Omni’s ‘Closets In The Cloud’ Turn Into A New Way To Make Money Online

By Carolyn Said
San Francisco Chronicle

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Storage company, “Omni” sends staffers in its bright red trucks or vans to customers’ homes to pick up their items, then photographs, catalogs and stashes them at one of its two Bay Area warehouses. The company sees its business as helping the planet, and tapping into the trend of Millennials wanting to live with fewer things.

San Francisco Chronicle

It’s always surprising to see the new ways people dig up to make money online.

Some entrepreneurs are starting with their closets — closets they don’t even own.

Ugly Christmas sweaters, wheelchairs, strollers, car seats, bikes, hair dryers, tents, vacuum cleaners, guitars, surfboards, skis, poker chips, a Chewbacca costume, clothes galore.

That’s all stuff Bay Area people cleaned out of their garages and closets to store at Omni, a “closet in the cloud” on-demand storage company. But the twist is it’s also stuff those people are offering to rent to others, with Omni delivering and picking up the rental items and processing the payments, in exchange for a 50 percent cut of the cost.

The San Francisco company started out trying to get consumers to store items in its warehouses, rather than self-storage facilities, offering to pick up and drop off items as needed for a small fee, on top of monthly rentals.

But now some Omni clients are using that physical-storage service to launch rental businesses.

Cyan Banister, for instance, started off using Omni for storage, so she can indulge her love for things without overwhelming her San Francisco Victorian. “I’m a maximalist living a minimalist life,” she said.

Then she started renting out her stuff, like Christmas sweaters. That gave her an idea. “I’m obsessed with costumes and wish I owned a bunch,” she said. “What if I create a separate store for renting them?” So she’s been buying outfits on eBay to create Costume Town, a rental store on Omni.

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