Fresh off another funding round that brought the company to a $1 billion total valuation, Rent the Runway is expanding into a host of new categories.
The most recent addition to the Rent the Runway catalog is a children’s section, tapping into a massive market and answering demand from customers.
“This has been a long-standing request,” said Maureen Sullivan, COO of Rent the Runway. “Time and time again, our members have asked us when we are going to launch it. As a mom of three kids under 6 years old, myself, [I know] they grow so fast. You want to buy them incredible clothes, but they don’t wear them enough, and when they do, they make a huge mess. We knew it was something that our community would love since so many of them are working millennial women, many of whom are becoming new mothers.”
Rent the Runway Kids is launching with some big-name partners including Fendi Kids, Stella McCartney Kids, Chloé Kids and more. Renting children’s clothes will not be a separate subscription nor will customers get extra slots to accommodate children. Renting children’s clothes will count for the same four slots that every sub gets.
Childrenswear will be compatible with all of Rent the Runway’s plans. That includes Unlimited, a $159 option that gives unlimited swaps on four items at a time, Update, an $89 option which allows only one monthly swap of four items, and Reserve, which lets customers rent up to four items on an individual basis without a recurring membership.
Childrenswear, especially in the luxury category, is big business. A Euromonitor report estimated that luxury childrenswear reached nearly $7 billion last year, and Burberry did more than $150 million in revenue for childrenswear alone.
Despite Sullivan explicitly pointing to the popular mini-me or mommy-and-me trend as an inspiration for the launch, Rent the Runway has no plans to call out matching looks for moms and kids on product pages.
Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman said she believes in the potential for people’s closets to be up to 80% rented and 20% owned. Additionally, she said the company’s category expansion is not stopping anytime soon.
“Our most engaged subscribers are wearing rented clothing 120 days a year and are eager to try rental in other parts of their lives,” she said. “We recently launched a partnership with West Elm to rent home decor — a first for West Elm. It’s also the first time we’ve expanded our offerings beyond apparel and accessories.”
Among the companies most frequently-requested categories is menswear, said Sullivan, but it’s not ready to go there.
“There’s a few reasons we focus on women’s only,” she said. “Women make up 70 to 80 percent of all spending. A lot of women make purchasing decisions for their whole families, too. There’s still a lot of economic value in women that has yet to be tapped into. There’s a lot to do there before we branch out into men’s.”