Dallas-based tech fashion startup Rent My Wardrobe (RMW), an app for ‘borrowing’ and wearing stylish clothes from local closets, has exited to New York-based Wardrobe, one of the fastest-growing peer-to-peer rental platforms in the industry.
Though the two boast similar concepts, Wardrobe focuses on luxury and vintage fashion, while RMW allows users to share their entire closets and coordinate direct pick-up and returns. With the acquisition, RMW will be fully merged with Wardrobe’s existing operations—making for what the companies call a seamless closet-sharing experience.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, though RMW was recently valued at $4 million, according to a news release. The Wardrobe team hopes the deal will expand its geographic reach and user base, as RMW has a strong presence throughout the Southern U.S. and near its home base in Dallas.
Wardrobe will add thousands of RMW users and their closets to its platform. With the holidays fast approaching, the fashion innovators predict a strong close to 2020 and a jump-start to the new year.
“Closet-sharing is a movement that’s larger than any one of us or any one city—women have always borrowed clothes and bags from each other,” Adarsh Alphons, Wardrobe’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “We are elated to welcome Rent My Wardrobe’s community into ours as Wardrobe continues proving out its model to thousands of new users every month.”
Another successful Dallas exit
Rent My Wardrobe celebrated its launch in April of last year with an A-list party that featured a taping of the Real Housewives of Dallas. Cast-member Kameron Westcott and her husband, Court, are among the investors in the app, which was near securing $1 million in seed funding with a $4 million cap from a network of angel investors and family offices at the time.
Back then, Founder Rachel Sipperley said she was poised to fundamentally change the fashion industry.
Her app is just as much about women’s empowerment and financial freedom as it is about fashion. Sipperley is keenly aware of gender disparity in the tech field, and has built her brand on encouraging fellow female entrepreneurs and fostering a culture of women supporting women.
Since founding, RMW has continually grown its company manifesto listing its guiding principles. Part of that states, “From day one, our prime directive has been to create opportunities for women. We will remain focused on this in the way we conduct business, the products we build, the company and brand that we create.”
And her work paid off: In 2019, she was one of the only female-founded technology startups in Dallas to receive venture funding.
“As the founder, I am highly sensitive to the intrinsic need for balance of both masculine and feminine energy throughout the executive team and in the office,” Sipperley previously told us. “We believe that team is first, customer is second. Our two most important principles are transparency and communication and that is an environment women thrive in because we highly value free flowing communication, top-down and bottom-up.”
Sipperley herself has been no stranger to hardship. Before receiving funding, she bootstrapped RMW, spending her entire life savings to get the app off the ground.
“The story of Rent My Wardrobe started when I couldn’t afford a dress for prom,” she said in a statement. “I believe financial independence is the highest form of feminism and conceived Rent My Wardrobe as a monetization platform built around a community of women supporting each other.”
Following the acquisition, Sipperley will join Wardrobe as its VP of Brand & Partnerships with a focus on customer acquisition and growth, per a news release.
“With Wardrobe’s nationwide shipping service and its technology, we can fulfill the promise we set out to achieve,” she said in a statement. “I am thrilled to join forces and change the future of fashion together.”
Wardrobe takes on national expansion
Wardrobe was founded in 2018 by Adarsh Alphons, an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and artist who is best known as the brains behind ProjectArt, the largest free art school for kids.
Alphons wants to “redefine peer fashion rental retailing and sustainability in fashion.” The startup has already garnered some big backers with the founders of Airbnb, Opendoor, and Vine, and early investors of Farfetch, Rebag, Uber, and SpaceX.
The platform offers users a peer-to-peer rental marketplace for an assortment of brands in the luxury, designer, and vintage space. All parties involved are said to get a “win-win-win”: Wardrobe insures all of its items, checks for quality, then partners with local dry-cleaners for a full logistics network.
It’s a new take on the fashion sharing economy, and hints at what the future of wardrobe rentals could bring—especially in a post-COVID world. Statistics show a 130 percent increase in Google searches on sustainable fashion in the past year. And since last year’s limited launch in NYC and August’s national shipping launch, Wardrobe says it has already seen a spike in growth.
“We put the fashion authority into the hands of our users and offer them a platform for exchange that eliminates all the issues with borrowing clothes—convenience, cleanliness and value,” Alphons said in a statement. “We are confident that Wardrobe will create a dynamic network of renters looking to explore rare, vintage and designer pieces.”
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