Gwen Whiting ’98 and Lindsey Boyd ’98 met while studying fiber science and apparel design in the College of Human Ecology. Their company, The Laundress, a line of premium, nontoxic laundry and cleaning products, was acquired by Unilever in January.
They founded The Laundress in 2004 because they were frustrated with “dingy white T-shirts, faded denim and clothing that was prematurely worn from washing,” Boyd said. And they were unsatisfied with the laundry products available in the marketplace and the chemicals left on clothes from dry cleaning.
“Knowing that 90% of clothes labeled ‘dry clean only’ can be washed at home – if it’s done correctly – we decided to research and develop our own ecofriendly laundry solutions,” Boyd said.
Their Cornell education played a pivotal role.
They wrote their business plan, section by section, based on Whiting’s textbook from an Entrepreneurship and Enterprise course she took with the late David BenDaniel, the Don and Margi Berens Professor of Entrepreneurship and professor of management. And they consulted Kay Obendorf, professor emerita of fiber science and apparel design, to develop products using natural ingredients.
“Our time at Cornell taught us the importance of being resourceful and how to think for ourselves,” Boyd said.
An article on Medium outlines their journey.
– Susan Kelley