Netflix, Birchbox, Rent the Runway, Stitch Fix: We’re a society that swears by subscription and rental services. But what if your needs are only for a set amount of time? Say, less than nine months?
There’s still a service for you. Introducing Le Tote’s maternity clothes subscription. The company has offered women “mystery boxes” of clothing to rent and purchase on a monthly basis since 2012. With a loyal base of what founder Rakesh Tondon deems “31-year-old urban professional females,” he knew he had the target audience to try something new.
It wasn’t just good business that sparked this idea. While 44 percent of women identify as mothers upon signing up for Le Tote, many pause their subscriptions during their pregnancies. And when Tondon’s own pregnant wife began swapping clothes with fellow pregnant friends, he saw a business opportunity.
“She didn’t want to spend money on maternity clothes,” he tells Fast Company. “She would wear them once or twice and never want to wear them again.” So he thought, wouldn’t it make sense to rent?
Still, Tondon waited four years to execute the idea. He knew he needed a successful, more mainstream business first.
“It’s really hard to build a brand that is a maternity brand that crosses over to more mainstream,” he says. “It’s relatively easy to go the other way. It’s hard for A Pea in the Pod to become more mainstream and go mass market than, let’s say, Gap to do Gap Maternity.”
So what can you get with Le Tote Maternity? For $59 per month, pregnant women will receive three garments and two accessories at a time. The higher-end brands include labels like 9Fashion, Japanese Weekend and Summer & Sage. But thanks to the consultation of a pregnancy expert, Le Tote was able to include fashionable items from its general collection that will still fit a pregnant woman at different stages.