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First Look: Rent the Runway opens its largest store yet — with new perks

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Rent the Runway (RTR) is leveraging its third-largest subscription market — San Francisco— with the opening of a West Coast flagship in the city’s Union Square neighborhood.

The 8,300-sq.-ft. store is the fashion rental giant’s fifth and largest location to date, with more than 20 fitting rooms, a greatly expanded merchandise assortment and added perks such as stylists, a coffee cart, an event and networking space, a beauty bar and desk space for co-working. Similar to RTR’s other physical locations, it uses proprietary technology to deliver a seamless experience, allowing customers to return rented items within seconds, checkout with their RTR pass on their phone and even pick up orders without having to wait in line.

The flagship is located on the second and third floors of 228 Grant Avenue. The second floor is devoted to clothing and accessories (RTR’s “dream closet”). More than 3,000 items will be merchandised on a daily rotation, ranging from casual to business attire, festive to weekend wear, accessories and more. The floor also features appointment fitting rooms for RTR Reserve customers. (RTR Reserve is the brand’s core membership offer.)

The third floor serves as a lounge and co-working space. It’s also home to RTR’s first-ever “beauty bar” as well the brand’s first communal dressing room, designed to cultivate “community through clothes” via a spacious try-on experience that supports social interaction. The company plans to host unique programming and networking in the space specifically catered to women and highlighting its strong and diverse member community. It will also spotlight peers in the entrepreneurial and tech community, allowing for like-minded brands to “pop-up.”

The flagship was designed by Alda Ly Architecture and Hilary Koyfman, an all-female design team. The team brought their expertise in creating community-oriented spaces designed for the modern woman, creating an environment that maximizes convenience for the brand’s subscribers while also creating a feeling of comfort and community for all customers, according to RTE.

Here are some more details about the store’s perks:
• The beauty bar features Dyson’s pricey hair care devices, including its hair dryer and styler, along with Amika hair products, and Juice Beauty skincare products;

• Complimentary coffee bar with refreshments provided exclusively by Australian café cult-favorite, Bluestone Lane;

• Work and lounge spaces, featuring furniture from West Elm, with free WiFi for RTR members who need a place to relax in between work, home and going out; and

• Instant service pick-up window to increase the speed at which members are able to pick up their orders in-store -- one of RTR’s most popular services, the company said.

RTR recently obtained a $125 million investment that brings the company’s total valuation to $1 billion, making it colloquially known as a “unicorn” startup. It also recently announced a partnership with West Elm that will allow Rent the Runway customers to rent pillows, duvets and other products from the home furnishings retailer.

RTR’s other stores are located in Chicago, New York City, Woodland Hills, Calif. and Washington, DC. San Francisco is the company’s third largest market, behind New York City and DC.
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