In 2018 Rent the Runway — the company that transformed the way people think about buying, and owning, designer apparel and accessories — was named the ninth most disruptive company in the world on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list, joining the ranks of Uber, SpaceX and Airbnb. Now, a decade after its founding, the company is set to upset another major sector: home goods.
Last week the rental clothing company, which has grown to more than 9 million customers and has north of $100 million in revenue, has announced a partnership with Williams-Sonoma’s West Elm brand to allow subscribers to rent soft home decor, including quilts, blankets, shams and decorative pillows. Items will be available in 26 different “bundles” that range in retail value from $150 to $450 beginning this summer.
“This partnership really came out of our subscribers telling us to help them with other areas of their life, and I think it’s just the beginning,” said Rent the Runway COO Maureen Sullivan. “I think there are many ways that people are realizing, removing the burden of ownership is a huge unlock and that it makes way more sense to discover new brands and to rent products you need, when you need them.”
Founded in 2009 by Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, Rent the Runway has evolved from a designer-dress rental service into a monthly unlimited clothing subscription service that includes RTR Update, where members can rent four items a month for $89, and RTR Unlimited, which allows members to rent four items on constant rotation each month for $159. Through the West Elm partnership, subscribers will now be able to replace one of their items with one of the 26 home decor bundles.
On Monday, Rent the Runway was in Austin to provide a first look at the upcoming Rent the Runway x West Elm home partnership collection. The pop-up event, which was attended by more than a thousand people, wasn’t walking distance from the Austin convention center, the nexus of South by Southwest activity. Nor was it showcasing a celebrity or band, as many of the other packed event spaces in downtown Austin. Instead, the draw was the offer of $80 off two months of RTR unlimited, which will soon include the West Elm products.