How To Start A Shoe and Sneaker Cleaning Business

How To Start A Shoe and Sneaker Cleaning Business

Article by Jack Wong, Co-Founder of Shoe Mo – Shoe and Sneaker Care.

Shoe Mo – Shoe and Sneaker Care was founded back in 2016 and started life as a home-based business in Malaysia. In 2020 Shoe Mo currently operates 13 physical locations across 4 countries in South-East Asia including Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia processing over 2,000 pairs on a monthly basis. 

Shoe Mo Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Back story: As the big footwear corporations like Adidas and Nike continue to roll out exclusive collections and collaborations the demand for sneakers as a must-have fashion accessory has never been higher as sales and resell values soar. (Hint: Their respective 5-year share price performance)

Following close behind this trend is the increasing (or shall we say explosion?) demand for services and products to cater and care for these new gen types of footwear which needs somewhat differs from traditional leather-based shoes and services such as cobblers.

Enter the first generation of product pioneers such as Jason Markk and Crep which came into the spotlight with their products which was literally the only thing available in the market as a specialized solution catering for sneakerheads. Whilst pioneering the market gap with a workable product and benefiting from the first-mover advantage in the US and UK, we shall leave it to the readers to judge if these are sufficient as an all-in-one solution to remedy a plethora of stains and conditions on a mind-boggling array of sneaker materials released. 

That said, would it be sufficient to start a Sneaker Laundry business with just a bottle of Cleaning Solutions and a PP Brush? Almost it seems, but not quite but here’s some tips on starting a Shoe & Sneaker Cleaning business in your area. 

Most new operators start off from home to keep cost low. There is no shame in that as long as it delivers the best service possible. That said, there are pros and cons to running a physical location where a customer can directly reach out for the service but this varies from country to country in terms of the economics.

2. Customer Demand & Marketing;
Where and how will your customer find out about your business and services? Social Media is a great place to start by using platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Not only does it serve as a ‘page or profile’ for the business it also serves as a great referral and testimonial channel to showcase your track record. 

3. Equipment and Cleaning Solutions;
Once you start advertising and collecting shoes, be prepared to receive shoes of all types of materials (and conditions!), think canvas, mesh, leather, suede, nubuck etc. The biggest risk at this stage due to lack of experience of handling these materials and subsequently accidentally damaging or ruining materials. Oxidation is the No.1 enemy when dealing with white shoes which to an inexperienced operator will often result in dissatisfied (or pissed) customers. Worst case scenarios usually end in either refunds, compensation or replacing the affected shoes outright not to mention irreversible damage to the brand from loss of trust.

4. Manage Your Customer’s Expectations;
Due to the huge variety of materials and conditions of sneakers mentioned earlier, we cannot emphasize more on managing customer’s expectations! Not every condition can be cleaned and fully restored to a brand-new state. Communicate accordingly!

That said, to find out more on how we did it follow us or reach out to us via our contacts as below! Happy trails ahead!

For more tips and tricks follow us on;
Facebook: ‘’Shoe Mo – Shoe & Sneaker Care’’
Instagram: ‘’@myshoemo’’

Or reach out to us directly at;
Email: /
IG: ‘’@jackwong1’’.

Ginny To
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