In 2007, Qweekend met Yalcin, an ironing lady who had found success owning three ironing stores in Brisbane with her husband, Mark. The couple, of Fig Tree Pocket in Brisbane’s riverside west, had immigrated to Australia from Turkey in 1992 and at the time were starting to franchise their businesses.
Yalcin, now 49, and her husband, 53, have gone from success to success. At their peak, they owned 15 outlets of The Ironing Shop before turning their attention to dry-cleaning stores about five years ago.
“In 2011, our house was flooded,” Yalcin says. “We lost everything on the first floor of our house. It really had an impact and something changed in our minds.
“We had a dry-cleaner’s then and we offered to clean all the blankets and doonas of people we knew in Brisbane who were affected by the floods. We cleaned hundreds of them for free. We also decided we wanted our business to be more environmentally friendly and recyclable, so we focused on making a green drycleaning business.
“We now have nine stores [The Green Dry Cleaners] across Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Over the past few years, we have been selling the ironing shops and have five left.
“Mark and I still work six days a week but dry-cleaning is easier for us than ironing. I’m general manager with Mark and our daughter [Brigitte, 25] works in the business also.
“My next goal is to be involved in the ethical production of chicken eggs. Chickens are very clever and I have about 20 in my garden. I’m really passionate about environmental issues and animal rights.
“Australia is a wonderful country. You can make your ideas and dreams come true.’’