FEMALE-OWNED COMPANIES AND THEIR BILLIONS: GLOSSIER AND RENT THE RUNWAY HIT THE 10 FIGURE MARK

Rent The Runway founders Jennifer Fleiss and Jenn Hyman.

“We are building an entirely new kind of beauty company: one that owns the distribution channel and makes customers our stakeholders,” Emily Weiss, founder and chief executive officer, said in the statement. By connecting directly with consumers, Glossier has access to “endless inspiration for new products,” she said.

Two companies owned by women just made the 10 figure rank. Glossier founded by Emily Weiss as a blog back in 2010 is now considered a “tech unicorn.” Its annual revenue more than doubled in 2018 to surpass $100 million, the company said. Following suit, Rent The Runway, an online service that provides designer dresses and accessory rentals, was hit with an investment round of $125 million –  lifting its valuation to $1 billion, according to a company release.

“Founders are thinking a lot more about what the consumer journey of women—like themselves—looks like and basing their businesses on that,” says Anagha Hanumante, an analyst for CB Insights. “[These valuations] really represent the opportunities around female-focused products and services.”

Image courtesy of Glossier.

According to Bloomberg, Glossier doesn’t sell products at department stores or specialty shops such as Sephora. Instead, the company promotes its house-brand serums, balms, and milky cleansers to 1.9 million followers on Instagram. Glossier products are sent to consumers in baby pink boxes along with a baby pink bubble pouch for carrying the items and sticker sheets to “bling up” makeup bags, which have added to the Glossier enigma.

Women often start businesses that address a female need. Rent the Runway is a good example. We were our own customers. The problem is that most venture capitalists are men, so getting them to relate to the problem that you’re solving can be challenging. We came up with a good solution: Show, don’t tell. We took videos of our trial runs showing the emotional connection women have to fashion, which can otherwise be lost on men. You want to point them in the right direction of your target demographic.” -Co-founder Jennifer Fleiss

Image courtesy of Glossier.

The rental platform Rent The Runway will use the new capital to grow its subscription business, which offers unlimited rentals and now makes up 60 percent of its revenue, according to Fashionista. The service costs $159 a month and allows customers to rent up to four items at a time. It will also use its latest funding to broaden its assortment and category offerings to serve all parts of customers’ lives, including the closet, home and beyond.

“Today, my first baby @renttherunway has become a unicorn — we’ve raised our largest round to date valuing the company at $1B,” Jenn Hyman, co-founder, and CEO of Rent The Runway, wrote on Instagram. “We’ve pioneered a dynamic form of ownership, and I’m convinced that we’re at the very beginning of our journey… I’m proud that we’re founded by, led by and inspired by women.”

   
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