It annoys me to no end when I read American fashion magazines and either can’t find the items they feature, or I can’t enter their contests because they’re open to American residents only. So imagine my frustration when I discovered that two of my favourite recent startup finds, Birchbox and Rent the Runway, don’t deliver to Canada. Luckily I’ve found two perfect replacements – Loose Button’s Luxe Box is a box of luxury beauty samples delivered monthly, similar to Birchbox. And I can attest that it’s beautiful – I’m a subscriber and I recently gave three-month subscriptions to two girlfriends for their birthdays and they were thrilled.
Rent the Runway alternative Rent frock Repeat just launched in Canada, and I’m happy to say that I’m a new and devoted customer. I was invited to their launch party to meet the entrepreneurs behind the company and to check out their new designer dress-rental service, and it was love at first (dress) sight. This service is literally made for me – at last count I had over 60 dresses in my closet (I know. It’s excessive), many of which have been worn only a couple times. Most are from budget-friendly stores like H+M and Forever 21, but the sheer volume is hard to store in a 700-square-foot condo. The breaking point came when my exasperated boyfriend instituted a one-in one-out rule for dresses, so I knew I had to find an alternative to buying a new one every time I got invited to an event.
I know what you’re thinking – why can’t you just wear dresses you already own to events? And sure, I could. But it’s not as fun as getting a new one. And because I go to a lot of social media-friendly events, photos of me in various dresses are already plastered all over the Interwebs (first world problem, I know). So Rent frock Repeat was made for me, and I’m now a devoted customer.
The process is simple – find a dress you love by searching by designer, colour, style, etc. Pick two sizes (the second one is free), pick a rental period (four days or eight days), and for a fraction of the retail price the dress will be delivered to your door on the specified date.
I know what you’re thinking. But how will I know if it fits? That’s why they send two sizes, and they also have a team of stylists available for live chats to help you understand the fit and potential accessories. But what if I spill something on it? You pay a $5 insurance fee to cover any mishaps. But what if it’s not in perfect condition? Dresses are dry-cleaned after every rental, and inspected by the RfR team before they’re sent out again. But how do I send it back? Included with your delivery is a postage-paid envelope – just pop the dress into the envelope and drop it in a Canada Post mailbox. Easy peasy.
I rented a $450 Badgley Mischka dress for my birthday dinner and a coworker’s wedding last weekend, and was thrilled with the experience. The dress arrived on time, and included in the box was a kit with a deodorant-removal sponge and fashion tape. I wore the dress Friday and Saturday night, and put it in the mail Sunday as per the instruction card. All for $70 (the dress rental would have been $120 including tax, insurance and shipping but I had a discount code from the launch party).
Their customer service is also stellar just in case you do encounter a problem. I had an issue with my discount code on a Saturday afternoon and co-founder Kristy helped me on the live chat feature and resolved my issue within an hour. I interviewed the founders for a Sprouter blog post yesterday and they said they’ve been calling every single early customer to get feedback on how they can improve – pretty impressive.
I have my eye on this Badgley Mischka dress for my next rental, I just need somewhere to wear it – so if anyone has a fancy event to invite me to, now’s the time. Hopefully if you’re in need of a dress for a summer wedding or event you try out Rent frock Repeat – and hey, you can always rent one from my closet. I’ve got about 59 to spare.
Managing Director at Toronto-based digital agency 88 Creative. Former Managing Editor at BetaKit.com. Marketing Magazine 30 Under 30.