Nov 28, 2018
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Hirestreet mass-market brand rental looks to expand

Nov 28, 2018

An online fashion startup renting out occasion dresses, jumpsuits and accessories from high street brands is on the lookout for investment to support its growth after “surpassing expectations” within its first weeks of trading.

Hirestreet, Sintons

Hirestreet is the online fashion rental business of entrepreneur Isabella West, and is said to be the first of its kind to tap into the £10 billion UK ‘value’ high street clothing market.

It launched in May this year with a selection of dresses from an array of popular high street brands, including Whistles, Lavish Alice, Reiss, Topshop and LK Bennett, which can be rented from £7 for 10 days.

Catering for the 16 to 30-year-old market, the business aims to offer customers a financially and environmentally sustainable alternative, providing a counter to the throwaway fashion culture being investigated by MPs in Parliament.
25-year-old West founded the platform after working on a study into the future of shopping trends for a big name London-based retailer.

“The scoping project covered areas like the use of AI and a virtual try-on service, but it was the concept of renting that really interested me. I knew renting was huge in the United States and Australia, but not so much in the UK and certainly not in the non-designer market. I did some of my own research and realised there was a gap in the market and the potential value there was significant – this is a £100 million market and no-one was operating in that space,” she said.

The Jesmond-based company is now planning to invest in more stock to meet growing demand and develop a new bespoke website. Additionally, it is looking to bring some outsourced services in-house.

“While it is a nice problem to have, we have found that we currently have a lot more demand than stock. Over the summer weddings, holidays and the races were huge business. Now we have huge demand for Christmas bookings – particularly ball gowns and party dresses. We do need to add more stock so we can accommodate this demand, our growth is largely organic so far, but investment would help us grow even more quickly,” she continued.

In its first five months of trading, the company achieved repeat business rates of 25% and it hopes to continue to grow once it has added more stock.

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