It’s been pretty a 12 months for the high-cease apparel rental service Rent the Runway. After a $one hundred twenty-five million investment improve from Franklin Templeton Investments and Bain Capital Ventures, the New-York based totally agency reached $1 billion unicorn status.
In an interview with CNBC, co-founder and modern-day CEO Jennifer Hyman (who started out the company in 2009 with her Harvard Business School classmate Jennifer Fleiss) stated the investment would supply the enterprise flexibility to “time the IPO for whilst Rent the Runway may have the quality fulfillment.”
As a long-time Rent the Runway consumer, I became thrilled to see an email in my inbox these days addressing some of the company’s customer support issues – an indicator that the company is keen on perfecting their version before taking the corporation public.
In the past, the predominantly shop-from-domestic service has been plagued by lawsuits about gradual shipping times, the unavailability of well-timed customer service (as an instance, a talk carrier that hardly ever seems to be to be had), and nice manage problems while its customer base has grown to 8 million customers.
Simply titled “We’re Sorry,” today’s e-mail addressed those troubles head-on, acknowledging customer frustrations and promising to “reestablish the level of customer support [customers] both count on and deserve from Rent the Runway.”
Hyman mentioned that transparency becomes key to this manner. She promised a doubling of the customer service crew, new equipment to assist customers manage their accounts without ready a day or greater for a reply, a brand new Twitter account for customer service at @rtrhelp, and a brand new three hundred,000 square foot achievement facility in Arlington, TX in order to expedite delivery and returns. Before its remaining commencing week, there was simplest one place to ship orders again, in Secaucus, New Jersey. The e mail additionally announced a series of stay Twitter “RTR Town Halls” over the next month for clients to percentage feedback.
For customers who’ve been annoyed with the provider within the past, it’s a welcome acknowledgment of some of the organization’s flaws and a seemingly authentic desire to get it proper. Hyman even stated that it’d been an “interesting and sometimes bumpy journey.”
Clothing condominium offerings – along with ones like Armoire and LeTote (full disclosure: I’m a customer of all three services) – have become wildly famous on the heels of education campaigns approximately the superb quantity of waste produced with the aid of the apparel industry. The World Economic Forum estimates that the common American disposes of 81lbs of unwanted clothing every 12 months. The rise of fast fashion method that apparel doesn’t final as long and finally ends up in landfills at astounding rates. Our preference to continuously have new matters combined with a flourishing $2.Four trillion enterprise that preys on materialism manner that a hundred billion objects of garb are now produced yearly, 50% of which can be disposed of inside 12 months.
Add to this the growing issues over sweatshop labor and different environmental impacts of manufacturing clothing – it’s the second one maximum polluting enterprise on the earth, at the back of oil – and it’s easy to peer why apparel apartment is at the upward push. If things don’t alternate, by way of 2050, experts have predicted that the style enterprise will deplete 25% of the sector’s carbon budget.
Even sustainable apparel agencies that lessen the number of pesticides and different waste produced still adhere to a linear financial system in which each object is produced only to be bought, worn, and disposed of — clothing apartment offerings goal to make fashion circular, reusing materials rather than losing them. Giving every item of garb a longer lifestyles is a huge energy-saver, and higher-first-class apparel (together with mending offerings) guarantees that pieces may be rented out for years.
Of course, troubles continue to be with the circular gadget utilized by style condominium, both monetary and environmental – especially transportation and cleansing costs. Curiously, there’s been very little research or transparency with regards to assessing the effect of cleaning garments and transporting them all around the u. S . A. For clothing apartment offerings. While Rent the Runway has a handful of brick-and-mortar stores in large cities, in addition, to dropping bins in some WeWork and Nordstrom locations (though these nevertheless need to be transported to the warehouse) and Armoire just unfolded their first in Seattle, the substantial majority of garb is shipped through UPS. And purchaser complaints approximately slow shipping will only place more stress on companies to ship extra, and quicker.
Perhaps that’s the rate we must pay to reduce down on ruinous fast fashion, but I know what I’ll be asking at those Rent the Runway town halls.
In the cease, there are such a lot of motives to reduce down on apparel waste, but the services imparting to assist reduce its need to work well on the way to make it take place. Otherwise, humans will head again to rapid style to fill out their wardrobes.
It’s heartening to peer the largest condo provider within the usa acknowledge its flaws and make strides to enhance customer support, so there are fewer barriers to taking part in this burgeoning round financial system.