SUDS OF SATISFACTION

Kuwait 2019 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

After spotting a critical gap in the market, Just Clean has filled a much neglected niche to the satisfaction of many.

Athbi Alenezi
BIOGRAPHY
Prior to establishing Just Clean, Athbi Alenezi worked in the banking sector, where he gained invaluable knowledge in the field of human resources. Born and raised in Kuwait until moving to the United Kingdom in his late teens, upon completion his education, Athbi embarked upon a career in the hospitality industry, which offered him significant experience in consumer behavior. Upon return to Kuwait and whilst still in the banking sector, he and his brother Nouri Al Enezi, inspired by the fast-moving e-commerce industry in the region, decided to set up the first laundry marketplace application. After seeing an opportunity to merge traditional cleaning methods with new technological advancements, together they launched Masbagti in April of 2016. In February 2017, they partnered with Faith Capital and successfully re-launched as Just Clean.

What led to the creation of Just Clean, and what has it achieved so far?

After my brother and I moved back to Kuwait from the UK, we realized that despite the abundance of laundry and dry cleaners, these kinds of places were operating at full capacity. As a result, we decided to do research to find out whether the majority of people were doing laundry at home or through professional services, and what further capacity there was in this space. At the same time, we noticed a trend with consumers using online services much more readily. We were doing all of this just when we saw the high-profile sale of Talabat.com, the online food delivery platform, which gave us a definite incentive to move ahead with the business. After meeting app developers, deciding what we needed, forming contracts with laundry service companies, and approaching the legal authorities, we finally realized how to penetrate this market ourselves. From our own resources, we formed an initial capital budget of KWD15,000 and took out a loan for the rest of what was needed. The entire process from developing the idea to launching it took approximately six months. It has now been two and half years since the Just Clean launch, and we are now active across the GCC, with operations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain. We are planning to expand into Saudi Arabia as well in the coming months. Deciding to partner with our investors was a big risk that has definitely paid off.

Since the acquisition of Just Clean by Faith Capital Holding, how has the business been affected?

It was a difficult process knowing with whom to collaborate after being approached by so many different high-level investors. My brother and I took an interest in Faith Capital because it was not just making the financial investment but also putting an effort into the business itself. It has become a true partnership, and Faith Capital has fully engaged with us in the operations and continuously builds upon the business, which has led to an early expansion across the GCC. The partnership is really reassuring as we utilize its experience.

What differentiates Just Clean with its competitors? How does marketing fit into those strategies?

Just Clean is the first of its kind in the marketplace. There are apps in London and Germany offering a similar service, but they only draw upon a single laundry service. We offer the option to select from a wide range of providers. We also allow options and a section where customers can read and write reviews. We look after our customers so that if for any reason they are dissatisfied with a particular provider, they can select another and post feedback, which other users will be able to view. In terms of competition, there is no one else in the marketplace because we have taken a unique approach within this service. 2019 will be challenging as we will have to execute operations in Kuwait, the UAE, and Bahrain simultaneously; each market is home to cultural differences that must be separately addressed. There are also other variables to take into consideration, such as the number of expatriates present in each country. Our experienced marketing team has created an amazing strategy for 2019, but Just Clean is always ready if there are any changes. We evolve with the needs of our customers.