San Francisco dress rental start-up StyleLend released an iPhone app this week and, with it, a new peer-to-peer direction focused on connecting women who live near each other.
Using the app, women can post images of dresses they’re willing to rent to others nearby and borrow dresses, handbags and accessories from other listers. Betting that women will prioritize proximity as they fulfill and manage the rentals themselves, the app emphasizes neighborhoods and includes them in product listings and search filtering options.
“Some women have made the cost of their dresses over and over again,” said chief executive officer Lona Duncan, who aims to encourage women to offset the purchase of designer items by renting them out.
Until now, StyleLend has housed its inventory of dresses and fulfilled rentals and returns from its San Francisco office. With the app live and plans to expand the peer-to-peer model to New York this summer and to Los Angeles by fall, Duncan said her company will soon shift all transactions to the app and begin testing a mobile-only approach.
In conjunction with the app launch, StyleLend has expanded its rental offerings to additional categories and now allows users to post casual clothing, accessories and handbags that meet its guidelines.
The company, which reports raising an undisclosed seed round of funding from private investors, also recently unveiled a campaign called The Breakup Letter at www.thebreakupletter.org to encourage women to change their shopping and buying habits. Its first fashion mob will take place in San Francisco on May 16.