Rent the Runway making waves in investments, lessons to be learnt from their success.


Rent the Runway is an American online Apparel company who seem to be breaking boundaries when it comes to women’s fashion.It is an online service that provides designer dress and accessory rentals . It was founded by Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss who met at Harvard Business School and launched the company in November 2009.

Women will be the first to confess that when occasions come up they are almost always at a loss at what to wear and most times they will spend an arm and a leg on an outfit that they will probably be reluctant to wear again(Considering they have flooded their Facebook and Instagram pages with pictures from that event, pictures with repeat outfits are not so cool so Hyman thought of the idea after witnessing her sister spend thousands of dollars on a new designer dress to wear to a wedding, despite already owning several designer dresses, because she did not want to be seen in a dress she had already worn, especially after photos of her wearing those dresses had been posted to social media.

The company has received approximately $126 million in venture capital from Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Condé Nast’s parent company Advance Publications, American Express, and Novel TMT Ventures. As of October 2016, Rent the Runway has over 6 million members, 975 employees, and over 400 designer partners.
The Company was profitable in 2016 on Revenue North of $100 million and have raised a $60 million Investment led by Fidelity Investments.

Lessons to be Learnt from Rent The Runway Success.
  1. Identify solutions to problems: Even without researching the history of the company, immediately i read the business process of the company i knew the problem they were trying to solve, so many of us experience these challenges but it never occurs to us that perhaps they could be a lucrative solution for this.
  2. Discover like minded entrepreneurs:  Hyman and Fleiss(The Founders) Met at Harvard and regularly met up to discuss entrepreneurial ideas, sometimes you need another head to pull out that genius idea from your head, are we constantly hanging out with people who have little or nothing to offer or are we seeking out dream helpers.
  3. Identify a Business Model that works and build on this: it’s no secret that Netflix is an amazing success in the online entertainment industry , the founders expressed their intention to build on the Netflix model ,now they have done this and they are beginning to believe that they can even be bigger than Netflix.
  4. Start Small , Adapt, Grow and Take over: Everybody wants a company the size of a Facebook, Uber or Netflix but they are not willing to crawl before they run. as a budding entrepreneur i can tell you first hand that no matter how ambitious you are those overhead costs can be the dearth of your business, Rent the Runway started as purely an online rental company before growing into the subscription giant they are now.
  5. You cant do it alone, find the right partners: Good partnership is key in any business, if in doubt ask Rent the Runway and Uber founders, imagine the headache it would have caused if this company had depended on a business model where they had to buy all the designer dresses and store them in a warehouse for use by their customers. Instead they partnered with designers who give them the dresses for their customers , in expectation of repeat customers that can be converted to sales, the company in turn provides these designers with data that can influence new trends in the fashion industry.
  6. Expect bumpy rides during the teething period , focus on the goals and let go of the dead weight: Now this point may be extremely controversial considering that Rent the Runway has experienced a significant exodus of their top executive employees. Some of these executives were let go; others left by choice, all this happened within a short period of time. Allegations of a corporate culture at the fashion company that is unwelcoming, stressful, and occasionally hostile were leveled by former employees but the fact is the company itself is doing well. Most times we bring in employees as a start up that form strong bonds with the company, however the sad truth is that in some instances strategies change and the people may refuse to change. Top Management may make hard decisions that may cause conflict in the workplace but the bottom line is what is the final goal?Business Leaders may have to let go of toxic employees for the company to reach its full potential.
  7. Reinvent yourself: In March, Rent the Runway launched Unlimited, a $139-a-month subscription that was the culmination of 20 months of tinkering with other monthly subscriptions that didn’t work. Unlimited lets women rent out three articles of clothing or accessories at any given time — think a jacket, a blouse and a purse — with free deliveries and returns and unlimited swap-outs.This month, the startup unveiled a $65 monthly subscription called StylePass that is good for the rental of one article of clothing per month. The startup also operates about a half-dozen brick-and-mortar showrooms, including one inside a Neiman Marcus department store, with more planned.
This company has certainly re invented itself from when it began in 2009, learning from its failures as a start up and engaging with the ever changing desires of customers. incorporating an overall lifestyle experience to its business model with the aid of improved technology and additional services which include style tips and flexible subscription packages. In other words basically adapting to the changes of an ever demanding customer base, they appear to be keen to continuously re invent themselves and become market leaders in their space.
    With an estimated valuation of $600 million this company seems to be on the move to step out from its teenage phase and enter into the big leagues.

    Are you a budding Entrepreneur contemplating starting up your dream?whats your excuse? Dream, Move, Achieve and Conquer.

    Culled from Sister Site dakkyworkdiaries.