If you can’t afford labels like Ritu Kumar, Varun Bahl, Shantanu & Nikhil and other high-end brands, there is no reason to get dismayed. You can now rent these branded apparels and accessories for a limited period and a modest price.
Yamini, a Delhi resident who rented a dress from one of the apparel-renting platforms for her sister’s marriage, believes such platforms are crucial for your last-minute shopping needs. Narrating her experience, she said, “A day before my cousin’s wedding, my dress had glitches and I had no plan-B. After lots of fretting and tears, I looked for rental clothing and Flyrobe came to my rescue. I had to make an urgent request for tailored fit and delivery, furthermore, even the location was beyond the delivery circle, however, the customer service was impromptu which took my fittings details online itself and delivered the dress to me sooner than expected. The fitting was perfect and the dress saved
While there is no doubt that offline apparel-renting platforms are both an economical and convenient option for customers, these outlets are equally lucrative for the owners as well.
Speaking about the reason for investing in offline clothing rental stores, Shreya Mishra, co-founder, Flyrobe, said, “We were getting a lot of requests from customers asking if they could try our products before ordering—so we launched a small studio in Delhi especially for brides and grooms to come and try the products as they were high value products. That studio became a big success and we decided to go deeper into the offline model. As of now we have three stores and we are launching 4-5 more stores this quarter.”
Opening up on the revenue generating potential of these stores, Mishra added, “Just three months into the launch of our stores, there are already stores that are contributing to 30% of our revenues. Stores are also a profitable channel for us as the order values there are higher—once a customer sees the products in person they have higher trust on the service and are willing to make higher value purchases.”
Elaborating on the purpose and facilities available at these outlets, Mishra said, “Each of our stores has a curated selection of 300-400 items for customers to browse and try our collection. There are fashion consultants at each store who help our customers find the right look for their event and style their outfit with our jewellery collection. We also have shoes for sale in our stores which customers can buy to match their outfits. We often times also conduct events at our stores like a wedding show where customers get to browse our entire bridal/ groom collection under one roof for a few days and meet our senior stylists.”
Flyrobe was first launched online in September 2015 by three IIT Bombay graduates—Shreya Mishra, Pranay Surana and Tushar Saxena. Currently, it has an online presence in 10 cities along with having three offline stores in two cities—Mumbai and Delhi.
Neeraj Wadhera, co-founder, Wrapd, (an online and offline platform to rent designer clothing and accessories) underlining the need of offline stores said, “We believe offline is the way to go. People want to touch, feel, see, and try the outfits before they decide to rent them. It can’t be done online. Online can be an offshoot not the tree itself.”
Wadhera acknowledging the initial skepticism added, “they (consumers) slowly and hesitantly tried, adopted, talked about and finally recommended Wrapd. We have grown to five stores courtesy word of mouth largely.”
About the availability of plethora of brands, he said, “You name it and we have it. If we don’t have it, tell us, we’ll try to incorporate it. We grew by talking and listening to our customers. If your choice of outfit is not in your size or the clour of your choice, we can customize it according to your demand.”
The offline store also has a fashion advisor to guide the customer according to the occasion and preferences.
A collaboration of Wadhera and Anunay Arora, Wrapd, was launched in 2015. The clothing-rental store delivers in six cities and has offline stores in Delhi, Hyderabad and Jaipur.
Akshay Taneja of Rent A Closet said, “The store serves as an experience centre to customers looking for the ultimate designer wear. With over 200 items to select from, customers can try lehengas, anarkalis, cocktail gowns, saris, other fusion wear and accessories for occasions and family function.”
On these rental-stores being cost-effective Taneja said, “Clients are more than thrilled to embrace this new concept that saves them money, closet space and other hassles, especially since free alterations, delivery, pickup and dry cleaning comes with the service.”
“Customers who visit the store can experience our luxury designer wear by trying outfits and accessories. They can ask for fashion advice about which pieces will suit them best, give their measurements to our fitting experts and book the outfit they like,” he added.
Rent A Closet, started in 2016 and is managed by CEO Taneja and celebrity designer Varun Bahl is the brand’s mentor. Offering rental services in Delhi-NCR and Punjab, the platform has a store in Delhi.
The rent for clothes on Flyrobe is usually 15% of the cost, and the minimum cost is Rs. 900 for a light festive anarkali for women or kurta pyjama for men and can go all the way up to Rs. 30,000 for a designer bridal lehenga or sherwani. The minimum rent at Wrapd is around Rs 1000 and maximum touches Rs 20,000. At Rent A Closet the rental range begins at as low as Rs 1299. The average rental varies from Rs 3000 – Rs 5000.
While there are many other online rental stores like Stage3, Swishlist etc, not many of them have yet started their offline presence. However, some offer trial appointments on request of the customer.