“When innovation meets hard work: Ameer’s Box in a Block”

Ameer’s passion has always been clothes. While still at high school in Syria he used to sew and adjust jeans and shirts, both for himself and for his friends. This hobby grew into a source of profit when he moved to the UK in 2005 and opened his own shop in London, “Violet Dry Cleaners.”

From Hobby to Career:

As a young adult Ameer’s passion for clothes did not stop him exploring other possible careers and developing other skills. However, he kept up his hobby in his free time both while working in Lebanon as a designer and in Syria as a salesman and banker. Even during the two years he was in the army, he spent his spare time perfecting his sewing technique. That meant that when he moved to London he had no previous work or paid experience to demonstrate his talent as a tailor, as sewing had always remained just a hobby for him. However, while taking English lessons and working to renew his visa, he joined the team of a tailoring shop in Knightsbridge. Then, after 5 years there measuring and adjusting suits for high-profile businessmen, he opened his own shop, “Violet Dry Cleaners.” Now a successful business, the décor of this shop itself showcases his creative talent and careful eye for detail. From the chairs in the entrance made from recycled fabric to the handmade wall decorations he designed himself, the shop is evidence of Ameer’s dedication to his trade.

The Next Step: Box in a Block

Faced with the need to attract new customers to his business in Battersea, South London, Ameer came up with an innovative new project that he called “Box in a Block.” The idea was to expand his customer base through increasing his availability and creating a more convenient drop-off service. It came about as an idea to improve Ameer’s business by using one of his bad habits for inspiration: he describes himself as someone who is “always late”, and therefore wanted to create a more flexible solution for his customers. The project is based on two different approaches, both using a special ‘box’.

Firstly, Ameer placed a box outside the window of his shop so that when he might be late or out of the shop picking up commissions, customers can still drop their clothes in the box, attaching and completing a label provided next to the door. This lets Ameer know whose clothes they are, and what service they require, helping him to maintain his presence and increase his availability, avoiding the loss of customers to local competition.

However, Ameer’s inventiveness didn’t end there. He wanted to move this box to residential blocks, extending his business reach beyond Battersea high street and capitalising on his position close to many luxury apartment blocks. He believed that this convenient service would be perfect for the residents of these apartments, as it would be accessible in their very own building. The box, a model designed by Ameer himself then converted into a 3D design, would be placed in the building’s lobby. The collection service would then operate within certain hours of the day. As an additional feature, customers would be able to book and re-book their delivery slot via text or by  giving Ameer notice to drop their clothes off at the concierge in the lobby, for example. This project would not just make customers’ life easier, but would also extend Ameer’s business outreach to new locations and clients.

At this point TERN and Ameer began to work together to take his new idea to the next level, with the aim of enlarging his business and supporting his new entrepreneurial project. The project has now been developed and founded, and Ameer is just waiting on the approval of the apartments’ directors to implement it.

What’s next?

Ameer’s idea is well-thought through as well as creative, as he has studied the surrounding area of Battersea’s luxury apartment blocks in detail. This means that although some dry-cleaning service apps do already exist in the area, he makes sure to deliver a more bespoke and better-quality service, specifically targeting high-end costumers. While many dry-cleaning services are often criticised for their mediocre quality and the impersonal way in which they treat customers or deliver their products, Ameer ensures that he is always available in person and over the phone for customer support.

His plan is to be able to expand this new project into different apartment blocks around Battersea, and thereby increasing the possibility of his four brothers being able to join him working in his business and for them to move from Bradford to London. If he achieves this, it would be the first time the family are reunited in the same city since they all fled Syria after the civil war.


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