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Growing a business with self storage

Posted: 13 September 2019

Growing A Business With Self Storage

Over the years we have helped thousands of small businesses grow by providing safe and convenient self storage. 

One such company is Graduation Attire, a company that hires out attire for graduation ceremonies across the globe. In this guest blog post, Martin, the owner of Graduation Attire, shares his story of how Storage King Bedford has not only helped his company grow by offering safe and secure self storage, but serviced offices as well. 

Graduation Attire: Growing with Storage King

Martin Lewis

As Martin, the current owner of Graduation Attire, prepared himself for his own graduation at the University of Surrey, he, as many graduates often do, failed to comprehend how much blood, sweat and tears go into the day itself. I am not talking about the three years of hard graft needed to get there, either. 

Firstly, as if waking up at the crack of dawn was not enough, one must queue for the hired gown. This, as Martin found out, can be more time consuming than you would initially imagine. After he had reached the front of the queue and was given the already used gown, he realised that £20 more was paid to hire the gown than what had been spent to rent a car for his family that same day.

Secondly, following the graduation ceremony, one must undergo the pièce de résistance as it were, and have their picture taken in all their hard-earnt garbs; the picture that shall inevitably be shown at family parties, and to show you at your most-glowing to any future partner unfortunate enough to meet your family after a few drinks. Unfortunately for Martin, he was the same height as the bookshelf they had used in the background, making his mortarboard look around four foot in length. He decided then that there was a problem with graduation ceremonies that could be fixed, identifying a gap in the market. If one could hire or purchase their gown prior to the big day, much of the stress of the day could be alleviated. So, whilst working as a music teacher, Martin started the software development process and imported his first gowns from China. 

As a sole trader, the first two years were spent dealing in graduation attire from the comfort of his own home, before becoming a Limited company. Naturally, as Graduation Attire’s stock grew, and the stock variety expanded, it became quite uncomfortable for his mother and himself at home, surrounded by stacks of academic gowns. This is when Martin first encountered Storage King, Bedford’s premier self-storage facility. Storage King provided the perfect storage; dry, secure, spacious, and accommodating of the seasonal changes that necessarily go with any business relating to graduation attire. Transferring his stock from home to Storage King was perfect. They have all the equipment needed to load and unload vans, and the right infrastructure to do it stress-free. It allowed him to disassociate his work and social life. He had more time to socialise, and perhaps Storage King was the real hero behind him finding a girlfriend, after all.

After realising Storage King’s central location in the Bedford area, Martin decided to relocate his office. Storage King is serviced, secure, has a wide range of facilities and it is, as Martin put it, “like having an invaluable member of staff.” The nature of Storage King, having such a large amount of storage and office space, allowed Graduation Attire, alongside other businesses within the building, to grow organically. There was no need to hop from office to office as the business expanded, and there were no restrictions as to how big the business could be. The central location made it perfect to meet other businesses interested in Graduation Attire, facilitating more business-to-business selling, especially as Martin could quickly rent a meeting room thanks to their flexibility (a room now permanently part of Graduation Attire). The growth did not stop there. Thanks to Storage King’s daily couriers, Graduation Attire can ship to more customers abroad and, naturally, the international customer-base expanded, increasing the worldwide appeal of Graduation Attire and the variety of garments available at home and abroad. However, this has not been an easy progression.

The biggest challenges Graduation Attire have faced have involved staffing. Due to the seasonal nature of graduation attire, having to regularly source and train up staff expends both time and money. Finding balance with the workforce also expends a lot of energy. Luckily, Storage King has a large variety of entrepreneurs and businesses within its walls, providing Graduation Attire with a close-knit community of like-minded thinkers. This provides great camaraderie and a platform in which ideas can be discussed regarding any issues any given business may face. As well as this, many of the businesses help each other out directly. Watton Recruitment, a recruitment agency in the building, has removed any stress Graduation Attire once had concerning staffing. Similarly, an events management company, also in the building, has been able to work with Graduation Attire in planning and managing private graduation ceremonies.

Graduation Attire, thanks to the tools Storage King has provided, has grown dramatically over recent years and has bold plans in place to expand even further. Martin’s mother is much happier too, as she no longer has to worry about gowns taking over her home thanks to Storage King!

Read more about Graduation Attire here:

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