Celebrating FDI in Ireland: Rent the Runway

By Business & Finance
30 September 2019
Dorothy Creaven

Rent the Runway is a subscription service providing designer fashion rentals to its customers, and has recently opened an international office here. Business & Finance speaks to Dorothy Creaven, Managing Director and Site Lead for Ireland.

Q. About the company:

Rent the Runway is transforming the way modern women get dressed and disrupting the $2.4 trillion global fashion industry by enabling women to rent, versus buy, clothing.

Founded in 2009 with a vision to build the world’s first living closet, RTR believes that women everywhere will soon have a subscription to fashion.

RTR carries apparel, accessories and home decor from over 600 designer partners and has built in-house proprietary technology and a one-of-a-kind reverse logistics operation.

RTR subscribers are utilising their unlimited subscription for every use case, wearing Rent the Runway on average 120+ days per year. Members of the size inclusive service are extremely engaged, with 70% of subscribers ordering through the app.

Q. Company size:

The company boasts 1,800 employees, 93% of whom are female, multiracial and/or minority. The company’s technology team is 45% female, and 80% of leaders at the company are women.

Q. When did company come to Ireland?

April 2019.

Q. Why did the company choose Ireland?

Opening Rent the Runway’s first-ever international technology office in Ireland made sense for a number of reasons, including the overwhelming support the company has received from the Irish Government and the IDA.

The company has also recognised Ireland’s significant technology talent, and opening an office there presents an opportunity to tap into the growing STEM talent in the region.

Specifically for Galway, the city has an atmosphere of creativity and mirrors Rent the Runway’s cultural values, making it the perfect fit.

Q. Did Brexit affect your decision to base the company in Ireland and/or will it affect your business moving forward?

Brexit was not a major consideration for us in deciding on Ireland, and Galway, as the location to establish our first-ever international office. Central to our decision to locate in Ireland was its reputation as a world leader in technology development.

The decision to locate in Galway was based on the availability of ICT skills and talent here and the opportunity to engage and collaborate with local third level institutes.

Galway also presents the right culture fit for Rent the Runway with its community engagement ethos, the connection with the very active, vibrant and engaged start-up community, giving us the ability to create a strong profile within it.

Q. Tell us your experience establishing the company in Ireland? Was it an easy or difficult process?

The Irish Government through the IDA were instrumental in helping us establish our new European Headquarters in Galway. They introduced us to Ireland, made the process super easy and seamless, offering information and supports where needed throughout.

Q. Do you find it difficult or easy to attract and retain staff in or to Ireland?

We have just started to recruit our initial core team for the new site, and we’ve had a great response so far. We have a strong candidate pipeline for all our roles, so we’re looking forward to opening more roles and continue our hiring efforts for the rest of the year.

The candidate pool in Ireland is so strong, and being in Galway gives us an edge as there is a strong educational element here also with NUI Galway and GMIT both being based here.

Q. In the context of the current housing crisis are there any challenges attracting staff to your company and/or region?

Rent the Runway’s city centre location in Galway makes it ideal for employees to commute to and from, as there are many areas for employees to live without having to rely on cars to get to work.

The city is well serviced by public transport by both trains and buses. The new RTR building is based in the Claddagh area of the city so there are some great options for both walking and cycling to the office.

Q. What are your future plans for the business in Ireland?

Rent the Runway is not available for customers in Ireland at this time, so there will not be any changes to the business model because of the Ireland office opening.

There will be huge development in the new Galway office as Rent the Runway plans to hire 150 engineers and tech developers over the next three years.

Working hand-in-hand with the US-based R&D teams, the Ireland team will tackle core technology challenges that are critical to Rent the Runway’s overall success and will influence the future of the next generation of services.

There will be huge development in the new Galway office as Rent the Runway plans to hire 150 engineers and tech developers over the next three years.


Dorothy Creaven