- As an avid shopper of URBN brands including Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, I was excited to try the company’s new clothing rental service.
- For just $88 per month, shoppers can rent like-new and vintage clothes hand-selected by the style masterminds at URBN.
- Nuuly members can choose up to six items per month from a large selection of apparel, from vintage leather jackets and glamorous evening wear to your new favorite pair of jeans.
- Here’s what I got in my first Nuuly rental and my thoughts on whether the service is really worth it.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As an avid shopper of the URBN family of brands – Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People – I was anxious to try out the company’s new clothing rental service, Nuuly.
Nuuly is a monthly rental subscription service for women’s apparel. Customers of Nuuly can choose any six items for just $88 per month. Once the month ends, the next billing cycle will occur and customers can send the items back or choose to buy them, often at a discounted price point. Once Nuuly has received all the items you no longer want, you can order your next Nuuly.
“We have an assortment that’s tailored to be really fun and versatile so that the customer can wear the items she chooses in different ways over the course of her month,” Kim Gallagher, Nuuly’s director of marketing and customer success, told Business Insider.
The clothing offered on Nuuly is not limited to just Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People. The site also carries a wide selection of items from over 100 third-party brands. Not only does Nuuly offer basics like jeans and simple blouses, but they also have stylish evening wear, fur coats, vintage T-shirts, leather jackets, and more. Browsing the website, I was excited to try something new or high-end, without the commitment of actually purchasing it.
We used Rent the Runway Unlimited to rent $4,862 worth of designer clothes in a week – here’s how the subscription plan works and why we’re so willing to pay the $160 monthly fee
Gallagher said that’s one of Nuuly’s goals: giving shoppers the opportunity to test out different styles.
“The great thing about renting is that it’s about discovery. You’re only paying a low price per item each month so it gives you the opportunity to take some risks. You could wear a bold print or a trendy silhouette you aren’t quite sure about buying,” Gallagher explained. “Another great part of renting is that you have access to things you might not be able to afford at full price.”
That was definitely true in my experience – once I added all the items I wanted to my cart, I was taken aback to see they would have cost me $938 to buy. Instead, I was paying $88 to try them out for the month. That seemed like an amazing deal to me, especially as someone who loves to wear different things every day and try out new looks.
Perhaps aimed at a Gen Z or Millennial consumer familiar with the URBN family of brands, many of the clothes on Nuuly are fun, out-of-the-box pieces that are completely on-trend. However, Gallagher said there’s something for everyone.
“Nuuly is perfect for women who want newness in their wardrobes, but don’t want to be wasteful,” she said. “She may be someone who has an active social calendar or needs new looks for work each day, but regardless of whichever life stage she’s in, she is a creative-minded customer.”
Here’s what I thought of the whole experience, from signing up to trying on the clothes and sending the items back at the end of the month.
Before I ordered my first box, I wanted to get better insight into how Nuuly works and what to expect from the renting experience.
I spoke with Nuuly’s director of marketing and customer success, Kim Gallagher, about why it was created in the first place. She said that URBN, the parent brand of retailers like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, has always had its finger on the pulse of what the company’s followers are looking for.
URBN and Nuuly are arguably carving out a place in the rental clothing industry – one that’s really only occupied by Rent the Runway at the moment.
“While our customer wasn’t necessarily engaged in rental yet, she’s ready for it,” Gallagher said. “We also really like the concept that rental is sustainable at its core. This is something that really resonates and matters to our customer.”
Since much of the merchandise available on Nuuly is already owned by URBN, it was a no-brainer to enter the rental clothing industry.
“We are a company that already has access to great exclusive product that comes from our family of brands – Anthropologie, Free People, and Urban Outfitters,” she said. “We design the product in-house so it’s easy for us to get a hold of. Our brands have millions of customers that already know and trust us, so we knew this was something that could give us a leg up as we got into the rental space.”
Then, I started browsing and, right away, I was amazed at the selection. Customers can shop by category, occasion, or from Nuuly’s list of curated “looks.”
Nuuly’s full list of categories includes dresses, tops, jeans, sweaters and sweatshirts, jackets and blazers, jumpsuits and rompers, pants and shorts, skirts, vintage items, and plus-size.
Nuuly’s “occasions” included casual wear, workwear, daytime event, night out, and cocktail and formal wear.
Nuuly also curates different looks or collections throughout the year. For the fall season, for example, they have a collection called “Fall Looks: Print Editions” filled with pieces in bold, out-there prints.
I signed up on a Tuesday. The next evening, my Nuuly had arrived. I was shocked by how quickly my items had shipped. It felt a little bit like Christmas morning – except at night.
Nuuly ships via UPS two-day delivery on business days. The company also explains that orders may also take up to two days to process. Mine came quicker than expected, but those looking to rent through Nuuly should allow themselves at least a few days between placing the order and receiving the items in order to make sure items arrive on time – especially if one is renting for a big event!
Even though I already knew what I would be receiving in my box, I was excited to see how everything looked and fit in person. I was also really excited about receiving a new reusable tote bag to keep.
Right away, I was impressed with the sustainable, waterproof, and durable packaging it came in.
The garment bag had a handle, making it easy to carry to the post office or to my third-floor walk-up apartment.
Nuuly values sustainability, shown through their website and choice of packaging. Renting clothes in itself is better for the environment versus buying fast fashion, but Nuuly takes it a step further.
Read more: Urban Outfitters is launching a new clothing rental service, and it’s just the latest sign that fast fashion as we know it is dying
Gallagher said a commitment to sustainability was at the core of many of Nuuly’s early decisions. “When it came to packaging, in particular, we had the opportunity to start from scratch and decide what we wanted to stand for as a company.”
On their website, the company says its Nuuly garment bags are made of recycled post-consumer plastic and are completely reusable and recyclable. The garment bags contain no virgin plastic, there are no poly bags within Nuuly’s packaging, and garment bags are reused after being sent back. The company also uses “energy-efficient wet and dry cleaning machines” and “environmentally friendly cleaning products” to clean the clothes after they’re returned to Nuuly, according to the website.
Inside, the clothes were beautifully folded and appeared brand new.
That was one concern I had about renting clothes instead of purchasing them new – I was worried they would look used. Luckily, that couldn’t have been farther from the case.
Nuuly does offer discounts on many of the items customers order through the rental service. Gallagher explained that although not every piece may be discounted and discount amounts can vary, many items are available for a lower-than-retail price.
“If a subscriber falls in love with an item she rents, she can absolutely choose to purchase that piece from Nuuly, often at a discount from the retail price,” she said. “The level of discount will be determined by a number of factors, including overall demand for that item and how many times the garment has been rented previously. Shoppers will be able to login to their account and very easily see the purchase price for any of their rented items.”
My clothes also came with a handy on-the-go stain treatment kit.
Nuuly does all the washing for you, and actually recommends not washing the items, so this was a nice little touch to include in the box, in case disaster struck. Luckily, I never needed it, but it was helpful to know I had it.
The Pinch Provisions for Nuuly kit includes 5 “essentials” – a lint brush, double-sided tape, a wrinkle-removing spray, a deodorant-removing sponge, and static remover.
The kit comes with a small card that explains each item, plus this reassuring sentence: “In case of linty, static-y, wrinkly clothing emergencies – don’t worry about stains or damage, we’ll take care of those.”
Nuuly also claims to have no hidden fees for damage, stains, or cleaning – which meant I could drink my latte without worrying about a small coffee stain getting on my white blouse.
I loved this dress! I sized up since I wanted it to fit loosely so I could cinch it in with the attached tie.
The color was beautiful and complimented my skin tone perfectly. This was the most expensive item from my Nuuly box, but it was very well made. It could easily be worn between seasons with bare legs or a pair of tights and boots.
Still, I couldn’t wrap my head around the price. It was beautiful, but I didn’t think it was worth it, at least to me, for over $200.
Size ordered: L
Retail price: $269 ($236.72 with Nuuly discount)
Next up, I knew I had to order a pair of jeans from Nuuly.
I’ve quite literally never owned a nice pair of jeans. Most of my jeans are either from thrift stores or fast-fashion retailers like American Eagle or H&M. So, when I signed up for Nuuly, I knew I wanted to use my box as an excuse to try out a really nice pair of jeans. And, boy, did I. These jeans are so comfortable – even though they’re not made from the type of super-stretch fabric that I’m used to.
After wearing the pieces for a month, it was time to send them back. Parting with them wasn’t easy, but I knew my next Nuuly was right around the corner.
Returning was really seamless – I simply packaged everything up in the box and put the return label the company provided inside the clear plastic slot on the top.
I absolutely loved my rental experience with Nuuly, and I fully support the company’s efforts to create more sustainable shopping. My only gripe with my first box was that I wish I had tried something a little more outside my comfort zone. Maybe next month, I’ll take a couple more risks … like this pale blue fur-trimmed jacket. How good would it be for an Elle Woods Halloween costume, too?