Saturday , July 24 2021

Marie Kondo boosts sales for a dress rental site

When Kirsten Kore wore a $ 1000 designer dress to a work event in 2015, she had no idea the expensive outfit would change her life.

The savvy Sydneysider did not pay the hefty price tag asked in store. She cleverly rented it from a woman she was connected to via Facebook.

Despite being a "pleasant experience", Kirsten told she was nervous about the online transaction.

"I literally messed up my credit card details over Facebook, it could have been a total disaster," she said.

However, the entire exchange sparked an idea that saw her and her partner, Costa Koulis, 42, became multi-millionaires, creating a platform for women to rent and list expensive costumes – now dubbed the "Airbnb for dresses".

"When I came across a problem, I started looking at the idea of ​​creating a couture platform where you can track the whole process; from payment to returns, "Kirsten explained.

The super simple idea – born out of her own clothing dilemma – has now become a very popular service, seeing a surge following the success of Marie Kondo's Netflix show, Tidying Up.

But the couple made their first million with Designerex long before people like Kondo and Meghan Markle – who is a huge advocate for sustainable fashion – made it trendy.

And it's thanks to their savvy business plan that differentiates them from other dress rental companies, like GlamCorner, which sees them to have huge costs to buy and own the gowns being leased out.

She said: "When we launched, we already had hundreds of dresses ready to be rented.

"We'd sourced renters through platforms like Instagram and Facebook, promoting the platform where they could earn money on their expensive garments.

"Once we had people listing their items, customers came organically but we did a budget for marketing on social media channels."

In the first year the pair raked in 500,000 and did the same the next year.

Now in their third year, they've been experiencing a huge surge to the site, growing at a rate of 150 percent, Kirsten said.

"We have over 12,000 dresses listed on the site and every month $ 250,000 worth of luxury clothing is listed."

"There's been a real shift in fashion with women wanting a return when investing in expensive pieces."

The site offers a wide range of brands, but champion Aussie labels such as Scanlan and Theodore, Zimmerman and Bec and Bridge.

While Designerex is the largest clothing sharing platform in the world, it's not the only rental business to see a spike thanks to Kondo.

Australian owned GlamCorner agrees, with co-founder and CEO Dean Jones telling there has been a "lot of movement" recently around a sustainable and affordable fashion.

"People are starting to realize that renting their everyday wear is a much more sustainable and affordable option instead of buying," Mr Jones said.

"Marie Kondo has become a household name for all de-cluttering and reorganizing woes that has also given a positive push to renting a business as people realize today's trends can be of no use for tomorrow and fast fashion is really affecting the environment in some or other way.

"Businesses like GlamCorner are giving consumers the option of changing their style and looks, experimenting with fashion, while not adding clutter to their wardrobe and lives."

GlamCorner has just introduced a subscription based service, where customers pay a set fee and can use the service a number of times every month.

Kirsten added the Marie Kondo effect has made consumers "hyper aware" about their purchases and predicts "investment pieces" will continue to rise in popularity.

Continue the conversation @RebekahScanlan | [email protected]

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