Over the past 4 years, lots of people have asked me for advice on how to start a rental business. One of my favourite things about Zoa is the fact that it literally makes it so easy to start your own rental business, it is exactly what I wish existed 4 years ago when Hirestreet was just starting out. At Zoa we want to power the next generation of sustainable fashion entrepreneurs so here are some top tips for getting started…
#1 Start with a minimum viable product (MVP).
This just means getting your rental offer in the hands of customers sooner rather than later, don’t waste time or money by going too big too soon, the most valuable thing you can learn in the early days is – have I got a product/service that people are willing to pay for. At Zoa, we help you get started and all you need is 100 items and your brand imagery!
#2 Once you have your MVP site up and running, focus on the data and be willing to learn from it.
Which of the items on your site are most popular, what pages are site-users visiting first, what questions are being asked most frequently. Your account manager will be on-hand at all times to help ensure you are making the most of the data and insights available from the admin panel – to help you optimise your site for scale!
#3 Don’t underestimate how long it can take to build your brand.
New customers like to see things like reviews, and it takes time for Google to index your site – so naturally, the first months are the hardest in terms of gaining traction. If you are launching a seasonal product this is particularly important, you don’t want to launch in June if your peak season is high-summer as you won’t have given yourself enough time to market your offering. That being said, our specialist marketing team can certainly give you a big head start and will give you expert guidance on how to get ahead on your socials, SEO, and PR!
#4 Do as much as you can to understand your customer.
Once you have your MVP up and running, and orders coming through, it’s important to start to analyse your typical customer profile – build up a picture of how they heard about you, how likely they would be to rent again, and/or to recommend to a friend. This is important for scaling – how do we target more of this profile and build loyalty.
#5 As a Zoa client, we can take care of your technology and operations which gives you the ability to scale rapidly when you are ready.
The next step here will be to invest in/secure additional stock. We can induct hundreds of thousands of items for you, so there are no limitations here, but it’s critical to use as much data as possible when choosing the items you want to work with. Ask yourself questions like; What has been most durable to date, what price point is generating the most demand, am I seeing any trends in damages/returns? Your account manager will be able to help advise you on things like top-performing fits, and materials.
I’ll write separate posts to guide you on things to keep an eye out for on your way to profitability (like Customer Acquisition Costs and Depreciation!), and will also share some advice around how to raise funds.
Starting a business is a rollercoaster, but we will help you at every twist and turn! The most important part is to enjoy the ride…
Posted by Isabella West, Zoa & Hirestreet CEO & Founder
Ready to launch your fashion rental brand?
Whether you’re a startup or an established business, Zoa is a fully managed rental platform designed to help your fashion brand go circular.
Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.