At Parcelly we love the concept of sharing and efficient use of available resources, creating a win-win situation for everyone involved along with driving convenience in the marketplace. We were in fact quite recently featured in a UK Sharing Economy research piece by Warwick Business School, which analysed the dramatic pace at which the sharing economy is growing, the changing attitudes towards it and the potential effects it has on society.
This week we caught up with Stasher, a platform that connects travellers with hotels and stores that can keep their luggage safe while enjoying free time in a city. Check out what they have been up to and why they believe 'Sharing is the future'!
1) So, for all our readers who haven’t heard of Stasher before, how would you describe yourselves to them?
Stasher, often nicknamed the “Airbnb of Luggage”, is the world’s first sharing economy solution for left luggage. We connect travellers with shops, hotels and other businesses with extra storage space where they can safely store their luggage to make the most of their day. Stasher’s left luggage locations, called StashPoints, are conveniently located next to all major transport hubs and tourist attractions. We have more than 600 StashPoints in 80 cities across 17 countries - our aim is to have a StashPoint wherever you might need it.
2) And what kind of customers do you find you typically attract, is there any demographic you think could use you more?
The service is ideal for those who find themselves early for an Airbnb check-in and have a few hours to wait until their flight, or event-goers subjected to the latest bag policy limitations. Simply enough, everyone who finds themselves having to lug their luggage for a couple of hours would benefit from using Stasher. As millennials ourselves, we’re the first ones to go on weekend city breaks, in the UK or in Europe, and we know that when you only have two days to enjoy a new city, every minute counts. Why let a luggage get in the way of your exploring?
The Stasher team (cool photo!)
3) We read in your blog that your CEO made the daring transition from banking to running a business, how do you think this affected the company from the beginning?
"To be honest, it didn’t feel like such a daring decision at the time,” says Jacob Wedderbun-Day, Stasher's CEO. “Ant and I had already invested a lot of time in Stasher and were just waiting for the right moment to commit fully. Having a secure option to fall back on probably helped us both being more objective and make sure we had a solid business model before quitting our jobs. We didn’t rush into things, but instead took the time to look into different case studies, analyse the market and decide on how to position ourselves. When we finally raised our first round we realised someone else out there also thought this was an idea worth investing money into – that was the moment we both quit our jobs and started working on Stasher fully time."
4) And if Ant could give his past self one piece of advice what would he tell him?
Both Jake and I are non-technical people, so building something ourselves or hiring someone to build our marketplace from nothing was initially not an option. My advice would be to hire capable developers as soon as you can. As a tech start-up, having people with the skills to build a good website that can grow and improve alongside the company is necessary to be able to survive the competition, as well as offer a good user experience to your customers.
Co-Founders Jacob (left) and Anthony (right)
5) More and more now we’re seeing people and companies embrace the shared economy, whether it’s storing luggage in shops or sharing journeys in a car, how can you see this trend progressing in the future?
With the advent of mobile technology, the sharing economy driven by peer-to-peer transactions is blowing up in a big way. Its convenience, cost efficiency and ease have undeniably helped make it extremely popular among people looking for alternative ways to tackle everyday problems, be it storing a heavy bag or getting a lift from a stranger. We probably haven’t even scratched the surface of everything we could do. Now that we’ve embraced the “Sharing is caring” mindset, I can see a future where the vast majority of business transactions are conducted on a peer-to-peer basis and we won’t be able to remember a time when Uber was not part of our lives - I honestly can’t remember it already!
6) After just 2 years you’re already operating in 80 cities across the globe, can you tell us about any plans for additional locations moving forwards?
Looking back at when we first launched in London and were going door-to-door to get local businesses to sign up, it’s mental how fast we’ve grown in the past 18 months! We are now in every major European city and our international expansion is well underway with StashPoints being added daily in the USA, Japan and Australia. We’re also trialling a new delivery service which will allow people to drop their stuff at one our StashPoints and get it delivered to another StashPoint in a different city. With airlines increasing the price for cabin luggage, this will soon be a very appealing option. Rather than having to pay extra to take your bag on board on top of going through all the painful and time-consuming security checks, you could just drop off your luggage before you even make your way to the airport and get it delivered to the StashPoint closer to your house or place of work. How convenient is that?
Wow, that is convenient, we can't tell you how many times we've been told 'that bag's too big' (when it really isn't) and had to pay the staggering on-the-spot-fee! A big THANK YOU to the Stasher team for giving us an insight into their business and we can't wait to see what the future of sharing further has 'in store' for us...!