Dakota's "Dirk" dress is available
through Gwynnie Bee, a subscription rental
clothing service for sizes 10 to 32.
get a sense of the pent-up demand for fun fashion in
larger sizes, see Gwynnie Bee.
2013, Christine Hunsicker launched Gwynnie Bee as a
subscription rental clothing service specifically for
sizes 10-32. Her business has been growing 20 percent
month over month, and by the end of 2014, she began
hearing from several brands that Gwynnie Bee is their
No. 1 buyer, purchasing more of their collection than
specialty stores such as Macy’s.
Bee now carries more than 2,000 styles from 150 brands,
and is soon to add Adrianna Papell, Gabby Skye and
Melissa McCarthy’s new Seven7.
size range isn’t the only point of distinction.
Bee operates like a cross between Stitch Fix and Rent
the Runway. Shoppers sign up on the website and add
items to their virtual closet. They select from
subscription plans that start at $35 a month — the
most popular is the three-items-at-a-time option for $79
a month — then begin receiving their selections based
on current availability. There’s no deadline to return
them; notification that an item is on its way back
triggers the next shipment. Shoppers also have the
option to buy and keep items they love.
subscription rental format was risky.
you’re bringing a new engagement method, you always
want a customer who’s willing to try those things out,
and an underserved market is a good place to
start," Hunsicker said. "Women size 10 and
above are about 75 percent of the adult female
population in the U.S. and completely underserved and
not treated well by mainstream fashion. So there were
both emotional and economic arguments for it."
women dislike the idea of wearing clothes that have been
worn by other women? The success of Uber and Airbnb told
you’re willing to let someone else sleep in your bed,
there are very few boundaries left around what you’re
willing to share with people," Hunsicker said,
adding that Gwynnie Bee cleans each piece, inspects it
three times and hand-packs it for its next steward.
a large portion of your wardrobe makes better sense than
buying, she said, comparing Gwynnie Bee to Netflix.
getting a bunch of joy, and whatever value, and then you’re
swapping it back in for something that will give you a
new kind of joy," she said. "Gwynnie Bee isn’t
going to replace ownership for a portion of your
wardrobe, like your favorite jeans, your favorite black
blazer — the things you get relief from. But why buy
an asset that mostly sits in your closet?"
Bee has more than 250,000 Facebook followers and more
than 7,000 on Instagram. Occasionally a post will
criticize the inclusion of sizes 10 and 12 in an
otherwise plus-size assortment.
one, we’re not calling it plus-size — we simply say
we carry sizes 10-32 — and two, plus-size is not a
dirty word, it’s simply a sizing system in
America," Hunsicker said. "There’s no value
judgment that anyone should be making around the
research shows that women tend to fluctuate in size.
Personal experience does, too.
be a 16 and then down to a 10, typical yo-yoing,"
Hunsicker said. "Even in a size 2, you experience
frustration around fit fluctuations. But definitely as
you move up in the scale, availability gets more and
of Gwynnie Bee’s brands, such as Karen Kane, London
Times and Taylor Dresses, have extended their size range
specifically for Gwynnie Bee. Straight-size brands, such
as Corey, have dipped their toes into the plus-size
market via Gwynnie Bee, too.
month the company introduces more than 60 new styles to
its members, the majority of whom are size 14W to 24W.
Members check in on average once every two days. To
nurture that sense of community, Gwynnie Bee is
currently on a tour of key cities for its "Inspired
by You" events, which include stops in New York,
Los Angeles and Chicago.
subscription services include:
FabKids delivers subscription shopping and styling to
the young, distancing parents from the outfit selection
process and thereby increasing the likelihood that the
daughter or son will wear it. The offspring of
JustFab.com and Fabletics (which carries the activewear
line founded by Kate Hudson), FabKids.com quizzes
newcomers about their sensibilities via photos depicting
looks. Based on those preferences, it then suggests
ensembles built from separates. A typical outfit might
be $29.95; separates start at $14.95, and shoes from
$16.95. VIP subscribers get discounts; they can choose
to skip the month (by the 5th) and save credits for
later. Others can shop as a one-off.
Black tie events got a lot less boring and a lot less
black when Rent the Runway opened up a world where women
could rent the designer dresses of their dreams. Now
Rent the Runway is updating its own look with a new
logo, a website redesign and an influx of designers,
including Kaufman Franco, Derek Lam, Jason Wu,
Giambattista Valli, Nina Ricci and more. The site is
adding some editorial features, including spotlights on