I am a big believer in spring cleaning. I love a good purge and the feeling of decluttering my space and starting fresh! Recently, I signed up for Omni, an on-demand storage app, and concierge. Omni comes to you to pick up the items you want to store and takes them back to a secure facility. The Omni team unpacks, photographs, and catalogs each item you’re putting into storage, then uploads the images and information to your Omni account. This enables you to see everything you’ve stored and access everything you need when you need it, directly from the Omni iOS app. Whenever you want one of your items brought back, simply use the app to request it for delivery, select a delivery time that works for you, and they will bring it to your door. With pricing starting at $0.25 per item/ month, I was able to clear up my house for less than my daily almond latte. I love my newly de-cluttered home!
After a successful purge, I chatted with the co-founder and CEO Tom McLeod and picked his brain about all things Omni.
JP: What inspired the concept of Omni?
TM: I was initially inspired to create Omni to fix the problem I was having as a person who used personal storage. About a year after moving to SF with my wife and putting a bunch of stuff into a storage unit the same day we moved into our apartment, I realized I was paying a lot of money to get essentially nothing out of my stuff anymore. I couldn’t even remember half of what we were keeping in there. To find out, I’d have to get a Zipcar or take a cab across town and then spend however long rummaging around, that me realize that having this storage unit was more of a burden than a benefit to me – the personal storage experience sucks. After a ton of research and digging deep into the billion-dollar industry, it was clear that there was a huge opportunity to really revolutionize the whole system of storage and access, and create a modern solution.
JP: How has Omni changed your life?
TM: As an entrepreneur, Omni is the largest venture I’ve launched – it’s created my dream job with the best team I’ve ever worked with. Using what we’ve built, Omni as a service has enabled my wife and I to continue living in a rent-controlled apartment in our favorite neighborhood in SF, no matter what we’ve added to the mix (including our dog).
JP: What was the biggest challenge in developing the processes?
TM: The most important aspect of Omni is trustability, and out of the gate, the challenge of establishing and maintaining trust is one we’ve stayed laser-focused on. We’ve created an experience that is rooted in access and convenience, but that also means that we’re asking people to hand their personal items to a total stranger. This isn’t a behavior or experience the average person is used to, so we’ve had to make it above-and-beyond just “good” – it needs to be exceptional 100% of the time. We have built an incredibly dedicated team who live and breathe Omni and believe in this service as much as I do—customer support, our concierge team, and the folks who are making organizational magic in the warehouse are a finely-tuned machine, and they are the front lines making sure that our trustability exceeds the standards of our customers.
JP: What are your long terms goals for the service?
TM: The short answer is: We want people to get as much value out of their stuff as they possibly can, and to have whatever they need, wherever they are. We’ll be announcing some new features soon that we know our members will be really excited to take advantage of, and more exciting plans coming down the pike in the next year – once we have everything dialed in here in SF, the plan is to expand outside the city. Stay tuned on that.
JP: What’s your advice to a budding entrepreneur looking to shake up an industry?
TM: First: Stay focused on what is best for your business. It’s easy to get distracted by friends and comrades sharing advice from all perspectives, but if you’ve done your due diligence and had a mission, stay focused on that. Build the base of your business with smart decisions. This sometimes means ignoring the opinions of others – be okay with that. Secondly: Culture is imperative, and it starts from the top. No company succeeds if the people who make it tick aren’t excited to come to work every day, and it transcends the office – it’s part of your brand. Decide from the outset what type of company you’re going to be, not just for your customers, but for the team that works to make it a reality. Keep your eyes on it always.
Photography by Julia Sperling.