Two years ago, Nishka Ayyar was struggling, like abounding of her friends, to acquisition a dress to abrasion to her aboriginal accession dance.
The dresses she saw in Bay Area aliment and alike online were too cher for article she didn’t anticipate she would abrasion again, decidedly back as a affiliate of the accession cloister she bare article to bout the blooming and chicken blush scheme.
So Ayyar and her classmate, Riya Gupta, at San Jose’s The Harker School, apparent the botheration in Silicon Valley appearance by creating a peer-to-peer accouterment rental app — a array of Airbnb for brawl and academic dresses.
“The boys on the cloister got to hire their tuxedos for a bargain cost,” said Ayyar, now a 17-year-old inferior at Harker, a clandestine school. “But we were affected to absorb all this money.”
Plenty of added adolescence in the Bay Area — alike those untethered by accession cloister blush schemes — accept faced the claiming of award the absolute dress to abrasion to a academy dance. And a dress, which can run as abundant as $800, is aloof one allotment of the price of a avant-garde prom.
About the time Ayyar was against her dress struggle, she and Gupta were demography a business chic that assigned them to appear up with an abstraction for a business that could break a botheration their aeon were facing. The abstraction for PromElle was born.
Ayyar, 17, and Gupta, 16, who both alive in Saratoga, say their peer-to-peer app can advice a lot of teenagers: Girls who accept bought dresses can compensate some of their costs or accomplish a little added money by renting out their dresses on the platform, while those analytic for dresses can save money and allowance in their closets by renting from peers, generally at a atom of the cost.
“People appetite to appear these events, but the dresses attainable online or in aliment are acutely expensive,” Gupta said. “And about they get a dress and won’t abrasion it afresh in advanced of the aforementioned friends, so the dresses are activity to waste.”
Another affective factor, Gupta said, is that “a lot of girls absolutely appetite the brawl of their dreams, but are clumsy to acquiesce the brawl of their dreams.”
So the two formed on their abstraction in the bounce of 2016, and launched the aboriginal attainable adaptation of PromElle the afterward January. They aloft about $50,000 in advance money from accompany and ancestors and assassin a bounded coder to advice body the app and website, which they advised themselves.
About 550 bodies accept created accounts back the PromElle app launched in January 2017 — mostly adolescence in the Bay Area, admitting Ayyar and Gupta said it is attainable to anyone in the U.S.
It’s not attainable to antithesis the startup activity with their aerial academy chic work. They accept no staff, so Ayyar and Gupta administer the business with casual advice from their moms.
Through PromElle’s app or website, lenders abide dress listings for review, upload photos and add capacity like the dress’ admeasurement and fit. Ayyar and Gupta analysis anniversary advertisement afore making it attainable for renters to view. When renters acquisition a dress they like, they tap to analysis the details, baddest a four-day or eight-day rental period, and pay through the app or website.
Lenders get to aces their rental price, but Ayyar and Gupta acclaim ambience it at about 30 percent of aboriginal cost, which they say best users follow. Right now, for example, a blooming applique dress that originally amount the lender $350 can be active for $75 for four canicule and about $86 for eight days.
PromElle’s founders assume to accept anticipation of everything, which they highlight in an all-encompassing “Frequently Asked Questions” folio on their site. What happens if a bedfellow brings home a dress that ends up not fitting? She has 24 hours to abolish the adjustment and get a abounding refund. What if the dress is alternate damaged? Renters pay a baby allowance fee — amid $1.99 and $4.99 — to awning things like a baby rip or stain. Irreparable damage, however, requires a bedfellow to pay the abounding amount of the dress.
There are added apps that today’s tech-savvy adolescence are application to advice administer prom. Visa launched Plan’It Prom, which helps acceptance actualize a brawl budget. The boilerplate boyhood spent about $1,000 on the accident in 2014 and 2015, according to a abstraction by Visa. Costs can accommodate attire, auto or car rentals, tickets, flowers, pictures, food, accommodations, the afterwards affair and the sometimes active “promposal” — the appellation coined for allurement addition to the prom.
“At our school, brawl is absolutely expensive. Tickets alpha at $120, again you put in the costs of dress and beard and architecture and pre-prom (parties or dinners), and it adds up a lot,” said Aditi Anthapur, 16, a inferior at The Harker Academy who acclimated PromElle to hire a dress for her winter academic aftermost year. “It’s attainable to accept PromElle.”
Anthapur said she admired PromElle’s no-hassle access to renting a dress — alike aftermost minute. “I begin it accessible,” she said, acquainted that she active a dress from addition apprentice at her academy so acrimonious it up was easy. There are affluence of dresses to accept from, she said, so there is not abundant anguish about cutting a dress too agnate to addition ball attendee.
There are added accouterment rental apps or websites for cher academic wear, like Hire the Runway, which focuses on affluence brands and designers. But Gupta and Ayyar said that account seems geared against an earlier army and is generally still above the budgets of abounding teens.
Plus, PromElle’s archetypal provides a way for lenders to acquire money.
Ayyar and Gupta acquire money from the venture, too. For anniversary transaction, about 20 percent of the rental fee goes to PromElle. Back not all of the users active up accept active a dress yet, they’ve alone fabricated about $550 so far. But they’ve additionally accustomed award-winning money from entering their business in competitions and they are alive on business the app to added teens. A highlight for them was demography additional abode out of 17,000 competitors in the 2017 Diamond Claiming antagonism for aerial academy entrepreneurs.
And admitting it makes for a active life, Gupta said, “We wouldn’t accord it up for anything. We’ve absolutely abstruse added about the altered aspects of business from active PromElle than we would accept from a course.”
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