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Rent the Runway eyes $1.3B valuation: How these female founders made fashion subscription service a huge success?

Rent the Runway
Image credits: Rent the Runway

New York-based Rent the Runway is an online e-commerce website that allows women to rent designer apparel and accessories. Recently, the company expanded its initial public offering (IPO) and priced the shares at the highest to raise $357 million.

A day prior to this, the company sold 17 million shares for $21 each after marketing 15 million shares for $18 to $21 each, added a statement.

With this listing, Rent the Runway attained a market value of $1.3 billion that is based on the outstanding shares that are listed in its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Furthermore, the company could have a fully diluted value of nearly $1.5 billion. Previously, the company had a valuation of $870 million after its funding in April.

Led by women entrepreneur duo

Rent the Runway was founded in 2009 by Jenn Hyman and Jenny Fleiss. The idea of renting clothes started when Jenn’s younger sister Becky showed her a $2,000 designer dress she bought for a wedding. Eventually, she splurged into credit card debt. This made Jenn wonder that it would be smarter to rent designer items than buying them. After the Thanksgiving break, she returned to Harvard Business School and shared the idea with Jenny, her friend.

Initially, they set up a pop-up shop on Havard’s campus where students could try on and rent dresses. They took the help of core members of the current and interns to create a website for Rent the Runway and launched the startup in November 2009.

Get the complete look

Run the Runway disrupted the trillion-dollar fashion industry with its concept that lets customers swap clothes. They changed the way women get dressed forever with their pioneering ‘Closet in the Cloud’ concept, a dream closet filled with an infinite selection of designer styles that can be rented, worn and returned or kept.

Making it appealing for women who want to look trendy without spending a lot on purchasing every single item, Rent the Runway lets them get every trend, color and print for a fraction of the cost.

Furthermore, they have been expanding their closet since the past decade to help their community to save time, money and have more fun getting dressed. They have included designer necklaces, earrings and handbags that will give a complete look.

Serves all sizes

While plus size women are usually left with not much choice, Rent the Runway works with the mission to democratize designer fashion and eyes to give everyone the self-confidence that makes them look good and feel the best. To continue its mission, they have added an assortment of plus size items from 14-22+ to their portfolio.

After experimenting with ‘shop in shops’ New York and Las Vegas, they opened their first-ever standalone store in the Flatiron building in New York City.

Unique clothing rental subscription

Rent the Runway has transformed the way people get dressed with its one-of-a-kind clothing rental subscription that has revolutionized the fashion industry and the way people experience it. To date, these memberships have provided customers with more access and flexibility to

To date, RTR continues to evolve its memberships to provide people with more access and flexibility to a wide closet of designer styles to choose from.

Behind the scenes of renting clothes

When a customer rents a product Rent the Runway’s closet, it goes through a multistep process in their 150,000-square-foot fulfillment center.

Firstly, Rent the Runway barcodes each item and keeps a track on the stock. Workers inspect the items for rips, spots, tears, and odor. If the quality standards are not met, then the pieces go back for cleaning or repair or end up in the bins. There are automated steam cleaning machines in the facility as well. Notably, Rent the Runway is the largest dry cleaner in the US.

Once the required cleaning and mending tasks are done, each order is checked, assembled, and bagged for shipment. A computer system is deployed to estimate the most cost-effective way to send the item, and make sure it is sent to the customer.

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