TECHNOLOGY

West Elm enters rental market in tie-in with Rent the Runway

BY Dan Berthiaume

Home furnishings retailer West Elm is partnering with fashion rental giant Rent the Runway to create a new channel for its goods.

Starting this summer, West Elm will make bundles of hand-selected textiles available for rental through Rent the Runway online subscriptions. Available on a dedicated section of the Rent the Runway e-commerce site, the West Elm collection will include 26 exclusive bundles of decorative pillows, throws, shams, quilts and coverlets ranging in style, print, texture and color for living rooms and bedrooms.

The partnership marks the first time West Elm has made products available for rent. It’s also the first time Rent the Runway, which counts more than 10 million members, has expanded its offerings beyond apparel and accessories.

Each bundle will consist of a curated selection of new and seasonal West Elm textiles for the bedroom and/or living room. Bedroom bundles will include a tailored mix of a quilt, coverlet, throw or blanket, shams, and decorative pillows, while living room bundles will include a pairing of decorative pillows and/or a throw.

Rent the Runway subscribers will be able to rent the West Elm bundles as one of their rotating spots via the RTR Unlimited or RTR Update services. The hand-selected pieces feature textures like organic cotton, velvet, hand-spun silk, and Belgian flax linen in stone white, rosete, mineral blue, golden oak, carmine red and colorful embroidery.

Rent the Runway members can keep the bundles for any time period they’d like, from a couple of weeks to months and beyond. Rent the Runway also will offer subscribers the opportunity to purchase a bundle at a discounted rate.

“This is a monumental moment for Rent the Runway and the sharing economy as a whole,” said Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and CEO of Rent the Runway. “We know that clothing is often a vehicle to help people feel confident and expressive, and this new partnership will unlock that feeling through home décor.”

“We are making it easier than ever for customers to discover great design for their spaces,” added Alex Bellos, president of West Elm, a division of Williams-Sonoma. “Each of our 26 curated home bundles encourage subscribers to translate their playful and bold style to decorating, and allow them to experience West Elm’s original, modern products from the comforts of home.”

West Elm is launching this online partnership in the face of new competition from a major retail player. Walmart recently launched a new online-only home brand called MoDRN that appears aimed at obtaining e-commerce marketshare from leading home furnishings retailers such as West Elm and Wayfair.

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