The sign in front of the storefront reads "Dry Cleaning with Style." And style is what you find when you step inside the Bonded BoutiqueCleaner in University City.
The shop at 37th & Spruce Streets is both a fashionable boutique and a full-service dry cleaner, catering to the dry cleaning and shopping needs of college students and other customers. It used to be just Bonded Cleaners, a dry cleaning business. But that all changed in October of 2011, when HanNa Jung '04, a Moore graduate, had a big idea to transform her family business.
While living and working in New York, Jung had been honing her dream to start her own clothing line. The fashion design alumna was working in handbags and accessories design as well as production management. When she came home to visit her mother one weekend, she saw the space with a new eye.
“The business wasn’t doing well at the time because of the economy and I thought that adding a boutique was a creative way to maximize the space and to redefine a business,” she said.
Jung opened the boutique using her personal savings for the renovation, inventory and everything in between. She tried to be as resourceful as possible, using a friend’s old antique doors and turning them into counters and clothing racks, display tables and a dressing room mirror.
“In decorating the boutique, I took more of an artist’s approach by taking abandoned items from the side of the road or buying things from thrift shops and giving new life to them,” Jung said. Two old windows that hang on the wall were recovered from a dumpster in New York City. An 8’ vintage ladder purchased for $5 at an estate sale is used to display belts and scarves.
“Most of the work, like painting, putting up shelves and curtains was all done by me,” Jung said. “But I’m thankful that within a year I made back all of my investment and then some.”
In fact, business has grown 50 percent for both the dry cleaner and the boutique over the past year.
“We have lots of loyal customers who shop and bring in their dry cleaning,” Jung said. “This business venture has been stretching me to develop in different roles and capacities.To transform a space, a business, and to see it grow and generate profit has been really rewarding. I'm looking forward to using this experience for other business ventures ahead."
Jung plans to expand the business and launch her own line of ready-to-wear women’s clothing. She credits Moore College of Art & Design with inspiring her to be “bold” and nurturing her entrepreneurial spirit.
“As an only child, I used to be really shy,” she said. “Growing and developing myself in the supportive and strong environment of an all woman's college gave me the ability to speak my voice and come out of my shell."
Her advice for Moore students? Think outside the box when it comes to career aspirations or anything else.
"Learn to look at objects, situations and relationships not only as they might appear, but also see their potential... see something new that might not be apparent and develop it and maximize it and turn it into an asset."
Bonded BoutiqueCleaner is open Monday – Friday, 8 am – 7 pm; Saturday, 9 am – 6 pm; and closed Sunday. For more information visit www.bondedboutiquecleaner.com
Read an article about HanNa in the Philadelphia Daily News