4 Kiwi gals get real on owning a designer clothing rental business

30 August 2018
By Fashion Quarterly

Quick-fire Q&As with local gals killing it in the designer clothing rental business game.

With the rise of designer rental businesses popping up all over Instagram, Miss FQ decided to find out what goes on behind the scenes.

Scroll to find out how four Kiwi designer rental business owners started and how their success followed.

Oh Rent Me   |   @ohrentme

Saejung Oh, 24,  Auckland

Age & Profession: I am 24 years old, and my profession is Director at Oh Rent Me. I was studying and moved up to Auckland to originally finish my Masters in Psychology. However, decided to pursue this instead.

Can you tell us the story of how this came to be your bread-and-butter? It originally started as a side hustle, studying a Bachelor of Science in Dunedin, and I needed a bit of cash. As my collection grew, so did my customers. This was around the time, that I had been accepted into the honours programme at the University of Otago. I realised that I couldn’t do both… I knew if I pursued my studies, I would regret giving up on my business, and thought that studying would always be waiting for me, but this opportunity wouldn’t. By being able to give the business my full attention, really made the difference. I was able to grow exponentially, and meet some incredible people along my journey. Now, I have two part-time workers working for me, while they do the daily running of everything, I am able to focus my time on marketing strategies, and just growing my business.

How has Instagram played a part in growing your business? Instagram has been a huge part of growing our business. I am so lucky that we have such a loyal following, and it is a great platform to use to advertise our new garments or any other aspects of the business we want to advertise. 

What size and brand ranges do you stock? Sizes 6-16, and brands include Alice McCall, Bec and Bridge, Thurley, Camilla, Natalie Rolt, Pia Boutique, Ruby, Zimmermann, Trelise Cooper (+Coop and Cooper), Miss Crabb.

What is your rental cost and does it include dry cleaning? Between $30 – $120. It covers the cleaning cost, but not protection. 

What are the postage costs? $10 overnight shipping there and back.

What sets your business apart from others and why should we rent from you? People can trust us to be reliable, efficient, and affordable. I spent many years building the brand up and gaining trust. Trust is a huge part of our business. People should rent from us, as we bring in the latest designer fashion, we rotate our stock to keep up with the forever changing market.


Lend the label   |   @lendthelabel

Bre Poulter, 21, Christchurch

Age & Profession: 21, I run Lend the Label, while also staying at home looking after my two gorgeous girls. 

Is this your bread-and-butter job or side hustle?  This has become my bread and butter job, which is so exciting! I started Lend the Label (LTL) after my second child was born, as a passion project while I was a stay at home mum. I am lucky enough to have super flexible hours and do a lot of my work early in the morning or during the evening to make sure I get to spend as much time as possible with Mila (3) and Kiara (2). My Mum also works part-time and helps with the day to day running of LTL, we couldn’t do it without her!

How has Instagram played a part in growing your business? It has played a massive role. It has created a community of wonderful girls who rent from us but also recommend our service to their friends and family, which is amazing! It’s a great platform to communicate with our customers and also see how they enjoy their LTL rentals when they tag us in a photo or send us a message sharing the experience.

Tell us your rental fairy-tale story? We have had the pleasure of having so many, my favourite is when a customer is so in love with their dress you can just tell it made them feel a million bucks. In the future, we hope to just keep growing and providing the best service we possibly can, at the moment we are just loving what we are doing so will stick with that!

When did you start your business? April 2016.

What size ranges and cost?  From size 6-14 and anywhere from between $30 – $120. Our postage cost is $10 overnight shipping which includes the return bag, however, if you buy anything from our “shop” section, the shipping becomes free.

Do your rentals include a dry cleaning/protection policy? It includes all cleaning and minor repairs.

What sets your business apart from others and why should we rent from you? Our stock and service. We have so many return customers which I think is a really great sign, they usually love the pieces we stock and the service we provide, getting dresses to you on time and in great condition too. We make really great relationships with our customers as that’s why we do what we do.


Renting With SB   |   @rentingwithsb

Storm Benson, 20, Hamilton

Age & Profession: 20, and studying Business Analysis majoring in Finance, at Waikato University.

Is this your bread-and-butter job or side hustle? Renting with SB is my side hustle. I fit this into my schedule between classes, I usually like to dedicate Wednesday and Thursday afternoons for girls to come to my house and try on the garments they’d like to rent and pick up their rentals for the weekend in my little ‘try-on’ studio. 

How has Instagram played a part in growing your business?  Instagram has been an absolute dream in growing my business as this is my main form of contact and a way where I can display try on times, new dresses coming in, and customers wearing the rentals. It’s a close and personal way to be in contact with my followers and to keep them engaged with what’s going on.

What’s next on the horizon for you and your business? Renting with SB has a few competitions coming up, collaborating with some other small businesses to bring the best of the best together for our customers, so keep an eye out for that. 

When did you start? Mid-July 2017.

Do you think your location plays a part in your success? When I started this small business the location played a big part in the success of it, as it was one of the only renting companies located in Hamilton. Ladies, particularly university students, thrive off it. Their only other alternatives were renting offline and not being able to try on the garments.

Size ranges and cost?  The range I stock is from size 6 to size 14. Each rental ranges from around $30 to $55.

What sets your business apart from others and why should we rent from you? Why Renting with SB is set apart from others, is the cost of a rental is affordable, as the majority of my customers are students or part-time workers. I want to make sure everyone has something amazing to wear for that one night that isn’t going to cost them the earth. I am highly customer focused, I have a love for people and love for fashion so that is my number one priority. Being accommodating to all problems that occur to make sure everyone is getting the best experience when renting from me. I try and keep the renting experience for every customer as smooth as possible.

Lend To Mend   |  @lend2mend

Jess Maynard, 20, Christchurch

Age & Profession: I’m 20! I’m currently not studying, but I’m looking into a few options for next year, possibly computer and/or business studies.

Is this your bread-and-butter job or side hustle? Bread-and-butter! How lucky am I to be doing something I love every day!? I started ‘Lend to Mend’ when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. I was working in retail and my Dad was going to the hospital every day for chemo and radiation. I wanted to be able to be there with him. I decided to leave my job and start ‘Lend to Mend’ on the side while I wasn’t working. I didn’t expect it to grow so fast! I was able to be there for my Dad every step of the way and now I’m running ‘Lend to Mend’ full time.

How has Instagram played a part in growing your business? I love Instagram! Instagram is such a good platform to connect with others. I’ve met so many like-minded girls on Instagram. I often run giveaways which I love doing. It’s a great app to collaborate with other businesses as well. I’m working so hard to reach some major goals this year. It’s all ‘hush hush’ at the moment. However, we are trying to expand our range and sizes, so keep an eye out for lots of new arrivals coming soon!

Do you have a rental horror story? Could have been a horror story, but thank goodness it all turned out okay! A girl rented a dress from another business which didn’t arrive in time for her formal on Friday night in Ashburton. She contacted me around 2 pm and she had to be ready by 4 pm. I drove to Ashburton to drop off a dress for her (two and a half hour round trip). She was so relieved and happy!

When did you start? April 2017.

What size ranges do you stock? We currently have size 4-16. We are working hard to expand this even more. We would love to have at least 20 dresses in each size, all the way up to size 18/20.

What is your rental cost? Every garment is a different price, depending on the RRP and dry cleaning price. Our prices range from $35-$100.

What sets your business apart from others and why should we rent from you? I am very passionate about fashion and supporting The Cancer Society. The business model and name ‘Lend to Mend’ came about as it is a huge goal of mine to be able to donate a percentage of our profits to The Cancer Society regularly. Due to the huge setup costs, this has not happened yet but I am looking forward to making our first donation soon. This will not change the rental price, it just means when you rent from us you’re helping other people and that is always such an amazing feeling.


Words: Gabrielle Tutheridge
Photos: Instagram


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