ISS BLOG - The Kings Cross Hold Storage Launch: Our Entry to the Competitive London Self-Storage Market

The process of opening a new self-storage facility is like a puzzle: It has many pieces, and often many people to help put them into place. Hold Storage made its debut this month in the competitive Kings Cross, London, market. Hear about the launch from key members of their team and how they brought their industry dream to life.

March 8, 2024

4 Min Read

In the runup to the opening of our first self-storage facility, which is in the competitive Kings Cross, London, market, everyone here at Hold Storage was in full swing. Established last year, our business blends industry know-how with fresh perspectives. This first development kickstarts our journey as a family-owned venture aiming to dominate the city’s self-storage scene in the next five years.

To make our debut this month, we took charge of an 80,000-square-foot facility on the much-talked-about “golden mile of self-storage.” The competition is stiff, with six major players on the same road, all backed by the big shots in the U.K. industry game. Instead of daunting us, this challenge amped up our focus. Below, key members of the team share their portion of the business strategy that led up to the big moment. I close with a focus on marketing and growth.

Leadership and Management

Frederic de Ryckman de Betz, CEO and Cofounder

In the initial stages, my focus was on crafting our go-to-market strategy, shaping our business model and building a positive culture. My top priority was supporting the team in doing what they do best—clearing obstacles, giving approvals—and sharing my experience, including mistakes, to facilitate their progress. We have a talented team with the ability to deliver an outstanding launch. My role was to create the space for their success.

My goal is twofold: To facilitate learning and execution. This way, when we approach the launch of the next store, the team will have accumulated valuable knowledge, ensuring every new launch we do is better than the last. We've outlined a comprehensive roadmap covering all essential areas, which I'm currently championing through regular one-on-one check-ins and full team meetings. Additionally, I maintain a constant eye on the budget, overseeing our investments and ensuring a solid return.

Building and Fit-Out

John Minter, Technical Director

We worked closely with our contractors, ensuring the installation of additional solar panels to boost our environmental, social and corporate governance credentials. Enhancements, refurbishments, wayfinding updates, and security measures were meticulously planned, reflecting our commitment to a top-notch customer experience.

Our attention to detail extends to the aesthetic and functional aspects of our storage facility. Partnering with design experts from 3Stories, we crafted a dynamic reception design that not only serves as a welcoming space but also aligns with our brand identity. Recognizing the importance of external branding, we invested in eye-catching signage to enhance our visibility within the local community.

Operations and Sales

Lex Ajanaku, head of sales, and Sonia Pirie, head of operations

The focus on seamless service transition during the site takeover was paramount for our operations and sales teams. Preparations for community outreach, competitive research and strategic pricing evaluation within a three-mile radius are in full swing. Our sales mindset revolved around community representation and mutual benefits. Understanding the local community's intricacies, needs and aspirations forms the basis of our outreach strategy. We're not merely launching a storage facility to sell units. We want to become an asset to the community as an extra space.

The final piece of our pre-launch puzzle involved understanding our competition thoroughly. Daily scrapes of our competitors' offerings ensured that we stayed informed about short- and long-term deals tailored for different audience groups such as students, businesses and residents. In the world of storage, constant surveillance isn’t just a practice, it's a necessity!


Deon Louw, Chief Technology Officer

There were two considerations I took into account: What we need to deliver right now for a seamless customer transition and which systems will support our growth over the next five years. The flow of organized, processed and secure customer data—and the ability to learn at every step—is critical in the success of any business today, but especially the highly competitive storage industry, where every tiny advantage matters.

Recognizing the evolving landscape of technology, we're not just creating systems for today. We're laying the groundwork for a robust technological infrastructure that’ll support our growth and evolution.

Marketing and Growth

At six weeks prior to opening, my focus was on building local brand awareness and working with sales to understand our market. As a business, we believe in the power of branding as a competitive advantage and are investing in building that meaningful awareness in the community. This is in tandem with the more performance-focused channels of meta, search engine optimization (SEO) and Google.

Outside of communications, there was a website to build that needed to bring together SEO requirements, the brand, services content, and the enquiry and online booking flow as well as all the smarts that make a high-performing inquiry engine in 2024. It was a big piece of work!

In the months leading up to our opening, everyone was excited but focused. We worked as a unit as every team member's responsibilities intertwined with others. We emphasized the importance of synchronized efforts, a unified pace and a shared understanding of priorities.

Will Sowerby is chief marketing officer for Hold Storage, a family-owned company based in London. He has more than 15 years of marketing and technology experience. His expertise includes brand strategy, marketing plans, go-to-market and product launches, and team management.

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