Tag Archives: Nora

Learning from Smart People.

Learning from Smart People.


Last Saturday I cancelled my bridge game to have dinner in Fort Lauderdale with some fascinating people: dry cleaners. A few years ago, I was lucky to get invited to speak at a National Cleaners Association brainstorming meeting in the Bahamas, and then again in New York City.

Whenever I speak to dry cleaners, I learn at least as much as I teach. Mostly, I relearn about how great it is to be an entrepreneur, not to mention the brilliant ideas I hear for generating business. Large companies get bogged down with office politics, endless meetings, bean counters and layers of decision makers. Entrepreneurs don’t.


Dry cleaners usually talk to their spouses, maybe a colleague or a competitor, and then test a program right away. It makes the marketing process more fun, kind of like instant gratification. And dry cleaners are always looking for new ideas.
Last Saturday, the Association’s President, Nora Nealis, idea-woman-extraordinare, asked me to join her, Debra Kravet (owner of Apthorp Cleaners in New York City) and Susan and Mike Sternshein (owners of Cricket Cleaners in Lake Worth, FL) for dinner.

We laughed a lot but in between we talked about websites, marketing, social media and what they were doing to work even harder to satisfy their customers. Oddly, nobody mentioned the state of the economy. So, once again, I learned a lot from these successful people.


Debra Kravet took out her laptop and showed us every detail of how she designed her amazing store in a very small space at 383 Amsterdam Avenue. One great thing about successful people is they’re enthusiastic.

Nora Nealis and I about how she made me jump through hoops when I did my first speech for her. She wanted to see the PowerPoint in advance so we could discuss it and improve it. Successful people want to provide value to their customers (in this case her members).

The Sternsheins were at my first NCA seminar and they said they’d implemented many of the programs I’d suggested. Successful people actually accomplish things now.

So, take a lesson from them, and do some of these things yourself. And you won’t worry too much about the economy. You won’t have time.

All the best,

Joy of Meeting Dry Cleaners: National Cleaners Association

Joy of Meeting Dry Cleaners: National Cleaners Association

I just gave a seminar for the National Cleaners Association, in Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Though the weather was not kind to us, each dry cleaner that attended was focused on learning as much as possible during the conference.

My topic for my three hour seminar: How to Build Relationships With Your Customer Using Your Brand …Virtually! While I was preparing my session, I was wondering: why would a customer want a relationship with their dry cleaner? It is about trust, and delivering great service, and caring.

But, then the night before I was flying out, I tried on my own suit. I couldn’t even squeeze into it. My dry cleaner had somehow shrunk it and I had just worn it to Toronto only two weeks ago. So, I either bulked up two sizes or it was ruined.

Nora Nealis

I mentioned this to Nora Nealis, the President of the NCA, and Ann Hargrove, who works with her (pictured above),  They said it was probably “wet cleaned”, and had shrunk (thank heavens it wasn’t that I’d bulked up 15  pounds), and she said to mail her the suit when I came back to Florida. I sent it out to her today. Read the rest of this entry