National Clothesline Article On Rent The Runway

National Clothesline Article On Rent The Runway

Disruptor of Dry Cleaning

Imagine a competitor with a 200,00-sq.-ft. plant that can process 5,000 pieces per hour, targets high income customers in the 25 to 40 age group. This competitor has already raised $130,000 million to fund its growing business and has the goal of capturing 10 percent of the $7 billion U.S. dry cleaning market. 
This is not an imaginary competitor. It’s Rent the Runway, which aims to replace the closet in the home with a closet in the cloud.
A look inside this operation was provided by Charles Ickes, former chief logistics officer of New York-based Rent the Runway, who spoke during the National Cleaners Association’s Texcare event in Secaucus, NJ, in October.
The company was started in 2009 by two Harvard Business School classmates, Jennifer Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman, who thought women might be interested in renting rather
than owning high-fashion attire.
The company was still relatively small by the time Ickes joined it in 2011, handling 150,000 pieces per year with all the dry cleaning outsourced. He brought with him a background in dry cleaning having worked for Madame Paulette in New York and Dependable Cleaners in Massachusetts.
Now he said the company’s dry cleaning facility near Secaucus is the largest in the world with enough business to keep its 78 dry cleaning machines spinning through two shifts a day with four million pieces cleaned in 2017.
Rent the Runway’s customers can make their selection on-line at renttherunway.com or at one of the company’s brick-and-mortar stores in New York, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The price of the rental is a fraction of what it would cost to buy the garment outright and that price includes shipping to and from the customer and, of course, the dry cleaning.
“Dry cleaning is not something that is really important to Rent the Runway,” he said. “It’s something they do on the side. They’re really out to disrupt fast fashion but you, the dry cleaner, will probably be collateral damage.”

 

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