Salomon Mishaan – President and Founder of OXXO Care Cleaners

As simple as it sounds, work is something extremely habitual for me. I come to work every day. I like my job. Work is not a chore for me – it’s an integral part of my life.

Having spent more than 20 years in the textile and garment industry, Salomon Mishaan saw firsthand the lack of innovation in professional garment care and the lack of attention to the well-being of the customer and the environment. So he decided to change things.

We recently spoke with Mishaan, president and founder of OXXO Care Cleaners, offering revolutionary garment care for the same price as traditional cleaners, with added benefits, such as 24/7 ATM-style pickup and customer loyalty rewards. Through Mishaan, we learned what he looks for in potential franchisees, the day in the life of a franchisee and, lastly, where he sees the franchise headed in five years.

Where did the idea for OXXO Care Cleaners come from?

When I got to the U.S. I saw that the dry cleaning industry was a half century behind the times. It hadn’t kept up with quality — it was also not looking into the future with landlords; plus the ecological situation the world was going through meant that the U.S. was starved for eco-friendly dry cleaning solutions.

We realized we needed to become more state-of-the-art and more in-tune with what’s going on with the world (both technologically and environmentally).

We didn’t go green because Al Gore started talking about it. We started before he was even talking about it. We didn’t hop on the Band Wagon We are the Band Wagon.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Fortunately, with all of the communications available today, I’m able to stay connected. Right now, I’m so passionate about OXXO Care Cleaners that I’m typically in our office in South Florida. If I’m not on site with the executive and managers, I’m looking to see how we can get the best equipment and improve our systems.

Most importantly, I’m staying on top of innovations.

How do you bring ideas to life?

A lot of traveling! Seeing what’s happening in the world and what’s being done in our industry helps generate new ideas. For me, it’s going to manufacturers of equipment and developing innovative solutions with them. For example, we have a 24-hour door where customers can pick up their laundry. To implement that, we went to the manufacturer and shared our idea with them. Working together, we created a solution for our customers.

We’re always observing and keeping our eyes open for new materials and trends in the Fashion industry to better serve our customers.

Also, most of our franchise business owners across the U.S. are entrepreneurs. If they have ideas on how to better the system, we welcome them.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

There are trends in the fashion industry that I’m following. For instance, I’m fascinated by the fact that designers are constantly introducing new materials. I’m always looking at trends in fashion because I come from the textile industry.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

As simple as it sounds, work is something extremely habitual for me. I come to work every day. I like my job. Work is not a chore for me – it’s an integral part of my life.

Throughout the years as a manager, I’ve learned a “habit of cooperation.” I want to hear from my team and empower them, working together to solve any problems we may have. I often joke that my team is are not yes men, but “know” men and women.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I have always enjoyed my jobs and feel like I’ve made sound business decisions throughout my career, but I have experienced many challenges working in construction and textiles. Ultimately, I learned that even if you run into potholes along the way, you have to learn from your challenges and mistakes.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I feel like every step of the way in my professional life has been one that has led me to a place I need to be. I wouldn’t do anything differently because even the trials I’ve faced as a business owner have taught me unprecedented lessons I’ll never forget.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Believing in what I’m doing and reaffirming that what I’m doing is helping others grow and develop, particularly when I’m working with franchise owners.

My end goal is to grow the business, but I also measure success based on how people are successful within our company, whether it is franchise owners, managers or staff.

This may sound harsh but, in my experience, a lot of companies work like a lake – they want to eat from the bottom and feed off what they and get. We tend to see ourselves more as a waterfall. We want to make sure we’re providing everything we can input, from our executive team all the way to our hourly workers.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

All my life, I have been in the industry. What that means is I have been a producer.

The way to grow a service industry is to be able to have a lot of people that feel for their companies. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is franchise.

If I had personal stores, managers would be leading them. But because we have independent business owners (franchisees), they have more skin in the game. They understand their mission and the collective mission of our entire organization.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

The way to overcome rough times — and we all have them as entrepreneurs — is to be resilient and persistent.

If you believe in what you’re doing you’re going to have a lot of tough times and you’re going to be in a hole every now and then. But, if you’re resilient, you and your idea will rise up.

You have to be able to cut your losses and go a different direction if need be. A while ago, we tried to produce our own equipment for OXXO Care Cleaners in China. But, after we tried it, we didn’t feel like it was going to live up to the standards for our franchisees. I’m so glad I cut my losses with that venture. In the long run, it wouldn’t have been good for our system.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’m lucky enough that when I have an idea, I go for it. My son and I came up with an idea of starting a home shopping network kind of company for the South American market that currently doesn’t exist. It’s an innovative idea that he’s running with — it’s wonderful to mentor him and help guide him through the process of launching a business.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

It’s the money I spend on gas visiting my grandchildren. I’m a recent grandfather — every afternoon, I go to visit my grandchildren. That is, without a doubt, the highlight of my days.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I use Instagram often — I like how visual it is and how the photos people post help them share their stories. I also use Dropbox, and I like “Teamviewer” a lot because I can connect to my main computer so easily.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged. It’s a book that promotes both independence, self-sufficiency and most of all ethics which are lacking. It’s also just an incredible read.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Ayn Rand, my father, Pedro Jedlicka, a gentleman I worked with, OXXO Care Cleaners’ Managing Director Nilma Fernandez (someone I’ve worked alongside for a number of years now), Richard Branson, how he lives his life and his pursuit for giving the best service in all his endeavors, Steve Jobs (his way of doing things, his passion — he believed in what he was doing). Jobs would do things — he would care even about the inside of the machine that people wouldn’t see. That is real attention to detail and a true passion for getting it right. Howard Schultz, how he made Starbucks a lifestyle, which is what OXXO Care Cleaners is becoming.