Jenn Hyman & Every girl’s Cinderella moment!

By: Chenyu

Dec 10 2011

Category: Uncategorized

1 Comment

Focal Length:5.35mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

Spending a Friday in NYC with TigerTrek was hands-down the best way I have spent Fridays this term. The highlight of the day for me was meeting with co-Founder and CEO of Rent The Runway (, Jenn Hyman (@Jenn_RTR). The first thing I noticed in RTR office was the giant poster on the wall with the core values of RTR. The first one is to create *a Cinderella moment* for every girl! (this is especially true in special-event occasions) When Jenn walked in the room with her elegant white/black outfit, I could already feel that the lady sitting across me is very special. It turns out that every sentence from Jenn was worth a lesson. Jenn is one of those people whose words have the magic power of inspiration, intelligence and calm passion.

Jenn spoke about how her experience of initiating and starting Starwood Wedding business (from $2million to $50million revenue per year) not only gave her experience running business within business(being a mini-entrepreneur), but also has allowed her an important take-away that customers associate the hotel brands with their honeymoon experiences. Customers go back to their honeymoon hotels every year. This customer experience & brand loyalty at special occasion realization was the precursor or RTR.

Girls constantly face the social pressure of owning new dresses, and RTR idea came out when Jenn was helping her sister choosing a dress to attend a wedding. She realized the need to rationalize consumption of women dresses – “there are dresses in your close that you would only wear once for a special occasion, but there is no reason that you should own it. “

What differentiate RTR from other businesses that rationalize consumer consumption, for example NetFlix, is that RTR combines rationality with emotion, which is the “special sauce” of RTR. Emotions help create higher WTP, for example, Zappos charge 10% more than others due to emotion attachments. People associate experience with a brand. RTR creates an environment that is positive for both consumers & suppliers. RTR creates “experiential marketing” for the brands to increase sales. This becomes a creative channel away from the traditional thinking of suppliers to always focus on cost reduction. Some interesting statistics to think about: – 90% of RTR customers have purchased the brand that they rented 6 months after – 98% of girls are renting brands that they haven’t owned previously and Jenn said she not only thinks about creating a market but making it bigger. It is like Amazon Kindle changed the reading behavior, but also made people buying more books because Kindle makes reading “easy and more fun” – that is RTR for dresses.

When commenting on the biggest competitor for RTR or any business that fundamentally has the potential to change people’s consumption behavior, Jenn said ” the biggest competitor is *inertia* of people continuing to do what they are used to do.” (for example, being lazy and wear the black dress that one wears to many occasions.) RTR is trying to change that. “You might not be able to own [our products ] 365 days a year, but we allow you to own them 10-15 days/ year in occasions that really matter” and people take good care of that! ” The challenge that RTR addresses is the precision of sophisticated logistics – as if the dresses do not get delivered the day before the super-important occasions, RTR would have ruined their experience and reputation & credibility is so important.

When Jenn & Jenny first started the business, they didn’t go directly to launch the business, but they first tested their business models with both suppliers and customers. 1) Supplier: Jenn cold-called top designers to get feedbacks about every point that they don’t like about RTR, and try to find the niche that they could work together. now RTR works with 150+ brands

2) Customers: (15-25 years female): Jenn & Jenny bought 100 dresses from Bloomingdale (at their own sizes in case the venture didn’t take off), and experimented at Harvard and Yale to find out who are their customers and what their experience would be like without being able to actually try it on – that’s how the 2-sizes idea come up. This was so smart and interesting to test out an idea first before fully launching. Jenn has so much energy & passion but she is able to convey the deep passion in a calm and elegant way —> “RTR can transform retail business, democratize the luxury, target the mass and give aspiring experiences”.

Beyond all her amazing wisdom, what strikes me about Jenn was her level of humility. She brings up that “*entrepreneurship is about humility*” and every single person Jenn brings on board offers unique strengths. She commented on how RTR feels like a “family” and she gives credit to everyone at RTR to make it where it is today. Jenn, Thank You! Spending an hour with you was the best way for my Friday afternoon and seeing you in action shows me what a role model is like!


Dec 9, 2011



One comment on “Jenn Hyman & Every girl’s Cinderella moment!”

  1. Your blog is truly worthy. Thank you so much for presenting a lot of Awesome content.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: