Talena Handley’s street to beginning a enterprise referred to as Girlie Storage actually started together with her first automobile being stolen – twice.
When she received her black 1999 Honda Civic again with lacking components, she did not wish to name her ex-boyfriend to assist put it again collectively.
So she determined to assist herself by going to automotive college. And now she’s utilizing that data and expertise to run her enterprise that exhibits folks easy methods to repair their very own vehicles.
The 34-year-old entrepreneur affords digital consultations and creates educational movies for on a regular basis folks to study vehicles. A giant a part of Girlie Storage’s mission is to assist girls acquire confidence with their automobiles and keep away from being taken benefit of within the mechanic store.
When Handley launched Girlie Storage in late 2020, the identify was a no brainer. As a solo present on the helm of this enterprise, “Girlie Storage” is a press release of who she is in an business historically dominated by males.
“I really like seeing the shock on folks’s faces,” she stated. “It breaks that establishment, that stigma that we’ve got created. So if that is damaged, then perhaps a mechanic might be like me sooner or later.
Final yr, solely 9.5% of individuals working within the automotive restore and upkeep business had been girls, in keeping with 2021 information from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, similar to his 23-year-old Honda Civic named Esperanza – the automobile that began all of it – it is OK to shatter expectations.
Its black sedan lacks a shiny coat of paint – an intentional selection to discourage thieves. However beneath the hood, she’s saved it intact and it is stuffed stuffed with her instruments in organized chaos.
“Folks get so anxious about visiting the mechanic that they actually do not repair their automobile. And that is why I’ve a job,” she stated.
Handley has been on each side of the counter and understands how tough it may be to strategy an auto store, particularly for girls.
Though she has almost 15 years of expertise as a mechanic, she was overpriced for companies at a storage and handled clients asking “is there a person obtainable to assist me?” when she labored within the components division for Porsche.
Handley defined that individuals can find yourself paying an excessive amount of for companies if they do not perceive what’s unsuitable with their automobile or the restore. It virtually occurred to a buddy who was informed her Chevy Traverse wanted $2,500 repairs. She referred to as Handley, fearing she would put her two kids in peril if it wasn’t mounted. Collectively they ended up fixing it themselves for lower than $300.
It isn’t a exceptional state of affairs, however seeing the quantity of anguish it induced her buddy was sufficient for Handley to make it her enterprise.
That is why Girlie Storage is not a cellular mechanic store, Handley stated. It is about offering data to clients to allow them to assist themselves.
“If I could make girls safer and extra assured on the street by overcoming that nervousness and getting their automobile mounted, everybody in your group is safer,” she stated. “I imply, it actually looks like a lofty aim, however I’ll get there.”
Her firm has been acknowledged by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce for empowering and educating girls about their automobiles to allow them to be safer on the street. Handley has additionally relied on the native startup group to develop Girlie Storage by way of accelerator applications comparable to Stella Labs.
Folks typically discover Girlie Storage by way of social media and it permits Handley to attach with clients throughout San Diego County and the US with out leaving her dwelling in Linda Vista.
For $60 for a half-hour session session, Handley will enable you to reply questions on your automobile — what’s that bizarre noise it is making or is a restore estimate cheap — over the cellphone , through Facetime or Zoom. It is a mannequin extra folks have turn into comfy with for the reason that pandemic, she stated.
Handley is aware of what inquiries to ask to diagnose mechanical issues after years of working for the Ferrari Problem, a world racing competitors, and in numerous jobs within the business.
She additionally affords one-on-one periods for $120 to show folks the fundamentals of their private automobile. For individuals who aren’t wanting to open their hood to examine the oil or the considered altering a tire appears daunting, she walks you thru it.
Handley stated in case your aim is handy over your keys to a mechanic and never get entangled, then his companies aren’t for you.
“I would like individuals who care about their automobile,” she stated. “I would like individuals who perceive that data is one thing you carry round for the remainder of your life.”
That is precisely how Pacific Seashore resident Hayley Watson felt after working with Girlie Storage. Handley taught him easy methods to change the headlights on his 2011 Toyota Corolla — a wanted restore that had Watson pressured about evening driving.
“It was so easy and it wasn’t scary,” Watson stated. “As a result of I might instantly assume if I put my hand beneath the hood as if my hand was going to get reduce or burned.”
Watson stated she felt supported by way of the method and empowered on the finish as a result of Handley confirmed her each step in a caring, non-judgmental manner.
In his one-on-one periods, Handley teaches different expertise like easy methods to mount your automobile and alter a tire.
Talena Handley, the founding father of an organization referred to as Girlie Storage, offered a one-on-one automobile session for the 2007 Volvo from UT small enterprise reporter Natallie Rocha. (Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Talena Handley, left, educates Natallie Rocha, small enterprise reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune, on automobile restore to exhibit her academic consultations with clients. Girlie Storage proprietor Handley exhibits Rocha the place to place a automobile jack on her 2007 Volvo on Wednesday, September 21, 2022. (Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Talena Handley, founding father of Girlie Storage, demonstrates easy methods to examine a tire’s tread put on throughout an indication for the Union-Tribune. (Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Talena Handley, founding father of Girlie Storage, discusses the significance of utilizing a automobile guide throughout a protest for the San Diego Union-Tribune on Wednesday, September 21, 2022. (Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Talena Handley, 34, began her personal enterprise referred to as Girlie Storage the place she educates folks, normally over the cellphone, Zoom or FaceTime, on easy methods to repair their automobile. (Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
She’ll patiently clarify again and again the catchy “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” mnemonic for loosening a bolt and hitting 5 clients after they’ve carried out it. Handley is ready to clarify the technical mechanics behind energy steering and in the identical breath make it comprehensible.
Making this data extra accessible and fewer intimidating is one thing she additionally tries to do with the web movies she creates.
Each week, Handley sits cross-legged in entrance of his bike and makes academic movies for YouTube and TikTok that present folks fast and soiled “how-tos.”
Handley views her social media as a marker of her firm’s progress over the previous two years. Her YouTube channel has racked up 2,000 subscribers and she or he stated her viewership greater than doubled this yr with out spending cash on promoting.
She makes cash from her on-line movies, nevertheless it’s nonetheless not sufficient to help her startup. Handley calls the previous black Honda Civic her “workplace” as a result of she makes use of it for cellular mechanic jobs that assist pay the payments whereas she grows Girlie Storage.
A typical theme in his “easy methods to” movies are the phrases “exchange” and “restore”. Within the trunk of her “workplace,” Handley retains a compartmentalized plastic briefcase with spare nuts and bolts she salvaged from the junkyard.
She makes use of the academic side of Girlie Storage to point out those who there is no such thing as a must throw away one thing that works.
It is a lesson she realized as a toddler, serving to repair classic vehicles together with her grandfather, who was a part of a Mannequin T automobile membership. She remembers utilizing instruments electrical energy and placing on glasses on the age of 10 to assist him repair the rusty hood of his Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.
Now that she helps folks repair vehicles for a dwelling, Handley will get requested every kind of automotive questions. However, there’s one query he will get requested on a regular basis: what’s your favourite kind of automobile?
“I deal with vehicles very like you deal with footwear,” she stated. “You may have them for various causes, so I am unable to decide only one.”