Rent the Runway becoming Resell the Runway
Is Rent the Runway due for a company name change? The women’s clothing rental service says it is entering the resale business, putting it in competition with a growing list of companies chasing the opportunity behind the fastest growing segment of the apparel market.
Rent the Runway has technically always been in the business of selling secondhand clothing. The company, primarily known for renting women’s apparel, has always offered previously worn merchandise for sale at a discount to its subscribers. Even so, co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman was surprised to see resales double during the pandemic months as subscribers chose in larger numbers to hold onto their rentals.
Going forward goods on Rent the Runway will be available for purchase, whether the shopper is a subscriber or not.
“Our goal is to be a fully circular platform where the customer has the flexibility to choose how she wants to consume our products,” Ms. Hyman told Vogue.
“There’s a very broad audience of people who want to consume secondhand, but potentially didn’t come to our platform in the past because they weren’t ready to subscribe, or they didn’t have an upcoming party or event,” she said. “Now, they have the opportunity to experience the quality of our assortment, the diversity of our brands, and the incredible fashion on our platform.”
Rent the Runway moves into a market filled with many players, including Poshmark, ThredUP, The RealReal and StockX, CNBC reports. Mainstream brands and retailers, such as lululemon, Neiman Marcus, Nike, Nordstrom, Levi Strauss and Walmart, are also pursuing secondhand good sales to varying degrees.
Ms. Hyman says she isn’t daunted by the numbers in the market. Fast Company reports that she believes the growing size of the market offers opportunities for a wide variety of companies to enter successfully. She also thinks that her company’s merchandise and shopping experience is differentiated enough to help it stand out.
“The runway feels more like a luxury site than it feels like a treasure hunt,” she said when offering a comparison with The RealReal.
- Rent the Runway is Now a Fully-Fledged Resale Site – Vogue
- Rent the Runway enters $33 billion fashion resale market as it looks to build back from pandemic lows – CNBC
- Forget renting the runway. Now you can own it – Fast Company
- How high can thredUP grow? – RetailWire
- Lululemon to pilot ‘Like New’ clothing test – RetailWire
- Nike decides to ‘just do it’ in the sneaker resale market – RetailWire
- Will Levi’s Secondhand store give the brand a sustainable advantage? – RetailWire
- Is Walmart about to become the king of online resale retailing? – RetailWire
- Will a resale shop deliver bigger sales for Nordstrom? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Rent The Runway’s decision to offer its clothing for sale to non-subscribers add to or detract from its rental business? Do you see the floodgates opening in the resale market with large numbers of established and startup brands rushing in?