I have never rented anything from Rent the Runway, the unicorn women’s “unlimited closet in the cloud” fashion site, your secret door to the latest in the rag trade.
You can rent clothing by the one off, on a subscription basis, and buy the clothes at a discounted post-rental price. They send you (gratis) a second size to make sure you can fit into their clothes. It is a first rate business.
Though I have never rented a dress (don’t carry the right size for Big Red Cars), I have always loved the business concept, their financial model, their innovative business development, their founder story, and their web site.
The company was founded by a couple of Harvard MBA women in 2009 — Jenny Fleiss and Jenn Hyman (bit of irony, no? couple of “Jens”). It is a profitable unicorn.
However, if today you go to their website, you will find the following message:
Currently all one-time Reserve rentals must be scheduled for delivery after 10/15.
Thanks for your patience as we upgrade our system!
Imagine the conversations within the company that resulted in that sentence appearing on the website. In addition, the company is not taking any new “members” for any of their programs.
In essence, the unlimited closet in the cloud is out of business for 2-3 weeks. Closed for tech remodeling! Never saw that happening!
How does a company weather a 2-3 week unannounced cessation of their business when they are an immediate gratification B2C, cutting edge fashion business?