Daniela Wagner has done well around the globe starting businesses that meet a critical need.
“I have a knack for getting things off the ground and pulling them out of thin air and making them a success,” said Wagner, owner and operator of Eco Cleaners Orcas Island. “For this, I wanted techniques that were as pure and harmless as possible.”
Now in her second year of operation, she provides laundry and dry cleaning services using only environmentally conscious products and practices.
“It feels really rewarding because I have so many people who come in here and the first words out of their mouth are ‘thank you so much for being here,’” Wagner said.
She uses a fleet of high-efficiency household washers and dryers and handwashes more delicate items.
“It’s as gentle as we possibly can be while achieving best possible results. There us no need to compromise quality for eco-friendliness — quite the contrary,” she said. “The power cost and water usage are low because household machines are a lower voltage than industrial machines.”
Wagner doesn’t use any chemicals in her dry cleaning, instead opting for high-end professional steaming machines. Rather than detergent, she uses magnets that go into the water, which changes the surface tension.
“It’s the same thing soap does,” she said. “If I have to use detergent, it’s biodegradable. I use an enzyme for stain treatment … these techniques go back thousands of years. I put a lot of research to find the perfect mix of technology and tried and true processes. This is going back to what is normal but it’s with better technology.”
Currently, Wagner is doing all of the work herself, although she looks forward to hiring an employee or two. Although it fluctuates, her clientele is usually split evenly down the middle between lodging establishments and island residents.
“We have a water problem on Orcas Island and there were laundry services needed for hotels and b&bs and for private customers. This laundry is going to be done on Orcas anyway, and I might as do it with less water, electricity and less soap. It’s really important to me what goes into the wastewater,” she said.
Originally from Germany, where she opened a cafe and bar that is still in existence today, Wagner’s background is in designing high-end evening wear and wedding dresses. She also offers alterations and sewing at Eco Cleaners.
“I like textiles and I am used to working with silk and luxurious materials,” she said.
While living in Vermont for eight years, Wagner designed for Sajen jewelry. Prior to moving to Orcas in 2018, she lived in South America where she opened an organic skincare line in Ecuador and Uruguay.
“We made biodegradable laundry detergent for that line. It was very successful! It was half of my sales,” she laughs.
Wagner was visiting friends in Bellingham when she took a detour to Orcas Island.
“I was thinking of leaving South America, and it was either going to be the pacific northwest or Germany,” she said. “When I visited, Orcas Island informed me I would be moving here. It wielded its magic.”
In her spare time, Wagner hugs trees, meditates, spends as much time in nature as she can, creates art and designs dresses (http://www.daniwagner.com/). After her many years of being an entrepreneur, Wagner says she has learned patience and perseverance.
“Hold to your vision and do what you have to do,” she said. “It’s 2020. It’s about any little thing we can do to help nature, especially in an environment like this, which is still pristine and we need to preserve as much as possible.”
Eco Cleaners is located in the Airport Office Center, Suite A5 and A6, 1286 Mt Baker Road. Call 360-202 6226 or visit www.ecocleanersinc.com for more information.