Press Room

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Appearance Plus 'Cares with Coats' Breaks Collection Goal

Local Drycleaner Ensures a Warmer Winter For the Less Fortunate

Cincinnati, OH – January 19, 2007 –For the second year in a row, Appearance Plus Cleaners served as a proud supporter of the “Caring with Coats” campaign in conjunction with WCPO-TV Channel 9 to benefit the Brighton Center. Collections were taken at all three Appearance Plus Cleaners locations – Downtown, Hyde Park and Anderson Township. 

"It is our privilege to have the opportunity to utilize our dry cleaning and laundering facilities for collection of these coats and warm up our city, Appearance Plus COO Jon Lindy said in response to the overwhelming amount of 200 coats, that were collected during the drive that ran for only one month.

Appearance Plus Cleaners Offers Tips to Get Life and Laundry Back in Order

Local Dry Cleaner Suggests No Hassle Holiday Wrap-up

Cincinnati, OH – December 15, 2006 – In effort to make your holiday unwrap more like an unwind, and a little less stressful this season, Appearance Plus Cleaners marketing director Angie Miller has a few money and time saving tips to let you return to work actually feeling like you had a vacation.

For Stains that You Don’t Want to Live With

“ During the holidays and with parties and gatherings, it’s inevitable that you’ll get stains. Don't rub the stain – blot it,” Miller explains. “Whether they’re on you’re carpet or your grandmother’s beautiful white linens, there’s still hope. If you have any doubts , give us a call or stop in — our patented cleaning process will likely fix just about any problem you may have encountered.”

Who Wants to Go Back to the Mall?

For that perfect suit that doesn’t fit so perfectly, don’t worry about taking it back to the store. “The majority of clothing can be altered at least one size in either direction, not to mention, alterations are a very affordable choice,” Miller says. Have a zipper that doesn’t work? Try using zipper wax, but when you’re in a pinch, ordinary lip balm will work.

Pick It Up Please

For all of us that travel for the holiday season it is hard to believe that now we are home nestled in our beds, with visions of…laundry dancing in our heads? For anyone that travels, it is always the overlooked, dreaded task of washing everyone’s laundry or running in our holiday outfits to the drycleaners after everything is dumped out of the suitcase. Miller suggests a unique gift – signing up for route service and their laundry basket service at www.appearanceplus.com. 

Appearance Plus Cleaners Wins Assistance League Corporate Star Award

Community Cleaner Honored for Commitment to Local Community Affairs

Cincinnati, OH – November 8, 2006 – During a ceremony Saturday, November 11th, local cleaner Appearance Plus will be honored by the Greater Cincinnati Assistance League with a Corporate Star Award. The award will be presented to the Appearance Plus Volunteer Team for their continuing efforts in support of the ‘Assault Survivor Program’ and ‘Operation School Bell.’ 

Appearance Plus Cleaners collected more than 7,000 sample size personal care items for use in the Assistance League’s Assault Survivor and Domestic Violence Kits. These items are collected at each of their three retail locations and from clients on delivery routes throughout Greater Cincinnati. In addition, as part of Operation School Bell, which provides clothing for children who need them, volunteers from Appearance Plus hemmed hundreds of pairs of pants.

“We imagine that every child will have new school clothes and every victim of abuse and violence will have someone to show care and concern,” Assistance League committee member Aud

Appearance Plus Cleaners Says 'October Means Orange'

Local Cleaner to Dry Clean Any Orange in October at No Cost

Cincinnati, OH – October 17, 2006 – WhoDey think wearing orange is cool? Now is the perfect time to be wearing orange, whether breaking out that classic fall outfit, bringing out the heavier jackets and especially showing your football pride – October in Cincinnati means orange. So for the next two weeks and through October 31st, bring in anything orange to any Appearance Plus Cleaners location and any single orange garment will be expertly dry cleaned free of charge. 

Appearance Plus marketing director Angie Miller says that the locally owned and operated cleaner just wants to have a little fun in the fall in the weeks gearing up toward Halloween. “Although, if you have an orange suit, we may wonder a little,” Miller smiled. “But anything you have, bring in it, try us out and experience our quality and service. You’ll be glad you did.”

Miller also reminded patrons that now is a good time to bring in summer articles for cleaning and storage. Appearance Plus Cleaners offers free garment storage, year round and all seasons and virtually any garment cleaned at A+ can be stored until the next season at no extra charge.

 

Appearance Plus Champions Breast Cancer Awareness During October

Local Cleaner Assists Susan G. Komen Foundation

Cincinnati, OH - October 2, 2006 – Throughout the month of October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, hometown cleaners Appearance Plus will collect donations at its three storefront locations – Hyde Park, Downtown, and Anderson – and in return, provide donors a special $5 discount on their next dry cleaning order. In addition, everyone participating will be entered to win a special breast cancer awareness gift basket. 

According to Appearance Plus marketing director Angie Miller, the locally owned and operated cleaner looks to raise awareness among its customers and employees on the importance of regular breast screenings, and to support employees Pam Pille, recently diagnosed with breast cancer; and Dianne Eggers, a breast cancer survivor.

“We’re going to do what we can, even in our own small way, to show our support for our employees, but also give everyone an opportunity to help out just by doing something you do anyway – have your clothes cleaned,” Miller said. “I think that’s why we have such a loyal customer base, because we are more than a dry cleaner, we are members of this community who do what we can, when we can, to give back.”

Miller said Appearance Plus Cleaners will also make a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation above and beyond what is collected from donors.

Local Children to Receive Free New School Uniforms, Supplies at Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati Sept. 14.

Operation School Bell to serve more than 1,000 needy school children in the Tristate this year 

Cincinnati, OH – September 12, 2005 – About 1,250 underserved children from the Tristate area will receive new clothing, shoes and supplies they need to start the school year through the Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati’s (ALGC) philanthropic program, Operation School Bell®. 

Since Operation School Bell first began in Greater Cincinnati, more than 4,250 local needy children have been served. Today the ALGC chapter will be joining other Assistance League chapters across the country distributing items to thousands of needy children.

ALGC will be showcasing this program on Wednesday, September 14, from 9 to 11 a.m. with 50 children from Winton Hills Academy. Children from kindergarten to the fourth grade will be transported to ALGC’s Ruth Prall Center at 4527 Reading Road to receive $85 worth of clothing, including brand new school uniforms with polo shirts, pants, socks and athletic shoes. They will also receive a lunch box and personal toiletries kit.

“Our mission is to provide these children in need with new clothes and supplies so they not only feel better about themselves but also about going to and staying in school,” said Audrey Stehle, ALGC president. “Studies have shown that children who attend school inappropriately dressed are at a disadvantage and that proper school clothing can improve school attendance and help classroom performance. Operation School Bell helps children arrive in the classroom better prepared to learn.”

Funding for Operation School Bell comes from private donations, an ALGC direct mail program and grants, including a $40,000 grant from the Dater Foundation. Appearance Plus Cleaners will again be donating its tailoring services to hem uniform pants. Other sponsors are Kuhl’s Hot Sportspot, Riddell Footwear and Justice & Young Public Relations. 

“It is gratifying for us to participate in Operation School Bell again this year and to be involved in a program that positively benefits the lives of so many needy children in our community,” said Jon Lindy, CEO of Appearance Plus Cleaners. “With Operation School Bell giving them the essential new clothes and supplies they need, these children can head back to school with a little extra help that can go a long way in influencing how they feel about themselves.” 

The Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky public and parochial schools participating in this year’s program are as follows: AMIS; AP Owens; Chase; Elmwood Place; Fourth Street; Heberle; Lincoln Heights; Mildred Dean; Roberts Paideia; Rothenberg; St. Bernard; St. Francis de Sales; St. Francis Seraph; St. Joseph’s; Washington Park; and Westwood. The children have been pre-identified through arrangements made with local social workers and counselors.

ALGC is one of 110 chapters across the country that will be holding similar events. Through their combined efforts, Operation School Bell serves more than 160,000 children across the country, and has provided much needed services for more than one million children over the past 15 years.The Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati develops, funds and staffs philanthropic projects that members have identified after conducting a community needs assessment. Local philanthropic projects include: literacy and tutorial programs; services and programs for seniors; dental, optical and hearing programs for needy children; survivor kits for victims of domestic violence; and other targeted community programs that have assisted more than 350,000 people. The efforts of 110 Assistance League chapters throughout the country have returned an astounding $26 million to local communities and have touched the lives of more than one million men, women and children each year. Assistance League Chapters are 100 percent volunteer run with 24,000 members giving the gift of community 

Appearance Plus Helps New Grads Make a Good Impression

Dapper Diploma program offers free dry cleaning to job hunting grads

Cincinnati, OH – May 5, 2005 – There is only one chance to make a good first impression, which is especially true for students seeking their first job. Appearance Plus Cleaners will give them a little extra help with an offer for free dry cleaning through its Dapper Diploma program.
Dapper Diploma encourages recent high school and college graduates to be proactive in the hunt for new jobs. Any 2005 high school or college graduate can present a diploma or other proof of graduation at any Appearance Plus location to receive one free suit cleaning for an upcoming interview. The program will run until June 30, 2005.

“Looking for a new job can be intimidating, especially for someone coming straight out of school who has very little interviewing experience,” said Jon Lindy, chief operating officer of Appearance Plus. “We want to use our expertise in dry cleaning to help ease the nerves of some of the newest job seekers out there. By cleaning and pressing the suit of someone with an interview, we can provide confidence that they will look great for the big day and give them one less thing to worry about.”

Appearance Plus & Assistance League To Collect Personal Care Items

Goal is to collect 5,000 items to aid domestic violence and assault victims

Cincinnati, OH – June 15, 2005 – Hometown dry cleaner Appearance Plus knows that a “little bit can go a long way,” especially when it comes to helping those in need, and is asking for donations of trial size personal care items at each of their Greater Cincinnati stores this summer. 

These items will be used in the assembly of kits which are distributed to victims of domestic violence and assault by the Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati to area hospitals, local YWCA shelters and women’s crisis centers throughout Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Clermont County. The specific personal care items needed include: trial size shampoo; conditioner; lotion; bar soap; individual packages of tissues; anti-perspirant; toothpaste; mouthwash; and miniature combs. 

Last year, Appearance Plus collected 3,000 trial size personal care items for this outreach project. For their efforts and generous customers, Appearance Plus received the STAR Award from the Assistance League. Appearance Plus’ goal for its second year of involvement with the Assistance League is to collect 5,000 items. 

“Our customers have amazed us with their generosity during this project. I think it really shows how much many local residents care about the well- being of their neighbors,” said Jon Lindy, CEO of Appearance Plus.

Appearance Plus will be accepting donations at its three stores in Anderson, Downtown and Hyde Park. Donations will be accepted until Sept. 8, 2005 when the kits will be fully assembled before distribution.

The Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati is a nonprofit volunteer service organization whose dedicated members identify, develop, implement, and fund ongoing philanthropic projects to improve the quality of life of adults and children in our community. To learn more about their ongoing volunteer projects, visitwww.assistanceleaguecincinnati.org or call 513.221.4447.

Unclutter Your Home's Hiding Places This Spring

Appearance Plus Cleaners Offers Tips for Organizing an Unruly Closet

Cincinnati, OH – April 26, 2005 – Spring cleaning is an annual rite. But, for many of us it can also be a daunting task, particularly when it comes to cleaning out those closets in which we have filed away and forgotten accumulated items over the years. The following are a few simple steps from Appearance Plus Cleaners for cleaning the clutter out of your closets.

Take stock of what you have. Pull everything out and separate the contents into categories. If you know what is in your closet, you can then reconcile how the space is being used and how you would like to use it. 

Prioritize. If you have not worn a piece of clothing or used an item in the last 12 months, donate it to any charitable organization that accepts used goods. This is also a good opportunity to see whether or not you need to replace or purchase anything new. 

Be realistic. Do not justify keeping an item because you might use it “someday.” This is how pack rats develop their habits. Use this time to come to terms with what you think is most important.

Clean properly. The most common items that should be cleaned this spring are coats. Have a professional dry cleaner clean your coats before putting them away to prevent makeup, body oils and stains from ruining the fabric.

Invest. Quality organization bins, hangers and shelves are worth every penny. This includes replacing the poly-bags that are used to transport dry cleaned garments. Using the bags for storage can destroy clothes. 

Host an exchange party. If there are items that you have trouble parting with, invite some friends over and exchange closet finds. Not only will the get-together be entertaining, you will know your buried treasures are going to a good home.

Spring Cleaning Involves More Than Emptying the Garage

Appearance Plus Cleaners Offers Tips for Organizing and Unruly Closet

Cincinnati, OH – March 28, 2005 – As annual top to bottom cleaning sprees are about to begin, it is important to consider the hundreds of items lurking in the closet. The daunting task of getting to the bottom of the pile, organizing, tossing and putting away can be accomplished. Closet projects are even easier when Cincinnatians keep in mind a few simple tips.

Spring cleaning is not purely about making every surface in the house spotless. Spring cleaning is an opportunity to clear clutter and restructure surroundings to make life a little less hectic. When it comes to closets, people tend to hide unwanted objects that then become forgotten. Jon Lindy, Chief Operating Officer of Appearance Plus Cleaners, sees the contents of Cincinnati closets everyday and knows first hand how closets should be gutted. 

"The first thing to do is take stock of what you have,” says Lindy. “Pull everything out and separate the contents into categories. If you know what is in your closet you can then reconcile how you are currently using your closet space with how you would like to use each closet.” 

Lindy also offers these tips to anyone who considers adding a closet clean-up to their task list this spring:

1. Prioritize. If you have not worn the piece of clothing or used the item in the last 12 months donate the item to any charitable organization that accepts used goods. “This is also a good opportunity to evaluate whether or not you need to purchase any new items,” Trevor Furbay of Romualdo, an upscale men’s clothing clothier, suggests.

2. Be realistic. Do not try to justify keeping an item because you might use it someday. This is how pack rats develop their habits. Use this time to come to terms with what you deem important.

3. Clean properly. The most common items that should be cleaned this spring are coats. Have a professional dry cleaner clean your coats before putting them away to prevent makeup, body oils and stains from ruining the fabric.

4. Invest. Quality organization bins, hangers and shelves are worth every penny. This includes replacing the poly-bags that are used to transport dry cleaned garments. Using the bags for storage can destroy clothes. 

5. Host a swap party. If there are items that you have trouble parting with, invite some friends over and exchange closet finds. Not only will the get together be entertaining, you will know your buried treasures are going to a good home.

Appearance Plus Execs Presented with STAR Award 2004

Angie Miller and Lesa Myres Honored by Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH – November 29, 2004 – At Appearance Plus Cleaners, doing business has always been about more than just providing cleaning services. Although customers depend on Appearance Plus for clean carpets and spotless garments, Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati also depends on Appearance Plus to make the best of a tough situation.

Angie Miller and Lesa Myres, both executives at Appearance Plus Cleaners, were recently awarded with STAR Awards for 2004 because of work each did to promote and coordinate a donation program with Assistance League. Appearance Plus and the cleaner’s 10,000 customers recently joined Miller and Myres in providing personal care products for use in Assistance League’s assault survivor and domestic violence project. For two months, Appearance Plus collected several thousand toiletry items for kits prepared and distributed by Assistance League to Greater Cincinnati hospitals and shelters dealing with victims of assault and rape.

“ Our customers can be proud that they have played a key role in helping and making a difference in the lives of their fellow Cincinnatians and of the efforts made by Angie and Lesa,” Appearance Plus COO Jon Lindy said. “Appearance Plus strives to be involved in our communities and assist others when they need it – from collecting coats and blankets to recycling poly bags. We encourage nonprofit organizations to contact us with fundraising ideas.”

“Their generosity, philanthropic spirit and vision of how they wanted to help others make Angie Miller and Lesa Myres ideal candidates for the STAR 2004 Award,” says Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati President Audrey Stehle. “The fact that Angie and Lesa wanted to incorporate Appearance Plus Cleaners customers in the program is amazing and really made the effort successful.”

This is the second year the STAR Awards have been presented by Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati. Miller and Myres are two of the six 2004 recipients selected by the Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati Board. Other employees of Appearance Plus who volunteered for this project are Teresa Lucas, Shauna Mearkle, Laura Condo and John Curso.

Get Cincinnati Working Program Promotes Job, Interview Success

Appearance Plus Cleaners Sponsors Campaign to Promote Local Job Growth

Cincinnati, OH – April 13, 2004 – Hometown dry cleaner Appearance Plus believes that Cincinnati is a great place to live and work, so in an effort to increase the chances of success for job seekers in Cincinnati, they have developed a program which offers free dry cleaning services to recent high school and college graduates and others seeking a job. The seven month initiative, titled Get Cincinnati Working, will help encourage job seekers while raising money for local non profit organizations that help get people working.

The three part program consists of two promotions and a series of events, all with the focus on jobs and job growth in Cincinnati. Dapper Diploma is part one of the program, encouraging recent high school and college graduates to be proactive in the hunt for new jobs. The Dapper Diploma program will launch April 19 and continue through August 31. Graduates need only present their diploma at any of the three main Appearance Plus locations in Hyde Park, Anderson and Downtown, and they will get their outfit dry cleaned at no cost.

"Looking for a new job is an intimidating experience, especially when the economy is unstable and the future is uncertain," said Jon Lindy, chief operating officer of Appearance Plus. "Nearly 300,000 new jobs have been created in the last few months, and we want to use our expertise in dry cleaning to help ease the nerves of some of the job seekers out there. By cleaning and pressing the suit of someone with an interview, we can provide the confidence that they will look great for the big day and give them one less thing to worry about. The days of business casual, especially for a job interview, are over."

Lindy explained that part two of the program, which will begin in May, offers any Cincinnati job seeker the opportunity to get a suit cleaned for free before an interview. The Big Interview portion of the program will run through Sept. 30. The final portion of the program will be the Get Cincinnati Working Sponsorship Series. A series of three events held in July will raise money and recruit donations for a non profit organization in Cincinnati that benefits job seekers in need.

Contest Offers Opportunities For Cincinnatians To Look Their Best

Appearance Plus Begins Contest to Win Dry Cleaning

Cincinnati, OH – January 13, 2004 – Hometown dry cleaner Appearance Plus understands that our hectic lives can be messy, and in their ongoing effort to make "looking your best" as easy as possible, the cleaner offers one chance each month to help clean it up for free. Beginning January 14, 2004, each person who visits an Appearance Plus location or registers online will have a chance to win $100 in dry cleaning.

The Lucky Hanger Award, which will run each month throughout 2004, will honor one lucky recipient drawn at random from all entries at the stores or online at www.appearanceplus.com. During the third week of each month, the name of the winner for that month will be announced each day during the week after the 7 a.m. Stumper on Channel 12 WKRC TV.

"Looking good has again become an important strategy for setting yourself apart in today's business environment of job instability and casual Fridays,” said Jon Lindy, Chief Operating Officer of Appearance Plus. "The economy is looking bright, and people seem to be working more than ever. We recognize this importance and want to help encourage everyone to take pride in their appearance and look their best, and for one lucky customer each month, we're going to make it even easier."

Lindy explained that anyone can win the $100 in free dry cleaning by visiting any of the three Appearance Plus locations or by simply logging on to www.appearanceplus.com and click on the Lucky Hanger.

Above and Beyond Award

Appearance Plus Cleaners received a "Above and Beyond Award" from the Department of Defense and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for their contributions to their Army Reserve employees and other local Armed Forces families in their community! 

2011 Business of the Year

Appearance Plus Cleaners won the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce 2011 "Business of the Year" Award!

Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce honors local citizens and businesses
Contributed By: AACC | Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce


ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, OH - One of the most popular events of the Anderson Area Chamber is the Citizen of the Year Award Banquet honoring the outstanding citizen, businesses, students, educators and volunteers of the year. This event offers an opportunity to provide much deserved recognition to those individuals and businesses that make the Anderson Area a great place to live and work. The 2011 banquet was held Monday, April 11, at Anderson Center. Voice of the UC Bearcats, Chuck Machock, was the guest speaker and emcee.

The 2011 Citizen of the Year Award Banquet winners are:

2011 Citizen of the Year - James Yunker

2011 Business of the Year - Appearance Plus Cleaners

2011 Anderson Area Volunteer of the Year - Harold Cook

2011 Civic Volunteer of the Year - Sally Herdman

2011 Anderson Area Students of the Year - Anna Bloemer, McNicholas High School & Kevin Polacek, Anderson High School

2011 Anderson Area Educators of the Year - Andy Wolf, Anderson High School & Letitia West, Mt Washington School

2011 Special Recognition Award Outstanding Contribution to the Community - Coney Island & Mt Washington Savings & Loan

BBB Torch Award 2010

Appearance Plus named 2010 winner of the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau Torch Award
Contributed By: Sofie Rasmussen | Media Coordinator


On October 20th 2010, the Better Business Bureau celebrated its 10th annual Torch Award dinner at the Duke Energy Convention Center. The Better Business Bureau presented Appearance Plus Cleaners as winner of the 2010 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics for business of 45-99 employees. 

“We have learned over the years that ethics and integrity are the common thread that runs through the most valuable assets that make up our business” – Jon Lindy, President of Appearance Plus Cleaners.

The Torch Award is given in recognition to businesses that are committed to and demonstrate the highest level of ethics and integrity in the marketplace. Appearance Plus Cleaners’ 26 years of commitment to a standard of excellence embracing both ethics and integrity is embodied by a committed staff, loyal customers and a consistent culture. 

“Our prime directive has been to exceed the customer’s expectations of quality and service on each visit or delivery and to this day we measure our success on these requirements” says Debbie Heitzman, GM of Appearance Plus Cleaner. 

The Torch Award recipients and honorees were selected by a distinguished panel of independent judges that included: Liz Carter – Executive Director, Society of St Vincent de Paul; Tim Meyer – President, Meyer Capital Management; Dan Neyer – President, Neyer properties, Inc; and Michael Moser – vice President & Coo, Western & Southern Financial Group. 

“The Torch Award encompasses the spirit and tradition of the BBB unlike anything else,” said Jocile Ehrlich, Cincinnati BBB president and CEO. “It recognizes and honors businesses and organizations who fully commit themselves to ethical practices in all aspects of their business dealings.” 

About the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau

The Cincinnati BBB was founded in 1926 when the economy was roaring. Consumers needed to be able to rely and trust the companies they dealt with on a daily basis. The BBB’s founding members recognized that need and formed an organization that would set standards, lead the way and promote a better, respectable and more ethical marketplace. The Torch Awards are a continuation of the BBB’s 80-year tradition and commitment to furthering that mission.

For more information about the Torch Awards Program for Marketplace Ethics, contact the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau at 513-421-3165. Visit the Web site at www.cinbbb.org. 

About Appearance Plus

Appearance Plus provides convenient free pick up and delivery through out the Greater Cincinnati area and has store locations in Anderson, Hyde Park and Downtown. The Appearance Plus name is synonymous with the highest quality dry cleaning, alterations, carpet cleaning and offers complete care of clothing and home goods, same day express service at no extra charge, and a dedicated staff committed to their customers and their communities.

Redefining Business Casual for Success

By Angie Miller

Business casual is dead.

As they do, times are changing and as the economy remains in a state of constant flux, maintaining a current position, earning a new job, or climbing the corporate ladder has become increasingly competitive. Gaining a competitive edge is central to the livelihood of successful and upwardly mobile business men and women alike. The job market remains challenging and job seekers, in particular, are forced to develop ways to position themselves above the competition.

Millions of dollars are spent each year by men and women trying to gain this competitive advantage by attending self help seminars or by downing miracle pills and elixirs. But what is being missed? Appearance. All things being equal, one of the easiest way to gain an edge is how you project yourself in the marketplace. As the saying goes, "the clothes make the man (and woman)" – the days of business casual.

The high tech and dot com revolution ushered in an increase in technology and communication in the workplace. Unfortunately it also ushered in a significantly more relaxed attitude regarding appearance and office decorum – and ultimately the '90s equivalent of the leisure suit – business casual. This adjustment in the way things are done also led to a shift in attitudes of workers. At all levels of business, workers began to desire more convenience and more relaxed work environments, including their style of dress.

Some say that taking the focus off professional dress provides comfort, which in turn increases employee productivity, creativity and morale. This shift in focus was also viewed as a company perk. Others say that dressing casually at work poses problems with quality of work equating how you dress to how efficiently you perform. While both cases have merit, there are strong disadvantages to dressing down.

It is your brand. Similar to how marketing executives for years have come up with new packaging to attract attention and coveted shelf space, employees must do the same in a choice laden market. How you wish to be perceived, putting personal beliefs aside regarding superficiality can depend on the package.

Dressing inappropriately or sloppily is simply no longer acceptable in the business office, as client or internal meetings may come about unexpectedly, or in presenting oneself to fellow employees. In addition, as your personal brand, being associated with untidy attire may go counter to the outward brand you wish to project – detail oriented, organized and professional. There is simply no substitute for a well pressed suit or slacks and blouse when setting an example to leadership, to clients and to coworkers that you are a "buttoned up" employee.

In addition, understanding how a prospective employer defines casual dress can be tricky, particularly during an interview. How one person interprets casual dress may not be the same for someone else. Hence, many employers run into the problem of having an employee show up in jeans or with wrinkled clothes that are missing buttons. In this highly competitive job market, this is not the image that should be projected to a current or prospective employer. As you try to get ahead, is this the attire that instills leadership and confidence as part of your brand? No.

Now, this is not to say that an expensive suit takes the place of competence and personality, but rather all things being relatively equal, taking pride in one's appearance is definitely a plus. The real skill is finding the style of your work environment, your comfort level, and what is realistic to wear in an effort to set yourself apart without being overly flashy. Even The Learning Channel has devoted an entire series, "What Not To Wear," on this very topic. To find the niche for your work environment, simply follow some basic guidelines.

Take a look around your office. What are other people wearing? More importantly, what does your boss wear? What is the company's style? Who is the audience that you are representing? Who will see you during the day? How do wish to represent yourself and what are your short and long term business goals? What clothing styles are "trendy," as opposed to what styles are more timeless? What do I need to purge from my overstuffed closet and why?

When you answer these questions, keep in mind that you want to dress to impress and be comfortable in your own skin at the same time. Wearing a suit or shirt and tie should not be uncomfortable, but rather an outward extension and expression of your brand and your product – you. And, dressing to impress doesn't necessarily mean a tuxedo or evening gown, obviously, but it's much more acceptable to be considered "overdressed," in a business setting than embarrassed by being "underdressed" when a situation arises.

Make sure that you keep yourself looking clean and crisp. A good dry cleaner will help you with that and save you a lot of time in the process. Slacks and skirts should be dry cleaned and pressed, with all the buttons intact and seams are sewn. Look for a reputable cleaner that will provide all of these services to you as well as be on the lookout for clothing problems that you may not have noticed. Dry cleaning is an investment in success, not to mention it keeps your professional clothes looking newer, longer. Having professional attire cleaned professionally also saves a significant amount of time, time that could be spent "networking" with those sharp outfits.

View your dress as a business communication tool. Choose clothing that will reflect that you are serious about the job you do and that employers and clients can be confident that you will represent them well and they can be confident in you. In reality, putting on the power suit is like suiting up for battle. Admit it, you feel more confident and ready to take on the world.

You are what you want people to see you as, and first impressions don't reflect your charming personality. In fact, what you wear and how you present yourself can be self fulfilling. Plan ahead. Before getting dressed, think about who you will be interacting with that day. Will you be out of the office on appointments or will someone be visiting your office? Like a well orchestrated stage show -- dress the part.

Represent the company you work for and your most important brand – you. You may be the only contact that your customers or clients see as spokesperson for your company and in an effort to climb the ladder or get it out of the garage in the first place, first impressions are indeed lasting impressions. People equate how you dress to how much you care about your job and in reality, how much you care about yourself. Whether trying to get that first job or advance in your career, brand packaging is as important with business people as it is with laundry detergent.

Angie Miller is the Marketing Director of Appearance Plus Cleaners. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Business Organizational Studies from The University of Northern Kentucky. She has been with Appearance Plus since 1993. Appearance Plus, headquartered in Anderson, opened its first store in 1984 and has a 20 year history of commitment to making Greater Cincinnati look its best. The dry cleaner provides convenient and free pick up and delivery service throughout the Greater Cincinnati area and has storefront locations in Anderson, Downtown and Hyde Park. The Appearance Plus name and the bright white vans are synonymous with the highest quality dry cleaning, offering complete care of clothing and home goods, same day express service at no extra charge, and a dedicated staff committed to their customers. More information can be accessed at www.appearanceplus.com or by calling 513-231-5540.

Spotless Efforts

Appearance Plus hopes programs keep it looking better than competitors.
By: Karen Bells
Cincinnati Business Courier, May 27, 2005

When it comes to keeping Tri-Stater’s clothes looking good, Appearance Plus Cleaners is thinking outside the basket.

The dry cleaning company, founded in 1984, has stepped up efforts in the past years to come up with creative programs and policies that help it stand out in a crowded industry. There are more than 30,000 dry cleaning businesses in the United States, according to the International Fabricare Institute.
The new efforts are an outgrowth of a focus for the past three years on deciding “exactly who we wanted to be,” said CEO Jon Lindy.

“This industry has been going in two directions: low-end, with customers looking for price only, and high-end focus on quality,” said Lindy, who’s been with Appearance Plus for 18 years.

Lindy – whose company has its cleaning plant, headquarters and a retail store in Anderson Township, as well as retail sites downtown and in Hyde Park— decided that competing in price alone wasn’t a smart strategy. Instead, he prefers to pursue customers whose priorities are quality, service and convenience.

That doesn’t mean Appearance Plus goes after only high-income people, he said, or only certain neighborhoods. Instead, it focuses on building relationships with customers and potential customers.
And its roster of programs is helping, said Angie Miller, marketing coordinator. For example, Appearance Plus is running the second year of its Dapper Diploma program. Graduating high school and college students can bring in a copy of their diploma or other proof of graduation and have their interview suit dry-cleaned free.

As with all of the cleaner’s programs, this one is designed to expose the company to new people who could become lifelong customers, said Miller. For the company’s Big Interview program, any person who is job hunting can bring in an ad or Web site posting for a job opening and have their interview suit cleaned at no charge.

While the programs cost Appearance Plus in labor, they more than pay for themselves by securing new customers, Lindy said. The Cincinnati Night on the Town program offers free cleaning of a suit or special occasion dress for people who buy tickets for any event at the Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts or Music Hall.

The Big Night on the Town program started last fall after Appearance Plus’ public relations agency, Justice & Young, approached the Cincinnati Arts Association about doing some sort of co-marketing, said Van Ackerman, director of marketing and public relations for the CAA, which manages the Aronoff and Music Hall.

“We put a coupon insert into the envelope for every ticket we do, whether by phone, walk-up, Internet sale, or will-call window, “ said Ackerman. “Anything we do through our box office for our venues gets the coupon.”

The coupon is good for cleaning of the special occasion outfit up to $12. Ackerman didn’t know how many his staff had given out since the program began, but he said they go through at a least a quarter-million event tickets per year.

This is the first time the CAA has done any type of co-promotion discount such as this, he said, and he considers it a hit – not just for the added value it gives his ticket buyers, but also because it reinforces the notion that coming to an event at Aronoff or Music Hall is a special occasion that is great to dress up for.

“Coming downtown is very special still to a lot of people,” he said. “One of the things they played off of is that.”

For Susan McDonald, division leader-healthcare/retail at Justice & Young, one of the reasons the agency enjoys working with Appearance Plus is its openness to trying new programs.

“We have a lot of opportunities to do creative things that hadn’t been done—grass roots type of programs and good community relations,” McDonald said.

Some of the community relations programs have included collecting, cleaning and distributing hundreds of blankets to homeless people and winter coats to low-income children; cleaning American flags at no cost at any time of the year; and offering discounts to military personnel.

Justice & Young, which took on public relations duties for Appearance Plus about a year ago, also just finished rolling out a revamped Web site for its client (www.appearanceplus.com) that features helpful articles on job-hunting, how to dress for an interview, and other related topics, as well as coupons and special offers. Customers can sign up for a monthly e-mail push that includes the same information, she said.

In addition to the new programs, Appearance Plus has policies in place to keep customers loyal, said Miller. With “100 percent buttons,” for example, the cleaner repairs or replaces for free all loose or missing buttons on every garment that comes in. It might seem like a small thing, she said, but customers notice the extra effort.

The dry cleaner is stepping up its focus on its pickup-delivery routes, said CEO Lindy. While it has had routes— which give doorstep service for dry cleaning and home-laundry loads—for about 10 years, it recently added two routes in West Chester. The new routes are “going gangbusters,” said Miller, running full-time all day, five days per week.

The service, she said, is offered by some large chain cleaners but sets Appearance Plus apart in the mom-and-pop and locally owned market. Even with the home routes, the cleaners tries to be a little different. Regular customers of the company get three months of the home service free when they’re on maternity leave. And on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, the route drivers in West Chester handed out flowers to the mothers they visited.

And the company recently started offering carpet cleaning services, because clients were asking for it. And it will keep on changing and growing, Miller said, to keep its customers loyal.

“We base a lot of our decisions on what customers want and we encourage feedback constantly,” she said.

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