A new outfit, as often as you want it, with accessories, for only $49/month.
That’s what new fashion rental startup Le Tote is offering young urban women. And the founders are hoping that women’s rich history of sharing clothes will make the company as successful as some other rental successes.
“Women only wear 10-20 percent of what’s in their closet,” co-founder Rakesh Tondon explains. “Most women have closets full of clothes they don’t wear.”
(Perhaps I’m way more metrosexual than I thought, or perhaps the problem is not limited to women.)
So Le Tote is trying to solve the problem of variety, without generating the bloat that spawns Hoarders-style rooms full of unused clothing. All while trying to fit inside the tight budgets of young urban women sans unlimited income.
Users sign up for Le Tote at a monthly rate of $49, then fill out a style profile. Le Tote’s stylists (and algorithms) take that profile information and select looks and fashions for you: three garments and two accessories. Then you receive a little Le Tote bag in the mail.
Just like the Netflix DVD rental business, you can keep the outfit as long as you want. Get tired of it? Send it back to get another one.
Women can send the totes back as often as they want. They can have a new outfit every weekend, and can make special requests, such as no earrings, just skirts, or no tops. But the styles are picked for you, kinda like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates.
The clothing itself is not brand name, nor, co-founder Brett Northart hastens to add, knockoffs on famous designer’s clothing. Instead, the fashion is under Le Tote’s own label and is sourced in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.
“We’re buying from wholesalers and manufactures that supply the big boutiques in major cities,” Northart says.
And the obvious question about re-using clothing? Tondon says that’s actually not been a problem at all in their target market testing, as women “grow up sharing with their sisters and friends.” In addition, the clothing is laundered and checked for quality and condition after every use.
That alone might incentivize some women to buy more than one membership and give up doing laundry entirely.