A step-by-step guide to start a clothing rental business

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Fashion is continuously changing and expanding, with new business models appearing in retail, reselling, and, most recently, fashion rental. What has already gained a lot of traction in the United States is now catching on in Europe. You’ve come to the perfect location if you want to start a clothing rental business.

We’ll go over the fundamentals of what it takes to establish, run, and develop express clothes rentals in this article.

Starting a business plan for your clothing rental business

infographic on express rent clothes

Express clothes rental businesses come in a variety of business formats. You’ll need to figure out what sort of things you’ll sell, what kind of rental model you’ll use, and what type of corporate values you’ll have because these factors will influence other business decisions, as you’ll discover later in the guide.

Models to Rent clothes

As previously stated, there are numerous business and rental models from which to choose. We’ll go over two of the most common: one-time renting and subscription-based renting.

One-time rentals

A single piece of designer dress is rented for a short period of time, which could range from a few days to a week. This is most common in clothing rental business that specializes in special occasions such as weddings, proms, and formal events. The customer pays a single fee and can enjoy the garment without committing to owning a formal gown, for example.

Single-time rentals are useful for getting a sense of the local market. Rent clothes are most common in the United States, but Europe is catching up. Renting a piece of clothing lowers the barrier for people to be introduced to this relatively new form of fashion consumption and test it out.

Subscription clothing rental

Subscription-based renting, on the other hand, involves paying a monthly fee and selecting three to four outfits to rent for the month. Depending on the brands carried by the rental store, the subscription costs and the number of rentable clothing items vary.

Subscriptions make it easy to introduce a larger range of clothing that can be worn for more relaxed occasions, as well as for work and cocktails. It expands the market for various clothing types and allows them to reach a larger audience.

Budgeting for clothing rental business

It may seem obvious, but you must get all of your budgeting in order. This entails determining what you can afford in terms of utility bills, possibly a physical location, insurance, and so on.

This also includes considering the inventory you will be acquiring for the store. When compared to bikes, the shelf life in the fashion and clothing industry is much shorter. When investing to rent designer dresses, you must determine how much you must charge for the clothes in order to get your money’s worth.

rent clothes

Online shop to Rent clothes

This also appears to be self-evident, but it bears mentioning. Nowadays, it is nearly impossible to survive and succeed without having some sort of online presence. You can run and grow your clothing rental business without even having a physical location if you have a well-designed e-commerce website.

Having an online store and a social media presence can mean the difference between a one-time customer and a loyal, recurring customer. A well-designed website will strengthen your brand, improve the overall shopping experience, and foster a relationship between you and your customers.

A good e-commerce website will provide you with useful data and insights on how your business is performing in addition to reaching a larger audience and offering multiple ways to buy from your business. Most website platforms provide metrics that you can use to make better business decisions and make better use of your resources.

Clothing store setup ideas

Running an express clothing rental business does not necessitate having a physical site. You will need space to store your inventory as well as a place to package and maintain your items, but not necessarily a store. This is fantastic news because running a physical store takes a lot of time and effort.

The advantages of having a store, on the other hand, are undeniable. Having customers come into your store and interact with you provides you with vital information and a connection you wouldn’t get from an online store. Aside from the human connection, it’s a good approach to mitigate the challenges of running an entirely e-commerce-based business: In comparison to 8.89 percent in brick-and-mortar establishments, 30% of all products ordered online are returned. Having a physical location where clients can come in, try on clothes, and make sure everything fits precisely would provide a superior customer experience that an online business alone cannot provide.

Descriptions of products

As previously stated, having a physical site where your consumers may visit guarantees that they have a positive experience and depart with items that fit perfectly. When establishing an online business, it’s critical to make sure that the information you provide compensates for the lack of face-to-face interaction with the product and store staff. Expectation management and ensuring that your customers know what they’re getting are both aided by product descriptions. The value of well-written product descriptions is much greater in the fashion and garment industries.


One of the most important tools and processes for a fashion clothing business is inventory acquisition. To be successful in the clothing rental business, you must be in touch with either your surrounding audience (for example, the trends that are most popular in your region) or know what the target audience is looking for. The simplest way to get started is to believe that you already know what works and what is in demand, and, most importantly, to collect and analyze data. Keep up with what’s popular, what styles your customers prefer, what brands they prefer, and what sizes they typically come in.

Fortunately, most e-commerce website platforms and rental platforms provide analytics tools that allow you to find and easily analyze this information, making the next round of inventory acquisition much easier.

How to Make a Purchase Decision

There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for what you should purchase for your F business. This is why it’s critical to conduct market research and collect data because factors such as location, target audience values, demographics, local fashion trends, and so on will have a significant impact on what sells well.

Management of risks

Retailers and rental businesses face a unique set of risks when it comes to fashion and clothing. The most serious is the possibility of a clothing item becoming ruined after only one use. Some express clothes rental companies may require deposits or have a “you break, you buy” policy.

Another risk is that the clothing is out of date. Despite all of the data collection and estimations, it is possible that a piece of clothing did not perform as well as expected, or that it went out of style sooner than expected. Instead of letting the garment sit in the inventory unused, a good backup plan, in this case, is to try selling the item for a lower price. This way, you avoid losing all of your investments while also ensuring that the item of clothing finds a new home.

clothing rental business

Clothing upkeep

Maintaining and cleaning the clothes is critical for a express clothes rental business, especially if your offering includes high-end and luxury brands. As with any other rental product, proper maintenance work ensures that the piece of clothing has a long shelf life and that you get your money’s worth out of your investment. It also adds to the experience for the customer to know that all they have to do is pick up and return the item of clothing – no need to worry about dry cleaners or anything else.

Dry cleaning was outsourced

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether to work with professional dry cleaners or do it yourself. Both have advantages and disadvantages; collaborating with a professional dry cleaner incurs additional costs, you lose control over your own products, and you must rely on their expertise in what they do. It may also take more time because the cleaners will most likely have other clients. You, on the other hand, would not have to worry about caring for the clothing yourself.

Related For You: Pros And Cons Of Owning A Dry Cleaning Business

In-house dry cleaning and maintenance

If you decide to do it yourself, consider whether you have or can afford the necessary equipment, a space to work in, and the necessary expertise to do it correctly without causing damage to the materials. While doing it yourself is definitely more work, it also means that any damages to the item can be easily identified and repaired.

In either case, it is critical to ensure that you have enough maintenance time in-between rentals and that the cleaning and maintenance process is nearly flawless. You want your customers to have a good time and receive a rented piece of clothing as if it were brand new.

Promoting your Clothing Rental Business

Marketing is made up of many small parts that must be nurtured and cared for on a regular basis. If you’re just getting started with marketing and the fundamental strategies, it can be overwhelming; it’s important to just experiment with different approaches.

It takes a lot of trial and error to find the right tone and way to market to your audience, depending on how broad or niche your target audience is. Because the clothes rental industry is still in its infancy, the old tricks that fashion retailers employ may not apply to your business, partly because you want customers to a) try out a new concept and b) return.

Creating a brand

Brand loyalty and emotional attachment are everything in the fashion industry. As previously stated, because the express clothes rental industry is still relatively new, establishing a strong brand identity and cultivating a community around it is critical. Unfortunately, because this type of marketing isn’t directly trackable, it frequently falls back on the priority list.

Depending on the brand you’re creating, you must strike a balance between refined and approachable. Of course, you want your brand to be refined, modern, and luxurious. But not to the point where your customers find you unapproachable and difficult to work with. You want people to be enthusiastic about your brand and want to be a part of the community.

Developing a community

This brings us to our next point: establishing a community. Being active on social media and interacting with your customers is the best way to stay connected with your audience and get free publicity. Once you have customers, you should encourage them to post their outfit photos, and then comment, like, and share their special moments. This helps you get other potential customers on board because they see other people’s experiences with your business, in addition to creating a sense of community.

Expanding your Clothing Rental Business

There are numerous ways to expand your business, but whatever you choose should be on-brand and based on your company values.

Establishing new locations to Rent Clothes

Deciding where to open a new location can be difficult. What you want to keep in mind when deciding where to open your new store is your data and how convenient the new location will be for your customers. Choosing a location where there is already demand and an audience will make it much easier to establish a community in a new area.

It’s critical to do your research and scout out things like competition, accessibility, storage, and room for potential maintenance work if you decide to do it yourself. If you don’t, make sure to look into possible dry cleaners and postal services to make the delivery part of your business easier.


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