And it makes clever use of neighborhood laundromats as its distribution hubs.
There's a fun new way to dress yourself in New York City. Wardrobe is a newly launched clothing rental service that uses an app to let you both rent and lend out fabulous fashion goods. What makes it especially cool is that Wardrobe relies on 40+ laundromats around the city to be distribution 'hubs' for its business. These same laundromats ensure that the clothes are spotlessly clean for the next client.
Wardrobe boasts that it is a "fashion marketplace powered by real people with amazing style" – a peer-to-peer platform, one could say. It puts underused clothing to good use, circulating pieces far more times than they'd get worn if they just sat in someone's closet. The laundromat-hub model is beneficial for the whole community, too:
"We’ve teamed up with neighborhood dry-cleaners to store your closet items and care for the pieces. By creating these local touchpoints, which we call Wardrobe Hubs, we save you time and ensure that the communities we work in stay connected and thriving."
Delivery service is available, too, for those people who cannot get to a hub on time. Order by 4 pm and you'll have your new clothes by 10 am the next day.
Finally, Wardrobe works with stylists, influencers, and other fashionistas to give clients advice on how to dress better and which items they own that have good rental potential.
This new business model fits in with a broader shift we've been seeing for a while; people aren't shopping for clothes the way they used to, and are more interested in clothing rental and second-hand/resale than ever before. In fact, ThredUp's 2019 report said that the second-hand clothing industry is growing faster than new apparel retail. Wardrobe says on its website,
"The fashion rental marketplace now caters to millions of consumers with the average subscriber spending 33 percent of the year (or 120) days wearing rented items."
So far, Wardrobe is only available in New York City, but it hopes to expand to other cities before long.