The concept of flexible self-storage services isn’t new in Malaysia. In fact, we’ve previously written about Flexi Storage and Storage Bloc within the past 5 years, with plenty more players in the market.
However, Mrithula Shiva (Mri), the general manager of Cube Self Storage (Cube), told Vulcan Post that this supply caters to the rising demand, as pointed out above. “According to the 2020 Self-Storage Association Asia Annual Survey, industry players in Asia experienced an average of 80% average occupancy, compared to 70% the year before,” she said.
Cube itself joined our self-storage industry quite recently after expanding from the UK to Malaysia in 2018, but what’s driving this demand for self-storage?
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Mri explained that this growth in the consumer segment was due to high real estate prices and the changing urban lifestyle as of late. “Not everyone can afford to buy a new home as their family grows, so storage space is a good alternative, especially for condo dwellers,” she explained.
Expats and frequent travellers are another growing market, since they want space to store their luggages, winter clothing, extra furniture, etc. “We had a couple [pre-pandemic] who put all their furniture in storage and decided to live nomadically, traveling from one island to another, working from their laptops,” Mri recalled.
And as the majority of people worked from home during the pandemic, workspace comfort became a top priority. Since Cube’s storage options are available on a monthly basis, many of their customers chose to move the items they didn’t really need into storage as a temporary solution.
I mean, how many of us have tried KonMari-ing our homes or offices in the past year? There are obvious items that belong in the discard pile, but it’s harder to part with sentimental items like old books and letters that still spark joy despite having no shelf space left for them.
The concept of self-storage is similar to renting a room, but instead, you’d be choosing a locker or warehouse that fits your storage needs. If you’re unsure of how much square footage you’d need, Cube’s Storage Calculator lets you drag and drop items you’re looking to stash away, like a whole sofa or computer desk, doing the thinking for you.
You could also start by renting a smaller storage space first, then adjusting as you see fit. ENYA’s founder, Elaine Hong, did so with her sanitary pad online business, where she’d up- and downsized her storage space according to her stock levels. Thus, she kept costs lean and only used the space she needed.
That’s another example of how storage facilities like Cube’s also benefit the B2B segment, especially for e-commerce sellers. It saves startups from high rental costs which in turn can help them scale their profitably quicker.
This is because businesses won’t have to rent a whole office space during a time where most of us are required to WFH. And they’re pushing their services even further by coupling their storage units with a coworking space to cater to our ever-growing e-commerce industry.
Marrying Storage And Coworking
Let’s face it, ever since the pandemic began, most of us have left our office spaces dormant, but still pay its monthly rent. Now home to dust bunnies, expired pantry snacks, and barely working aircons, you can’t exactly get rid of the space either because you still need it for storing equipment, and not many of us have extra space at home for them.
Recognising such pain points of SMEs, Cube is launching the Cube Co-Working space that lets small teams work flexibly and store their documents, furniture, or merchandise in their storage units.
“We believe there is an unserved need in coworking, especially for e-commerce startups. In a typical scenario, they would need storage solutions for their merchandise and a separate coworking space for their team,” said Mri. She further added that Cube Co-Working will be in the same facility as their storage units, but in separate spaces.
As the coworking space is already crowded in Malaysia, Cube is choosing to target e-commerce businesses for now as they’re already equipped with logistics resources. Namely, loading bays, cargo lifts, and free covered parking at their facility.
These are Cube’s standout factors which Mri claimed are not offered by typical coworking spaces locally yet. Cube Co-Working is currently offering 3 packages for their soft launch (45% early bird discount):
- RM39 for Cube Nomad (day-pass for 1 pax) that comes with a 10% discount on storage units
- RM159/pax/month for Cube Desk (fixed desks for 1-3 pax) that comes with a 20% discount on storage units
- RM249/pax/month for Cube Suite (dedicated room for 4-10 pax) that comes with a 30% discount on storage units
If Cube Co-Working takes off, Mri is expecting the space to be fully occupied within a few months. “We don’t have any revenue goals to share at the moment, as we want to focus on perfecting the Cube Co-Working product and fulfilling our customers’ needs,” stated Mri.
Featured Image Credit: Cube Self Storage