NEW YORK, United States — Physical retail spaces are increasingly important customer service platforms for digital brands and retailers, and particularly so for fashion rental services whose customers are often borrowing items for special occasions such as weddings and New Year’s Eve.
To that end, luxury fashion rental service Armarium has launched a partnership with several independent boutiques — Kirna Zabete, Capitol, Pilot and Powell, Copious Row and 20Twelve — that will encourage in-store shoppers to consider the rental service by equipping sales associates with access to its available styles. Armarium is known for offering a more elevated inventory of designers, from Jason Wu to Christopher Kane and Missoni, than its main competitor, Rent the Runway, which has expanded inside Neiman Marcus locations and its own stores in recent years.
Sales associates at Armarium partner boutiques will now be able to style looks for shoppers based on knowledge of their preferences, and match rentals with suggested inventory available to buy from the retailer to “complete the look.” The results are then emailed to shoppers in lookbook format.
Armarium’s online shoppers will also have access to this service on its website through the company’s new chatbot, Armibot, which requests information about body type, occasion and aesthetic preferences and matches users with one of Amarium’s stylists, including Nausheen Shah and styling duo Meredith Melling and Valerie Boster of La Marque. For a fee of $85 to $110, these stylists will curate and send shoppers lookbooks within 24 hours. (Shoppers can also receive styling advice from an unnamed, in-house stylist for free.)
The resulting lookbooks will also include product available for purchase from any of the partner retail boutiques — depending on user preferences for styles and designers and geographical proximity — as well as Net-a-Porter. Armarium will earn a percentage of any full-price item sold through its platform, and retailers will earn commissions of 10-to-20 percent for each rental.
In the future, Armarium wants to bring the Armibot tool onto partner retail websites with the goal of more seamlessly integrating its rental options into consumers’ existing shopping habits.
Amarium was founded by Trisha Gregory and Alexandra Lind Rose and launched in 2016. It has raised $3 million to date from investors including Carmen Busquets, Holli Rogers and C Ventures, which recently led Moda Operandi's latest funding round totaling $165 million.