Rent The Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman Explains How Transparency Helped Increase Brand Loyalty

By Amit Chowdhry ● January 19, 2020
  • At the National Retail Federation’s annual conference, Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman explained how being transparent helped build brand loyalty

Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman recently explained how the clothing rental company benefited from being transparent about logistical issues. Rent the Runway originally launched in 2009 and the company is known for pioneering the clothing rental business.

The first-mover advantage came at the cost of having to figure out a complex logistical system to make the business model work. As reported by AdWeek, Hyman discussed the logistical issues on the first day of the National Retail Federation’s annual conference in New York.

Hyman said that Rent the Runway was setting up a new warehouse system for increasing inventory for customers, but that ended up slowing down shipments — which led to a surge in customer service requests. So to mitigate the issue, Rent the Runway paused new subscriptions for the unlimited rental service.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We took the decision to be entirely transparent with our customers about what was happening and why this was happening and to be very generous with them financially as well,” said Hyman at the event via AdWeek. “Rent the Runway, as an innovator, is never going to be perfect. There are going to be times in the future where we innovate on behalf of our customers and fail. But we are committed to transparency and a commitment to always do the right thing on behalf of our customers.”

Hyman had issued a statement explaining that the short-term problem would result in longer-term success for the company. Hyman added that with the “warehouse delay that we had I think fostered even greater loyalty in most of our customers, at least that’s what we’ve seen in the last few months.”

Now Rent the Runway has a $1 billion valuation. And the company also launched a new children’s wear service and a furniture rental plan in partnership with West Elm.