In 2008, Jennifer Hyman was in New York City on Thanksgiving break from her second year at Harvard Business School when her younger sister Becky showed off a $1,600 Marchesa dress she had just purchased for a wedding. The price tag was far out of Becky’s budget, and Hyman, after seeing the “kazillion other dresses” in Becky’s closet, asked her sister why she couldn’t just wear one of those. The three-pronged answer: She didn’t like any of them anymore; she had already been photographed in all of them (and pictures from the wedding would go all over Facebook); and she couldn’t stand to repeat an outfit.
Becky had a closet full of dresses, but nothing to wear and Jennifer saw a business opportunity. What if Becky and others like her could have access to their dream closet—a new dress for every occasion? And what if designers were able to get their pieces into the hands of young, fashionable women?
She brought the story back to her friend Jennifer Fleiss, and together they created Rent the Runway, a website for renting women’s evening-wear that has been called the “Netflix for dresses.”
Co-founders Jennifer Hyman (Jenn) and Jennifer Fleiss (Jenny) met as section mates at Harvard Business School, where they became fast friends. Jenn told Jenny about Becky’s dilemma, and they started creating a company. They met with top designers and retailers and soon Rent the Runway was born—a community designed to fill the needs of women who know and love high fashion, and want to look glamorous for all their nights out, and experiment with new brands, without the anxiety of investing in piece after piece.
Users benefit from the expertise of professional stylists and the shared wisdom of like-minded fashion-forward members. Through exclusive relationships with top designers, Rent the Runway is able to continually update its stock with the latest pieces.
Here’s how it works: search their collection of dresses and accessories for your rental date (they recommend 1 or 2 days before the event), then filter by designer, price, length and style to narrow down your favorites.
Once you’ve selected your items, book for a 4 day or 8 day rental period. They also offer all the essential extras like Spanx and fashion tape. Your order will arrive by 8 pm on your delivery date via UPS (or by courier in NYC).
After your night out, send back your items in the easy, pre-paid envelope provided and they’ll take care of the dry cleaning.
They guarantee you’ll look and feel fabulous, thus they offer a free second size with every rental. Plus, you can order an additional style—of equal or lesser value—for just $32.50.
They even have experienced fabulous fashionistas called Go-To-Girls on call who will help you figure out what works best for your style, body and upcoming events. You can reach them via phone, chat or email.
If the dress or dresses you receive doesn’t fit, they will overnight you another one in time for your event.
If you receive your dresses and need an alternate size, or just want a new look, contact them right away so they can ship you another available style in the same price tier for just the cost of shipping.
Featured designers include Badgley Mischka, Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer, Nicole Miller and Vera Wang, in addition to many more.
Rent the Runway is a revolutionary way to shop. You can rent a dress that retails for over $1,000 for under $100. Call a Go-To-Girl at 1.800.509.0842, the next time you have nothing to wear.