Rent the Runway Inc. has picked Artie Minson, president and chief financial officer of WeWork Cos. Inc., to be a member of its board.
The appointment represents a deepening of the partnership between WeWork and Rent the Runway, which was announced in October. Rent the Runway has installed drop-off boxes for returning rented clothes at 15 WeWork locations in six cities: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and Miami. The boxes are situated in WeWork lobbies and are geared to make it more convenient to return items.
In addition, pop-up versions of Rent the Runway’s “dream closet” stores are expected to open at locations where the drop-off boxes are placed, but no timetable was given. The pop-ups are expected to range from 1,000 to 3,000 square feet and will be situated in the common areas of the WeWork facilities, including the 18th Street headquarters in Manhattan and in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn.
“This is a byproduct of working on the partnership together,” Minson told WWD on Friday. He said he has spent much time working with Rent the Runway cofounder and chief executive officer Jennifer Hyman on the partnership and that he also worked with Maureen Sullivan, Rent the Runway’s chief operating officer, when they were both at AOL. Prior to joining WeWork, Minson was chief financial officer of Time Warner Cable, and AOL’s chief operating officer and chief financial and administrative officer.
He said the partnership between WeWork and Rent the Runway is “off to an incredible start. We will continue to see that expand to include other areas,” he said.
“For our members, we want to create in addition to an incredible work environment, we want to create experiences that frankly make their lives easier and better.
“For Rent the Runway it takes days off the returns. The biggest advantage is that those returns are credited to Rent the Runway subscribers so it allows them to rent more product in an accelerated time period.”
Minson had no comment on the possibility that WeWork’s partnership with Rent the Runway extends to other projects or even a financial investment in the subscription rental service.
In a statement Minson did say, “WeWork and Rent the Runway’s recent strategic partnership, which leverages WeWork’s platform to create a national network of RTR locations and increased convenience for subscribers, is just the beginning. I look forward to continuing to work together to realize the massive opportunity that lies ahead for RTR to empower millions of subscribers.”
“The partnership is going extremely well,” said Hyman. “We just completed a six-week, six-market tour and hosted pop-up events at WeWork locations around the country — in New York, Chicago, D.C., San Francisco, L.A. and Miami.…There are several areas of opportunity for the partnership, including drop-box expansion throughout WeWork’s portfolio, RTR closet build-outs in select WeWork locations, on-demand styling and events.”
She said there are no financial ties or investments between RTR and WeWork.
“As we continue to rapidly scale our ‘subscription-to-fashion’ business, we look forward to tapping into Artie’s deep understanding of scaling and operating high-growth subscription and membership platforms,” said Scarlett O’Sullivan, Rent the Runway’s chief financial officer.
Rent the Runway, which enables women to rent clothes rather than buy them, was founded in 2009. The company says it carries hundreds of thousands of apparel and accessories items from more than 600 designer partners. The company also said it has raised more than $200 million from investors, has 10 million members, and has more than 1,200 employees.
The Rent the Runway board has nine people including Minson. He will also chair Rent the Runway’s audit committee. The other board members are Hyman; Beth Kaplan, former RTR president; Carley Roney, founder, XO Group/The Knot; Dan Nova, managing director of Highland Capital Partners; Dan Rosensweig, ceo of Chegg; Jenny Fleiss, cofounder of RTR; Rick Kimball, founder of Technology Crossover Ventures, and Scott Friend, managing director of Bain Capital Ventures.