Taking on the retail market with a fresh perspective, By Rotation, has raised €2.7 million in seed funding. The funding for the UK-based platform was led by Redrice Ventures with additional investors including Closed Loop Partners, True Global, Magnus Rausing, Bill Holroyd CBE, DL, June Angelides MBE, Dinika Mahtani (Principal at Cherry VC) and Riccardo Pozzoli.
Launched by Eshita Kabra in 2019, By Rotation is bringing a new proposition to the retail market – one that reflects a move away from fast fashion and excessive consumption to one that focuses on sustainability and community. The platform already has a VIP fan base, including Lady Amelia Windsor, Camille Charriere, Stacey Dooley, Nicola Coughlan, Dina Asher-Smith, Anita Rani, Katie Piper and many more. It has also collaborated with top consumer brands and organisations such as Bumble, Westfield, Guerlain, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and more.
Caroline Brown, Managing Director at Closed Loop Partners, said: “By Rotation offers a beautiful solution for today’s fashion consumers that merges the best of social media, peer to peer commerce for a modernized rental & resale experience. The result is an elegant platform that reinspires shoppers to build communities around the products they love while keeping them in use longer. This is a great model for the future of commerce.”
The By Rotation social fashion rental and resale app defies the traditional fashion rental landscape, sterling away from capital-intensive, logistics-heavy, and retail-centric methods. It promises a new way to consume fashion and as the only purely P2P rental player in the UK, its focus is on community, while positioning itself as a social network. Not only does it allow its users to rent (and buy) quality pieces at a fraction of retail price, it also economically empowers them to monetise their wardrobes.
Already, the platform has a strong and fast-growing community of over 200k lenders and renters (or “Rotators”) across the UK, coming together to share over 25k items from their wardrobes. The app, often dubbed as ‘the Instagram of fashion rental’ has a communal wardrobe worth over €11.8 million in retail value already, with no inventory management on part of the app and the latest season items being added daily by Rotators.
Further, the app has become a source of secondary income for many users – with some making good money lending out their wardrobes. Features such as the Lender Activity were brought in to encourage more strategic spending habits, as users can easily track which styles and brands are generating the most income, and therefore consider an item’s rentability before committing to purchase from retailers.
The app receives regular updates and improvements to ensure it stays on trend. The proposition has shifted mindsets for top users already as Rotators view contemporary and quality fashion as investment assets – not just the regular Chanel and Birkin bags.
Tom March, the founder of lead investor Redrice Ventures, said: “By Rotation’s P2P focus allows for an obsessive commitment to serving its community. The result is a super loyal family of renters and lenders with the highest standard of user-led quality control. Above all, what truly binds this purpose-driven community is a shared thirst for joy – there is a deficit of hope out there, so time for ‘Rotators’ to spread the joy”.
The fashion rental market is growing as more and more consumers turn to more sustainable choices. Fashion is now in a process of evolving away from the fast fashion trend, and, what By Rotation is offering is something that is new and reflective of modern attitudes. As a result, it is now one of the fastest-growing fashion retail platforms, with year-on-year user growth of 550%, peer-to-peer listing growth of 450% and monthly rental revenue growth of 1900%.
Not only is the app pioneering in terms of its tech offering and its proposition to society, but also founder, Eshita Kabra, has an inspiring story. In the UK, female entrepreneurs’ share of the UK’s multi-billion-pound venture capital funding has stayed stubbornly below 2% for most of the past decade, and, only 1.7% of capital went to entrepreneurs from Black, East Asian, South Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds. As an immigrant female founder, Kabra hopes to inspire others while keeping a focus on the sharing and circular economy as a fresh approach to the fashion rental market via community and technology.
2021 was a momentous year for fashion rental, as the concept became widely accepted and championed by mainstream consumers and media, and By Rotation intends to continue driving the demand for rental and resale beyond the UK. Proceeds from the round will be used to further build out the team, accelerate product and community development while expanding to the US later this year.
Investor June Angelides MBE added: “As an early user of By Rotation, I have seen first hand how the By Rotation community has grown and how the way we experience fashion has changed for the better. I love learning about the latest trends from other Rotators and sharing how I wore their outfits. By Rotation is the future of fashion and it’s truly circular.”