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Rent the Runway to Expand Into Kids' Clothing

The apparel rental service plans on introducing a slew of new categories on the heels of its $125 million Series F round.
Source: Courtesy
By
  • Cathaleen Chen

NEW YORK, United States — Rent the Runway is launching children's apparel for rental, BoF has learned.

The new kids' products will be available through its monthly rental service and will include Chloé, Fendi, Stella McCartney and Little Marc Jacobs — many of which whose ready-to-wear isn't currently available for women on the site.

Children's clothing is the latest in a series of new markets the rental platform has entered this year, part of a wider strategy to broaden the potential customer base for its $159-a-month "endless wardrobe" unlimited subscription. Current members will be able to use their slots for the new product offerings, but Rent the Runway is also introducing a function that allows extra spots to be purchased for $39.

Kidswear, which includes girls' sizes 3Y to 10/12Y, is the first major expansion since Rent the Runway announced a $125 million funding round on March 20, which valued the company at $1 billion. Streetwear is also in the works, founder Jennifer Hyman told BoF last month.

In March, Rent the Runway unveiled a partnership with home furnishing company West Elm to offer customers home decor rental items that could be part of their unlimited monthly subscription. In January, the company launched a set of exclusive clothing lines called the Designer Collective, in partnership with Derek Lam, Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu. Co-manufacturing these private labels would allow Rent the Runway to offer revenue sharing with these designer partners, an appealing offer for wholesale brands that have seen their accounts shrink with ailing department stores.

“We really think we’re creating a modern, sustainable way to live,” Hyman said last month. “The goal here is to create the Amazon Prime of rental.”

Rent the Runway declined to comment on its expansion into kidswear.

Upscale children's clothing is a growing segment of the apparel market, forecast to reach $6.6 billion in 2018, up by 3.8 percent year-on-year, according to Euromonitor. Luxury brands, including Givenchy, Gucci and Balenciaga, now offer the category, as do online retailers such as MyTheresa and Net-a-Porter.

With the backing of multiple institutional investors such as Franklin Templeton as well as Fidelity and T. Rowe Price Group, Rent the Runway is primed to go public one day, according to Hyman.

“We have several strategic paths forward, including becoming a public company. We are proud that we partnered with savvy public investors this round,” she said. “In the future, if we want to go public these are three important investors to have.”

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