Jennifer Meredith talks to Filipa Neto, one half of the brains behind Europe’s leading designer fashion rental service, Chic by Choice…
How did you come up with the idea for Chic by Choice?
Like many women we were facing this dilemma of a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear for our University gala. We thought how great would it be, if you could wear a different designer dress for every occasion? What if you could wear it and return it for just a fraction of the retail price?
We realised there was an opportunity to disrupt the fashion space, that there were more women like us, that love fashion, want to look amazing but also like to be smart with their budget.
There should be no barriers to access that exclusive designer dress you’ve always dreamed of.
Chic by Choice was one of 3000 entries in an entrepreneurship competition in Portugal – and it won! How did it feel knowing that your business was promising enough to win such a major competition?
When you are starting, all validation you can get is important and can make a difference. You will face several challenges along the way and it’s important to have people to help you . In our case, the competition was also important to access mentors and potential investors. These are the people that will advise you in different areas, that have done it before and that will pose the right questions so you are able to grow your business in full speed.
What was your next move after winning the competition?
Talking with people that we admired in the industry, potential mentors, so we could learn from their experience and refine the business model.
We’ve seen a trend appear in the last few years for online fashion rental services. Do you think that this is where the industry is heading in future?
We see renting as the new fast fashion for luxury items. It’s the perfect way to access luxury without the burden of ownership. Millennials are turning to a new set of services like Uber, Airbnb and Chic by Choice that provide great services in the sharing economy space.
You’re from Portugal originally, but Chic by Choice is London based; how do the two locations differ in terms of business opportunities?
Portugal is where we have the operational team and London the buying team as well as business development. There’s no place like London to launch an e-commerce company. It’s inspirational and you have tremendous opportunities to meet the most incredible people.
What do you enjoy most about working with your business partner, Lara?
Our communication is great! The fact that we have known each other for years makes it easier to get things working faster. Also, we know each other’s strengths really well and our skills are complementary.
How would you describe your personal style?
Minimal. I love the colour combinations of Black and White for everyday. But I can be pretty adventurous on special occasions. I love to experiment with fashion on those dates and I really like printed styles in Summer.
What are your hobbies when you’re not working?
In my spare time I love reading and visiting new restaurants. It’s almost like going to a museum for me, the experience of trying new recipes, new ingredients, I just love it!
Any exciting plans for Chic by Choice over the next year?
We launched Chic by Choice a little more than a year ago and it’s exciting to see how we have thousands of loyal customers in 14 European countries. We are excited to announce that this month we will start giving our customers the opportunity to rent designer accessories, so they can access the total party look. We are extremely excited!
To find out more or to browse your next designer rental, visit http://chic-by-choice.com/en