In an exclusive conversation with Jheal Shah, CEO & Founder, The Stylease shed light on the growth strategy of the brand.
Kindly brief about the journey of your brand? Also shed light on the ‘luxury on rent’ concept. How do you think this concept will be a 'game changer'?
We launched our pilot in October 2016. Officially launched pan India in May 2017. We started with 25 odd outfits and we've grown to over 270 products on our website and have even more in store. We're launching mens wear this month too. We've consistently grown month on month with regard to expanding our collection as well as gaining traction and making a name for ourselves. Luxury on rent helps the common man gain access to every aspirational designer outfits they've always dreamed of wearing. That’s why we started this idea. The industry is in its nascent stage right now and the only way to go from here is up. The concept will definitely be a game changer for the apparel industry in its entirety. It makes luxury affordable for the common man and enables people who are interested in fashion gain access to the latest designs at a fraction of the cost.
As of now, the company is mainly into renting wedding wear range. Do you wish to settle the brand's niche in the wedding wear segment only? Apart from clothes does the company also rent(or plan to) jewellery, footwear and accessories?
We rent high end outfits for wedding related events and other festivals. Our collection also includes outfits you can wear for events like pre wedding shoots and cocktail parties to Diwali functions. We also rent accessories - bags and jewelry. We currently only want to do high end outfits so that inevitably puts us in a spot where we can only do major events.
Companies such as Flyrobe are also into the fashion renting business. Do you see them as your competition? What is your USP?
Flyrobe is not a competitor because our average price points are much higher than theirs. No one else in Mumbai currently does the kind of outfits we do at the price that we provide them for. We also have a physical store and that helps us immensely. We do custom fittings for free at our store and clients come and try our outfits in person. We also ship pan India which no one else does. We also launched luxury men's wear which no one else does. Our diverse range of garments is our USP too.
What are the major risks included as far as the fashion renting business is concerned? What kind of measures has the company taken to avoid such scenarios?
The main risk is always someone stealing the garment and running away. We have our legalities in place to counter something like that but it's never happened to us till date. You also have to worry about stains once the garment is back but our industrial care partners do an excellent job of handling that for us. When someone places an order on a website there's a possibility that they don't like it in person so we have a robust return and cancellation policy in place so that our customers always get the best service and the most value for their money because that's what we're all about.
Presently, how many pin-codes is company covering? Also, shed light on the number of daily order generations and customer base? Men vs women, where do you find maximum traction? Do you also plan to foray via a brick and mortar store?
We do pan India.There is no cap on the pin code. Currently we see maximum traction in women's but that's because men's wear hasn't even been launched on the website yet. Women's we predict will always be higher. We have a physical store in Mumbai in Andheri.
Have you raised any sort of funds so far or plan to?
Not raised funds yet. We would like to raise some funding in the near future though.
How the company ensures hassle free customer experience? What kind of services do you offer pre and post rent?
We make sure that we're constantly in touch with our customers from the minute the order is placed till when it's returned to us. We always confirm each order personally and also make sure the outfit is made to their exact size. We email and ask every client their measurements even if they haven't asked for a custom fit so as to make sure that they look the best version of themselves in our outfits. There is free delivery on every order and free pick up. We coordinate each pick up ourselves to ensure it goes smoothly. Our packaging is top notch as well. Once we get the order back our quality team checks it out and once we have come conformation we release the security deposit.
Do you also own all merchandise displayed on your e-portal for rent or have you collaborated with designers? In case of collaboration, how do designers earn their cut? Presently, how many designers are on-board?
Some of our merchandise we own. Some of it we tie up for with designers and individuals who own these outfits. We do revenue sharing with these Designers/individuals. The % cut depends on a few factors that change per garment. Currently we have over 50 designers on our website and are exponentially growing that list every month. We also manufacture and rent our own collection called the 'stylease exclusive'
At last, kindly shed light on the company's growth plans?
We have just forayed into men's wear so we're concentrating on growing that along with our women's wear line first and then we'll figure out which other line we want to launch and expand on. Currently we're expanding the product offerings on our currently lines.