LOVESPACE, the UK’s newly launched ground-breaking storage-by-the-box concept, has announced the appointment of a managing director.
Steve Folwell (37), has moved from the Guardian Media Group (GMG) where he held a number of senior roles including director of business development and group director of strategy. Folwell was one of the key architects of The Guardian’s highly successful global digital open strategy, transforming The Guardian from being the 9th largest newspaper in the UK, to one of the most popular digital news services in the world with an audience of over 70m unique users. Most recently, Folwell was directly responsible for making The Guardian one of the UK’s most popular destinations for digital video.
Explaining his move away from the media after six years with GMG, Folwell says: “After successfully working on the launch and growth of new businesses at The Guardian, I wanted to build something from the ground up.
“I’d been approached about a number of very interesting digital and start-up opportunities, besides developing my own ideas and mentoring others, but the LOVESPACE opportunity was one I couldn’t turn down; a fantastic founder and backers, a growing market, and a unique and disruptive model.”
Folwell joins LOVESPACE’s chairman and founder, Brett Akker, who, having launched Streetcar in the UK, is known for his innovative, entrepreneurial approach. He says: “We are delighted to be bringing Steve in to head up the LOVESPACE team. His experience in launching and building new online products is exceptional and, combined with his natural entrepreneurial drive, I believe we have managed to recruit the very best person to build the brand and drive the business forward.”
Poised to shake up the established self storage industry, LOVESPACE’s innovative storage-by-the-box service is aimed at consumers and enterprises who are outgrowing their space and want to avoid the often sizeable minimum costs and inconvenience associated with traditional self storage. Uniquely, LOVESPACE sends customers the boxes and packaging free of charge; they pack these themselves and LOVESPACE picks them up from their front door and transports them to its secure regional warehouse, again free of charge. Customers can store as little, or as much as they wish, with a minimum monthly charge of just £1.95. LOVESPACE delivers back customers’ boxes within 24 hours, as and when they need them.
With Folwell in place, Akker’s vision is set to take off. Folwell adds: “The future is extremely exciting. Just as Streetcar brought the convenience of car ownership to those who couldn’t or didn’t want to run a car of their own, the LoveSpace ‘collaborative’ model will allow consumers to experience all the advantages of self-storage, without having to pay the overheads associated with renting an entire self-storage unit of their own. People should think of us as their shared loft space, basement or store-cupboard.
He added: “One of the great things about this business is that, through our partnership with City Link, we’re national from day one. Wherever our customers are in the UK, we can get boxes to them ready to pack up the next day, and we can be looking after them the day after that, while they revel in their newly expanded sense of space.”
During his time at GMG, Folwell oversaw The Guardian’s recent growth in video and audio, the dating site ‘Soulmates’, and content acquisition and syndication. He was responsible for the launch of new product ranges including ‘Guardian Collection’ and a new masters’ degree in digital media and journalism with Cardiff University.
Prior to joining GMG, he spent five years at leading business consultants, McKinsey & Company, working with major retailers and media companies to identify and deliver new growth. At ITV, he was involved in developing and launching some of the first interactive television services.
He holds an MBA from The London Business School, is a fellow of the RSA and has a first class degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University.
Notes to editors
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LOVESPACE is supported by Carl August Ameln and Lasse Hoydal, who were Streetcar’s first investors, and have significant storage experience across Europe and Smedvig Capital, which also invested in the car club in 2007. Carl, Lasse and Smedvig’s CEO, John Hewett, have joined the LOVESPACE board which is made up of individuals who have over 70 years experience in the storage industry.
Britain has more than 800 major self-storage units – as many as can be found in the rest of Europe put together (BBC News Magazine).
The UK Self Storage Association estimates that the average length of storage is now 38 weeks in 2010, compared with 22 weeks in 2007. Growth in the market is, in part, attributed to the growing number of single dwellers who live in accommodation without sufficient storage space. Some growth is also attributed to the modern trend for an uncluttered, minimalist look.