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On the trend: Startup gives women a way of renting a perfect style from another closet



Renting clothes is something women have been doing for a long time.

A young entrepreneur from Toronto believes he can build a business around that tradition, adding a new turn that will try to help rescue the planet.

"I thought, I have a big closet, I know my friend has a big closet and everyone around me does it," said Vasiliki Belegrinis, founder of Reheart. "We already share clothes, but now we only formalize."

In fact, "just formalizing" clothing replacement among friends is just a small part of what a 22-year-old entrepreneur hopes to accomplish.

In an attempt to become "AirBnB mode," Belegrinis said she hoped her clients could do well, feel good and look good at once.

The company fits the right in emerging trendy rental clothing and one of the few online businesses in Canada makes it easier to lease exchanges between individuals. Through Reheart, users can list clothes for up to 50 percent profit and study their online catalog of items they might want to rent.

The goal is to help reduce the environmental damage in an accelerated manner by women buying less clothing while simultaneously allowing them to save money through rent and profit from borrowing their own clothes to others.

Reheart captures huge potential inventory.

Business analysts report that clothing production has doubled since 2000, and in 2014 for the first time it has exceeded 100 billion clothes a year. In the context, it means almost 14 new pieces of clothing for every person on the planet.

Growth is expected

Reheart launches with about 2,500 registered users and lists more than 1,200 items that Belegrinis estimates have a total retail value of more than $ 500,000.

She expects this inventory to grow rapidly. According to Greenpeace, 40 percent of the clothes that people own in developed countries are barely used or never carried.

Currently, the company embraces high quality, gently-used items, including dresses, dresses, suits, skirts, shirts, coats, handbags and accessories.

Emily Anas looks behind a small stack of 1,200 clothes that the company has available. (Tina Mackenzie / CBC)

Reheart has found items that are older than a year and cost $ 300 per full retail price.

Lenders issue their rental items to Toronto for storage, and Reheart manages delivery and cleaning logistics because Belegrinis said the deal was too timely to rely on direct transactions of equals.

GTA user base

Most of Reheart's customers are in the Greater Toronto Area and 20 to 35 years old. New users signed up from Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver and ship companies across Canada.

"It was not strange" to apply for the rental of clothing to Reheart, said Risham Najeeb, the 22-year-old executive who works in Mississauga.

"I was more … like," Wow, why did not someone do that before? ""

Najeeb plans to borrow a few Garment items to Reheart later this summer, but has already put a handy handbag on Kate Spade.

Belegrinis and two staff members review some of Reheart's inventory. (Tina Mackenzie / CBC)

Initially she was worried about the renters abusing her stuff, but Reheart says she protects the lenders, repairs damaged items, and charges buyers who do not return the item at full replacement price.

Najeeb did not get much of his $ 500 purse, which was listed at the $ 45 price for a four-day lease and was popular during the Reheart trial pilot phase.

Najeeb said lending was more than making money.

"I personally believe in just the message and meaning behind this platform, and that's to reduce the waste of the fast mode and just make our habits in the sense of fashion more sustainable."

Renters can have items for four, 10 or 30 days.

Short-term business is often what Roxanne Bilski is looking for. The Toronto model has a busy social and working calendar.

She wore clothes for rent in more than 10 cases in the past year. One of these outfits included the second-choice dress for Miss World in Canada.

The first thing Risham Najeeb has given Reheart to rent is the Kate Spade handbag she holds, worth more than $ 500. (Risham Najeeb)

The new dress for the preliminary competition could cost her $ 1,500 or more. Instead, she paid $ 80 and felt good when she used her dress again. Sending the dress came back with an extra bonus.

"I live in a small apartment in the city center. I have no place in the closet."

Globally the clothing crisis inspired entrepreneurs

When it comes to making clothes, business is booming. Experts say production of clothing has become an industry of $ 2.4 trillion a year – $ 1 trillion a year less than two decades ago.

One study states that less than one percent of the material used for making clothing is recycled into new clothes while the garment truck is thrown into the dump of every second.

The numbers like these shocked Belegrinis when he watched the documentary about the industry True price in 2016.

Then a business student was deeply interested in social entrepreneurship, Belegrinis decided to sell insufficiently used items in his closet that were not suitable for charitable purposes.

In early 2017, he started to enter Facebook, Kijiji, and Letgo. The effort failed. "I had the worst experience with application sales," said Belegrinis. He also found that customers were unreliable and looking for unreasonably low prices.

Roxanne Bilski, a Toronto model, hired a used beauty competition dress. (Miss World Canada)

Later that year, she hired the idea for her job, inspired by the success of the Rent the Runway and US rental clothing company, named Style Lend, which started in 2013 and claims to generate revenue of more than 50,000 users.

Recently, Reheart took over another Toronto clothing company, Boro, whose founders gave up on business. Belegrinis hopes that joining will help her business reach a point that could be held within six months.

Converting Property to Profit

Renting clothes is another example of how sharing economics enables people to turn their property into profit.

Brands such as AirBnB, VRBO, Uber, Lyft, Turo and Getaround are great names in the world of sharing, but there are also bicycle rentals, boat rental and truck rental, as well as several parking lot applications.

But not all the sun and the roses. The division of economic activities may have negative effects.

Prof. Ming Hu of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto likes the Reheart idea, but concerns about how sustainable the rental model is in general. His concern is that manufacturers and traders who offer consumers a tempting offer for new clothes for hire will mean that they still produce a large amount of clothing.

"As a result," Hu said, "the company could be more clothing".

Hu points to complaints that AirBnB and VRBO reduce the supply of long-term housing, and studies that show Uber and Lyft increase traffic congestion as other examples of undesirable outcomes of sharing economics.

Belegrinis believes he will share his clothes.

"Many of the ones we are targeting simply do not like to buy," she said. "And I think, even when coming generations coming, even more emphasis on sustainability."


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