Drapers 30 Under 30 alumnus Eshita Kabra-Davies, founder of fashion rental app By Rotation, reveals how her app surpassed 100,000 downloads, achieved sky-high revenue growth and turned a side business into a six-figure business – all in less than two years.
As children we are all taught the importance of sharing, but somewhere along the line that lesson gets lost. Sharing clothes is sustainable, smart and economical. I created By Rotation as a solution to a personal first world problem I faced while planning my honeymoon in my homeland Rajasthan, India: what to wear while traveling. During the trip, I was shocked to witness the impact of textile waste in my own hometown.
By Rotation has become a green mark on the consumption map, guiding consumers on the path to a healthier relationship with shopping, and almost two years later in 2021, I was joined by one more movement. of 120,000 other people who feel the same way.
After researching the global fashion rental landscape, I was disappointed that I couldn’t find a fully circular solution. Inventory-based rental models [which buy stock to rent out, so the model is still centred on buying new] are a waste when you consider the resources they employ – from the items they keep, warehouse space, dry cleaning to deliveries and physical storefronts.
With peer pressure at an all-time high thanks to social media and the ‘wear once’ mindset, I was convinced that the peer-to-peer concept would be essential in ensuring that existing articles received the love and the use they deserve.
Drapers 30 Under 30 Eshita Kabra-Davis, Founder and CEO of By Rotation
Career setback with the founder of By Rotation App, Eshita Kabra-Davies
Surprisingly, we are still the only 100% peer-to-peer fashion rental platform in the UK. [By Rotation is the only UK rental platform that does not buy any stock – everything on the app belongs to individual users].
Our business model is entirely based on sustainability, while our priorities are to stay digital, improving the user journey through our in-house developed machine learning tools. By Rotation has grown organically, thanks to word of mouth and a strong network in the clothing rental business, given our social orientation. We have the greatest depth of “stock” – over 14,000 listings worth £ 6million + RRP with essentially no inventory risk since we own nothing [users rent their peers’ wardrobes].
Race in the rental boom with the CEO of Rotaro
Our community and our technology are our greatest strengths. It was important for me from day one to create a very inclusive environment [space] given my experience as a third culture child (living in India, Singapore, USA and UK).
I also wanted By Rotation to target unsuspecting regular consumers due to my own experiences coming from a non-fashion background. [and] my goal is to make the app accessible to everyone, not just those who are already in the fashion crowd, with flexible pricing on the app and no registration fees, for example.
Our community is colorful and diverse with top lenders ranging from bankers, lawyers, students and housewives to Lady Amelia Windsor (British royal and model), Camille Charriere (influencer), Aisling Bea (actor) and Abisola Omole (creative director), among others.
As a result, some of our major lenders are making over £ 2,500 per month lending their wardrobes, as many users’ spending habits become more strategic, taking into account the profitability of an item before committing to buy, which means that before buying something new (from retailers), users will determine whether they think they can successfully rent it on By Rotation or not. Many users want to recoup the MSRP on purchases they’ve made by renting them out on the app, so they buy strategically based on what’s being asked on the app.
One of the things our users love the most is the way they have trained app acquaintances by “following” people of the same style / height as them – and how often they end up rotating their custody. – dress with each other. That’s really what sets us apart – the community.
This community aspect of By Rotation has been recognized by the Bumble and Peanut, Westfield London, Page Hotels, Halfpenny London, Shelter, Refuge and Women for Women apps which have all partnered with the app.
In the second quarter of 2021, between February and July, we hit more than six-figure revenues and during the same period our revenues increased by 2000% due to the return to normal and the travel restrictions finally lifted.
As a former investment analyst, I myself have been very careful with the By Rotation fundraising and capital table. I am now actively raising our multi-million pound seed cycle [funding from external investors] with which By Rotation will expand to France in early 2022 and launch our web platform [at the same time]. [We] will then expand to other European countries, with the aim of consolidating our position as a key fashion rental platform in Europe, up to [we] are a worldwide application.