Fashion for Rent
Texas entrepreneur launches Airbnb-inspired app for women's closets
Most women have bought something on a whim, only to wear it once or twice, and then tossed it to the back of the closet or into the donation pile. Imagine renting out said item and reclaiming some, if not all, of the initial cost. Stings a little bit less, doesn't it?
Rent My Wardrobe, the new app from Dallas-based entrepreneur Rachel Sipperly, is designed to do just that. A concept similar to Airbnb — but for closets— Rent My Wardrobe gives women the ability to earn income by renting out items already hanging in their closets.
"Companies like Rent the Runway have normalized special occasion rental," says Sipperly. "But this concept presents a monetization opportunity for the two-sided marketplace."
After signing up, members create an online closet to showcase pieces they'd like to rent out to local women. You set the rental fee, fill out a calendar with the item's availability (because there's nothing worse than realizing the dress you want to wear on tonight's date has been loaned out), and interested parties will contact you to arrange a fitting and exchange.
A standard rental is for three days, and the suggested rental rate is 30 percent of the item's retail value, although owners can set it at whatever price they'd like. Parties can even work out details like dry cleaning requirements, but each rental includes a small "apparel assurance" fee.
And, like any peer-to-peer service these days, you rate and review each other as users.
It's like letting girlfriends shop your closet — if you had way more friends and they gave you cash every time they borrowed something.
A budding entrepreneur, 28-year-old Sipperly launched the service to empower other millennials to think like entrepreneurs, becoming financially savvy "girl bosses" in the process.
She plans get the word out by partnering with organizations around the city and pairing girls from affluent high schools with peers in surrounding communities who may be less fortunate. Women from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area have signed up; ultimately, she hopes to expand the service nationwide.
"It's popular to say you care about female empowerment," says Sipperly. "However, this is truly the heartbeat of the company and why it was founded."
So far, designer and high-end dresses such as Alice and Oliva, Eliza J, and BCBG are attracting the most attention, the site says.
Rent My Wardrobe is available for free via iTunes.