Missionaries, Affiliates, Disciples, Raving Fans, Champions, Royalty, and … Howard Stern ?
Over the course of the past 20 years of my involvement with GreenEarth Cleaning I have seen and heard a lot of cool things from a wide variety of sources. But just when I thought I had heard it all, I got a text Monday morning that caused me to drop what I was doing and call a longtime Member of the GreenEarth Family. Let me provide some context to why calling an Affiliate (something I do every day) was a little different that day.
Rewind to June of 1999. I was at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, Canada, when Jim Barry, Ron Benjamin, and Jim Douglas attended the International Drycleaners Congress and gave a sneak preview of their new offering that was being rolled out later that month at the ’99 Clean Show in New Orleans.
I jumped on board after that Clean Show and assisted with the first 29 GreenEarth Affiliates in our “Affirmation Site” program, which involved testing over 26,000 waste stream samples before we officially began selling to the dry cleaning industry. Just think about that for a moment—those first 29 Affiliates paid their license fee and then became the guinea pigs for testing of their still bottoms, cartridge filters, and wastewater for us to openly report to government regulators and other constituent groups. That’s quite a leap of faith.
We were told by industry salespeople that our first “customers” were actually more like missionaries preaching to the industry about their experiences as they began their journey as a GreenEarth Affiliate. Pretty cool.
Our list of “missionaries” is too large to introduce here without doing an injustice to those that aren’t mentioned—top-notch operators from all the way up north in Minnesota to southernmost Alabama, from East Hartford, Connecticut, to Fresno, California, and almost every town in between. They were the kind of people that would welcome other dry cleaners into their plants to spend a morning watching them run loads and pre-spot. They would allow other cleaners to bring in garments from their own shops in order to see, feel, and smell the difference after cleaning in GreenEarth. Pretty cool.
When the International Fabricare Institute awarded GreenEarth Cleaning the Technology Trailblazer Meritorious Service Award in 2007, we were honored to accept it on behalf of the more than 1,000 GreenEarth Affiliated Members around the world at that time. Many of those members had become comfortable being interviewed by local and national media surrounding their commitment to the environment in garment care. They told us that GreenEarth had given them a platform to become “disciples” for the cause of sustainable garment care.
Along the way, we heard from garment technologists employed by major retail brands that requested our assistance in getting trim components as abstract as alligator skin, LED lights, glass crystals, electronic diodes, and UV-proof coated textiles tested in order to expand their offerings to the ever-evolving needs of the consumer. Some of those technologists remain raving fans of GreenEarth as they moved from various companies within the fashion industry and bring their experiences with gentle aftercare to the boardrooms and quality assurance labs of their new employers.
We have received calls from landlords informing us that their bankers had “championed” that their dry cleaning tenant needed to convert to the GreenEarth Cleaning System in order to insure their property financing long into the future. Pretty cool.
I have viewed garments worn by celebrities at award shows, such as the Grammys and the Oscars, that were cleaned by GreenEarth Affiliates after the big event. And I know of a couple princesses that entrusted GreenEarth Members to preserve a couple of the most iconic wedding gowns ever created. Very cool!
So when I received that text Monday morning that GreenEarth had just got a shout-out on The Howard Stern Show, I needed a little more explanation of the scenario for me to feel comfortable. I was told that after a discussion on a previous show about how to care for expensive jeans, Howard read a letter that he had just received from a fan that recommended GreenEarth as the best way to care for denim—or any fabric that needs to be cleaned, for that matter.
Somebody took the time to write Howard Stern about GreenEarth Cleaning—why was I not surprised?
By: Tim Maxwell