Launching as an online platform in 2014, its aim was to shake up a traditional sector and meet mobile lifestyle needs with storage on a per item basis, a more convenient and affordable alternative. Over the past two years the business, which also offers boxes, has diversified with units including collection and delivery for home and office furniture.
Self-storage microsites, an on-demand, contactless solution, is another development it is working on with partners including Transport for London (TfL).
“Unlike standard storage customers who are older and homeowners, our clientele are under 45, renting and relying on public transport,” explains chief executive Will Edwards.
“Space has become a premium for this generation. With our collection and delivery service they can store without leaving home or pop round to one of our local lockers. Booking takes a couple of minutes.
“We’re platform based with bespoke technology, no fixed costs and an agile network of couriers and warehouse partners who we mobilise depending on demand, so we can flex up and down according to seasonal peaks.
“Basically we’ve created our own business category and our self-service aspect has enabled us to scale rapidly.”
Lockdown spurred innovation, notably students needing to shift belongings and businesses transitioning to hybrid working and reconfiguring offices, says Edwards.
“We worked with universities and accommodation providers, developed a packing service and then further technology to create our storage unit product and removals.”
The TfL collaboration has led to five new sites in tube station car parks where customers drop off items that Lovespace then transports to a larger secure unit.
“The next set of sites are under discussion and the aim is to have 50 and look further afield,” adds Edwards.
“This shows how corners of under-utilised space can be repurposed with benefits for all, including a viable income stream for operators and shorter trips to units reducing carbon emissions.”
Nigel Pickup, TfL’s commercial property head, added: “Our work with Lovespace is part of our wider strategy to work with innovative companies who can put forward ideas to help customers into practice.”
“By using our space and assets more efficiently, we can generate additional value that can be reinvested into the transport network.”
The business, which employs 30 staff and tens more indirectly, has raised £9million of investment so far, including two rounds of crowdfunding and is forecasting a £9million plus turnover next year.
Its transparent terms for removals, with no-penalty date flexibility and genuine insurance cover, also provide more protection for customers and competitive pricing.
“We are a tech-led consumer, warehousing and customer-facing business,” says Edwards.
“There is a lot riding on our proprietary technology, it’s robust enough to eliminate loss and we can track everything to multiple destinations.
“But there are also plenty of challenges to overcome. Controlling costs such as packaging in spite of inflation is one, partners’ fuel costs another. Further expansion into Europe is our next step.”
- www.lovespace.co.uk, monitored lockers cost from £11.63 a day, removals charges from £239 plus optional wrapping and packing.