You’ve been in the situation before: You landed fresh from the plane ready to explore the city and head to the Airbnb. Check-in is at 2 PM and you’re left waiting and dragging around your luggage until the room is ready. With travelling, every hour is valuable, so why should you waste time sitting around waiting for check-in and drop off your luggage when you're ready to have fun? Mischa Armada, founder of Lightr, knows your struggle: carrying baggage sucks. Lightr is focused on helping you travel lighter by assisting you in finding, booking and safely storing your luggage in centrally located hotels so you can get your vacation started. We spoke with the native Angeleno to talk about the concept behind Lightr, her favorite hidden gems in LA and why she can’t imagine building Lightr in any city other than Los Angeles:
Lightr just launched! Tell about us about the concept.
Carrying baggage isn’t cute. Its weighed down the day tripper, layover explorer, and the Airbnb guest with hours between check-in, check-out and departure for far too long. What do you do with your luggage with hours to kill?
Luggage storage exists, but not enough of them and most operate at inconvenient times and locations. There’s also few ways to find them. You end up being stuck in a rabbit hole digging through old forums on TripAdvisor. Colossal waste of time and energy.
Lightr is a platform for travelers with gaps in their journey to easily find, book, and safely store luggage at centrally located hotels in their destination, for hours to days at a time. We help travelers gain their day back and explore unanchored.
Who is Lightr for?
Lightr is for people who don’t want to be burdened with carrying around baggage - and have gaps in between their next destination. Lightr is for those who want to do more, discover more, and do their own thing without having to be weighed down.
We’ve found the most common use case are visitors who have an early arrival but a later check-in time, in addition to travelers with late departure times. Lots of red eyes.
Hosts are also our customers, since we provide an answer for guests seeking short-term luggage storage, which adds value to their experience and positive impact for host ratings. On the hotel side, we’re bringing business to their property and capturing back a portion of market share that was taken by the alternative accommodations of the world.
More importantly though, Lightr provides an opportunity for hotels to be part of the customer journey, starting with luggage storage.
We’re optimizing an unused, excess asset of an existing consumer behavior. Essentially, that’s what Space-as-a-Service’ is -- rethinking and maximizing how space can be used.
You guys are all about #ExploringUnanchored. What are your favorite hidden gems in LA to explore when you're looking for inspiration?
I won’t reveal all my secrets, but I love getting lost and discovering KTown. Ktown is the underbelly of L.A. and sprawling with hidden gems. You could be from L.A., but never experience all of something. That’s the beautiful and unique part of this city -- It constantly surprises and stimulates you. People need that.
Downtown is great too, but the downtown heading east off the 10- towards where all the cool warehouse parties used to be. Lots of lowkey, but amazing things growing there. Recently went to this awesome space called Navel, where my friend Era Noble had a show. Their whole mantra is searching alternative economic models nurturing a community in collaborative experimentation, among other things.
I always find inspiration in places doing something different or something that challenges your original thought. I feel the same way about people. Anything that shifts your perspective, along with the narrative.
Why is it important to you to be an LA-based company?
L.A. is my home. Having traveled all over and the last three years of my life living and working abroad (i.e., My digital nomad chapter) - from Asia to NYC- there are certainly benefits to establishing companies elsewhere. Whether it’s tax incentives, cost of living, whatever.
But culture is created in L.A. We set the tone and there’s no other place I’d consider ever building and growing Lightr from. That’s why tourism has always thrived here. Our goal with Lightr is to make that experience better, and scale it. The weather isn't too bad either.
Turning 32 in July, Bali in August, opening our first locations in the fall, and continually shipping in between.