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The pandemic was a near-death experience for Rent the Runway, the business that introduced and popularised renting fashion on a wide scale in the United States. As consumers stopped heading to offices and events, chief executive Jennifer Hyman was left wondering: “Will my business still be relevant after Covid?” The executive had to make difficult decisions, fast, laying off and furloughing staff and cutting spending.”
As a leader, that was for sure the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do,” Hyman told BoF’s Lauren Sherman at VOICES 2020, describing it as “the second founding moment of the company.”
Now, as retail, restaurants and workplaces slowly begin to re-open, the company is betting on a post-pandemic shift in consumer values that couples a desire for more sustainable consumption with a “hedonistic” environment of “worldwide euphoria,” Hyman said.