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“It was mad!”: GlamCorner goes offline at MBFWA

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia may be over, but Audrey Khaing-Jones and Dean Jones from rental business GlamCorner are still on a high after having made their first offline foray during the event.

“When our set went up at Fashion Week, it was a proud moment for us. When GlamCorner was born, I never thought we’d be at Fashion Week,” Khaing-Jones said about being MBFWA’s first official sustainability partner.

“I remember cold calling designers and telling them in the early days, ‘I want to stock your label and also rent them!’

“It was a celebratory moment for us, and it was really about telling everyone that we’re here and we’re part of the industry. We’re not the kids who just showed up at the party!”

Whipped up in just three days and inspired by Cher Horowitz’s digital fashion management system in Clueless and the infamous walk-in wardrobe owned by Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, GlamCorner’s set was created to look like a stylish wardrobe offering customers endless options.

MBFWA attendees were invited to take selfies in front of the set and upload their images on social media with hashtags for the chance to win a year’s worth of rented pieces from GlamCorner.

“Every woman wants that walk-in closet with infinite options. The idea was that Glamcorner is your walk-in closet and you can have everything that you want in it, but it’s a rotating closet,” said Khaing-Jones.

“I actually wanted the closet to be bigger, but that’s all we could get. I had to fit everything in a 3m x 3m space.”

Jones described GlamCorner’s offline event as being an “unashamedly flag-planting exercise” for the fashion rental industry and he was pleased that the team were there to share their support for the local fashion designer industry.

“It was really great to be there and say, ‘If you love that and you haven’t had a chance to try it before, maybe rent it first, see if you like it. You can see it fresh off the runway and rent it.’

“There’s definitely a consumer who aspires to wear designer brands and it’s definitely not at her price point, which really might be at Zara or H&M. But we can offer designer quality at a fast fashion price point.”

The GlamCorner stand was well-received by attendees and the team enjoyed meeting potential customers in the flesh and sharing the GlamCorner experience with them.

“On Saturday, Fashion Week was open to the public and there was a point where the line to our booth was so long, security asked us to move people along faster. We had many people sign up for the subscription service on the spot, which we’d never experienced before, because we’d never had that opportunity before. It was mad!” recalled Jones.

After enjoying such a positive experience during MBFWA, the GlamCorner team is now seriously considering launching more offline events in the future.

“It was so refreshing speaking to our customers explaining to them what GlamCorner stands for and what we do. GlamCorner has always been online, but that experience at Fashion Week definitely makes us think,” said Khaing-Jones.

“It’s such a personal experience when you connect with someone in person instead of being behind a desktop or on the phone. I can definitely see that with physical retail, if you do it well, it can add so much value.”

Subscriptions in beta test

Meanwhile, GlamCorner is currently testing a soon-to-be-launched subscription service called GC Premium, where customers have a box of three new rental items sent to them each month. The service was launched six months ago and is still in beta mode while the team works out pricing tiers and irons out other issues.

According to Jones, current GlamCorner customers had been asking for more opportunities to rent from the business, outside of just black-tie formal events. Now, GC Premium allows customers to rent items for their work and daywear, such as blazers, jackets, pants, suits and skirts.

When the service was first launched, the team experimented with the different lengths of time that customers could use their subscriptions, from four- to 15-day hires, which didn’t seem to stick.

“Then we looked at the subscription model and thought, ‘What if we bundled a few things in a box and you paid a fixed price a month and you swapped those boxes out as much as you like? You’ve got access to the wardrobe like a library, but you get three books at a time,” explained Jones.

“That grew like wildfire. For the workwear usage duration, you wouldn’t rent a blazer for four days, but you’d have it for a month, then you’d get to try something new next month. So suddenly the stress and anxiety about having that fresh wardrobe is super easy when you’ve got a subscription.”

Now that customers no longer need to buy investment pieces such as blazers and coats in neutral colours and they can sign up to GC Premium instead, it has allowed them to experiment with different colours, prints and styles than they would normally wear.

“The most frequently used colours are not blacks, greys and khakis. It’s the colours and prints. We’ve removed the burden of ownership so our customer doesn’t feel like she has to buy investment items. She can think, ‘I’m only getting this for a month, let’s go crazy!’” said Jones.

“It gets us excited, because our customer can discover a side of her style that she never really had a chance to do, especially when it’s with some of the best international designer labels.”

Another function that GlamCorner is currently building into its offering is the ability for customers to buy items from the site after they have been worn 20 or 30 times. Whoever has that particular piece in their box is the first to be offered the opportunity to purchase it.

“As we’ve learnt more about the industry, what’s dawned on both of us the amount of waste. Fashion is the second highest polluter on the planet. Australians throw away six tonnes of clothing every 10 minutes, it’s a lot. We just think to ourselves, ‘Wow, there’s got to be a better way’. We’ve realised rental is part of the solution.”

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