Rent the Runway at Henri Bendel

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Out: Having nothing to wear

In: The Rent the Runway Showroom at Henri Bendel

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The membership-based website and brainchild of Harvard Business School graduates, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss, rents high-end designer apparel and accessories to women across the country.  Perfect for weddings to charity events alike, Rent the Runway now offers 25,000 dresses and accessories from over 165 designers such as Badgley Mischka, Vera Wang, and Carolina Herrera (hello, Apollo Circle!) for a fraction of the cost.

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So, we had to check it out.  First, the customer service is better than any other company on the planet.  The showroom coordinators act like actual friends that give customers honest opinions on fashion choices, but even more importantly, staffers are happy and excited to be there, in turn making customers happy & excited to be at their showroom, too.

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When a friend of mine at ELLE told me that you could actually make an appointment to visit the showroom, I felt like I was let in on the best kept secret in New York, despite it not being a secret at all. Now, with the new showroom space at Henri Bendel, everyone can be let in on that quasi-secret.

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While obviously beneficial for Rent the Runway, this partnership is equally as beneficial for Henri Bendel.  As a designer who frequently does trunk shows at Bendel’s, a day doesn’t pass without someone asking, “Where are the clothes?”  Clothes were sold at Henri Bendel until a few years ago.  Even with full episodes of “Gossip Girl” serving as near commercials for the retailer, accessories and make-up were still the divisions driving sales. 

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For Bendel’s, this relationship fixes the pesky issue of inventory while simultaneously positioning themselves as a forward-thinking, digitally-focused, 21st century company.  Henri Bendel knows their customer, knows how they shop, takes note of it, and implements those observations into action, and that alone is reason enough to visit this illustrious 5th Avenue flagship. 

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And it’s decorated flawlessly. 

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Even the framed “pictures” are digital and touchscreen. 

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And it gets better:  Every Thursday night, Rent the Runway has an on-site make-up artist, manicurist, free cocktails, and nibbles, so you can get the party started as early as 5pm. 

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I know, I know. It sounds too good to be true.  But that’s the thing about Rent the Runway… 

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…They just keep on getting better.

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