High-end menswear marketer Jhane Barnes recently released a line of suits featuring an endorsement of America’s Best Cleaners (ABC), a marketing consortium of “couture” operators. Care labels inside the suits read “We suggest a drycleaner certified by America’s Best Cleaners” and list its web address, www.americasbestcleaners.com. Also inside the suits at purchase is a four-page brochure from ABC that includes a coupon good for a free cleaning from one of its member cleaners.
Jhane Barnes chose to endorse ABC based on its independent Quality Management Certification, the company says, which is backed by the garment labs at the Hohenstein Institutes in Germany. The company “feels that because [it] uses the finest fabrics coupled with the best types of constructions and trims in the manufacture of their suits, it is important that the care of quality-conscious drycleaners be employed,” ABC says.
America’s Best has worked with high-end designers and manufacturers including Willy Bogner and Ike Behar, whose sales force is instructed to refer clients to an ABC affiliate. The organization has also advised leatherwear manufacturer Kaptain Bubble on garment testing, and Brooks Brothers on environmentally friendly drycleaning processes. Members recently toured Italian factories and mills where textiles and finished goods are manufactured for Zegna, Canali, Brioni and other brands to familiarize themselves with the complexities of quality garments.
ABC now has 32 affiliates nationwide and seven international member companies. “The real challenge for us now is to find qualified drycleaners willing to undergo our certification,” says Ed D’Elicio, executive director. “It’s a demanding program, but one with incredible benefits. As the couture garment industry has been learning, our clients are their clients. It’s a win-win.”