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fev 24, 2017

Startup “My Open Closet” rents out designer party dresses

São Paulo businesswoman and entrepreneur Lorena Barreto had a closet full of luxury party dresses she only used once. Because of course, in Brazil’s social elite, you can’t go to two parties wearing the same dress. And Barreto realized that she wasn’t the only one with loads of one-use designer dresses sitting around - all of her friends in these same social circles had stocks of party clothes, as well. So Barreto decided she would launch a “dress-sharing” app for her friends and people like them to make a bit of extra cash.

With a name in English, “My Open Closet" allows women to post photos of their party dresses and make them available for rent. Not only does it clear up closet space for the dress’s owner, it brings in a little extra cash at the end of the month too. That way, dress owners won’t have to part with some of their favorite outfits - but also won’t have the guilt of leaving them unworn in their closets. Meanwhile, the dress renter has a new, unique dress to show off at her next event without having to make the full investment in a brand new piece. 

Usually, the rental comes in at a tenth of the original price. And “My Open Closet” even offers an insurance policy for the occasional and sometimes inevitable spill or tear. The average price for a dress rental is 380 BRL, or $123. 

The app takes 25 to 50 percent of the transaction, increasing its fee if the dress is stored in the business’s closet headquarters located in downtown São Paulo. In addition, to split the rental fee 50/50 with “My Open Closet," the business also takes the dress photos, washes, presses, and sends the item to its renter. Meanwhile, the dress’s owner can sit back and watch the money flow in. For the more proactive dress owners, they can split 75/25 with the business if they take their own photos and send it to the renter themselves.

Over the course of a year, 31-year-old lawyer Priscila Uliana made almost 325 renting out three long evening gowns she had sitting around in her closet. From lending to renting, everybody wins. 

Dress rental already exists, of course, but “My Open Closet” embraces the “sharing economy” model of connecting people to solutions that meet their needs. 

According to creative economic specialist Ana Carla Fonseca, Brazil's sharing economy "is still just in the beginning stages, but the recession could generate opportunities for growth."