It's hard to start a business in the Bay Area. And even harder to make it successful. We're inspired by the couples who have done it together and have decided to highlight them every week in our "Bay Area Power Couples" blog series.
Arik Levy and Holly Nugent-Levy have done something we weren't sure was possible: revolutionized the way we do laundry. In true SF entrepreneurership fashion, this power couple has mixed technology, convenience, and one of the oldest chores in the book to create Laundry Locker, a service that gives you no more excuses for piles of dirty clothes. They're a busy young couple with a passion for helping out others. Oh, and did we mention that Holly Nugent-Levy is Mrs. California?
How'd you guys meet?
Holly was the property manager at one of the first buildings that we got Laundry Locker in. I knew she was the girl I should marry when she got the building to 60% utilization.
Holly: He was the hot laundry delivery boy who turned out to be a brilliant entrepreneur. Every woman’s dream!
How & when did you get started with Laundry Locker?
I started Laundry Locker in July of 2005. I was working long hours
and commuting to Santa Rosa. I didn’t have time to get my laundry
done since the dry cleaners were always closed when I was home. So I
came up with the concept of putting lockers in apartment buildings so
that people like me could have a dry cleaner 24 / 7.
What about Laundry Locker speaks to your passions in life?
Arik: I am pretty obsessed with fixing things. Making things work faster,
better, easier. Laundry Locker is the perfect vehicle to implement those concepts.
Arik and I are both entrepreneurial people. With me being on the
creative side, it has been exciting to create something from the ground up.
How does Holly help out with the business? How do you collaborate on Laundry Locker?
Arik: Since we met, Holly has been a great sounding board for me and my ideas. We have really opposite strengths and complete each other well. She is more of the people person. Her strengths are in marketing, sales and human resources, while I am great with operations and technology.
How do you maintain your chemistry being away from one another a lot?
Holly: I am on the road a lot with my acting career and with being the
current Mrs. California. It can be tricky, but I think it has forced
us to really value the time we have together.
We make more time for date nights and make sure the time we have
together is focused on one another and not the business.
What's the worst fight you've had over your business?
It’s definitely not easy working together. I’ve quit three times
but somehow keep getting pulled back in.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever found in a laundry locker?
Arik: We always love Burning Man season. My favorites are the lockers
full of neon fuzz.
People take their laundry very seriously. How do you deal with the stress with ensuring everyone's laundry is done to their liking?
Holly: People can get pretty worked up but at the end of the day we have
to remember that it’s just laundry. Luckily we have great systems in
place that make problems extremely rare.
What do you guys do to get away from the business?
Arik: It’s been hard, but Holly has forced me to take time away from the
business to travel and relax. We make sure that Sundays are focused
on our life together and not the business. And even when we’re
working in the business together, we make sure to flirt and keep each
other laughing all day long so it doesn’t really feel like work.