As you may know, The Break Changer is all about taking breaks, slowing down and letting go of the heavy stuff. So occasionally, I welcome reviews on companies and products that echo this philosophy.
The following guest post is a feature on Closetbox, a local startup that wants to give you your weekend back. They’re all about helping you simplify your life…so you can get ON with your life.
How Closetbox turned self-storage into a valet industry
Guest Blogger: Brittany Anas
Marcus and Katy Mollmann realized they needed to convert a dining room into a playroom soon after they welcomed newborn twins. Their family had grown from two children to four. With a baby in each hand, opening a pickle jar was hard enough; forget trying to rearrange a room and haul furniture and baby clothes to a self-storage unit.
One night, while up late holding babies, the Mollmanns got the idea to start Closetbox. The company, which takes a concierge-like approach, was built with their own self-storage challenges in mind.
When people are going through life transitions — whether that’s a move, needing to make room for another baby (or two!), a military deployment, moving a parent into a retirement community — they are busy enough, and shouldn’t have to fuss with all the moving, hauling, driving and unloading associated with conventional self-storage.
Closetbox’s solution? Take the hassle out of storage by offering low-cost pick-up, and then delivering items back to customers on-demand.
“Nobody had been looking at storage from a customer’s viewpoint,” said Marcus Mollman, the company’s founder. “We started with the customer in mind. Instead of building more storage buildings, we developed our business around customers.”
Within the past 3 1/2 years, Closetbox, a startup based in Denver, has taken off and is now serving 75 markets and continually expanding, signaling the demand for more convenient and storage solutions.
To date, Mollmann has raised $12.5 million in series A funding from investors who are enthusiastic about the company’s explosive growth and eager to invest in a model that is challenging traditional self-storage.
With the start-up company’s valet approach, storage becomes seamless. Customers pack up their belongings, and then Closetbox picks them up and moves them to a secure, climate-controlled warehouse where they are safely stored.
“You don’t want to deal with a lost weekend,” Mollman said. “You can tell us what you want picked up, we’ll get there and pick it up for you, and then you go on with your day.”
Using a digital inventory system, customers can view a personal dashboard and select which items they they want back — maybe those snowboards come winter or that twin bed once a child returns home from college. Closetbox then returns the items on-demand, often within 48 hours.
The model is tailored to today’s customers who have come to expect these kinds of on-demand services. Just like renting a movie on iTunes is more convenient than going to a video rental store to peruse DVD, Closetbox is providing a more convenient approach to self-storage.
Yet Closetbox, which was started in 2014, is able to charge its customers the same amount or less than they would pay using self-storage, even with all the added services the company offers. That’s because Closetbox is truly disrupting the storage industry, making existing logistics markets more efficient using a distributed model that taps into existing logistics markets.
Here’s how that works:
Customers’ belongings are kept in private vaults in already-existing, secure warehouses. These state-of-the-art facilities have 24-7 surveillance and often also store commercial and military goods.
For pick-up and delivery services, Closetbox relies on licensed, insured and bonded logistics professionals who have decades of experience and are trained in moving belongings. Not only does the company do the heavy lifting, but they also ensure your furniture, heirlooms and other belongings don’t get damaged or broken — which you run the risk of when you move things yourself or with a buddy, Mollman said.
“Without the right equipment, it’s hard to safely move furniture,” he said. “And, if you rent your own truck and take a turn too tight, you risk damaging pictures, TVs, dressers and keepsakes.”
In total, the company has 3,000 plus vehicles on the road and 10 million square feet of storage space.
With this model, Closetbox has grown into the largest, full-service storage company in the world — by far. The full-service storage company is serving 75 markets in 36 states and Washington, D.C., and is eyeing international expansion. It’s largest competitor is only serving seven markets.
Since Closetbox’s first external funding in Sept. 2015, the company has served tens of thousands of customers, seen 16x revenue growth and 90 percent compounded quarterly revenue growth.
Small businesses, too, are turning to Closetbox for storage needs. For example, galleries that rent space in high-price markets have used Closetbox to safely store artwork between exhibits, Mollmann said.
Closetbox’s customers span generations, and have different needs.
Mollman’s own family, for example, stores a dining room table that Mollmann ate Thanksgiving dinners at when he was a child. He also stores some of his children’s schoolwork because someday, his family will enjoy looking back at it.
The company has helped a young woman move to a new city to pursue a new career. An elderly man whose wife passed away used Closetbox to come pick up his late wife’s belongings as she had encouraged him before her death to “put all of the stuff away, and move on.”
“Oftentimes, when you need storage, you’re stressed,” Mollmann said. “Maybe you’re going through an exciting life event. Or maybe you’re grieving. We want to be able to take away the burden of storage.”
With their unique model and nationwide presence, looks like they’ve done just that.