Rent the Runway
Apparently, investors are banking on a strong rental market--clothing rental, that is. According to WWD, Highland Capital and Bain Capital have contributed what amounts to more than $15 million to support extensive growth among all aspects of the business. The staff of 30 full-time and 10 part-time employees recently relocated to a 9,000-square-foot space in Tribeca, while co-founders Jennifer Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman told WWD the site has amassed 500,000 members since its launch last November, with an average of 20,000 new members being added each week and inventory spanning more than 100 designers. Plans to double orders are already in place for fall.
Gilt Groupe and its many imitations has proven that high-end online bargain shopping was worth the investment, having blown out their own business in just two short years. And while the rental concept hasn't been as surefire, RTR has faith in the strength of the business model and apparently, so do their deep-pocketed investors. Members can use the service by renting a garment for about one-tenth its purchase price, and may keep it for 4-8 days before returning.
RTR works to maintain its lead in the market by keeping a carefully-edited selection of current-season items, and caring for the worn garments with the most sophisticated cleaning and tailoring methods: in addition to a luxury green dry cleaner, the company also employs a garment preservationist to inspect and approve each returned item. According to the article, Hyman says that of more than 15,000 dresses rented, impressively, only one has been ruined.