The Silicon Review
In recent times, clothes are being treated as a utility to which one can subscribe just like streaming music and movies. Referred as “clothing as a service, or Fashion as a Service” (similar to “software as a service”), CaaS is a distribution model in which accessories and clothing is provided to customers on a temporary basis, often through subscription or rental. CaaS puts the brands in role of a service provider and it also requires reverse logistics in addition to separate marketing and inventory. CaaS should have a technology that will help the providers to anticipate inventory patterns, and they need a system for repairing and cleaning the garments. More than anything, the companies that offer CaaS is considered as an operations business. Even though the consumers moved from ownership to access, the brands identified that in CaaS there is higher engagement, better customer acquisition, and expanded wallet. There are possibilities for brands to offer clothing rentals through a multi-brand offering and in this they can also do a combination.
There are various reasons and occasions for which we might need to shop for new clothes. Cash savvy and environmentally conscious consumers are now often opting to rent instead of buying the outfit they want for the occasion. Fashion rental is gaining traction and it is not exclusive for event wear. In recent times, consumers are hiring everyday clothing, handbags, and even trainers for low cost subscription or one-off fees. Children’s clothes, designer labels, and maternity clothes are popular with customers who are reluctant to invest in items they may not need for long. There are other benefits too other than being environmental friendly or buying into ever changing trends. CaaS saves space in people’s home and also these services can satisfy the temporary fashion like providing clothing for women during pregnancy. There are brands that focus on tapping into demands that will cater the needs of more nice and daily fashion products like street wear. airCloset, is a fashion subscription (rental) service provider based in Tokyo, Japan. The company was founded in 2014 and they specialize in providing CaaS for women. Their subscription service will send women 3 trendy garments in a box and the subscriber is entitled to use the each piece as many times as they like, and they can return the box when they feel like. If the user likes the garment, then they can purchase it for a lower price point than the retail outlets.
New outfits gives people choices to express their identity. Good quality clothing provides confidence to act positively. At airCloset they believe that by wearing new fashion items, customers can feel “Wow” from fashion discovery. New clothing directly affects mental wellbeing of the consumer. In society people find it difficult to find the right fashion item so airCloset helps their users in fashion discovery. By renting clothes users will remain stress-free. The company provides customized styling service through their stylists. They communicate with the users to identify their preferences. Stylists also provide feedbacks and suggestions on how to wear the renting items. Along with that airCloset also provides information on new trends in fashion segment. Their vendor relationships are well built and they help fashion vendors in branding and marketing by renting their clothes. To maintain the quality of their service and stay relevant to the current trend, airCloset changes the amount of product purchased based on user feedbacks for every season. Their Customer retention rate is quite high when compared to average rate in the industry.
Key features of airCloset’s service
Textile is produced every year and some of it is not utilized, instead it is just thrown away. Renting clothes will reduce the volume of textile that is disposed every year and this in turn will positively affect the nature. Fashion industry is one of the biggest environmental adverse effect industries. By renting clothes, we can increase the numbers of wearing counts of each cloth, can optimize the amount of production. Renting/Sharing clothes directly linked with sustainability/SDGs. Clothes that are up for rent are usually rare pieces. Often, you do not see pieces similar to those they sell in stores. To market their services airCloset makes use of web marketing. Their main strength is PR and they are regarded as the first and No1 casual wear fashion rental service in Japan. In addition to all their marketing strategies, airCloset believes that their peer-to-peer marketing is powerful. In 2019 the company launched a new larger size option called “plus size” and this year they are going to launch their services for smaller size customers.
Talking about the IT/AI strength of airCloset, their special team of in-house data scientists can analyze the huge amount of data gathered through their daily operations, to develop the new solutions or modification of the functions of its services and systems in various sizes.
The target of their analysis is covered in not only the physical aspects but also the emotional, including the preference of its customers and the sense of the fashion stylists.
Meet Satoshi Amanuma, CEO and Founder of airCloset
Satoshi completed his degree in “Computer and Information Systems” at London University in 2002. He worked at a consulting firm for about 9 years as IT/Strategic consultant. During his tenure his area of focus was in IT strategy, business optimization etc. Following that he joined a leading Japanese e-commerce company called Rakuten Inc., as a global UI/UX group manager. He was responsible for assisting and guiding global group companies in UI and UX enhancement. In 2014 July with Yusuke Maekawa and Shoichi Kotani, Satoshi started airCloset, Inc. under him the company has received various accolades like the Japan Venture Award, Fastest growing technology companies in Japan 2018, and more.
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