a) lusted after a dress for an event only to despair over its ridiculously over-the-top price tag
b) purchased said dress only to wear it once (too fab and too noticable to be reworn!)
c) worn same LBD to events over and over
Rent Frock Repeat is a Canadian company that has developed the perfect answer to the above dilemmas – you can rent the most fantastic dress for a fraction of the price and never have to worry about wardrobe dilemmas again! Dresses include Badgely Mishka, Robert Rodriguez, Pink Tartan, Nicole Miller and other high end designers. I had the opportunity to chat with co-founder Lisa Delorme about her company and the inspiration behind RFR.
I read the story on the website – love the inspiration behind the company! What were some of your initial challenges?
We met at work and started out as colleagues but quickly became friends. After we both left the company we realized we wanted to do something we could call our own but didn’t know what exactly that might be. We were invited to a friend’s wedding and didn’t want to buy another dress we would only wear once. We already had too much of our hard earned money hanging in our closet! We came across an article in a magazine about Rent the Runway (based in NYC) and when we couldn’t get them to ship over the border we knew we had found the business we wanted to open. That was back in May of 2010 and one year (almost to the day) we opened Rent frock Repeat.
As far as challenges, we both feel that when faced with an obstacle that you have a choice to look at it like the end of the road or something asking you to pause and look at your business or decision(s) in a different way and gain a new perspective. The one challenge we faced was that we didn’t come from the Fashion Industry and although we both knew our business background would be used 75% of the time we also knew we had to put some time into understanding the business of Fashion. So, instead of focusing on what we didn’t have we focused on what we did bring to the table and then made a learning plan which included reading, talking to great contacts in the Fashion Industry and studying anything we could get our hands on. It did help that we were shopping mall and fashion magazine devotees!
They usually caution against working with friends or family – what makes your partnership tick? Do you each have different strengths/weaknesses and how do you separate friendship/business because coming from being a partner myself of a company I find that can be hard.
We are polar opposites. Kristy is very detailed oriented, meticulous in her approach and I tend to be focused on the big picture. We naturally tend to appreciate when others are just like us but in business you need your polar opposite! Since our relationship originally started as a business relationship we sometimes naturally fall back into those roles during the day and when the business day ends and we are heading out together socially we fall right into friend mode once again. If anyone asked us if we think it is good practice to go into business with a friend we wholeheartedly say yes but still underscore the importance of a shareholder’s agreement and investing a full day in diving into and discussing the particulars of that agreement.
Why dresses? Any plans to expand into other designer goods in the future?
We want to focus on dresses to begin with and make sure we do it amazingly before we head into any new direction(s). When we do decide to expand, we want to make sure the decision is made properly. We will most likely stay in dresses and expand this model – for example, we have many requests for plus sizes. Maternity is another area we are thinking of moving towards since maternity dresses are pieces you don’t necessarily get the same return on in your closet, unlike a pair of good jeans or boots which are investment pieces. Whatever we venture into we want to ensure that the highest quality garments and premium calibre designers are represented.
How do you decide which dresses make the cut?
A little bit of crystal balling combined with a scientific approach! We are systematic in our way of buying by making sure we do our research – attending international fashion weeks, looking at magazines and putting it all into a spreadsheet. This way we can review things like “do we have enough of long sleeved, short sleeved, red, black, gowns, cocktail length etc.” By having a good variety in our first year of business we can then take a look at the reports that tell us what styles, colours, designers are performing best and then buy accordingly going forward.
How does your personal styling service work online?
You simply get in touch with us via telephone, online chat or email and we will guide you step by step through the process of styling your RFR outfit. We have customers sending us photos of their shoe options so that we can help them choose based on the look they are going for. We will be there with you every step of the way and provide a totally personalized service to ensure you are happy with your entire look. You can also take a look at our stylist suggestions tab on the site where we give you different ways to style each dress. Some styles can be worn classic, sexy, bohemian etc and by selecting the look you want we show you how to accessorize in order to achieve that look with the particular dress you have selected (there is even a picture that coincides with each look)!
Where do you see RFR in five years? What is your ultimate goal with the business?
We want to conquer the Canadian market and then be able to expand Internationally. Wouldn’t it be great to see a Canadian company when you are travelling abroad? We get excited when we see a Lululemon on our travels – gives us more reason to be proud Canadians!
Well, lucky StylinMommy readers you can take advantage of this fabulous opportunity and save 15% off your first rental for the entire month of November! Use discount code STYLNMOM (all caps) you can use the service for 4 months after however must book by November 30 2011.
I will be testing and reviewing this service for an event coming up November 26th so stay tuned for some exciting photos and review!