Fashion rental subscription service Le Tote announced Tuesday it had entered into the highly competitive Chinese market, making it the first U.S. subscription service to do so.
Le Tote is a fashion subscription service providing unlimited clothing and accessory rentals for a flat monthly fee, and all curated using the company’s proprietary algorithm. Le Tote China is reportedly in beta, according to a press release, and will open to the public in the spring.
Rakesh Tondon, Le Tote CEO and co-founder, explained that regulatory restrictions are strict in the region, making such expansions difficult. The company’s entrance was made possible through a partnership with seasoned retailer and executive Clement Tang, an 18-year veteran at Belle International, China’s largest shoe retailer.
Le Tote paired its proven U.S. infrastructure with local talent from the booming tech hub of Shenzhen. The brand believes this combination and the support of a local executive team will be the distinguishing factors that allows it to succeed where other U.S. companies have failed.
During beta, 3,000 women will be admitted to the select group of Founding Members. This will give those members premiere access to the service and will generate consumer insights for the brand, Le Tote said, helping the company cater to its new clientele.
“China is a nuanced market with its own cultural norms, standards and expectations,” said Tang, who has been named Le Tote China CEO. “We can’t simply cut and paste the Le Tote experience. We’re eager to work with the Founding Members to deeply understand the market and deliver a service that truly resonates.”
In China, Le Tote will be able to reach a new target demographic of more than 400 million women, and Tondon said there’s plenty of room for growth as the country is undergoing a “middle-class boom.” Average per capita income is growing 10 percent year-over-year, with 60 percent of disposable income going toward fashion.