I remember when literally everyone was talking about Airbnb. I sit at the more conservative end of the ‘millennial’ behavioural spectrum, so the idea of sharing listing your home for complete strangers really freaked me out. But how times have changed and notably, how quickly. Wardrobe rentals have risen alongside the sharing economy but in the last four years has seen a surge, driven by consciousness around consumption and changing perceptions of ownership. By Rotation is a peer to peer clothing rental app, which almost takes out the middle man (the company’s role is to make sure everything runs smoothly) and provides some of the coolest, cult designers around for high street prices. And yes, I’m on it. If you could get around brushing your teeth in someone’s bathroom in Amsterdam, you won’t blink twice at zipping up a Rotate Birger Christensen dress from Alice in East London. Or throwing your keys into a Dior saddle bag, thanks to Laura from Battersea. Especially when it only costs you £30 and £70, respectively. The Haute Heel met up with the woman behind all of this, Eshita Kabra-Davies the owner of By Rotation.
What’s your professional background and how did you end up with a sustainable fashion business?
I’ve had a career in investment management for the past six years, with a focus on investing in corporate bonds. By Rotation is a product of my passions and interests in fashion and graphic design (and potentially my guilt as a Singaporean ex-shopaholic), so I would say there’s a low correlation between my professional experience and the company I’ve founded.
What makes By Rotation different to the other clothing rentals out there?
By Rotation is the only mobile app in this space (other peers are either web-based platforms or are physical stores) and we have a big focus on community and inclusivity. We’ve always been open to all and our price points are the most attractive, which I find a big differentiator. We’re also the only pure peer-to-peer platform, which means we do not buy any inventory whatsoever. Lastly, I would argue we have the most solid platform – we are 100% digital (along with our frequent community events) – our technology team has experiences in AI, machine learning, blockchain, development and strategic consulting for some of the world’s largest public and private firms.
As an entrepreneur with a young business, whats been the biggest challenge when making this a reality?
Do you do this alone or have a team? At what point do you need to delegate?
What’s your take on sustainability, is it a dirty word and should we be rethinking how we use it?
Sustainability as a word evokes a sense of purpose in me, for our planet. I don’t think it’s a dirty word and I think it’s important we discuss it more often, so people take time to brood over it and connect with their feelings about our planet. I’ve always been very passionate about the environment and I feel like I lost it for a while being too busy with “life” and “career”. I feel that it’ll come to everyone, we just need to talk about it more so it gets to people quicker.
So many people enjoy the thrill of impulse buys. Can By Rotation’s concept cater to everyone?