CO-FOUNDER SHAFF PRABATANI EXPLAINS THE ORIGINS AND INSPIRATION BEHIND STOREMATES
Let’s face it storage space isn’t a very sexy topic to blog about so I won’t go on about the positives of having a decluttered life –the benefits are fairly obvious. So let me explain instead why sharing space with your neighbours represents a new and exciting shift in consumer behaviour.
How did it all begin?
Here’s where it all started. When my girlfriend Louise moved into my small flat in South London, she came with about 30 boxes of what she deemed ‘essential items’. The romance and excitement of our new milestone soon became tempered by conversations that started with “Do we really need all those shoes/saucepans/photo albums/VHS tapes/roller blades/Christmas decorations......in the flat” After receiving quotes from all our local storage companies, it soon dawned on us that spending up to a £100 a month on a yellow corrugated container wasn’t a cause we could afford to support. We needed another solution.
Neighbours to the rescue.
I photocopied a homemade flyer and posted it through the doors of the surrounding houses of our street. It meekly asked
“Help us to declutter! Do you have some space to store some of our extra household stuff until we upgrade to somewhere bigger. Will pay a small rental fee”.
To my surprise, that week I received about 15 calls and emails from friendly neighbours offering to accommodate our belongings in their spare rooms, garages, lofts and even under their beds. I chatted to nearly all of them, I learnt who lived where, what they did, why they liked their street; I even discovered by pure coincidence that the sister in law of a friend of mine from Newcastle was also my neighbour. Importantly we ended up storing our belongings in ‘Mario’s’ garage for only £45 a month; he even helped me move our stuff in. We became friends too after both his wife and Louise soon found out that their pregnancies were both at the same stage.
Going online to share off line
Six months later, Louise and I moved into a larger family house and now have an attic packed with our ‘mates’ underused belongings! The light bulb moment soon followed and the idea behind Storemates was born. We asked - Why can’t communities be ‘mates’ too and help each other out with their storage needs? After all, many homes have unused space, many people have stuff they need stored. I soon also discovered that my little ‘sharing’ arrangement was part of a growing movement of change called “Collaborative Consumption” where people use online platforms to share, swap, trade, rent, loan and sell to each other peer to peer off line. Built on trust and a desire to make better use of our resources websites like whipcar, zopa, airbnb, eBay, ecomodo and landshare were enabling strangers to collaborate for mutual gain. So what about Storage then....could space be the final frontier to collaborative consumption?
A site for ‘Store’ eyes.
Storemates.co.uk is essentially about communities coming together to help each other out – simple. The three of us (Shaff, Jay and Ben) have pulled together our blood, sweat and tears to bring you this new concept. The site has taken about six months to put together and a lot of head scratching to get right. We hope you like it and are able support us by using it and telling people about us especially your network of friends and family. Everyone either has underutilised space or not enough space for their treasured belongings –so why not get involved and either save or earn some money while you’re at it.
Tell us what you think
Let us know what you think good and not so good? We are committed to getting Storemates.co.uk right but can only do this with your feedback. Contact us with your comments, advice and suggestions for improvement – we promise to take everything you tell us seriously and act upon it. firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about Storemates Founders. Shaff, Jay and Ben by going to our ABOUT US section.
Want to know more about Collaborative Consumption?
Check out the very inspiring book “What’s mine is yours” by Rachel Botsman to find out more about Collaborative Consumption. http://collaborativeconsumption.com/ Plus we have collated the names of many of UKs pioneering Collaborative Consumption websites here