Happy Sunday! Sunday is now my favourite part of the week because of Supportive Sunday. Today’s feature is the true definition of an Internet friendship because well – we actually met on Instagram! We realised we had a lot in common (here’s to being raised in Singapore but settling in London!). For today’s Supportive Sunday, we have Eshita Kabra-Davies, apparent intern but also the founder and CEO of By Rotation.
I first found out about By Rotation when Eshita reached out on Instagram and since then, I’ve watched them grow from a mere 25 rentals to now even having Stacey Dooley’s wardrobe available to rent! By Rotation is the UK’s leading peer-to-peer fashion rental platform. Think of it as the Airbnb of luxury fashion. Eshita and ByRotation have had amazing press, with features in Vogue, BBC, Forbes, Refinery29, Glamour, to name a few.
“How does it work” you ask? Well, it’s exactly like looking for an Airbnb property to rent on holiday. You hop on the app, put in the dates you need it for, size you’re looking for, and request for it. If the owner agrees to your request, you borrow it and return it cleaned. On the app, you’re even told the Impact Scale of your environmental positive savings from renting rather than buying! Snazzy.
I think it’s really important during this time to talk about sustainability. This lockdown has really made me evaluate how I lived: quickly, and without much thought to the humane nature of most businesses. Sure, we currently don’t have anywhere to go and won’t need any outfits, but one day I hope we’ll be able to go to parties, celebrations, and weddings again. There’s a real importance to examining what we buy, and where from – especially with fast fashion. By Rotation helps plugs a gap, flipping the idea of sustainable fashion as expensive fashion.
So, I get to wear something fancy pieces for a fraction of the price, while satisfying that desire to wear something new. But I also adore By Rotation because it’s the perfect marriage of fashion and tech, run by a diverse group of women with a huge emphasis on community. Which you know, basically tingles the spidey senses of of our team at WWQD.
You can read more about Eshita and her team on popsugar (where she talks about moving from side hustle to full-time role), Fashion monitor (about their business model) and also on their journal. But for now here’s our chat with Eshita. 👏🏼
Hey Eshita, tell us a bit about yourself
That creative itch never went away and soon enough I was up-I’m a ‘third culture kid’*, born in Rajasthan, India raised in Singapore and now live in the London with my British husband. After 6+ years experience working in investment management and inspired by a love for fashion that doesn’t weigh on my conscience, I founded By Rotation as a side hustle in April 2019 and have now taken it full time.
*A third culture kid: raised in a culture other than their parents’ or that of their country of origin.
How are you doing these days?
I’m doing good! These are unprecedented times so I feel very lucky to be able to continue working on By Rotation and focusing on our community. We’ve been able to use our platform for good, by offering free rental credit to NHS staff for when this is all over and partnered with TV presenter and journalist Stacey Dooley with 100% of rental proceeds from her wardrobe going to Refuge a charity tackling domestic abuse – this all makes me very proud.
Why did you start By Rotation?
I was planning my honeymoon to my motherland Rajasthan, India and turned to Instagram for inspiration – cities to go to, hotels to stay at, landmarks to visit, restaurants to eat at and… what to wear! That’s when I started thinking about fashion rental and the lack of options in the UK, a very first-world problem, and how pragmatic it would be to just borrow from someone else.
When I arrived in Rajasthan I was upset by the level of textile waste I saw everywhere. That’s when I felt compelled to change and decided to launch By Rotation, the UK’s first (peer-to-peer) fashion rental app. During the last leg of my honeymoon, I started inviting my friends to come over to my apartment for a get-together at which I announced the concept and intention of By Rotation. After this initial positive feedback, I created a beta platform over the weekend and started using Instagram to draw people in.
Within a month, it had more than 10 transactions and was picked up by a journalist at Refinery29, followed by a mention in the Guardian. The customer acquisition continued organically, the rental volumes began to increase and the press kept coming.
What are you most proud of with By Rotation, to date?
Our very strong and diverse community, our ever evolving technology and the incredibly enthusiastic response we’ve had since launching in October 2019!
On a more business-related note, we’ve received the Eco-Age brandmark for our sustainable business model, hit the 15,000 users mark and have seen 400% user growth quarter on quarter – making us the fastest-growing & largest fashion rental platform in the UK!
What keeps you going when the going gets tough?
Our community. They are all equally excited about the concept and that’s really what keeps us going when things get tough. We know they love the platform as much as we do and there’s a need for it.
What’s your ambition for By Rotation?
We want to transform the way that we consume fashion and disrupt the usual journey of retail through rental. We are setting out to convince everyone that we no longer need to buy fast fashion and can instead share quality clothing with each other. We intend to open up our app globally and have local communities, being self-sufficient and ‘rotating’ wardrobes with each other.
So while we’re all doing the spring clean in our houses that we all seem to be doing this lockdown, why don’t you have a look in your wardrobe at what you could rent out – I’d love to see some of your wardrobes on there. After all, #WhatsMineIsYours; come join me in this community!