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Ladies We Love: Founders Of Celsious Laundry, Theresa And Corinna Williams

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At left, Corinna wears The Shrunken Stretch Jean Jacket: Eco Edition, Rivet & Thread Swing Sweatshirt, 9" High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Regina Wash: Eco Edition and The Harper Mule in Metallic. At right, Theresa wears the Skinny Overalls: Eco Edition, Madewell x Armor-Lux® Flare-Sleeve Top and The Remi Bow Mule in Spiced Olive.

OK, prepare to be extra inspired by these supersmart, sustainably minded sisters. Theresa and Corinna are the cofounders of Celsious, an eco-friendly (and, let’s be honest, Insta-friendly) laundromat-slash-café in Brooklyn. We stopped by to chat about everything from why jazz is the best office music to easy, earth-conscious laundry tips you can try at home.

Tell us about yourselves! What do you do, where do you live?

T: I’m Theresa, half of the founding team of Celsious, New York City’s first sustainable laundromat and café! I live in the neighborhood, Williamsburg. Corinna and I used to live together in Bushwick and then we decided that one of us needs to be a little closer to the baby. Our hours are 7am to midnight, so if something goes wrong at six in the morning it’s really great that one of us is just three blocks away.
C: And I’m Corinna—the other half of the Celsious founding team. Even though I still live in Bushwick I spend most of my time here in Williamsburg. I do miss living with Theresa—but that said, we pretty much spend every waking hour together anyway.

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Let’s talk go-tos…

Coffee order:
T: My go-to coffee orders are actually non-coffee. Right now I’m drinking a lot of tea.
C: My morning drink is drip coffee with either almond milk or goat’s milk. And I’ll have an espresso after lunch.

Outfit:
T: We’re wearing a lot of white and neutral colors lately. My usual look is a white pair of jeans and a tee shirt.
C: Mine is a white organic cotton shirt and either denim culottes or a crisp cotton poplin skirt.

Neighborhood spot(s):
C: I really love Sweetwater for amazing wines and delicious food. Oh, and Van Leeuwen ice cream—a very guilty pleasure.
T: I like hanging out at A/D/O, which is an exhibition space, a café, a coworking studio and a shop all in one! And also, anything on the waterfront—the new Domino Park is amazing.

Weekend plan:
T: Oh, that’s a tough question for laundromat owners [laughs] because obviously the weekend is our busiest time.
C: Yeah, right now we’re taking one day off each week which is a luxury for a business owner! I usually stay local and do things like yoga, sleep in—
T: Meal prep!
C: Oh, yeah. We both love to cook, so I’ll go to the farmer’s market and then just pickle stuff the entire day.
T: Yeah. I also just started knitting again. I’m about to finish a tank top today which is exciting. It’s a form of meditation.

Album/playlist:
T: We’ve been listening to a lot of jazz during the day because it’s kind of background music but upbeat enough to not make you zone out. So that’s our office playlist, literally 50 hours of jazz [laughs].

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We hear you both worked in the fashion industry. Tell us about your backgrounds and why you decided to make the leap to laundry?

T: I did product design and ended up working in eyewear, so I have a bit of experience in accessories. I would say that Corinna has an even stronger fashion background.
C: I used to work for Elle magazine in Germany, and then I moved to New York and was the editor-at-large for Harper’s Bazaar Germany. As for how that led to owning a laundromat, well—it initially started with my own personal need for a clean, friendly, efficient place to do laundry that could also double as a hangout. At one point we made the decision to do it together. Theresa was living in London at the time, so her moving here was the first step in that direction. Then it was more research into the equipment and location, which took about a year.

Wow, pretty exciting! So, sustainability is a huge part of the ethos at Celsious. What are some of the ways you’re making the earth happier?

C: We work with the most energy efficient washers and dryers that are currently available on the coin laundry market. The washers save about 30 to 40 percent of water compared to standard laundromat washers and the dryers save about 30 percent of gas versus a typical dryer. It really makes a difference not only on our utility bill [laughs] but, of course, for the environment. Also, anyone who comes in to wash can get a little jar of powdered detergent which is much more efficient and saves a lot of water.
T: We buy it in bulk, give it out in reusable jars and then send the same containers that we get it in to be refilled, so it’s a closed loop.

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How has the reaction to Celsious been so far?

T: It’s great how receptive people have been about making more sustainable choices. Some things you just don’t question because they’re so common—you just think, oh, everyone uses dryer sheets. But if you tell people fabric softener and dryer sheets are some of the most unnecessary and most toxic household products, most people are willing to listen. The problem is that it isn’t being discussed enough.
C: That’s why we’re here and why it’s so important to us. The sustainable conversation encompasses food and beauty, but no one really talks about household cleaners and detergents. I think we’re at an interesting point in time where the right conversation can prompt immediate action. Look at what happened to plastic straws—it was pretty much next-day action.
T: Also, businesses are responsible for giving people other choices. There’s a lot of talk, but if there aren’t options, consumers feel forced to stick with their routine. Like in our café, we implemented a lot of the things we already do at home. For example, we compost and get our milk in glass bottles, dropped off and picked up by the milkman.

On that note, for people who can’t make it to Celsious IRL—do you have any tips re: eco-friendlier laundry at home?

C: Investing in the right products goes a long way. Always having baking soda on hand, white vinegar—
T: Which is great for stain treatment. Treat your stains immediately! Don’t let them sit, they will get worse. And then you’ll feel forced to use harsher products. If you get to food stains right away with vinegar, you can flush out pretty much everything—red wine, coffee, blueberries, any acidic stains. And then just wash as usual.
C: Yeah, and for oily stains, washing soda is really great.
T: Use dryer balls instead of sheets. We like 100% wool dryer balls, and add some essential oils for a little bit of fragrance.
C: They get rid of static cling, they soften your clothes. They do everything that dryer sheets do, plus they last pretty much forever.
T: Oh, and one more vinegar trick. Add some diluted vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of your washer and it’ll act as a natural fabric softener.

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All great ideas! Now, since this is our Ladies We Love series, time to pass the baton. Who’s a lady in each of your lives that you want to shout-out?

T: Definitely our friend Althea at Grammar NYC. She makes amazing organic white cotton shirts that we wear all the time.
C: She started her business around the same time we started Celsious, and we found each other through Instagram and mutual friends. She’s fantastic. Oh, and definitely Babba!
T: Yes!
C: Babba Rivera—she’s a marketing mastermind and has been a great mentor slash friend slash supporter. We have so much admiration and awe for what she has built.

Admiration all around. Want more? Meet other Ladies We Love, plus don’t miss seeing Celsious in our new video.