Women’s clothing rental service Armoire raises more cash, moves into new HQ with retail space

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Armoire CEO Ambika Singh. (Armoire Photos)

Armoire is growing.

The high-tech clothing rental startup just reeled in more cash to complete a $3.9 million seed round and is set to move into a new 7,500 square-foot headquarters in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood that will serve as a retail space, warehouse, and office all in one.

The 3-year-old company has attracted big-name investors and an expanding customer base who use the service to rent clothing. Starting at $149 per month, Armoire ships designer clothes to members who can swap out the items at any time or purchase them at a discounted rate. Armoire has more than 500 brands and is adding thousands of new inventory items each month.

“Armoire is a source of joy: wardrobe variety without the hassle or investment,” said Armoire CEO Ambika Singh.

The company’s member base has grown by more than 50 percent since January, Singh said.

(Armoire Photo)

Its rental business model is built on buying from brands at wholesale prices, constantly shuffling clothes in and out of its dry cleaning operation. Armoire aims to be cheaper than hiring a wardrobe consultant and more efficient than browsing through racks at various stores.

The company also focuses on curation powered by recommendation algorithms; the more data Armoire collects from customer feedback, the better it can recommend various clothing. It also analyzes information such as the temperature in a given zip code to help drive the curation process.

Sustainability, efficiency, and risk are core tenets of Armoire. Singh said that 20 percent of new garments sit in a closet and are never actually worn, instead ending up in a landfill.

She also said women spend more than 200 hours shopping every year.

“It’s an extraordinary amount of time in terms of the productive hours that could translate to,” Singh said earlier this year. “We really want to be a one-stop shop for her, and because of the power of curation, we are able to do that.”

This past March, Armoire opened its first pop-up location in Seattle, taking over an old Sprint retail store and using it as a place for members to learn about new clothes and styles.

Armoire follows a similar playbook to Rent the Runway, the 10-year-old New York City-based company that was recently valued at more than $1 billion. Rent the Runway also operates physical locations; it opened its fifth store last year.

Singh first launched Armoire while at MIT’s Delta V accelerator program with Zach Owen, who left the company last month. The startup has 35 full-time employees and 90 percent of its workforce is female.

Armoire has raised $5.1 million from investors such as Zulily co-founder Darrell Cavens; Halogen Ventures founding partner Jesse Draper; and a number of female backers who decided to invest after first becoming customers. They include Sheila Gulati of Tola Capital; former Drugstore.com CEO Dawn Lepore; Amy Nelson of The Riveter; Heather Redman of Flying Fish; and Angela Taylor of Efeste. Other investors include Amperity CEO Kabir Shahani and his wife Noreen; Accolade CEO Raj Singh and his wife Jill; Foot Locker exec Vijay Talwar and his wife Nita; and others.



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