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Rethinking Rental in a Crisis

Rent the Runway chief executive Jennifer Hyman told BoF VOICES her strategy to make the rental model work post-pandemic.
Jennifer Hyman.
Jennifer Hyman.

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 US. 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.

Now, the company is betting on a post-pandemic shift in consumer values that couples a desire for more sustainable and smarter consumption a “hedonistic” environment of “worldwide euphoria,” Hyman said. “I think it is going to be the return of showing off,” she said.

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Inside the $7 Billion Dior Phenomenon