Want to rent a dress? No thanks!

Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss, both Harvard graduates, have just started up a new venture online called Rent-the-runway. I joined up last week and I have to say I got exactly what I thought I would – dresses that I would never wear for a price that wasn’t exactly fantastic.  I was hoping that these clever ladies would present me with something fantastic, unlike the companies that have come before them but it appears they have a ways to go.

If you don’t have dresses that are on trend you won’t get clients. I would love to know how they are making their money from this as well. It’s a huge risk to take as most of the dresses are advertised at being over $500 which adds up to quite a large investment. They would have to rent the dress over ten times and hope that it remains in rentable condition with each return. It is awfully risky. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to have the designers giving you their dresses to rent instead of paying for them in the hopes that a girl wears the dress once and absolutely has to buy it or another by the same designer?  And can you buy it if you love it on a discount from the site since it is used?

There are, however, a few things that they do handle much better than the sites that have come into existence before them. For one, they give you a bag for which you are able to simply drop the dress back in the post to them directly after wearing. They take care of the dry cleaning once it is received. But here is another big risk…if you rent the dress and say spill a bottle of red wine on yourself, the dress you just paid £50 to wear has become yours with a mighty large pricetag you were hoping to avoid.

Frankly ladies we just need to be more clever in wearing what we can afford. Be creative and impress people with your talent for being original rather than being a sheep who rents dresses off the internet. I certainly wouldn’t admit to such a thing if asked where I got the dress I was wearing…

But I look forward to being proven wrong if this business manages to take off!
So far at least they have proved to be quite the press machine. Check out their coverage in the NY Times.

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