Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do
Paul and I have been together for about five years now, when we met he was working for his parents’ company Datastor NE Ltd. I was working in the exhibition industry in project and account management. In 2017 Paul bought out his parents and took over the reins at Datastor.
Having been made redundant in 2015 I started, and still have, my own business Ali’s Ark. I joined Paul at Datastor, helping out one day a week while I was pregnant with our second child. When Zoe turned one I went back to work and now help out two or three days a week. While Paul does the day-to-day running of Datastor, I have taken over the marketing, social media and basically any job Paul doesn’t want to do!
Tell us about your business
Datastor is a document management company, we store, collect and deliver files, boxes of files and other documents for professional companies throughout the NorthEast.
Datastor is, and always has been, a family run business; Paul’s dad started the company in 1993 out of a small 2000ft2 office in Wallsend. The business grew quickly and moved premises twice before finally settling in Holystone in 2006. Since then we’ve added a massive extension to the building to bring it up to 25,000ft2. What Datastor does is simple enough, we store boxes and files and put them on shelves, but it’s the invaluable service to our clients that makes Datastor.
What are the most sparkly bits of what you do?
We’re a small business with less than five full time employees. Paul is the face of the business, he knows where every box for every client is stored in his head. It’s largely him who answers the phone every day, emails clients and deals with enquiries.
What are the biggest challenges you face running your business?
For Paul it’s the stress of knowing the buck stops with him. He is responsible for his staff, the business, paying bills and keeping the business running.
Paperless initiatives are the biggest threat as more and more companies don’t need paper copies of their documents. However there are still a huge number that do. Files that have a 75–100 year destroy date. Tax records, accounting records that need to be kept for seven years. These are the clients we need to attract.
What have been your biggest achievements and how have you celebrated them?
This year we achieved 25 years in business! We haven’t celebrated yet; we may have a party in 2019.
What are your goals – for yourself and your business?
For the business we would like to expand the document management business and potentially look at another site for the self storage and build up that side.
Personally for Paul to work less days a week – he wants to play more golf! For me, I would like to start working more on Ali’s Ark once Zoe starts at Nursery and then goes to School.
What is your favourite place in the North East and why?
For Paul it has to be Tynemouth – lot’s of lovely childhood memories; for me it’s Planky Mill near Hexham, lots of fab childhood memories, although I love anywhere on the coast too.
Who puts a Sparkle in your eye?!
Our kids … Noah and Zoe. We do all of this for them. To provide a great life for them and us as a family.
A final Sparkly thought – what tips would you give to busy, hard-working entrepreneurs?
Never be afraid to follow your dreams and go after what you want or to change your business in order to grow.
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