rent frock repeat

Toronto dress rental business has closed for good

Amid tough times for the retail sector, Toronto has lost another business during the time of COVID-19.

Known as a leader in the sharing economy, Rent Frock Repeat Inc., has closed after 10 years in Toronto, the co-founders Kristy Wieber and Lisa Owen announced on their website.

“Over the last decade, we have put our entire lives into building Rent frock Repeat and it is heartbreaking for us to be delivering this message to you and closing our doors,” read the message.

Rent Frock Repeat offered a cost-saving and environmentally friendly option in women’s fashion. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a dress you would only wear once to a formal occasion, you could rent it. 

Formerly located in 199 Bay St., customers could visit the shop and rent gowns from designers such as Betsey Johnson, Greta Constantine, David Dixon, and Sarah Stevenson.

Rent Frock Repeat began by renting dresses for four to eight days at a time, for anywhere from $40 to nearly $600.

Last year, the founders told CBC they would be relaunching as monthly clothing subscription service in the fall of 2019.

"[The customers are] the ones that set this in motion, because the demand was there," Wieber told CBC.

At its peak, Rent Frock Repeat had 1,700 dresses. As a clothing subscription service, they planned to have 30,000 different pieces — everything from blouses to skirts and blazers.

All is not lost, however, as Toronto subscription clothing service, The Sprout Collection, has taken over the Rent Frock Repeat’s clothing inventory and other assets.

The Sprout Collection offers monthly packages that allow customers to rent clothing and then return the outfits to new ones the next month.

Started as a clothing subscription service for maternity wear, founders Joyce Lim and Josh Horowitz, told blogTO told they started the process of acquiring Frock about a month ago.

“We are very excited to be able to continue their legacy,” said Lim.

The location on Bay Street closed more than a year ago, Lim said. The Sprout Collection doesn’t have a storefront and operates mainly online.

Lim said the pandemic likely played a role in Frock’s decision to close. Without formal events to attend or an office to go to, people have been living in pajamas and yoga pants.

“The only issue due to COVID is that obviously people aren’t going work and they are not going to events,” said Horowitz.

Horowitz said the cleanliness of items is not an issue as everything is dry cleaned.

The pandemic lockdown has impacted The Sprout Collection as well but they are smaller and have tried to lower costs and ride out the storm, he added. They had to lay off some staff.

Dear Sprout Community, We understand the immense stress that you must be under right now as we navigate through such unprecedented times. Your safety and well-being are of utmost importance to us as we all do our part to ride through these tough times together. As always, you can be assured that our dry cleaners follow appropriate cleaning and disinfecting procedures as per Health Canada's advisory guidelines. Our dry cleaning process uses high temperate cleaning and all returned clothing is sanitized before the normal dry cleaning process to ensure the utmost safety of our members. Lastly, we would totally understand if you would like to pause your subscription, especially in unsettling times like these. Simply log into your account » click 👤 icon on the top right corner » click subscription » then downgrade to the renew plan which currently has no monthly fee to pause your subscription. When you are ready to start back up again, simply choose the rejuvenate or unlimited plan on the same page to resume your subscription. Do drop us an email at should you require further assistance. In such crazy times, sometimes small acts of normalcy can help to remind us that we are still human; that we wake up in the morning and get dressed just like any other day. Clothes are a part of our lives and make us feel like ourselves. Rock that zoom meeting and look and feel your best as we still have your back and will continue doing so during these unprecedented times 💕

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“We started out as a very lean company and we continue to be so it allows us to adapt to the changes,” Lim said.

Frock was a pioneer in the industry and with the purchase of the company, The Sprout Collection has become much larger — perhaps the biggest subscription clothing rental company in Canada, Horowitz added.

“We looked up to them for years,” he said. “This is an absolutely huge acquisition for us.”

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