Last December (well, a couple days ago), I was invited Coco’s NYE’s Black and White Ball to celebrate her husband’s birthday. I had no idea what to wear and Coco told me that a couple of her friends -including her sister- would be renting a dress for the event from a company called Rent Frock Repeat.
I decided to go to the showroom directly to meet the women behind RfR and pick out my dress. Not only are the ladies hilarious, their selection and service is great. And what’s also amazing is that there is a dress for everyone, sizes range from 0 to 16. I was able to rent an amazing dress for a fraction of what it would have cost to buy, and once I was done wearing it, I simply shipped it back, no dry cleaning necessary!
Here’s me with a dress from RfR, my sister and my girlfriend -far right -(who also got her dress from RfR for NYE)
Here’s Coco’s sister, Sarah and her friend Keesha who both rented their frocks:
Hope these fabulous ladies inspire you to create the life YOU want to live in 2012! Bisous, Winy
Interview with Lisa Delorme, Co-Founder and CEO and Kristy Wieber, Co-Founder and President of Rent frock Repeat www.rentfrockrepeat.com/
Rent frock Repeat is an e-commerce site and showroom based out of Toronto that allows women to RENT high-end designer dresses straight off the runway for a fraction of the cost and have them shipped right to their home, office, hotel, etc. anywhere in Canada. RfR allows customers to choose a second size for free, ensuring a perfect fit. Customers receive a pre-paid envelope to return the dress in and can simply drop it in any Canada Post mailbox or post office. RfR goes a step further by taking care of the dry cleaning. RfR saves women time, money, and valuable closet space.
Where did you grow up?
Kristy: Vancouver, Washington
Lisa: Cornwall, ON – Fashion capital of Canada
What was your course academically?
Kristy: Art, Fashion Merchandising
Lisa: Bachelors, English
Tell us about your career prior to opening your own business…
Kristy: Most of my background is in cosmetics and sales, but prior to opening RfR with Lisa I was working as a VP of Marketing for a marketing agency. I actually met Lisa at the incarnation prior to that, which was in for-profit education.
Lisa: I always like to say that I started in sales when I sold my first box of chocolate covered almonds to support my bowling team (yes you read that right). After graduating from University, I worked in sales with Coca-Cola and Xerox and then entered the for-profit education world with a company called EDMC. I started in their admissions department and was fortunate enough to be promoted through the ranks holding positions such as Director of Admissions, Regional Manager, Assistant Vice-President of Admissions, Campus President and left as the VP of Development Programs.
When did you decide to make a change of career and why?
Kristy: I was at a definite cross-roads in my career. I couldn’t go any further in my current position, so I had to either stay and be happy with where I was at or look for another job. I couldn’t really find anything that ever got me excited enough to leave my comfort zone. Lisa and I had always talked about doing something together and when we uncovered the idea for RfR, it just seemed like perfect timing. And I was finally EXCITED.
Lisa: I was facing a mid-life awakening and realized that I was proud of what I had accomplished but also entering a phase where I was resting on my laurels. If I was going to be as excited about the second half of my life as I was of the first I knew I needed to start a new challenge. It is one of the best, scariest, most exciting decisions I have made (to date).
How long have you been in business?
We launched RfR in May 2011.
How did you come up with the idea?
We had to go to a wedding and were complaining about having to buy another dress that would just end up sitting in our closet. We went to rent a dress from a company in the US that has a similar business model, but they didn’t ship to Canada!! That was when we knew we had to bring this service to Canadian women.
What were some of the challenges you faced early on when you decided to switch gear?
Kristy: It was hard to walk away from the stability of a steady paycheque and not know what the future holds. And then trying to explain to friends and family that this was what we were doing cause a lot of concerned (and sometimes baffled) looks. From a strictly day-to-day business perspective, the challenges are sometimes simply trying to find more hours in the day to get it all done. We don’t really sleep anymore.
Lisa: It was a steep learning curve. Although we had a business background and had a good sense of forecasting, budgets, sales… We needed to be well versed in logistics, social media, shipping, dry cleaning, lease negotiations, the business of fashion (apparently loving fashion isn’t enough) It was a challenge but now that I look at the list I can believe how much I’ve learned in the last 18 mths!
What is it about your current occupation that you now love?
Kristy: Obviously, it’s incredible having something that is YOURS. Lisa and I can shape the business into our vision and that’s really satisfying. But, I have to say one of the things that I really love about this new business is our customers. They have been beyond amazing!
Lisa: I would have to agree with everything that Kristy said and add the network of super brilliant people we have had the chance to meet including our interns, our agency, our Facebook and Twitter network. I also love that every morning I actually look forward to the workday ahead. When they say if you do something you like it won’t feel like work they are absolutely right (whoever “they” are).
What are you most proud of?
Kristy: Simply that we are doing it. We aren’t still just sitting around talking about it. We said, “Let’s do it.” and we did. Even if it failed, I’d be supremely proud that we tried.
What inspires you?
Kristy: Day to day, it’s the little things; my mom, my friends, good books, being in nature – simple pleasures. Big picture, it’s the response from our customers that keeps me going – they are SO supportive and kind! Bigger picture, an honest desire to make RfR successful.
Lisa: My dogs, coffee, simple acts of kindness (like my sister telling me she is proud of me and customers cheering us on).
What advice would you give to someone who wants to change their path?
Kristy: Think about “What is the WORST case scenario?” and then decide if you can live with that. You fall on your face, have to sell all your belongings and move in with your business partner? Okay, I can live with that. If you can live with your worst case scenario, then what are waiting for?
Lisa: What? Kristy is moving in with me and she is calling that worst case scenario? I guess I would tell them to make sure they really like their business partner AND read Seth Godin’s Quieting the Lizard Brain. We all have moments of doubt but it is what we do in those exact moments that count.