Antonia Dillion: Building Her Business One Bin at a Time
By Martti C. Peeples
One will never know how one’s personal life experience can lead to the creation of new ventures. This is exactly what happened to Antonia Dillon. When her 101-year-old grandfather became ill and it was left to Antonia’s mother to pack up his home, Antonia had an idea come to her: start your own business. Take a leap of faith.
And why not? This would not be out of character for her. Antonia grew up in Southfield and attended Southfield-Lathrup High School. After graduating, she went on to the University of Michigan, where she received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in African American Studies. She’s the only child from her parents and although they divorced when Antonia was 5, this event did not break up Antonia’s family unit. Every Sunday her parents came together as a family and had dinner. Her parents attended all of her events and kept her grounded. Antonia will tell you of this experience, “I was and still am very blessed and privileged to have a childhood like that.”
After graduating from U of M, Antonia spent the next 12 years working in corporate advertising for many companies such as General Motors, Walmart, Comcast, and Microsoft. But as the years went on, Antonia started to feel more depleted than invigorated. Antonia has always had a passion for helping people but she just didn’t know in what capacity she could help, until the day she was with her mother watching her put her grandfather’s things away. “Watching my mom try to arrange a storage unit for his things made me realize that traditional storage is one of the last industries that is not consumer-facing at all! They don’t call it ‘you-haul’ for nothing!” she says. Antonia was onto something, and as the wheels kept spinning, she thought about valet service, which traditional storage companies do not offer.
Traditional storage companies don’t allow for a lot of personalization. Sometimes you’re rushed and don’t have enough time to properly select the storage unit size or company, and as a result, you pay for space you’ll never fill up, or find yourself with a lack of access to your things. “I felt strongly that I wanted to own a business, but I didn’t have a passion about anything in particular,” Antonia says. So she did some research and then it happened… Binefit was born.
Her concept is simple: why pay for space you’re not using? She also wanted to personalize her services. Binefit is a valet storage company, which means they come to their customers’ homes or businesses to pick up items for storage. Binefit is essentially storage and moving in one.
You contact Binefit, select the bin you need from a variety of sizes, and the bins are delivered to you. You pack what you need into the bins, and after you’re done, you arrange a pickup day when your bins will be collected and stored. Instead of paying for square footage, you’re paying for bin sizes. Bins of varying size and price provide great savings to the consumer. And how do customers keep track of their belongings? Antonia has created an online virtual inventory for each bin. For example, you have packed away some fall and winter clothing. The seasons are changing and you want your winter bin. You can go online and request to have that bin delivered to you. This beats rambling through layers of boxes, unpacking unnecessary items, and spending time traveling to your unit. This truly sounds like a “binefit” to me!
Antonia has found other ways to make Binefit work for her. With the support of her husband and parents, she can arrange her work schedule around the important things in her life, like family. She no longer has to feel rushed to get her children off to school and can have her own down time. She says she is very busy as basically a one-woman show. She has assistance from a cousin, Rose, and some helpers to move bins, but everything else is on Antonia’s shoulders. She says may have underestimated how busy she would be building Binefit bin by bin (and she now even offers some furniture storage), but she says would not change a single thing.
Iyanla Vanzant has said, “The life you want is on the other side of the labor pains it takes to birth it.” Antonia’s family is very enthusiastic and overjoyed with her building up her business. The road may get busy, but sometimes you have to become uncomfortable in order to become comfortable.
Antonia is also looking to expand her business into Ann Arbor and the Flint area, along with possibly becoming a franchise. She has made it this far with the perfect ingredients: creativity, instinct, and love of family. Antonia may be on her way to birthing her next chapter.
Antonia Dillon is definitely building her business one bin at a time.
To learn more about Binefit Storage, please visit www.binefitstorage.com or follow Binefit on Facebook.