Rent the Runway: Necessity Was the Mother of Invention
Back in 2009, two women named Jennifer partnered up for business with a bold vision. It was a business plan steeped in personal observations about the world around them — specifically, the way women were asked to shell out cash basically every time they were invited to a formal event. Jennifer Hyman’s sister spent thousands of dollars on a gown for formal event, plunging her into credit card debt. When Hyman mentioned this to Fleiss, the two women started cooking up some ideas. After all, when men attended formal events, the vast majority just rented tuxedos. Why couldn’t it be the same for women?
An Empire Begins
Rent the Runway started small, but it took off with a vengeance. At first, some fashion designers expressed reticence about being on the RTR roster, believing that it might somehow diminish the value of their gowns. It wasn’t long before some of these same designers would be begging RTR to include their dresses. And it also wasn’t long before Rent the Runway started to expand the business. Including accessories and handbags, they supplied women with everything they might need for a big night out on the town. Eventually, they would even roll out a successful subscription service. For just a few hundred bucks a month, a woman could gain access to seemingly never-ending treasure trove of designer clothes. It was a game changer for many.
A Valuation of $750 Million
For over a decade now, Rent the Runway has proven its worthiness. The team always seems to be ahead of the curve, providing consumers with the garments they crave most. As graduates of Harvard Business School, these two entrepreneurs have demonstrated their unique business savvy — time and time again. Back in July, they created a private filing to go public, bringing their expertise to the masses as an investment opportunity. With all of this company’s laurels — it made the CNBC Disruptor 50 list a whopping five times — the public will undoubtedly be thrilled to become a part of its success.
Imitation Is the Best Form of Flattery
In recent years, the rise of companies such as ThredUp has proven that RTR’s success is not just a one-off. For convenience, sustainability and a whole host of other reasons, the world has warmed up to the idea of secondhand clothing. And Rent the Runway plans to capitalize off this.