Tulerie makes its debut today, joining a growing roster of online clothing rental startups.
The New York-based Tulerie focuses on high-end couture—items that retail for $1,000 to $10,000—that might be worn a time or two but mostly take up space in a woman’s closet. The company is building a two-sided marketplace, with owners of haute garments and accessories on one end, and people who want to rent them on the other.
“You may have bought it for a special occasion or it doesn’t fit you properly anymore,” says Merri Smith, Tulerie’s co-founder and COO. “But it’s an investment, and you can’t really get rid of it.”
Smith and Violet Gross co-founded Tulerie, a peer-to-peer clothing rental market, two years ago. The startup’s mobile app, which is now available for iOS devices, features items such as Celine dresses, Chanel handbags, and Prada separates.
Gross, the startup’s CEO, says Tulerie wants its users “to feel like they are borrowing from a friend of a friend.”
Online marketplaces where people can rent clothing have been growing in number, an offshoot of the so-called sharing economy. Perhaps the best-known such service is Rent the Runway, which charges users fees each month based on the amount of items they rent.
Tulerie’s founders say the company takes a 17.9 percent commission from each rental, which they claim is compatible with similar services. “We wanted to make it very easy and non-committal for people,” Gross says.
After users create an account with Tulerie, they provide their clothing and shoe sizes. Then Tulerie contacts the person for a brief interview. “People need to trust the process,” Smith says. “People want to know they can trust who they are lending to.”
Smith says Tulerie currently has a “couple hundred” users, and … Next Page »