To help consumers rent clothing for a special occasion or everyday life, online platforms are connecting borrowers with those looking to rent out clothing through emerging peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. RentMyCloset, for instance, allows consumers to share their fashions with the world and borrow clothing from others. The site is a “web-based platform,” RentMyCloset Co-Founder Christian Parent told PYMNTS in an interview, although, “we want to have a mobile app in the future.” The website has two sides to its marketplace, with people who are listing items on one side of the equation and the other side for those looking to rent items.
On the listing side, consumers can put items from their closet for rent on the platform. Listings can be an entire outfit or an individual item. The platform accepts both men’s and women’s clothing. To put an article of clothing or an outfit on the site, listers only have to provide a few points of information. For starters, the company needs a name for the listing. That could be as straightforward as distressed jeans with Express button-up men’s shirt. In another case, a lister can say what kind of occasion for which consumers should wear the outfit or article of clothing — a date night, for example. The company also asks for sizing information as well as a photo.
The lister entirely determines the price. “They can charge as much or as little as they want,” Parent said. And, once consumers have all the information about their listing filled out on the site, they can submit it for the company’s team to review. And consumers can repeat the process as many times as they’d like.
On the other side of the marketplace, renters can search for an item by filtering by occasion. The site has four main occasions like date night outfits, professional outfits that one may wear to an interview, lifestyle clothing and special event fashion items.
The Renting Experience
If consumers see a listing that they like, they can select the dates they would like to make the rental. That rental is subject to the availability of the outfit or the item. If someone else is renting it during the time period that the customer requests, it is not available. But if the item is available, consumers can make the rental. Consumers can directly rent the item, or a lister can make it possible to negotiate. (Some people choose that option at the time of listing, but it’s entirely up to their discretion.) Once the rental becomes finalized, consumers can either choose to pick up the rental or have it delivered. Pickup points are usually public locations. At the University of Texas at Austin campus, for instance, people can, say, meet at the library.
When it comes to the business model, those who upload an item to the site receive 70 percent of the rental. The remaining 30 percent goes to the platform as a commission. If someone lists an item for $100, he or she receives $70, while the site receives $30. Some of the least expensive outfits on the website are for $15 to $10 per day. Other outfits that would retail for over $1,000 have gone for $100 or so. As of this writing, the platform featured individual items ranging from a black cocktail dress to an outfit called the “staycation.” That listing comes with an Urban Outfitters blue short sleeve linen button-up and Urban Outfitters flamingo tapered shorts. And “The Icon” comes with a Topman Plum suit jacket, Topman Plum suit pants and American Eagle white button-down shirt.
In terms of pricing, people are free to list an outfit at whatever price they see fit. The best recommendation the company gives is about 10 to 15 percent of the price for which the outfit or item would retail. The company finds that to be a “pretty good range” for what is a reasonable rental, Parent said. In terms of ages of customers on the platform, RentMyCloset’s demographic is 18 to 26. The firm has found its demographic to be college students to young professionals transitioning into the working world.
Through the help of peer-to-peer networks that connect borrowers with renters, innovators aim to help consumers access fashions for every occasion through the on-demand model.