Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Three Things (including a Lendperk review)

1.  I would like to run a post about some Google reader alternatives.  I already told you guys a bit about Feedly, which I am using exclusively right now.  Would anyone be interested in contributing a bit of content to a compilation post about alternatives to run alongside other peoples' contributions?  Your piece can be as simple or complicated as you like; I'm just looking to cover as much ground as possible!  Email me if you're interested.

2.  I am wearing my jumpsuit today.  Heck yeah.

3.  Recently, Lendperk contacted me and asked me to write a review of their dress-rental service.  I was not paid for the review, but I did receive a free dress rental.  (And you can, too!)

Lendperk is a subscription service that calls itself the "Netflix of dresses."  Essentially, the way it works is you sign up for a monthly membership in which you pay either $20 for one dress rental a month, $34 for two a month, or $49 for unlimited monthly rentals.  If you don't use your monthly rentals, they can roll over.  Then when you're ready, you browse Lendperk's selection, pick a dress and a size, and it will be shipped to you.  You use it for your month and then send it back.  Like Rent the Runway (RtR) (referral link), you don't have to worry about dry cleaning.

Lendperk features dresses from mostly-accessible brands/retailers like J.Crew, Modcloth, Anthro, and ASOS.  Lendperk is still getting its feet off the ground, so the selection of dresses and sizes is somewhat limited right now.  (That said, I noticed several new dresses have been added in the last month, so it's nice that the collection is growing.)  The J.Crew dress I'd wanted to rent was unavailable, so I went with this one from Warehouse/ASOS:

The dress arrived in a soft mailer and included a return shipping envelope.  It took a couple of days to arrive.  I didn't find the dress wrinkly, but the soft mailer delivery could create some wrinkle problems with other fabrics:

Unfortunately, I can't show you what the dress looked like on me because the dress didn't fit!  I consulted the size chart before ordering (which helpfully includes brand-specific measurements) but the fit of this dress was way off for me.  Unlike RtR, which sends you dresses in several sizes just in case you have a fit issue, I had no alternative size of this dress and ended up just dejectedly sending it back.

Pros of Lendperk:  Variety of dresses, no need to worry about dry cleaning, WAY cheaper than RtR, many dresses include a page of helpful photos of live people wearing the dress (see, e.g., here).

Cons of Lendperk:  At least some dresses are sale purchases or past-season (see, e.g., this Anthro dress, which went on sale quite a while ago), limited selection, you are out of luck if you receive the wrong size dress, featured brands/dresses generally retail/go on sale for cheap enough that I could probably buy the ones I like for close to $50.

In sum:  I love the idea of Lendperk, and I hope it gets some kind of angel funding so that it can dramatically expand the size and current-ness of its selection.  It seems like its creator, Star Li, is a bit of an entrepreneur who has started businesses in the past, and it looks like she is developing this one to grow (and possibly be sold) as well.

As it stands now, I would probably not pay for this service unless there was a particular dress I really wanted for a random occasion and I knew I wouldn't wear the dress again after that occasion.  So, for example, let's say I was going to a garden party.  It might be worth it to get the $20 plan, rent this dress, and then cancel the plan afterwards:

Since you can cancel plans at any time, it looks like you can just pay for a plan when you feel like renting a dress and then have no further obligation to pay as long as you timely cancel.  I'd probably only do this with brands I already knew my size in, since you are a bit SOL if you end up with the wrong size.

That said, I'm generally pretty unenthusiastic about dress rental services.  I'd rather put my money towards the purchase of my own dresses that are versatile enough to wear in various contexts in my life over long periods of time instead of spending money renting a dress I don't get to keep or that I know I only want to wear once anyway.  Also, I don't particularly like seeing dresses I'd passed over in the Anthro sale section available for rent.  I would prefer to see new designs that are still full-price in stores.

(Even though I'm a member of RtR, I have yet to rent a single dress from them because HTF do you justify spending $65 --- at the low end --- on a dress that you have to give back??  That's what I spend on dresses I KEEP!  And I'm not brand-conscious enough to care if I'm wearing Harve Leger to an event or whatnot.  I suppose if I needed to go to a gala where a long dress was required perhaps I'd consider it, but even then I still think I'd rather sale shop.)

Anyway, if you'd like to try Lendperk for yourself, you can sign up for a 9 day free trial, which is good for one free dress rental.  I probably won't be using this service in the future since I'd rather develop my own closet, but I do think it's a great idea that could go far with the right investors.  

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