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A Window Washer Puts Workers in Kilts to Skirt Competition and Build Its Brand

A unique cleaning franchise recently expanded to the U.S. from Vancouver, British Columbia, via Scotland.

This story appears in the June 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's a notion all of us have had at one time or another: Looking up at a window washer, the clean glass glinting in the sun, we've thought, "The only thing missing from this scene is a kilt." OK, so maybe that thought only crossed the mind of Nicholas Brand, a second-generation Scotsman in Richmond, British Columbia, who took the idea and ran with it.

In 2002, after a night of spitballing business concepts with friends (and perhaps downing a pint or two), Brand began cleaning windows in the Vancouver area clad in a black golf shirt, steel-toed boots, knee-high socks and the tartan of the Wallace clan, hand-stitched by his wife.

The bizarre concept took hold, and by 2006 he had brought on board business partner Brent Hohlweg, who helped push the window cleaning, pressure washing and gutter cleaning service over the $1 million threshold.

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