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Rent The Runway: Fashion Revolution for the Modern Woman

Rent The Runway: Revolutionizing Fashion Rental

Are you tired of the same old outfits taking over your wardrobe? Do you want to spice up your wardrobe game without breaking the bank?

Look no further than Rent The Runway, the subscription-based fashion rental service that is revolutionizing the way women approach fashion.

Overview of Rent The Runway

Founded in 2009, Rent The Runway has become a go-to destination for women who want affordable and stylish options for their fashion needs. The company offers a wide variety of clothing and accessory options, including dresses, tops, pants, bags, jewelry, and more.

The company has quickly cemented itself as a leader in the world of fashion rental, providing its customers with an unparalleled level of convenience, affordability, and quality. Website, Mobile App, and Physical Store Options

Rent The Runway offers a variety of user-friendly options for accessing their rental services.

Their website and mobile app make it easy for customers to browse, view, and rent items at their convenience. In addition, for those who prefer a more hands-on shopping experience, the company also has physical stores in select locations across the United States.

Focus on Female Fashion, with Options for Kids and Furniture Rentals

While Rent The Runway initially focused on womens fashion, the company has since expanded its offerings to include childrens clothing and furniture rentals. The companys offerings cater to women of all sizes, shapes and styles, creating a fashion experience that is inclusive and centered around its customers.

How Rent The Runway Works

Browsing and Renting Process

The browsing and renting process for Rent The Runway is simple and user-friendly. Customers can easily browse through available items on the companys website or mobile app, filtering their search results by size, style, occasion, and more.

Once the customer has selected an item, they are prompted to choose their rental size, rental period, and add any available accessories to complete their look.

Physical Pickup and Mail Delivery Options

Rent The Runway offers both physical pickup and mail delivery options for rental items. Customers in select cities can opt for same-day or next-day pickup of their rental items at a physical Rent The Runway location.

For those who prefer mail delivery, the company provides free shipping for all rental orders over $30.

Inventory Management and Recommendation System

As a fashion rental company, Rent The Runway has a complex inventory management system that ensures that the company has a variety of available items for its customers. The company uses a recommendation system that suggests items based on a customers rental history and browsing patterns, as well as suggestions from Rent The Runways stylist team.

Subscription and Ad-Hoc Rental Options

Rent The Runway offers both subscription and ad-hoc rental options for its customers. Subscription-based rentals provide customers with a set number of items that they can rent per month at a discounted price.

Ad-hoc rentals allow customers to rent items on a one-time basis, with the rental cost varying based on the items retail value.


Rent The Runway has revolutionized the fashion industry by providing a cost-effective and convenient way for women to elevate their fashion game. The companys website, mobile app, physical store locations, and diverse inventory cater to customers of all backgrounds and lifestyles.

Whether you are looking for a specific outfit for a special occasion or just want to experiment with your sense of style, Rent The Runway has something for everyone.

3) A Short History of Rent The Runway

Founding and Early Success

Rent The Runway was founded in 2009 by Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss. The two Harvard Business School graduates were inspired to launch the business when they realized how expensive it was for women to consistently buy new outfits for events.

The company was launched with the goal of providing women with an affordable way to rent designer clothes and accessories for special occasions. The company experienced rapid success and received millions of dollars in venture capital.

By 2012, the company had more than two million members and over five million pieces of clothing and accessories. Rent The Runway had made its mark as a game-changer within the fashion industry.

Challenges with Cultural Problems and Software Issues

Despite being an innovator in the fashion industry, Rent The Runway faced its fair share of challenges. In 2015, the company came under fire when one of its senior executives resigned, citing a toxic work environment.

The resignation sparked a discussion about cultural problems within the company and led to Rent The Runway initiating a large-scale internal investigation. The investigation led to significant changes in the companys leadership and culture, with a renewed focus on employee satisfaction and retention.

In addition to cultural challenges, Rent The Runway faced software issues that impacted its customers’ experiences. In 2016, the company experienced a major technology outage that prevented thousands of customers from receiving their orders.

The technology outage was a major setback for the company and resulted in a public apology from both of its co-founders.

Co-Founder Leaving and New Business Ventures

In 2019, co-founder Jennifer Fleiss announced that she was leaving Rent The Runway to pursue new business ventures. Fleiss had been with the company since its inception and her departure marked a significant milestone for the business.

Despite this setback, Rent The Runway continued to operate successfully, under the leadership of co-founder Jennifer Hyman.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Rent The Runway, as it did with many other businesses in the fashion industry. With the pandemic causing cancellations of events worldwide, the demand for rental clothes decreased drastically.

The company responded by closing its physical stores and shifting its focus to online sales. Rent The Runway also shifted to offering more casual clothing options and expanded its rental offerings to include home decor and childrens clothing.

4) How Does Rent The Runway Make Money

Rent The Runways primary source of revenue comes from its subscription-based model. Customers pay a monthly fee for access to a set number of rental items.

There are six different plan options to choose from, ranging from $69 per month for one item at a time to $159 per month for four items at a time. Customers can also opt for a reserve option, where they pay a one-time fee for a rental item that they would like to wear for a specific event.

In addition to its subscription-based model, Rent The Runway also generates revenue through clothes rental and resale. The company sells some of its pre-owned items on its website, generating revenue from the sale of previously rented items.

Rent The Runway also offers rentals for childrens clothing and furniture, which has helped to expand the company’s revenue streams.


Throughout its history, Rent the Runway has been a trailblazer for the fashion industry. Despite facing challenges early on, the company has continued to thrive and provide customers with a unique and convenient way to enjoy high-end fashion.

Its subscription-based revenue model, six different plan options, reserve option for one-time rentals, clothes rental and resale for kids and furniture rentals, showcase just some of the ways Rent The Runway continues to innovate and keep pace with the dynamic fashion industry. 5) Rent The Runway Funding, Valuation & Revenue

Funding Rounds and Investors

Rent The Runway has undergone several funding rounds since its inception in 2009. In the company’s early stages, it secured investment from venture capitalists such as Highland Capital Partners and Bain Capital Ventures.

Social Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Fidelity have also invested in the company over the years. In 2018, Rent The Runway raised $200 million in a funding round led by investment firm Fidelity.

The round also included participation from new investors like Franklin Templeton, Bain Capital Ventures, and NEA. The funding round brought the companys total funding to over $337 million.

Valuation as a Unicorn at $1.7 Billion

As of 2019, Rent The Runway was valued at $1.7 billion, making it one of only a handful of female-founded companies to achieve unicorn status. Unicorn status refers to a privately held startup that achieves a valuation of over $1 billion.

Rent The Runway achieved this milestone thanks to continued investment and strong growth in its revenue streams.

Revenue Decline due to COVID-19 Pandemic

While Rent The Runway was enjoying healthy growth, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on its revenue. In March 2020, the company announced that it was furloughing a majority of its employees and suspending its business operations.

The shutdown of events and cancellation of plans caused a sharp decrease in demand for rental clothing and accessories, leading to a significant decline in revenue. The company responded by closing its brick-and-mortar stores and shifting its focus to online sales.

Rent The Runway also diversified its offerings by expanding its rental line to include children’s clothing, home decor, and beauty products. Despite these efforts, the companys revenue declined by over 90% during the pandemic, causing significant financial losses.

Recently, Rent The Runway announced that it had secured a new round of funding to help it recover from the impact of the pandemic. The funding round was led by Franklin Templeton and Bain Capital Ventures, among other investors.

The company stated that it will use the funding to pay off debt and expand its offerings.


Rent The Runways funding, valuation, and revenue have fluctuated over the years due to changes in the industry and external factors. While the company has secured several rounds of funding and enjoyed a high valuation as a unicorn startup, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on its finances.

The company has responded by diversifying its rental offerings, closing its brick-and-mortar stores, and securing new funding to help it recover from the pandemic’s impact. Despite the challenges, Rent The Runway remains a leader in the fashion rental industry, and its innovative business model is poised for continued success in the future.

Rent The Runway has revolutionized the fashion industry with its subscription-based fashion rental service. Founded in 2009, the company quickly gained success, securing funding from various investors and achieving unicorn status with a valuation of $1.7 billion.

However, like many businesses, Rent The Runway faced challenges, including cultural problems, software issues, and the significant revenue decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these setbacks, the company has shown resilience by adapting its offerings, closing physical stores, and securing funding for recovery.

The story of Rent The Runway serves as a reminder of the importance of innovation, adaptability, and persevering through challenges in the ever-changing world of fashion.

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