NCR-based online fashion rental service has more than one lakh registered users. It aims to expand to five new cities and hit Rs 1.5 crore in revenue by March 2018.
Remember the scene in the Sex and the City movie where a bemused Carrie Bradshaw (aka Sarah Jessica Parker) asks her assistant-to-be (Jennifer Hudson) how she can afford a high-end designer handbag. The label-crazy assistant credits a designer bag rental service for her arm candy for the week.
The first designer bag rental service may have started in Seattle years back, but it gave wings to the idea of rented fashion across the world.
Enter RENT IT BAE, an Indian fashion rental startup that believes every woman should dress beautifully every day, without having to spend a fortune. The startup, launched in Delhi last August, offers major brands and designer labels on rent at 10 percent to 15 percent of retail prices.
RENT IT BAE was founded by lawyer Aanchal Saini, who’s now the CEO and head of business development. She founded the startup with her husband, Jaspreet Singh Gujral, a management professional who had earlier co-founded tech services startup Pronto IT Labs with Amit Sharma (now Chief Strategic Officer at RIB), and Karandeep Singh Gujral, the Chief Technology Officer who earlier worked with Google and several Fortune 500+ companies.
The online premium rental service promises to bring the latest fashion to your doorstep. The founders believe they can help you reinvent your closet and rid a woman of a recurring nightmare – having nothing to wear. RENT IT BAE offers a variety of clothes and accessories from popular brands, including highstreet and luxury labels.
How RENT IT BAE works
RENT IT BAE targets women in the age group of 20-40 years with an annual income of Rs 2 lakh and above. In a first in India, RENT IT BAE has introduced an unlimited Fashion Subscription Model for Rs 3,999 per month. The team also provides a personalised delivery system and in-house delivery experts for the best user experience.
One can simply pick an outfit or an accessory and rent it for the occasion. The rental period is always 4 days. Deposits are only taken against high-end brands and ethnic outfits. Fashion subscription is a separate feature built for users to pay monthly and get new outfits every day.
Not only does fashion meet technology at RENT IT BAE, the startup also has an in-house brand which is curated by their own stylists and offers unique designs which are not easily available in the market.
RENT IT BAE guarantees there will be no icky factor at wearing clothes that are not your own; it promises proper hygiene courtesy dry cleaning and sanitisation of every product.
Customer feedback is very important to RENT IT BAE’s functioning, including procuring inventory. They introduced RENT-A-TRUNK, a customised vacation package, on popular demand.
RENT IT BAE’s initial stages of marketing focused on social media platforms like Facebook, Google, Roposo and Instagram. Gradually, the fashion rental startup built a strong pool of social media influencers and bloggers. It recently tied up with celebrities, including Bani J, Daisy Shah and Nitibha Kaul, which Aanchal says has contributed to “customer retention”.
The burgeoning fashion-on-rent market
The rental market has been present in India for more than a decade. However, it has been limited to wedding lehengas and bridal jewellery. In the last couple of years, a shared economy has evolved with startups like Elanic and Coutloot selling pre-owned fashion while the likes of Flyrobe, Blinge, and LibeRent made it mainstream to rent out designer wear.
RENT IT BAE considers itself a pioneer in this space.
Aanchal says they have been educating women about these new-found ways to stay fashionable and have received a very positive response. She adds that RENT IT BAE has “seen a better and mature market in a short span, and that the future is certainly bright”.
RENT IT BAE was bootstrapped for the first year as the founders wanted to understand the market and identify peak business seasons. They have now started to pitch to investors to support expansion plans.
The team has 35 employees including IT professionals, the brand development and marketing team, fashion styling/procurement team, warehouse and delivery personnel. Their web/mobile development platform is managed by (in-house development arm) Pronto IT Labs.
“The look and feel of our web portal has been totally revamped to improve usability and enhance customer experience,” Aanchal says.
Selling the idea of niche renting was the most difficult task for Aanchal and her team. On the flip side, their biggest success has been steadily making women accept new ways of enjoying high-end fashion.
“Last New Year’s Eve, we delivered more than 100 orders in a single day,” Aanchal says.
In response to customers’ queries, the team is also launching a men’s collection by the end of this quarter.
RENT IT BAE claims to have 45% repeat rate and aims to improve the number to 52 percent by next quarter. Currently present in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Faridabad, the startup wants to expand operations to Jaipur, Chandigarh, and Ludhiana, and achieve Rs 1.5 crore in revenue by March 2018.
RENT IT BAE currently has more than one lakh registered users and a GMV of Rs 80 lakh (till date).
According to a PWC report, the global sharing economy will generate potential revenue of $335 billion by 2025. In terms of value, the global online clothing rental market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 9.8 percent and is expected to be valued at US$ 1,952.4 million by the end of 2026.
The Indian fashion rental market is expected to range between $2-3 billion.
Rental commerce has matured as a market for startups in India, thanks to digitisation and the e-commerce boom. The urban millennial generation is at ease renting everything from vehicles and furniture to fashion and even home appliances. In fact, the name RENT IT BAE was chosen as it not only reflects the business but also resonates with the youth.
The subscription model may give RENT IT BAE an advantage in customer retention. Once the intricacies of reverse logistics and refurbishment are done, will RENT IT BAE dominate the fashion rental sector? It just may, for, which woman would not want something new to wear every other day?
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- Amit Sharma
- Delhi Startup
- Aanchal Saini
- online fashion rental service
- Jaspreet Singh Gujral
- Karandeep Singh Gujral
- designer wear for rent