Esther Lennaerts on how she created fabric cleaning techniques for Indian weather conditions

The monsoon may have disappointed us, but whenever it does rain, we find ourselves worrying about protecting the garments, shoes and bags that are particularly dear to us and expensive too. Esther Lennaerts, Executive Chairperson of garment care company PressTo, turned this thought into a lucrative business when she created customised fabric-care techniques for Indian weather conditions, thus carving her niche in the Indian luxury garment care business.

“On my first visit to India back in 1997, I instantly fell in love with this country, and Delhi’s street food has always been my weakness since then,” she says. “That was the time when the government adopted some reforms in its policy and high-end international brands entered the Indian markets aggressively. It was then that I happened to think, with India being a promising market for luxury brands, the need for premium garment cleaning was also immense. PressTo’s first store was opened in Mumbai, in 2008.”

On what sets her company apart from other players, she says, “We are completely retail-oriented service providers. Our client list includes the crème-de la-crème of the society including Bollywood actors. The fact that all our machines are installed right inside the store ensures complete supervision along with quality of service.”

Since Indian clothes are often colourful and have intricate workmanship, she says the company took a year to research various fabric cleaning techniques that would clean without damaging the embellishments. “The workers undergo an extensive training programme so that they adhere to PressTo standards and quality policy.”

Humid weather is a great enemy of crisp clothes. Lennaerts agrees, “Monsoon season is the worst for garments and especially leather handbags and shoes. There is rapid bacterial growth which leaves your clothes vulnerable to fungal growth. The best way to keep it clean is by not storing up dirty garments for long and using good quality moisturisers while cleaning them.”