Manjali Khosla is the CEO of Self Storage India, a self-storage facility with two state-of-the-art facilities in Noida, Gurugram and plans to expand into PAN India.
Manjali has a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of California, Davis, and has worked in the pharmaceutical sector in Canada. After living in multiple countries in North America, the Middle and the Far East, she moved to New Delhi in 2012; however, settling in and growing roots seemed like a challenging task.
In the beginning:
After deciding on settling down with her family in India, she brought all her belongings from overseas and soon encountered an age-old issue of storing all her valuables. Her new home in Delhi turned out to have insufficient space. Due to the presence of little children in the home, some of her belongings could not be kept in the open. The windows were not airtight, and the maids preferred to keep them open, inviting dust on the unpacked items; moreover, they weren't careful with some of the delicate and fragile items.
When she moved or traveled in the past, to different counties, she utilized a concept she was familiar with - a self-storage facility to help keep her valuables pristine while she organized her new life. She set out to find that one place with the perfect storage size, cleanliness and security. A disappointing move, because soon she discovered that the self-storage concept was non-existent in India. There were no facilities to be found.
When she asked her friends where they kept their essential extras, they told her that they made use of their family member's spare rooms. Some friends had rented extra rooms nearby for this purpose only!
Manjali Khosla and her family found this to be a highly inefficient and not to mention, expensive solution.
The movers and packers provided the next solution for this problem; it was possible for the family's belongings to go in an open warehouse. There was no privacy, and when asked about the security systems in place, she found them to be insufficient.
The new direction:
She decided to take matters into her own hands and start a self-storage facility. She had her storage issues to resolve and was sure that other expatriates and non-resident Indians who were coming back to India had them too.
Thus started another new phase - getting a business off the ground as a woman in India. The initial days were challenging. The men she dealt with didn't take her seriously and insisted on doing things their set way. She soon realized that she would have to practice putting her foot down; or else her vision wouldn't come to life.
She also realized the nature of the market she was currently dealing with: a population made up of hoarders who preferred to store things at their own homes or with family members until they reached a breaking point. Changing the majority population's mindset was going to be difficult. In a metropolis like Delhi, Manjali Khosla had anticipated that self-storage facilities would soon be required.
The six D's or the six demand drivers for self-storage were all present in Delhi.
The 6 Demand Drivers are:
- Density- leading to an increase in rent
- Downsizing- moving into a smaller home due to retirement, an empty nest, or an ability to pay current rent or mortgage
- Dislocation- due to marriage, for a new job, taking a gap year or renovating
- Divorce- moving stuff into one place until problems have been sorted out
- Disaster- building back a life while storing the remaining belongings at a temporary facility
- Death- because family members need time to sort through their loved one's belongings while grieving
Aware of the presence of these six demand drivers in the capital city of Delhi, she forged ahead and brought her idea to life. The design has now manifested into two locations in the Delhi-NCR region and is all set to grow in other Indian cities as well.
With a keen eye for the needs of the people combined with her international exposure and business acumen, Manjali Khosla is confident that Self Storage India will grow onto become the answer that no one was seeking but everyone needed in India.