Ones to Watch 2014 Part Four: LOVESPACE
Our Ones to Watch series is back today! Following hot-on-the-heels of last week's One to Watch Tidy Books, this time out we have innovative new storage business LOVESPACE. Hannah Flaherty from the London based business took some time out of their busy schedule to give us the lowdown on LOVESPACE.
JSB - Can you let the uninitiated know a little bit about more LOVESPACE?
Hannah - LOVESPACE is transforming the way we think about the stuff we own and the space we use. We are the first storage-by-the-box company in the UK, helping our customers "live a bigger life, one box at a time". We are disrupting the £1b UK storage industry, doing to it what Amazon did to bookshops and Ocado did to supermarket shopping.
We collect your things from your door, store them in our secure, climate-controlled warehouse and return them whenever and wherever you want in the UK. You manage your account online, enabling you to add photographs and inventories to boxes and to call individual items back at any point.
JSB - How did you come up with the idea?
Hannah - LOVESPACE was founded by Brett Akker, one of the co-founders of Streetcar. Brett took the principles of Streetcar: convenience, value, customer service and digital disruption and saw that they could be applied to the UK's storage industry. Traditional self-storage is a property business, relying on customers to "come to them". LOVESPACE is different - we are a customer-service based business, digitally fulfilled, and rather than offering shed space, we reduce the costs for the customer by placing their items on racks in a large warehouse. In that way, our customers are sharing the costs of storage. Unlike traditional self–storage you can store from just one box at a time, you only pay for what you store, and you never need to leave your front door.
JSB - How was 2013 for you?
Hannah - We've achieved a lot in 2013! Here is a rundown of some of our biggest achievements:
- 1,000 sign-ups with over 60 per cent ordering, managing around 3,000 individual boxes (we also take larger items – e.g. bags, bikes, skis, and dead fish in glass cases!)
- Net promoter score of 42; over 90 per cent of customers would use us again
- Proven demand from segments including students, movers, small businesses, new parents
- Over 20 partnerships including Oxfam (free charity box collection) and Mothercare (deferred delivery to their customers)
- Recognition in the Financial Times, the Times, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail and being filmed for a BBC documentary - released spring 2014
We've also invested significantly to support our ambitions including:
- A significant amount in digital infrastructure, built on APIs so that we can quickly develop apps and integrate with partners
- Creating a brand to differentiate us from both traditional and emerging competition. Our "live a bigger life, one box at a time" tag-line is the governing thought across all our digital touch-points and advertising
- Building a smart storage business by working with UCL to develop state-of-the-art pricing algorithms
JSB - What are your hopes for 2014?
Hannah - We hope that LOVESPACE will make thousands of people happier with the space they live in. "Living a bigger life" is about more than just storage. We’re exploring more ways for people to make the most of their space and their stuff, including sharing, gifting, recycling and selling items.
We are aiming to acquire 4000 customers by the end of 2014 and be able to start measuring our boxes in the tens of thousands. Beyond this, we have ambitious plans for future growth, including expanding internationally to places such as New York and Berlin. We're also considering partnership and franchise possibilities. Existing storage facilities in the UK are only around 60 per cent occupied - giving us an opportunity to utilise space across the UK.