Rent the Runway is partnering with West Elm to bring a new a line of modern home décor and bedding products into its merchandise collection. Available at renttherunway.com/westelm, Rent the Runway subscribers can select from 26 exclusive bundles of decorative pillows, throws, shams, quilts and coverlets to complete their living rooms and bedrooms. The bundles range in retail value from $150 to $450.
This partnership is the first time West Elm has made products available for rent, and the first time Rent the Runway has expanded its offerings beyond dresses, apparel and accessories.
The home good bundles would count as one of the four items Rent the Runway subscribers can rent at a time using the RTR Unlimited or RTR Update service. Members pay $159 a month for RTR Unlimited to rent items as long as they want, or $89 per month for RTR Update to rent them for a month.
By venturing into the home décor category, Rent the Runway aims to broaden its appeal, growing its membership base while maintaining existing customers. To expand its clothing business, Rent the Runway has partnered with more than 600 brands, including Kate Spade, Levi’s and Diane von Furstenberg.
The partnership with Rent the Runway, whose customer is an average age of 29, will also potentially help West Elm attract a younger generation of shoppers, Maureen Sullivan, COO at Rent The Runway told Reuters.
While it is fairly common to see retail partnerships where a retailer with a national brick-and-mortar presence brings in a digital native or subscription-based partner to sell products within its stores — with recent examples being Walgreens bringing Birchbox in-store beauty experiences into select stores or Target and Walmart selling Harry’s razors — it’s rarer to see the reverse. In fact, some retailers go overseas in their efforts to introduce products to new shoppers via digital channels, with Kroger selling groceries on Alibaba’s Tmall being a prime example.
But West Elm clearly sees an opportunity to make its presence felt within a company that generates $100 million per year in revenue, and to get in front of an audience of 10 million members that doesn’t significantly overlap with West Elm shoppers.