GlamCorner’s next move? Exclusive styles from popular designers

More than one third of the dresses, jumpsuits, separates and other items available for rent on GlamCorner will one day be unique styles designed exclusively for the fashion rental site if co-founder and COO Audrey Khaing-Jones has anything to say about it.

It’s a new direction for the e-commerce business, which first launched in 2011 and, until recently, primarily offered formal dresses and other occasionwear for one-off rental.

This year, the company expanded into everyday wear with the launch of GC Premium, a monthly subscription clothing box geared towards working women who want to jazz up their wardrobes. It also started to experiment with exclusive designs created in collaboration with popular brands.

GlamCorner last week launched one of its biggest capsule collections to date, a range of five dresses designed exclusively for the rental site by iconic local brand Thurley. The dresses aren’t available anywhere else.

“It’s always been our dream to give our customers exclusive collections that are only available on GlamCorner,” Khaing-Jones told Inside Retail

“We started doing exclusive collections with a few brands this year [but] Thurley is one of our biggest collaborations. It’s a really well-loved brand and it’s absolutely incredible in terms of the design philosophy.” 

70% Thurley, 30% GlamCorner

The design process started several months ago when GlamCorner’s merchandising team provided Thurley’s designer Helen O’Connor with data about the brand’s most popular styles on the site, as well as emerging trends around patterns and colourways.

Khaing-Jones described the design process as 70 per cent driven by Thurley – the brand ultimately was responsible for all the patterns and fabrics – and 30 per cent driven by GlamCorner.

“We spent quite some time speaking with the team to design a collection based on what our customers love, while still maintaining the brand voice. It’s a very exciting collaboration,” she said.

Exclusive collections have been on GlamCorner’s roadmap for some time. Co-founder and CEO Dean Jones has likened the strategy to Netflix Originals, the growing number of movies and TV shows that the US streaming site not only hosts but actually produces. 

Like Netflix, GlamCorner has collected a vast amount of customer data over the past eight years that it is now using to make decisions about which brands to collaborate with and which styles to invest in.

The company buys all of its inventory on a wholesale basis, and orders need to be large enough for brands to invest time and resources in producing exclusive designs, so collaborations need to stack up from a commercial perspective, too.

One reason brands may be keen to design collections exclusively for GlamCorner is the opportunity it provides to test new styles with a more adventurous audience.

“It’s really refreshing to see some of the styles that do really well for us versus a traditional retailer,” Khaing-Jones said. 

“GlamCorner customers are going to events, it’s not like they’re buying something that they want to wear over and over, so they’re more out there in terms of colours and florals. They’re more adventurous – they want a statement piece.”

Access to amazing styles

For GlamCorner, exclusive collections give its customers a compelling reason to rent from the site rather than the growing number of competitors, particularly in the peer-to-peer space, that may offer lower prices.

Ultimately, Khaing-Jones said she sees exclusive designs accounting for 30-40 per cent of GlamCorner’s total offering. 

“It’s going to play a huge role for GlamCorner in 2020,” she said. 

“We really want to give our customers access to these amazing styles and also work closely with brands to introduce styles they haven’t introduced before to the market.”

GlamCorner currently offers more than 150 brands for rent on its site, including most recently Camilla. 

Khaing-Jones declined to provide the exact number of subscribers to GC Premium, but, less than a year after launch, she said the number is in the thousands.

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