As the online clothing rental industry has begun to grow, Nuuly Rent has welcomed ELOQUII, an e-commerce fashion site for sizes 14 through 32, to its growing community of 167,000 active subscribers. “ELOQUII was one of the most requested brands (our plus-size customers) wanted access to rent through Nuuly,” says Sky Pollard, Head of Product at Nuuly. Julie Carnevale, CEO and Co-Founder at ELOQUII shares, “Inclusivity is at the heart of this partnership.”
Launched in 2019, Nuuly Rent allows plus-size and straight-size subscribers to rent any 6 styles for $98 a month. The site offers a range of looks, from party dresses and office attire to more casual options from more than 300 brands, including Anthropologie, Free People, Madewell, Universal Standard, Good American, Selkie and now ELOQUII. Pollard shares that Nuuly’s plus-size customers were seeking more trend-forward styles and more novelty as well. She says ELOQUII’s great point of view on trend and strong wear-to-work pieces made the partnership a perfect fit. Nuuly currently offers more than 30 ELOQUII styles, with new pieces arriving monthly.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to serve the plus market, as plus-size customers are often overlooked by fashion brands,” says Pollard. “We have made it our mission to get specific feedback from our plus customers to make sure we have the product and styles to support their needs. Through the size of our buys, we also are able to drive some change in the industry, encouraging our brand partners to broaden their size ranges to be more inclusive.” Pollard shares that Nuuly’s model reflects the company’s commitment to being easier on wallets and on the planet. Additionally, subscribers don’t have to deal with laundering, dry cleaning or repairs, and have the option to buy their favorite pieces at a discount, which sometimes goes up to 70%.
Nuuly’s social media announcement about the ELOQUII partnership on Instagram had some of their highest engagement metrics to date. Coco Limberakis, Director of Integrated Marketing & Social Media at ELOQUII, reports that she’s seeing the same level of excitement on ELOQUII’s end. “Our community’s response to the partnership on social media has been thrilling. There’s clearly demand and excitement buzzing and we can’t wait for what’s to come,” says Limberakis.
Pollard points out that Nuuly has experienced marked growth, especially in the past one and a half years. She sees this as a result of more people discovering the brand and seeing the rental option as an opportunity to have flexibility regardless of the macroeconomic reality.
An Online Clothing Rental Global Market Report released in Fall 2022 reports that the online clothing rental market is experiencing strong growth, and is expected to expand into a $2.11 billion industry by 2026 (compared to $1.28 billion in 2021). The report cites COVID-19, the Ukraine-Russia War, and high rates of inflation as macroeconomic realities that have motivated clothing buyers to become renters. Fashion companies are able to use the advancement in smartphone technology to take advantage of this trend. For instance, in 2021, H&M tested a blockchain-based rental service at one of their stores in Berlin by adding scannable labels to clothing from a specific collection. Customers could instantly rent the clothing for around $11 a day by scanning stickers with their smartphones and signing up for a designated rental platform.
The plus-size customer has historically been shut out of fashion technology trends like this. It’s important to understand that being a full participant in fashion isn’t just about access to clothing. It’s about feeling like you can participate in things like fashion advancements in real time.
Kara Richardson Whitely is the CEO of The GORGEous Agency, which helps brands connect and grow with the plus-size market. “Renting may be the pathway for companies to really start inviting more plus-size people to the fun of fashion,” shares Whitely. “ The plus-size consumer has been burned so many times in the plus-size space. Shopping, for people in larger bodies, has been a pretty traumatic experience,” points out Whitely. “I’m always left feeling left out of the shopping experience. I know I’m not alone. So any way that retailers can invite more plus-size customers to the holistic experience of fashion is a wonderful thing.”
In addition to renting, subscribers can buy or sell secondhand through Nuuly Thrift, a peer-to-peer resale marketplace. Nuuly is owned by Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN), whose portfolio includes Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, FP Movement, Terrain, Urban Outfitters and Nuuly. The company owns 644 stores in the United States, Canada and Europe.
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