09/30/19

Rent The Wrong Way

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? 

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03/21/19

The Long Teeth of VC Backed Firms

Today, dear readers, we speak of Rent The Runway as an exemplar for changing conditions in the world of financing and venture capital. Today RTR announced they had closed a $125,000,000 VC round led by Franklin Templeton Investments and Bain Capital Ventures.

This brings the total of VC funding (they also have $200,000,000 in debt) to $337,000,000 based on a valuation of $1,000,000,000.

Wow! RTR has come a long way since its 2009 funding by Bain of $1,800,000.

RTR has been working for ten years to become an overnight success. Some whisper RTR is being groomed for an Initial Public Offering, something they spoke of in the past, but not recently.

rent the runway

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08/3/18

Pricing Strategy – Rent the Runway

Pricing strategy, Rent the Runway, Big Red Car? Huh?

Full disclosure: The Big Red Car has never rented a dress from Rent the Runway, but the Big Red Car has always been intrigued by RTR’s pricing strategy.

Oh, my goodness, Big Red Car!

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 24: Jenn Hyman, Christian Siriano and Jenny Fleiss attends the Rent the Runway DC store Opening at Rent The Runway on November 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Rent The Runway)

Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss – co-founders of Rent the Runway – at their 24 November 2014 opening in Washington, DC (Kris Connor/Getty)

So, it’s a beautiful warm Austin day and we live in the greatest city, in the greatest state, in the greatest country in the world! Ahhh, on Earth as it is in Texas!

So, the Big Red Car has always been a fan of a smart pricing strategy. I think one of the smartest guys out there is a chap named Patrick Campbell of Price Intelligently by Profitwell.

Here is their website: Price Intelligently.

Pricing strategy is a way for a company to obtain a better source and magnitude of revenue by being smart. You should be reading that Price Intelligently blog.

As a bonus, here is the Price Intelligently “Tear Down” on the Rent the Runway pricing model. Read it here.

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