Asking me to write about fashion is like asking Doug Ford to write about public relations – we have a vague notion of the concept, but we aren’t great at executing it.
So, when I met up with sisters Jenessa and Madison Olson, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. After all, they have started a business based on sharing fashion – Airbnb for your closet, as Jenessa says. As it turns out, the concept isn’t really about fashion at all. Yes, it allows people – women only right now – to rent clothes from individuals and participating boutiques. “But it’s really a software play, technology connecting people and their fashion,” she says.
Well then, if it’s a software play, I’m right at home. After all, I have a smart phone and a computer! So, what else is there to know?
The sisters’ company is called STMNT – that’s STATEMENT minus the vowels. That’s one thing many software plays have in common: Drop the vowels, or add some. Ditch the capital letters, or add some. In any case, the statement they’re making is that you don’t need to spend $500 on a dress for a single occasion and then shove it to the back of your closet or try to return it, swallowing your guilt and avoiding eye contact with the sales person.
You can read all about the sisters and their growing company in the summer edition of London Inc. magazine, itself a business success story, thriving early in its 3rd year of publication.
For now, the business operates in London and Toronto. But the sisters have much bigger dreams that include global recognition of the STMNT logo, located at clothing shops that participate in the rental program. So, you could travel Europe with a small carry-on, picking up and returning your clothes as you need them, booked for specific functions, all with no fuss.