Executive Briefings

Rent the Runway Wants to Replace Your Everyday Wardrobe With Its $89 Monthly Plan

Rent the Runway began eight years ago as a rental service for formal gowns, cocktail dresses and bejeweled accessories. Now the company is doubling down on its efforts to appeal to more women, more often.

Beginning this month, the New York-based service is expanding its subscription program for everyday items, including pants, jackets and sweaters, with a new option that allows customers to rent four items each month for a flat rate of $89. A service the company began last year offers up to four items at a time, with no monthly limit, for $159 per month.

The idea, says chief executive Jennifer Hyman, is to help women pare down their wardrobes. Instead of buying new items each season, they can rent them — and then ship them back when they’re done.

“There is so much waste when it comes to the closet — most women don’t use 80 or 85 percent of what they have,” she said in an interview. “What we offer is newness and variety.”

Experts say the constant chronicling of our lives on social media, combined with the willingness to share the most personal of items, including cars and homes, has made it more palatable for people to borrow the clothes they wear. Services such as Airbnb, Lyft and Uber have gained ground in recent years, causing traditional companies to rethink their business models, too. Discount shoe purveyor DSW is considering adding shoe-rental services at its stores, while Nordstrom has begun testing tuxedo rentals aimed at younger shoppers.

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Beginning this month, the New York-based service is expanding its subscription program for everyday items, including pants, jackets and sweaters, with a new option that allows customers to rent four items each month for a flat rate of $89. A service the company began last year offers up to four items at a time, with no monthly limit, for $159 per month.

The idea, says chief executive Jennifer Hyman, is to help women pare down their wardrobes. Instead of buying new items each season, they can rent them — and then ship them back when they’re done.

“There is so much waste when it comes to the closet — most women don’t use 80 or 85 percent of what they have,” she said in an interview. “What we offer is newness and variety.”

Experts say the constant chronicling of our lives on social media, combined with the willingness to share the most personal of items, including cars and homes, has made it more palatable for people to borrow the clothes they wear. Services such as Airbnb, Lyft and Uber have gained ground in recent years, causing traditional companies to rethink their business models, too. Discount shoe purveyor DSW is considering adding shoe-rental services at its stores, while Nordstrom has begun testing tuxedo rentals aimed at younger shoppers.

Read Full Article