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“The artists live their life, and I live my laundry life.” (nytimes.com)
151 points by theBashShell 23 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 47 comments



To me, the takeaway is the strategy he used to start the business: "In the early 2000s, Topf began appearing outside German venues with a van, offering to pick up, wash and return the production’s clothes." Then after seeing the quality, artists/managers invited him to join tours. It's genius, simple but original and effective.

Also not surprised at the dirtiest crap ever being Slipknot's clothes. Their concerts were quite an experience. Not only is the show impressive (levitating drummers and all), but also the sheer synchronization and speed at which they play.


Do things that don't scale. Make 100 people love you. Go out of your way to delight your users. The best ideas won't sound like they're stealing.

Granted this didn't become a billion dollar company but this guy intuitively did a lot of what YC preaches.


Thanks for sharing. I run a doorstep laundry service that uses software to make the process more efficient, cost effective, and reliable, so this struck a chord with me.


I'm curious did you create the software yourself or is there a Washing Scheduling As A Service out there already?


I created the software myself. There is at least one solution out there that I found but it didn't even come close to meeting my needs.


I'm so happy for what seems to be a resurgence in respect and love for the more "mundane" jobs in life. As a somewhat recent convert (along with half the internet it seems at times) to the inspiring "cult" of Marie Kondo, I think it's pretty fantastic that one of the most popular personalities today is someone teaching us the joy of folding socks.


And third time I’ve heard about this show and first I’ve seen it mentioned on HN in a few days span... that show is blowing up fast. (I have not had Netflix the past few months, Netflix sabbatical but failed experiment since I got hooked on Hulu).


Konmari has been around a while, my partner loves it which is why I can never find my stuff when she's 'konmari'd' a room.


I wish my girlfriend who became addicted to Kondo who stop doing this in the kitchen.

I worked in kitchen since I was a kid and always had my mis en place ( the kitchen is sacred for me ), whenever she does it you can hear me swearing because I cant find coffee, my knife sharpener or because she rearranged my knives setting causing me to try to cut bread with a chinese cleaver!

Altho' the bedroom is a bliss to find stuff in now.


I never even thought about this part of the industry. I just assumed that the hotel did the artists' laundry


I'd love to see that bill!

Most hotel laundry services I've encountered seem to be priced for one or two critical items. Cleaning a week's worth of items would be prohibitively expensive for most people, and I would be surprised if big productions would be interested in burning several hundred, if not thousands of dollars a week per person just for laundry.

On the flip side, it would be rather amusing to see the entire support cast for Madonna or U2 huddled about grumpily in a coin laundry waiting for other people to finish.


That's what I underestimated. I didn't realize a tour could have 150 full-time employees.


Those are big big big tours. U2 is #1 by revenue in the 2010s - although that is over a two year period. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_conce... Ed Sheeran pulled in $432M in concert revenue last year alone. That is supposedly the highest for single year.

I’d love to see the numbers for a “regular” band, or even broken out examples by category of “stardom” - say, The Strokes level, Bon Iver level, newer up-and-coming artists like Phoebe Bridgers, and then finally your local touring bands and last but not least the guy busking at Whole Foods.

As I understand it there is decent money to be made at most of those levels above local bar bands. But it ain’t easy. There’s a lot of people who go for it that frankly don’t have “it”, though. And some of them make it for a while. Hardly anyone makes it a lifetime career, like Willie Nelson or Elton John.


I've been part of the production crew for small-time musicians doing once-off concerts (approx. 2000 attendees). Between artists (warm up act, main act, guest singers, dancers) and crew, there were probably about 30+ people with backstage access that didn't work for the venue. I can imagine if it was a tour, where all of these people need to travel, then the cost would quickly add up.

So I can absolutely imagine that medium to big acts would be quite expensive.


Is that tour money added to the amount often attributed to the size of the music industry? I'm seeing a number of "only" $15 billion on wikipedia.


A quick search shows Spotify alone paid $9.8 billion in royalties to artists in 2017.

I see that $15B number looks like it's coming from some IFPI reports. I don't know what that org includes but it doesn't sound even close to accurate.


From what I've seen, if you book in a group for a longer time in advance, you can negotiate for X amount of free laundry per day. Just as almost nobody pays the listed hotel room price, many people might not pay the listed laundry prices.


While I'm sure you can get bulk discount, last hotel I stayed at, had a list price of about $12 for 1 (one!) pair of socks.

At that price point it seems both faster and cheaper to buy a new pair of quality socks.


Mandatory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgF1p29_MZM

("Laundry Man" by australian comedy collective The Peloton)


Wow some days he works 20 hours, I imagine he handles all the staffs laundry as well? These kinds of people need to be featured more often, they are great role models for kids.


Are they?

I don't think that someone working 20 hours a day (likely possibly to the detriment of their personal relationships and health) is necessarily a good role model.


Not "someone working 20 hours a day", but someone with enough dedication, discipline, and experience to work 20 hours a day sometimes because the workload is massive, and the pay is good (I'm assuming), and they do it well enough that people request their assistance consistently, and the word about the quality of their work spreads around.


This is what I meant. Someone who takes a job that others may not view as "high-class" and just does a great job, is reliable, and people like them for it.


It is not possible for a human being to work 20 hours a day. No exceptions.


I have 'worked' both a 19 hour day and a 21 hour day on separate occasions. The latter coming shortly after joking about 'that time we worked 19 hours'.

I assume you're suggesting it is impossible to do it regularly, which I'd agree with. The definition of 'work' also broadens profoundly. You will also pay for it by sleeping away more of your free time than you already donated to your work for free.


Have you ever worked in the service industry? I know from personal experience its very possible. I did not always have the luxury that a software dev allows me to have.


A one-person craft bakery opened next to my home 3 months ago. Since opening, the owner-baker has put in 20 hour days, 6 days per week every week. No lunch break either, he makes a diy version of Soylent he came up with himself. On Mondays he takes a rest day so he can work for about 12 hours with the door closed to the public.

My observation is that he is does this by being upto his neck in debt, being aggressively resilient,having memorized the mechanics down to his bones, and intrinsically valuing hard work. Crazy but there he is baking bread 130 hours a week.


You can do it, but not very often. Maybe a few times a month. If you over do it, you'll crash, and crash hard.


Consistently, no. But it is possible.

When I used to work in the restaurant/catering industry I'd sometimes pull 20-odd hour shifts. If we were doing a wedding I'd do 8 AM until 4 AM the next day.

It was strangely rewarding, but then you'd get your measly paycheque and it was quite disheartening to see how little you made for the effort you put in.


That depends strongly on the work and the frequency.

The ACGME rules require only that a medical resident work no more than 24 continuous hours with at least a 14-hour break after a 24-hour shift. Many residency programs had difficulty adjusting their programs to comply with these rules when they went into effect in 2011.

My wife regularly works 24-hour ER shifts; and used to do 8-hour clinic shifts immediately after. There's another doctor in the same ER who usually works one or two 60-hour shifts per month.

Work in a small ER is bursty. You might see one or two patients with minor problems in a 24-hour shift, and get to sleep a full night. Or you might get woken up after 4 hours of sleep. Or you might get to take a series of 2 hour naps. Or you might not sleep.


Jesus Christ, that's terrifying.

After 18 hours without sleep, you're functioning at the level of a person with two drinks in them. It only gets worse from there. We trust these people with our lives.


The usual explanation is that handoffs are even more dangerous.


Yes, it absolutely is. It's not even terribly uncommon at rock shows.

Source: I'm a stagehand. I can show you a pay stub from a couple months ago when I worked 20 hours in one day. We were the band's first stop on the tour, so the load-in started at 4am, and the load-out finished at 3am. I had 3 hours off during the show itself, though some people got to work straight through.

I couldn't do it every day, of course, but I'd gladly do it a couple times a week. It was a tremendous experience, and one of my all time favorite days at work.


I don't see why not. I mean, I can't imagine many if any people woild be able to do this every day. But some days it seems very possible.


I've worked more than 24 hours in a day thanks to the wonders of travelling west


when I was 18 I worked a 24 hour shift at a 24 hour diner - breakfast shift, lunch shift, dinner shift, and graveyard shift. I waited tables all four shifts. during graveyard I cooked too when the graveyard line cook would take his breaks. it wasn't that hard though obviously I was haggard by the end of it.


Firefighters work 24 hour shifts and sometimes they're on frequent calls the entire shift.


It's possible but it's not a life worth living.


I guarantee you that someone says this about every job in the world, including yours.


I was referring to anyone who works 20 hour days... That's just not a life worth living at that point. All they do is work and sleep. Also, not sure why you got defensive and brought up my profession. We're both agreeing on the same thing here.


> All they do is work and sleep.

That's simply not true. You don't work 20 hour days every day.

I apologize for coming off as overly defensive, but I do occasionally work 20 hour days, and I love it. I can't help but feel like it's a bit of an attack when you suggest that someone else's life isn't worth living, but yours is.


I never claimed that my life was worth living. I contemplate ending it every day. I'm sorry if you thought I attacked anyone, that was never my intention.


Kinda wanted to know what the machines manufacturer was, but then he said they make money renting them out, so I guess that's a sorta trade-secret.


Industrial Electrolux machines in custom-made rolling cases. http://www.mylaundry.de/mobile-laundry-service/


The picture in the article features Electrolux machines, but those might be the property of the arena


I imagine something like Speed Queen, as they seem to be what's stocked in laundromats.


I wonder about the detergent and such. And do they dry clean ? So many questions...




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