Rent a lifestyle

The mantra of the millennials. Photo: R. Ravindran; Car Courtesy: Travel Point and Luxury8 Limo Service

The mantra of the millennials. Photo: R. Ravindran; Car Courtesy: Travel Point and Luxury8 Limo Service  

Live your dream life without spending much. NAVEENA VIJAYAN speaks to companies that offer clients the chance to experience luxury at a fraction of the cost

Dream this up: a limousine (around Rs. one crore) drops you at your friend’s 21st birthday party. You step out, wearing an Anita Dongre lehenga and top (close to Rs. 54,000), a matching diamond necklace set (around Rs.1,50,000) and ALDO stilettos (around Rs. 8,000). Now, just turning this part into reality can cost you a little over a crore. Unless you win a jackpot or acquire a mountain of wealth from your parents, this dream would remain one until you are too old to attend birthday parties. Or, would it?

As it turns out, there is a way around the issue of not being able to afford one’s ideal lifestyle — don’t buy, just rent.

Now, let’s go back to the dream and apply this. Rent a Chrysler limousine from Eco Rent a Car for Rs. 15,000 (basic package), an Anita Dongre lehenga from Swishlist for Rs. 5,500, a diamond necklace from Eves24 for Rs. 8,500, and ALDO stilettos from The Clothing Rental for Rs. 1,000. Your total expenditure works out to a fraction of what it would if you bought them.

The concept of renting, which is quite established in the West with popular online rental sites such as Rent the Runway (which has a whopping five million members, including celebrities and billionaires), Gwynnie Bee, Bag Borrow or Steal, and more, is now creating a buzz in the country.

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion in the number of rental sites for premium products such as luxury cars, fashion wear, designer shoes and designer furniture, and essentials like home appliances, study tables and even a bean bag! It almost seems like renting is the new buying, especially for those between 20 and 40 years.

Besides being a choice made for economical reasons, renting fashion wear makes sense, given “most of today’s fashion trends are defined by Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram. They usually change in a short period. And today’s fashion-conscious youngsters like to keep pace with it. So, why would they buy a Rs. 50,000 worth label, if they cannot repeat it for more than one event”? asks Vedika Oberoi, co-founder of Mumbai-based Swishlist that gets between 100 and 300 requests per month, and rents out labels such as Manish Malhotra, Ridhima Bhasin and Amit Aggarwal for just around Rs. 5,500. Fashion rental sites such as The Clothing Rental started off renting out high-end gowns to stylists and celebrities, but later opened to the public because of demand. Be it for a wedding or a weekend party, there are at least a dozen sites such as TheDuffl, Secret Wardrobe and more, where you can browse for the perfect dress.

“When it comes to jewellery, two reasons why people buy it are indulgence and investment. If a woman buys a necklace worth Rs. five lakh, she might not want to wear it more than once, as most family functions tend to have a similar crowd. The piece is then sent into the locker. And, buying a necklace is not a good investment if you consider the making and wastage charges. A better option would be to buy a gold bar. Even if you put that money in a deposit, you’ll still get Rs. 5,40,000 in a year. On the other hand, renting jewellery worth Rs. 5 lakh from us might cost you Rs. 20,000, just a fraction of your returns from the savings,” explains Rahul Banka, founder,, which runs a ‘Jewellery Library’ for people to borrow jewellery from, with some pieces costing as much as Rs. 10 lakh.

The wiser lot among the millennials are shedding the idea of ownership — not just on houses or cars, but also on fashion wear, jewellery, and articles of everyday use, such as a vacuum cleaner or bedside lamp. The attitude has shifted from owning the best to experiencing it. “One of the reasons for this trend is that in most metro cities (where a majority of the e-commerce sites are functional), the population is constantly migrating. According to a survey, Delhi has the highest migration rate of 43 per cent, followed by Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai. People stay for, probably, three months in a city, before moving to another, or even abroad. Ninety per cent of our customers stay in rented flats. During their stay here, it doesn’t make sense for them to buy a new refrigerator, television or furniture. That’s when we come into the picture,” says Shubham Jain, co-founder of GrabOnRent, which has served over 4,000 customers since it began in September 2015.

Then, there are sites such as Furlenco which focus on providing high-end designer furniture for those capable of buying it, and are not migrating, but simply do not want to own it. The site rents out designer furniture, and packages include everything from pillow and table covers to beside lamps and beds. “The idea is to help people who do not want to be forced to stay committed to a piece of furniture. Those who want a change in the look of their room can swap the furniture settings every six months!” says Ajith Mohan, founder and CEO, Furlenco.

“People are warming up fast to the idea of renting. In about five to seven years, the industry will touch the $20 billion mark. We had 150 subscribers when we started out last year; now, the number stands at 6,000. That’s a good indicator!”


Luxury cars

Chennai-based Luxury8 and its sister concern Travel Point rent cars along with chauffeurs for business meets, weddings, and more. They rent out cars on an ‘eight-hours, 80-km’ package, and prices vary depending on the cars. Other options include Eco Rent a Car, Luxury Limo, MylesCar, Zoomcar.

Home appliances and furniture

Hire anything from a recliner, book shelf, table and a plush bed to designer furniture, refrigerator, TV and bean bag from Furlenco, GrabOnRent,,

Fashion wear

Rent high-end labels and celebrity gowns from Swishlist, Secret Wardrobe, Flyrobe, Klozee, Liberent,,

Camping and trekking gear

Get a hiking pole, trekking shoes, walkie talkie and Go Pro on Shoes on Loose


Popular sites include Hang Art, Rise Art and Artsicle in the West. In India, sites such as ArtEnthuse are picking up

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 5:27:36 AM |

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