Travel

3 Oxford grads say: Drop your bags & be free!

By Kitty Knowles 13 July 2017
Summary

CityStasher lets you ditch your luggage.

You’re on a short break – perhaps it’s a stag in London, a romantic getaway to Edinburgh, or you’re doing business in Bath.

You survived the inevitable rail replacement bus service, and have finally allowed yourself to get a little excited about getting to know the city’s secrets.

Except… your bag.

Your not-so-wheelie suitcase has already given you lop-sided arm strain, and the hotel’s on the other side of town.

You can’t take it with you when you hit the shops. Just wandering around with it is a drag.

Enter: CityStasher.

What’s CityStasher?

CityStasher is Britain’s largest luggage storage network – and the brainchild of three Oxford University graduates Anthony Collias, Jacob Wedderburn-Day, and Matthew Majewski.

Collias came up with the idea after friends kept asking to leave their stuff at his King’s Cross flat.

“One day Matt asked to drop his stuff off for the weekend and I joked that I’d have to start charging for it. That’s what sparked the idea,” Collias told The Memo.

The budding entrepreneurs soon realised that using nearby businesses as hosts would solve a huge pain point for travellers: “We connect tourists who need to store their bags with local shops and hotels who can keep them safe,” says Collias.

“The idea is to solve the common ‘what shall we do with our bags’ issue that so many people have faced.”

Sound good?

If being able to ditch your bag sounds appealing, you’re not alone.

Since it founded in 2015, CityStasher has stored more than 15,000 bags at its 100 ‘stash points’ across the UK.

“Our core market is Airbnb users, but we also cater to day-trippers, event-goers and hotel guests,” says Collias.

“Most hosts have fairly strict check-in and check-out rules and the result is guests getting turfed out with their suitcase in tow – that’s a real nuisance when you’ve got hours until your flight and want to do some sightseeing.”

How it works

To use CityStasher, you just find your nearest storage hub on citystasher.com, book, and turn up with your order confirmation and ID.

“A key factor is price,” says Collias. “The main alternative for short-term luggage storage is offered by train stations and they cost loads!”

“We’re £6 for 24 hours, which is the cheapest on the market.”

Importantly, the business model doesn’t just benefit you – but those hosting you.

“We take no upfront fees from our hosts,” says Collias, “helping local businesses is part of our mission so we’re glad to say that we don’t make money unless they do!”

Big ideas

Already backed by the CEO of Big Yellow Storage, CityStasher is now growing rapidly – at an average of more than 25% month on month.

Now, the team are making their first forays in Europe – starting with Amsterdam. They’re preparing to launch a crowdfunding round this Autumn, and extending their services even further – from storage to delivery.

“In 5 years’ time, we want to be available in several different countries,” says Collias. “Left luggage is just the start.”

The future

Such expansion won’t be without its challenges.

“Building trust is crucial and an area we take extremely seriously,” says Collias. And internal hiring is also “tough” says the co-founder.

“The current political climate really doesn’t help,” says Collias, pointing to Britain’s looming Brexit.

“When it comes to hiring developers, much of the best talent is on the continent.”

Still the team has high hopes to bring your luggage into the 21st century.

“You know when you’re out late, a bit lost and you think ‘thank god I can just call an Uber’. We want people to feel like that when it comes to luggage.”

“A real sense of relief and freedom.”

And no more lop-sided arm ache. We can’t wait.