon.in from February 2017.