Bangalore-based Hybrid Fashion Rental Marketplace for Men & Women, Duffl raised an undisclosed amount of Angel round from BetOnIndia Technology Pvt Ltd a technology product incubator.
The funding will be utilized in strengthening core technology, expanding inventory and sensible marketing.
Founded by husband-wife duo, Nisha Khatwani and Mithun Chandra in December 2014 and launched May 2015 as Tete-a-Rent (pronounced Tet-ah-Rent), a peer to peer fashion rental marketplace. Since inception, they have rebranded to Duffl and become a consignment based rental marketplace for men and women. Duffl hosts about 300 products with new products added every fortnight and an average of 40 orders a month with no marketing and PR. Over the last year, Duffl has not only rented but also sold over 200 outfits on their site.
Duffl’s concept is quite simple, why spend a fortune on designer and premium labels when you can temporarily own them for a fraction of the cost? If opted for, lenders and customers may remain completely anonymous. Duffl hosts a variety of products ranging from party, ethnic and western wear for men and women with custom fit options.
So how can an individual or boutique rent out on Duffl?
If you are a boutique or an individual who wishes to list your premium or high-end items, opt for their concierge service Duffl it up. TheyPick up, do a Quality Check,Curate, Shoot, List, Pack and Rent it. All you have to do is sit back and earn money when the item rents out or sells.
How can customers rent an outfit?
- Choose the date of the event and book. The item will be delivered 2 days in advance. If you are not happy with the fit or the product, Duffl ensures easy returns.
- If it fits, flaunt it on the day of the event
- Once you’re done, Duffl will organize a pick up the next day and have it dry cleaned
- On request, Duffl also offers 24 hour delivery within Bangalore
- Free replacement (based on availability)
- Custom fitting for women’s ethnic wear
- Dry cleaning services
- Personal styling assistant
- Celebrity Closets and Luxury Labels (Coming Soon)
Consulting firm PriceWaterHouseCoopers estimates the global sharing economy will grow from USD 15 billion today to USD 335 billion by 2025. But it is still at a nascent stage in India.
Currently, the pre-owned fashion market is estimated to be worth about USD 5 billion out of which 1.05 billion is the preowned branded fashion market.
When it comes to inventory, Duffl ties up with celebrities, HNIs, and premium boutiques to rent out branded products on a consignment basis. When an item rents out or sells, Duffl retains a 25% commission from the item owner.
When quizzed about why Duffl was in incognito all this while, Mithun Chandra, Co-Founder & CEO said, “We were not incognito as such. Yes, we refrained from over spending on PR and Marketing and stuck to social media and WoM. We wanted to analyse the market’s response and key metrics. Based on the response, we made minor tweaks to our business model over the last year and now have sufficient market intelligence to push forward.”
The hygiene factor is something everyone at Duffl takes very seriously. Every outfit is subject to industrial grade dry cleaning before and after use followed by steam ironing
“Our quality check process for products is stringent. Only once the product passes our process successfully, will it be listed on our site. Duffl puts product quality and user experience above everything else”, mentions Co-Founder & Chief Fashion Officer Nisha Khatwani.
Duffl aims to quadruple their inventory for the Men’s and Women’s categories to offer a larger variety of products to choose from and increase sales by 10 fold within the next 6 months. Duffl is concentrating on building a formidable brand that resonates with quality rentals for high end and premium labels in India.
Co-Founder & Chief Fashion Officer, Nisha Khatwani spoke about Duffl’s origin and vision
Duffl originated from a personal pain point that led me to think how it would be amazing if we could all borrow outfits for that one event, and wear a different designer outfit for every event on the calendar, without burning a hole in our pockets.
Thanks to the popularity of social media, repeating your outfits is not a choice anymore. Hence, impulse purchases result in expensive clothes that don’t have more than one or two wears sitting idle in our closets. Quite evidently, a waste of space and money.
Duffl enables boutiques and individuals to rent their coveted designer apparel thereby giving people access to premium designer wear at pocket-friendly rates. The idea of Duffl has now grown into a service that serves over 40 fashionistas every month purely through referrals. There are so many more that deserve the haute couture experience. We get over 200 enquiries a month for outfits we do not have. This round of funding will be used to provide more men and women with the ability to rent designer wear at a fraction of the retail price, to their doorstep.
Talking about competition and the way forward, Co-Founder & CEO, Mithun Chandra said,
In this business, achieving positive unit economics is the main challenge. Once you have decent inventory, and all other peripheral processes in place, it’s not hard to boost sales by pumping in money. But it will prove to be a challenge at scale when the burn is uncontrollable and you lose four to six times the money on every order.
We opted for a more humble route. We are striving to build a formidable business and brand by keeping a close eye on unit economics without deviating from the larger vision. Let’s face it, it’s a relatively new concept and market. People still have to warm up to the idea of renting and it will take its time. One thing I have learned from experience, “nothing can be forced down customers’ throats beyond a certain point”. They are smart, and undermining that is foolishness. We knew from the start we can’t force growth. It has to be organic.
We have not entertained investments that encourage us to ramp up transactions at the cost of a high burn rate. We prefer failing the traditional way. You sell something, people don’t buy and you eventually shut shop. As of now, we are selling, people are buying. Duffl loves its customers and pamper them as much as possible. We believe in building a loyal, repeat customer base than a service-juggling customer base.
Over the past 1 year, we have grown steadily and sensibly. We are confident if we block out the noise and stick to plan, we’ll have a business that solves a pressing problem for our customers, forges win-win business relationships with industry partners and most importantly assure our investors of a possible healthy exit”.