This is a review of my experience with DesignerShare – a peer-to-peer lending and renting service for designer clothes, handbags, shoes, and jewelry based in Chicago. I first used DesignerShare for a summer soiree I attended. I wore this multi-colored 3.1 Phillip Lim Brocade Shift Dress. (I am wearing a size small.) I loved the dress so much that I rented it again for a black-tie affair, my uncle’s 75th birthday party!
How does it work?
You go to their website and pick the item you want to rent. Rentals come in increments of one week; you can rent an item for up to four weeks. This Philip Lim dress has a $700 retail value, but you can rent it starting at $40. Both times, the dress was delivered in-person to my house by DesignerShare staff and they also picked it up from my door at the end of the rental period. Within a 40-mile radius from DesignerShare’s office, there is door-to-door delivery. For renters who are outside of the 40 mile radius, the item is shipped to you with a prepaid label so you can ship the item back at the end of your rental period.
What I Liked About My DesignerShare Experience:
- costs of dry-cleaning are already included in the final cost–they take care of it!
- renting is better than buying dresses–my weight tends to go up and down based on my health, changes in medications, and medical procedures. I think this is true for many people, whether or not illness is in the picture. I’ve often had the experience of buying a dress I love and not being able to wear it again soon after the occasion. Renting dresses allows me to choose dresses that fit my current body type. I chose the 3.1 Phillip Lim dress because it has no waist (which is where the majority of my weight gain goes). I knew if I gained weight due to an autoimmune flare up (indeed I got sick for a couple weeks before the party and could not exercise), I could still wear the dress.
- access to designer items that can be be pricey
- website’s search tools–you can search items by popularity, newness, price, size, type of dress (example: “high low” vs “mini”), designer, shoe size, and my favorite way–by color
- chat tools–you can send messages to DesignerShare using their chat box
Casual, Formal Wear, Accessories
DesignerShare’s website features:
- Dresses: A wide range including casual dresses like these nine dresses from Lilly Pulitzer and evening gowns like this stunning gold sequin number from Badgley Mischka (which is available in sizes 0, 2, 4, 6, 12, and 14).
- Other Clothing: coats, blazers, skirts, trousers, and pantsuits.
- Handbags: Chanel, Givenchy, and Gucci among others.
- Accessories: Hermes scarves, Chanel earrings, Gucci belts.
- Shoe collection: Stuart Weitzman, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo. (Man, I am really missing stilettos right now!)
How DesignerShare Is Different From Rent The Runway
I asked DesignerShare CEO and Co-Founder Sarah Perkins what makes DesignerShare different from Rent The Runway.
Perkins said, “DesignerShare is the first truly peer-to-peer renting company from one woman to another where you can also earn money by listing your clothes. We are your marketplace–we take care of the logistics. We stay the middle person to ensure safety on both sides.”
Perkins told me that there are actually more stylists listing clothes than renting clothes. DesignerShare’s mission statement says, “Our goal is to allow women to look and feel fabulous all while expanding their networks and earning money from their closets—it’s about building each other up and feeling your most confident.”
How to Lend and List Clothes
- First, you create an account.
- Second, you take photos of your item.
- Third, you upload your pictures with a description onto Designer Share’s website. They give you guidelines for listing; the item must be originally $200 or more. Listing only takes five minutes.
- When your item is requested, you are notified and you have 12 hours to reject or accept the request.
- If you accept the request, DS takes care of delivery and shipping, keeping your item safe. Pressbox by Tide/Proctor & Gamble dry-cleaning (where available) and lender protection fees are in place to keep your item clean and safe-guarded.
- Finally, you start earning money! Once the rental is complete and your item is returned, your payment will be sent. You earn 75% of each transaction. For more information on the lending process, click here.
Size Range: DesignerShare carries sizes 0 through 25 (U.S. size).
Final Verdict: Two thumbs up! I plan on renting from DesignerShare in the future for weddings, speaking engagements, and black-tie events (please, someone invite me to a black-tie event).
***DISCLAIMER*** The author of this article and Fashionably ill ® did not profit from this review by DesignerShare or anyone else.