Petite & Minimal

something-borrowed-1

RENT THE WARDROBE – INTERVIEW WITH SOMETHING BORROWED

July 4th, 2018 | 5 minutes to read

Although buying less clothes with higher quality is surely a sustainable way to go, not all of us are satisfied with it. Perhaps some of us don’t have enough time to take care of our clothes, perhaps they just want to try more styles, or perhaps they need certain items for certain occasions but don’t need those items all the time.

Luckily, today it’s also possible to rent clothes, not only from physical stores but also online. I invited Daniella and Madlén from Something Borrowed, an online clothes renting service based in Sweden, to share some of their thoughts. Unlike ordinary rental service, Something Borrowed heavily focuses on “conscious clothes”, which means the curated clothes are either organic, sustainable or ethically made.

Something Borrowed

Annie@Petite&Minimal
Hi Daniella and Madlén, please tell us more about Something Borrowed, how does it work? And who should be using the service?

Something Borrowed
Something Borrowed is an online clothing rental service. We are currently based in Sweden and ship to the whole country. Our rental closet consists of everyday luxurious clothing with that special something. Mostly we focus on sustainable brands but are also looking to expand our wardrobe with some Nordic brands with similar vision. Our customers can rent items on a monthly basis or for special occasions. Our basic subscription gives customers the option to choose three items per month for 599 kr, shipping and laundry included.

Currently we are only providing clothing for women. Our customers are professional women early or in the middle of their careers. Some of them have a busy schedule, some have kids, so they don't always have the time to shop, let alone shop consciously. With us they find a modern way to meet their fashion needs in a conscious and convenient way. Also they save money comparing to their usual spending on clothing.

Annie@Petite&Minimal
You mentioned sustainable brands, could you give some examples and why you chose them?

Something Borrowed
We believe that our service itself is a more sustainable way to consume clothes, but we also really want to be able to offer as many sustainable and ethical brands as possible since that is relatively hard to find elsewhere. We have almost 20 brands that in some ways are sustainable and/or ethical throughout their value chain. We assign the brands with different badges depending on their sustainability work. For instance, you might see that a product is marked with "Organic", "Ethical production", "Biodegradable" and so on.

Annie@Petite&Minimal
Excellent! Could you tell us what inspired you to start the business?

Something Borrowed
We got to know each other during our undergraduate study. We realized that we work very well together and had the ability to actually make things happen and potentially make a change. Daniella continued her master’s degree in Textile management to pursue her passion for fashion, only to realize that this industry was way worse than she could ever imagine. Madlén followed her dream and studied Entrepreneurship. Combining our backgrounds, passion for making the industry better as well as our ability to make things happen, we decided to take the leap and start Something Borrowed.

Annie@Petite&Minimal
That’s wonderful to hear! Have you met any challenges so far? How did you overcome it?

Something Borrowed
There are always challenges when starting something groundbreaking, but we always put faith in our ability to handle whatever comes in our way, blind confidence can sometimes go a long way 🙂 The hardest challenge we are facing is that we are trying to change customer’s behavior, this has always been one of the hardest things in business, but it can also be very rewarding if executed successfully! We are putting a lot of effort in explaining the benefits and we are relying on bigger movements in society that highlight the changes in the fashion industry. For this challenge, timing is our best guess! For everything else we recommend blind confidence in you own abilities and an attitude of " how hard can it be" if you are planning to start a business 🙂 Soon enough you will realize it is always harder than you think, but not knowing it from the beginning makes you actually take the chance!

Something Borrowed

Annie@Petite&Minimal
Quite sound advice. Anyway, let’s go back to clothes again. You previously mentioned you stock sustainable brands and some Nordic brands, so as a clothing brand, what can they benefit from your service?

Something Borrowed
For the global brands, they'll get the opportunity to reach the Swedish audience. We think that people might find new favorite brands that they wouldn't have discovered unless they rent it from us first. Also, by collaborating with a more sustainable clothing concept (like ours) some brands might increase the credibility of their own sustainability efforts.

Annie@Petite&Minimal
So when you buy clothes do you have a strategy or policy? What kinds of styles are the most popular?

Something Borrowed
We choose not to purchase super trendy items that go out of style immediately. Instead we focus on quality, timeless pieces and classic designs. At the same time we can't be boring! We have to offer the pieces that you'd rather rent than buy. For instance a colorful, bright blouse or a special occasion dress.

Annie@Petite&Minimal
I've personally talked to some potential customers, and they expressed certain concern such as "my favorite item is forever reserved by someone else", "I am not sure how clean the clothes/shoes are", "I'm worried about huge compensation I have to pay in case I damage the items", "I hate packing and unpacking.". Have your encountered such situation? How did you deal with that?

Something Borrowed
We have chosen to only show items currently in stock in our wardrobe. This means that if an item is rented out or in laundry you don't see it on the website. This is mainly to avoid disappointment in not being able to rent something you fall in love with. Luckily it will soon be out and available for rent next time you visit 🙂

Regarding damages we are currently quite generous since we want customers to wear the clothes without worrying. We cover three items for small damages such as loss of a button or a big stain, after that, customers are charged 25 % of the garment retail price that would cover repair costs for a forth damaged item.

Laundry is always taken care by us and done at a professional laundry firm between rentals. We use perfume-free detergent and always make sure customers get fresh items when they rent through us.

Shipping and returns have been going very well for us and customers have expressed excitement over how easy the swaps have been. We ship to the closest DHL service point in our own designed packages. Instructions and return labels are prepared, and customers return previous package when picking up the new one.

Something Borrowed

Annie@Petite&Minimal
Good, to wrap up our conversation, what is your vision for Something Borrowed, say, in 5 years?

Something Borrowed
We see ourselves as leading this change in Sweden being the top option for rentals in the country. By this time we hope that renting clothing has become as common as buying new and that there are numerous options of clothing rental shops available. We also believe that we'll have a baby and maternity line that will expand our target groups. Hopefully we have also started to plan expansion to other Nordic markets.

All pictures come from their official site.