Fashion

Style on rent

Up your style quotient with Aina Barker and Bhavna Suresh's fashion rental service  

There are those who always think of ditching their mundane desk job to start their own venture, and then there are those who take that leap of faith and actually do it! Bitten by the start-up bug, Bangalore-based Aina Barker and Bhavna Suresh turned entrepreneurs with StyleBank (www.stylebank.in), an on-demand fashion rental service through which they provide young women the option of being able to rent dresses from an extended wardrobe of high street label and boutique designer brands.

According to Aina, “Most women only wear an outfit once or twice because they don't want to repeat it, it goes out of trend, or because they are bored with it. With StyleBank, one doesn't have to buy an outfit, only for it to get relegated to the back of your wardrobe. You can just rent it for the night instead!”

Bhavna says,“We want women to have access to multiple options and styles at an affordable cost. We also want them to play with fashion and be adventurous, and when you are not buying the dress you can experiment a little.”

Fortunately for them, both the co-founders have a background in sales and marketing. While Bhavna has just returned from Paris after completing her MBA - prior to which she was in sales, first selling cars for Mahindra and then in a business development role at 22Feet Tribal Worldwide - Aina comes with a decade of experience in digital marketing post her graduation. Prior to StyleBank, she too worked at 22Feet Tribal Worldwide, managing the digital business of leading brands.

Speaking of how they started out, Aina says, “The concept of StyleBank occurred to us early last year. We woke up to the hard realisation of how much money we had spent on clothes and thought of all the other things that we could have done with it (like travelled or saved)! It was a big wake up call. We are regular women who love clothes and just like so many other women, we wanted to continue having a wardrobe that was constantly refreshed, but without the exorbitant price tag. And that is how StyleBank started. We wanted to provide the solution to every fashion loving girl who wants the best of both worlds — a constant supply of new clothes to wear and accessing them at an affordable price.”

“Once we had focused on the idea of StyleBank, it was all we could think of. We brought up the idea in every conversation with other people to gain more market insight or advice and we constantly hashed out how to make it better or improve it. The service that StyleBank provides is so personally relevant to the both of us that we had to get it off the ground,” Bhavna chimes in.

Their service offers handpicked pieces from across the world that can be delivered to your doorstep within four hours. Customers get to keep the outfit for 48 hours upon which StyleBank sends someone to pick it up. They launder with FabricSpa to ensure that each garment is 100 per cent hygienic.

They have been in the business for only two months now and the fashion entrepreneurs say it has been a whirlwind so far.

The duo reveals that they have a lot of challenges to handle. Bhavna says, “The biggest has been education and awareness of the category. Renting fashion is so nascent as a category or service itself that most people do not know about it or are apprehensive to try it out. We have seen that it takes a bit of extra effort to get women to trial renting fashion, more than just standard marketing push, but once they do try it with StyleBank, they love the service and often are repeat users.”

Currently, the co-founders are concentrating on growing their audience and customer base in Bengaluru and plan to expand to another city towards the latter half of the year. They are also working on broadening their offering in terms of other categories of inventory.


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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 5:36:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fashion/an-ondemand-fashion-rental-service-for-clothes-begins-in-bangalore/article8524274.ece

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