Occasions make large wardrobes. While your day to day usage probably ranges between 4 - 5 pairs of clothes, the rest is often stuff you originally bought for an occasion. Those clothes are expensive and you would rarely get a chance to actually wear it. The west has a solution for this, where there are businesses rent these clothes at a fraction of the cost. There are very few businesses who do this in India as well, who do this and today, we have one such player in Wrapd. The team of Neeraj Wadhera and Anunay Arora currently run the service in two places in New Delhi. You could go to either of their shops, choose the clothing of your choice and book it for a fee. A day before the event, you can collect it and use it for the next 48 hours, and return it to them.
I spoke with Anunay Arora to understand a little more about this business.
From home business to Lajpat Nagar
Anunay shared that he has recently joined Neeraj in this business, which she started 3 years ago, as Rent a Party Dress. He says, "Neeraj was running this from out of her house. It was running at a small scale. When I heard about this, we sat down and discussed about where she would like to take this interesting business - there was a big opportunity in the space. So we invested our own money into this and we rebranded to Wrapd. We opened a store in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi."
When compared to the response they received in the last 3 years from their older outlet, Anunay shared that the Lajpat Nagar branch is seeing better response, which he credits to the location and rebranding. He says, "There's real value in what we're giving out - our customers can buy what they'd buy for 50 - 60 thousand rupees for a fraction of the cost. In fact, I recently asked one my customers where he heard of us and he said that the store boy at Manyavar, a large traditional clothing retailer, suggested us when he told him that he didn't want to spend 50k for a Sherwani. It's really good to know that!"
Anunay shared that Wrapd is seeing some good traction in these months, owing to the marriage season. He says, "The business is seasonal in nature and yes, the retail side of the business does take a dip during April, May and June. We make up for it by investing time in designing new products and we work with corporates, hotels, modelling agencies etc on corporate assignments."
Anunay believes that the convincing people of the concepts is quite a big challenge. He says, "Even now, people ask us about the clothes' maintenance, as they are used and a lot of time needs to invested in it to make them understand that we've been doing this for the past 3 years. Also, as we're in Lajpat Nagar, there are so many business owners who can come and replicate our designs and put it up for sale. That's something we've got to live with. Furthermore, we believe that value is in the renting model, which others in the vicinity haven't been able to replicate easily."
When asked about what keeps him going, he says, "I don't think you should have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to look great, especially if it's only for one occasion. It is a common problem, and we're a very simple solution for that. It delights our customers. Some days, our shop is filled with people and we're often understaffed. All this makes us do what we do with more care."
On a concluding note, Anunay shared that the response they're getting without much marketing is very overwhelming and they'll be looking to make their Lajpat Nagar branch in Delhi more self sustaining, so they could approach other geographies. He says, "With the availability of more funds, we'll be looking to move to places like Bangalore - we get a lot of queries from there."
Check out Wrapd