Thought about opening an online clothing rental business? Do you love stunning designer dresses (e.g. prom dresses, dance dresses, wedding dresses, pageant dresses, etc)? These beauties are so expensive for young women to buy who have only one occasion to wear the dress.
I personally think this is such a great idea -- especially after shopping for my own elegant wear and for my nieces. . . The prices can really give you sticker shock!! :)
Below is a video below for Rent the Runway -- an current online business specializing in renting dresses and accessories for special occasions. There are some interesting ideas and tips for getting your business started.
Serve this large market by renting your designer dresses online to young women who want an affordable alternative to become Cinderella for an evening.
This internet business idea can initially be started in your home and can grow as large as you wish. You can keep your online clothing rental business local or expand it into other markets.
Initially serve the girls/women in your local community with the dresses they reserve on your online clothing rental business internet site.
Start this home based business by identifying room to store the clothing and/or dresses to keep them clean and in good order.
This is a service I wish I’d had for the special occasions in my life (dances, my wedding, etc.)
Being budget conscious when I was planning my wedding, I was stunned at the price of wedding dresses and bride maid’s dresses. And to this day, my wedding dress is still packed away in its dry cleaning box and I have no idea what I’ll ever do with it?? -:)
Put the magic in your customers' experience and showcase each of the designer dresses with dazzling accessories to put the exclamation point on their perfect evening.
Renting the accessories along with the clothes can boost your rental sales while making it affordable for the young princess to use your online clothing rental business -- ideal for a young woman on a limited budget.
Get security deposits on the dress(es) in case they are not well cared for by the renters.
Establish a written policy on what condition the clothes/accessories must be returned in or the deposit will not be returned in full. Expect certain minor wear-and-tear to the dresses.
Resources: Computer, high-speed internet, inventory tracking software, inventory, dress supplier(s), access to reasonably priced dry cleaning, shipping (for outside of local area). You'll also need garment racks and cases to hold accessories -- look for used fixtures being sold in your area to keep costs to a minimum.
It's might also be a good idea to partner with a local taylor and dry cleaner for repairing and cleaning the clothes.
Time Required: 5-15 hrs/week; can work full-time 30-40+ hrs/week
Training: Basic to Advanced computer skills, inventory management/tracking skills, knowledge of designer clothing outlets, accessorizing skills, wardrobing, and minor sewing skills
Market: High school or college age women
Home Based: Yes
Location: Geographically Flexible (Local, Regional, National, Global)
Start-Up Costs: $500 - $5,000
Minimizing Start-Up Costs: Negotiate quantity wholesale discounts with suppliers, negotiate with your suppliers to purchase the dresses over time as they are rented, or negotiate payment to vendors after a big event when cash begins coming into your business.
Learn basic sewing skills from a local hobby store in order to make minor repairs yourself when you start your online clothing rental business. Develop ward robing skills from the local university or working in a retail clothing store. Use just-in-time purchasing where specific dress sizes are purchased only after they have been rented rather than buying all of the dress sizes at once.
Personal Niche Ideas: