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Have you ever heard of the saying, “laziness is the mother of inventions”?

It’s typically used ironically, but think about it. Humanity’s slothful tendencies are why things such as washing machines, remote controls, and escalators were invented. Efficiency is what businesses often strive for, and what is efficiency but a (smarter and) lazier way to do things?

Of course, not all will agree with this sentiment. But when it comes to Wash La!, this philosophy could not be truer, at least according to the team itself.

“Wash La! was born out of laziness!” its website declares proudly.

The team goes on to explain that Wash La! was founded by a group of sneaker lovers who “have OCD for cleanliness”.

Although there were already sneaker cleaning services available in the market, the group claimed that there wasn’t a standalone app at the time that specifically catered to sneakers.

“And since 2019 when the whole COVID-19 pandemic took place, we noticed customers behaviour shifted to online services, and so did we, as the true mascots of laziness,” the website goes on to read.

Wash La! was created to serve all these gaps they noticed in the market. In essence, it’s a mobile app providing services for pick-ups and deliveries of sneakers, bags, caps, and even laundry and dry cleaning.

According to its website, one of the co-founders has had years of experience in the washing and dry-cleaning business as well.

A door-to-door service, Wash La! is built for “lazy” people, but even ones who aren’t (or do not think they are) will benefit from its convenience.

So, we gave it a shot.

Giving the app a spin

After coming across Wash La! on Instagram, Sarah, our managing director, decided to send a few of her items. This included a pair of sneakers. Due to the sneakers’ off-white colour, they had gotten fairly dirty.

“I was a bit worried about whether or not I would be cleaning it properly,” Sarah said, explaining why she decided to send the sneakers for Wash La!’s services.

Worried that her efforts would only worsen the shoe’s condition, she decided a professional was needed. The original price for the cleaning was RM65, though Sarah got an RM19 discount from a voucher.

She also sent in a bag for RM150, though it wasn’t particularly dirty. She applied another RM20 voucher discount on the total order.

According to Sarah, the app’s user interface (UI) was very friendly and clear. It would update her on the progress and status of her order. Scheduling the pickup and drop-off was also convenient.

One thing that wasn’t quite as clear, though, was the services themselves. Wash La! offers various services such as sole touch-ups, restorations, blackouts, and more. But according to Sarah, each type of service wasn’t explained.

“I wish they showed a brief explanation of each service in the app, and also provided a before and after example for each service in the app,” Sarah said. “That would help me as a consumer when I’m picking out what service my shoe requires.”

However, Sarah disliked the payment system within the app. Users like herself must top-up the wallet and then purchase the services. But beware, you can’t withdraw the money afterwards.

Furthermore, users can only transfer fixed amounts into their accounts, so they can’t top-up the exact amount for the service they want.

“Now, I have RM24 stuck there,” Sarah mentioned. “I can’t remove it; I can’t retrieve my money.”

According to the team at Wash La!, users who want to withdraw their money must contact the brand directly, then wait for 30 working days for the withdrawal to be processed.

Shipping fees accounted for another RM15, though Sarah managed to get free shipping, as no delivery fees will be charged if the order consists of more than one item.

Was it worth it?

Sending a third-party logistics company to collect Sarah’s order, the Wash La! team then uploaded a “before” image of Sarah’s products right into the app.

Although the original estimate was five days, Sarah ended up waiting a week and a half to get her products back, which seems relatively long for just two items.

One thing Sarah noticed was that there were only one “before” image and one “after” image, which might not be adequate. It would be more valuable if the app allowed for multiple photos from multiple angles to give customers a clearer look at the results.

“I feel like taking more close-up photos of the before and after would really instil confidence in the process,” Sarah added.

With that said, Sarah is fairly happy with the results, and would even use it again, though likely with dirtier items to make it worth the price.  

Other than Wash La!, there are quite a few other shoe-cleaning services out there. Compared to another service, Shoe Mo, Wash La!’s prices seem to be rather standard. Shoe Mo charges RM35 for standard shoe cleaning services.

While Shoe Mo doesn’t clean fabric bags, it does provide leather bag services (RM120 for small to medium bags, RM150 to RM300 for large ones).  

However, it does seem like most don’t come with a dedicated app.

  • Learn more about Wash La! here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

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