People now rent dresses for important occasions —Ewuola, dress renter

3 weeks ago 21

The founder of Rent A Dress Ltd, Mr Abiola Ewuola, an innovative young man, who has just introduced a phenomenon in the fashion industry, where one can rent a dress for any occasion, in this interview by Funmilayo Aremu, speaks on his mission in the fashion industry. Excerpts:

What value are you adding to the industry?

We create a sustainable fashion movement in the industry, providing convenience and value. It is cheaper to pay to use something for a short time rather than buy it outright. We offer access to unlimited wardrobe without ownership, something that has resonated with millennial customers who came of age in the recession and are economic-minded, and who increasingly value experiences over material goods.

This way we are empowering women to feel their best every day by wearing what they want, when they want, without having to pay the full price. We are aiming to change the way Nigerian women get dressed forever. Also, we help local Fashion Designers get their products to the market faster. Post-pandemic, many things have changed within the consumer space – economic-wise. The consumer purchasing power is on the downside due to inflations and all that, but with us in the industry- we give the consumers the freedom to keep wearing clothes by designers without the financial impact of their desired clothing at a quarter of the price.

Why did you venture into this business?

Not all women have closets brimming with beautiful designer dresses, but all women deserve to wear them. Rent a Dress was founded with a simple mission – to let women wear what they want, whenever they want. To give them access to high-end clothing without the high-end price tag. I started this when I had the idea for an online solution to the problem of what to wear.

What is your mission in the fashion industry? 

I’m on a mission with Rent a Dress to make sustainable fashion mainstream, protect our environment, and make luxury dresses available to more people. To provide women with the opportunity to wear designer dresses without the burden of purchasing them.

What does it cost you to set up such a business and how did you venture into it? 

Starting of the business has not been smooth sailing, but the acceptance of our idea by Nigerian women has been morale-boosting. If I remember correctly, we got our first order even before we launched the business officially. Right now, the business is currently self-funded and has gulped over a million naira to launch. One of the core pillars of the business is the dresses, so we’ve teamed up with over 100 clothing lines and designers to offer the best and most popular dresses to our customers and we’re constantly updating our collection! But without the investment yet, our service has been limited, but I believe sooner or later we are going to get an investor.

What does your fashion rental entail? 

To rent a dress for any occasion, the customer needs to visit our website rentadress.com.ng, choose a dress to rent, and place their order, our orders are processed instantly, the clothes will show up at the clients preferred delivery location, date & time – dry cleaned, pressed and they look perfect like new.

We currently offer 4 Days rental, so, on the 4th day, we arrange with the customer to pick up the dress. Our customers do not dry-clean their rented dresses, our dresses are dry-cleaned by top experts in the business, to increase the dress lifespan and to secure the dresses for the next user. Meanwhile, we are always looking at the easiest way to service our customers as we grow as a company.

What has been your greatest challenge? 

Finance will be number 1, as I mentioned earlier the company is self-funded, the limited finance currently gives us a limited opportunity to offer more options to our customers. Although, our inventory has always been a top luxury but we will love to give more to the customer. So, we hope to change this soon. Also, talent, getting the right talent for the team has proven a bit difficult than expected, though we have a very high standard for who to join the team, and it’s been a bit difficult getting the right people to fill the row

Are you satisfied with the state of Nigerian fashion industry, what would you do differently?

I won’t use the word satisfied, but our Industry is getting there, using the recent Lagos Fashion Week as a benchmark, we are getting there but not there yet. And we can’t be satisfied if we want to continue setting the benchmark for other African countries, we are the giant of Africa we have to stay hungry. What I would have done differently is what I’m currently doing with Rent a Dress, we bring Access, Affordability, and Freedom to the Industry. So as time goes on, we hope to make an achievement with the idea on a National Level, currently, we are only in Lagos.

As a young Nigerian do you think the fashion industry is getting enough attention it deserves?

Not really, Fashion is supposed to be a way of life, but currently, in Nigeria, we are not living it yet. Fashion is in every sector you can think of, but not to rub off the beautiful works being done to take the industry like the GT Bank initiative and others, but we can do better.

What is your educational background and your experience growing up? 

I’m lucky to have wonderful parents, my Dad was a Pastor and my mum, a teacher, their professional combination gives me a strong educational background and discipline, at the tertiary level, I went to Adekunle Ajasin University for my Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication, specialized in Public Relation & Advertising. My background has contributed positively to managing the business for growth. My experience growing up was good and bad, I grew up in an environment where crime was the order of the day for most youths, but due to my parental guidance, I made my choice to be a disciplined child and to make my family & country proud. But not many kids that I grew up with were lucky to have parents like mine, that instilled discipline and fear of God in me, but in the nearest future, I hope to make an impact in that area.

In your opinion, are Nigerian youths really lazy? 

The youths have always been the main pillar of every successful country and in Nigeria, it’s the same, the stats are there! Nigeria youths have been making an impact on a national & global level, and if there is any hope Nigerians want to hold to about the future of our country, they should hold on to the youths, because, the youths are on course to make the country great, but to make this work – the older generations need to lend their experience and support to the youths.

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