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The Box Butler Tackles Clutter in a Whole New Way

Linda R. Sittenfeld, Senior Producer
Tuesday, 10 Jun 2008 | 10:53 AM ET

Are you stumbling over your stuff? Are your file cabinets overflowing? Wish someone would come and take it all away? And bring it back the instant you want it? Now there's a solution. Scott Sinclair, President of The Box Butler explains.

What is The Box Butler?
It's valet storage. We come to you, drop off containers, you pack, or we pack, and we take it to our air-conditioned warehouse, and bring it back whenever you want. It's so easy. It's amazing this market wasn't being served.

How did you get the idea?
I had stuff in storage and it got flooded. We've all been there, right? And around that time I saw Fresh Direct come into my building and I thought, hey, that's the way to do it.

I was in a corporate job — in the financial print industry — for 15 years and I was miserable and looking for a change. So I looked into this idea of delivering storage right to your home or office. I looked at the numbers and decided I could do it. I left my job in May of 2007 and launched in March of 2008. Now, in my October forecast I'm way ahead of projections. The market is totally underserved.

How did you get started? Where did you get the funding?
I lived in a 2,000-square-foot apartment. First thing I did was downsize, move to an 850-square-foot apartment, sell my home in Florida and sell my car. Now I'm my own best customer. My own life is simplified. It's great.

So I took my home equity and started The Box Butler. First I couldn't raise any money. Now, the investors I was courting are courting me. Angel investors are knocking on my door right now.

What does it cost to farm out your stuff to The Box Butler?
We have different size boxes that range from $9.99 to $34.99. So it's totally affordable. Our clientele is about 70 percent women, but it spans across the socio-economic spectrum. We are serving Trump Hotel & Resorts and also walkups on the lower East side. People can spend from $15 to $350 a month to store their stuff.

What does your average client spend? Perhaps someone in a one bedroom apartment who stores their seasonal stuff?
Our City Closet package is two wardrobe containers, with pretty generous storage, at $78.99 a month, and that includes switching the clothes in and out.
What's exciting about it is the clients stay. They get a taste of what life is like to do it this way and they love it.

What is your service area right now?
Right now it's Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn, Jersey City.

What's next? Will you expand?
Now I face a lot of questions. We have a lot of interest in the Hamptons, and in Florida from the snowbirds. But how do I expand? Do I franchise? Do I keep it a small family business? Do I go national? When I figure it out I will need to raise some money. Probably in the next 12 to 18 months.

And, we are totally environmentally conscious. The boxes are made of recycled plastic.