Rent The Runway

November 9, 2009 by USA Post 

This is one of those ideas that must have would-be Internet entrepreneurs slapping their foreheads wondering why they didn’t think of it first. An idea so simple, yet so appealing — and well-timed — that it has success written all over it. Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss, two recent grads of Harvard Business School, came up with the idea after watching Jennifer’s sister agonize over whether to buy a certain dress for an occasion that she was only likely to wear once or twice. That’s what inspired Rent the Runway, their online rental business for couture and designer clothing that works a bit like Netflix for fashion victims (or fashion “victors,” as the case may be here).


In the first two weeks since launch, Carter and Hyman told the New York Times that 20,000 women have signed up for the service, which is currently invitation-only to give it an air of exclusivity. The service rents more than 160 styles and features high-end designer togs from the likes of Diane von Furstenberg, Herve Leger, Proenza Schoulerand, and “Project Runway’s” fourth-season winner, Christian Siriano, whose dresses, which sell for up to $3,000 but can can be rented for about $200.

There is a similar service for designer handbags called Bag, Borrow or Steal (“Bag, Borrow or Rent” isn’t nearly as catchy is it?).

– Richard Metzger

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