America’s millennial generation, which refers to those born after 1990, is comfortable sharing or borrowing items through membership services rather than owning things. This value system is epitomized by an on-line fashion rental service based in New York called Rent the Runway (www.renttherunway.com), which is getting much attention.
The company was founded in 2009 by two women, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, who met at Harvard Business School. By effectively solving management issues, such as the availability of clothing sizes and the clothes’ wear and tear, the company has seen a dramatic growth and now has approximately 5 million members.
Last year, Rent the Runway opened its first showroom, which is by appointment only. The third showroom opened on September 6 of this year. A stylist selects several pieces of clothes based on the client’s preferences and purposes. This consultation service costs $25 for 45 minutes, or $40 for 90 minutes. The clothes can be rented for a four-day or eight-day period at about one tenth of the retail price. To ensure that the clothes fit properly, the company sends the client two different sizes.
In the future, Rent the Runway will focus more on daily clothes at the forefront of women’s trends, catering to those with a high sense of fashion. The company’s business model is a perfect fit for the younger generation which is not obsessed with personal ownership.