Small Business Sunday – Have a happy Sunday! Sunday is now my favorite part of the week because of Supportive Sunday. Today’s feature is the true definition of internet friendship, because – we actually met on Instagram! We realized we had a lot in common (growing up here in Singapore but living in London!). For today’s Supportive Sunday, we have Eshita Kabra-Davies, an intern, but also a founder and CEO by rotation.
I first learned about By Rotation when Eshita joined Instagram and since then I’ve seen them go from just 25 rentals to now Stacey Dooley’s wardrobe rental! At Rotation is the UK’s leading peer-to-peer fashion rental platform. Think of it as the Airbnb of luxury fashion. Eshita and ByRotation have had great press with features in Vogue, BBC, Forbes, Refinery29, Glamor to name a few.
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You ask Well, it’s like looking for an Airbnb property to rent on vacation. You turn on the app, put in the dates you need, the size you’re looking for, and ask for it. If the owner accepts your request, you borrow it, clean it and return it. In the app, you’ll also be informed of the impact scale of your eco-friendly savings by renting instead of buying! Snazzy.
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I think it is very important to talk about sustainability in this day and age. This lockdown has really made me reassess how I live: quickly and without much thought to the human nature of most businesses. Sure, right now we have nowhere to go and don’t need a dress, but hopefully one day we can go to parties, parties and weddings again. Especially with fast fashion – there’s real importance in looking at what we buy. Rotation helps plug a hole, turning sustainable fashion into expensive fashion.
So, I put on a few fancy pieces at a fraction of the price while satisfying the urge to wear something new. But I also admire by rotation because it’s the perfect marriage of fashion and tech, run by a diverse group of women with a strong focus on community. You know what basically tickles our team’s Spidey sensibilities at WWQD.
You can read more about Eshita and her team at PopSugar (where she talks about transitioning from a side hustle to a full-time role), Modemonitor (about her business model) and even in her journal. But for now here is our conversation with Eshita. 👏🏼
We Won Theo Paphitis #sbs Small Business Sunday!
That creative itch never went away and soon I rose to the top – I’m a ‘child of the third culture’*, born in Rajasthan, raised in Singapore, India and now living in London with my British husband. After 6+ years of experience working in investment management and inspired by my unbridled love of fashion, I established in April 2019 as a side hustle through rotation and now full time.
Well done! These are unprecedented times, so I feel very fortunate to be able to work through the rotation and continue to focus on our community. We’ve been able to put our platform to good use, offering free rent credit to NHS staff, working with TV presenter and journalist Stacey Dooley on 100% of rent proceeds from her wardrobe going to the Refuge Charity Approach when it all ends – all of which I’m very proud of.
I was planning my honeymoon in my native Rajasthan, India and turned to Instagram for inspiration – cities to visit, hotels to stay, landmarks to visit, restaurants to eat at and…what to wear! Then I started thinking about fashionable rentals and the lack of options in the UK, which is a very first world problem and how practical it is to borrow from someone else.
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When I came to Rajasthan, I was overwhelmed by the level of textile waste I saw everywhere. Then I felt like switching and decided to launch Buy Rotation, the UK’s first (peer-to-peer) fashion rental app. Towards the end of my honeymoon, I started inviting my friends over to my apartment for a meeting where I announced the concept and intention by rotation. After this initial positive feedback, I created a beta platform over the weekend and started using Instagram to attract people.
Within a month it had more than 10 transactions and was picked up by a journalist at Refinery29, followed by a mention in the Guardian. Customer acquisition continued organically, rental volumes began to increase and the press kept coming.
When I came to Rajasthan, I was overwhelmed by the level of textile waste I saw everywhere. Then I felt like switching and decided to launch Buy Rotation, the UK’s first (peer-to-peer) fashion rental app.
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Our extremely strong and diverse community, our ever-evolving technology, and the overwhelming response we’ve received since launching in October 2019!
On a more business note, we were awarded the Eco-Age brand for our sustainable business model, hit the 15,000 user mark and saw 400% user growth quarter on quarter – making us the fastest growing and largest fashion rental platform in the UK. !
Our community. They are all equally excited about the concept and that really keeps us going when things get tough. We know they love and need the platform as much as we do.
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We want to change the way fashion is consumed and disrupt the normal journey of retail through rent. We set out to convince everyone that we no longer need to buy fast fashion and can instead share quality clothing with each other. Our goal is to open our app globally and have local communities, self-sufficient and ‘rotate’ cabinets with each other.
So while we’re all doing spring cleaning in our homes, as we all seem to be doing this lockdown, why not take a look at what you can rent in your wardrobe – I’d love to see some of your closets there. After all, #WhatsMine Is Yours; Join me in this community!
Welcome back to another helpful Sunday! With us today is Emma from Perch&Wild. Emma is one of the biggest personalities I know – one of the many reasons I absolutely adore her (she also cracks me up all the time). This is evident in everything she does at Perch&Wild. Finding old pieces and breathing new life into them through reuse and recycling is at the core of Perch&Wild. Moral: If you already have perfect furniture that needs a creative update, why buy new!
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After completing a degree in politics and philosophy and falling into a series of corporate jobs (which didn’t suit my hippy life at all) I finally quit my job and moved to Thailand! It was there that I realized how much I missed being creative and working freelance, so when I came back I took a job at a charity where I could be a bit more involved. A year ago at the age of 25 I became pregnant with a beautiful little girl named Tilly and I finally quit my job and looked around my house for something else.
That creative itch never went away and soon I was upcycling all the furniture in my house and that eventually led to setting up Perch&Wild. It means a lot to me, Tilly grew up watching her mom work and create in our house and that brings me to where I am now. My love of patterns, colors and anything a little quirky means my home is always full of my latest projects and amazing designs, which I am so lucky to now be able to share with everyone!
I’m really good! I set up a few brands before Covid-19 hit, which unfortunately have now been cancelled, but thankfully they’ve moved to Instagram ‘virtual brands’, which are great for promotion.
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As a new business, I was worried about how the pandemic would affect me, but I’ve been very busy, and maybe because more people are at home, I’ve realized that their furniture needs an update. Or they may want a nice, colorful treat in their homes.
I was very proud of my first sale. In a creative industry you are literally serving yourself on a plate and my taste in home furnishings may not be for everyone.
When I started Perch&Wild, I made things that I personally loved and that gave me the confidence I needed to continue if someone bought that image and wanted it in their own home. It’s hard not to get discouraged when an item doesn’t sell right away, but I realize it’s waiting for the right person and home to catch on.
Small Business Sunday Event
When I started Perch&Wild, I made things that I personally loved and that gave me confidence that someone would buy that image and want it in their own home.
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