FASHION TECH: France might well have its own, albeit smaller version of Rent the Runway, the American rental company. Panoply is set to launch during upcoming show season, on Oct. 1 with a roster of 20 labels including Marc Jacobs, Red Valentino, Kenzo, Carven, Courrèges, Etro, Sonia Rykiel and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi.
“The concept [of Panoply] is Net-a-porter meets Netflix,” explained Ingrid Brochard, the entrepreneur who cofounded Panoply with Emmanuelle Brizay, former managing director of French ready-to-wear label Petite Mendigote. “Panoply is focusing on designers’ clothes for every day.”
The duo raised funding of one million euros, or $1.1 million at current exchange, with such investors as former SMCP, or Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, executives Frédéric Biousse, Elie Kouby, as well as Michaël Benabou, one of the Vente-Privée.com cofounders, and a Vente-Privée.com former investor Dominique Romano. Olivier Rivard-Cohen, via his Ici investment firm, is also part of it.
The company was selected by the BETC Start-up Lab program, in which the ad agency helps innovative start-ups for free. A digital campaign is in the works stressing the switch “from possession to experience.”
Rates for a monthly plan will range from 120 to 300 euros, or $135 to $337 at current exchange. Clothes are delivered the same day by courier in Paris, and the following day outside Paris. The company teamed with Copenhagen-based start-up Easysize for its online system that helps reduce returns.
The company conducted tests with 50 women ahead of the launch. “One of the things we’ve seen is that women get out of their usual perimeter of brands. They’re more daring with their looks,” Brochard said.
Collections are bought by Brochard and Brizay, helped by consultant Valérie Miegeville, who’s a former buyer at Printemps department store. For spring, they’ll add Proenza Schouler.
Only the latest collection will be available for rent on the web site. For merchandise of previous seasons, they’re exploring two options: either to hold a clearance sale at the end of the season at the Panoply showroom situated on 10 Rue Royale, or to add a “try-and-buy” option.
For its first year of activities, the firm anticipates to reach 300 to 500 subscribers. Down the road, Panoply plans to launch in London.