It’s a daily struggle, trying to figure out what to wear. Whether it's hours spent rifling through your closet, scouring websites for the missing piece in your wardrobe or hustling in and out of dressing rooms, finding the right threads can be a drain on your time, energy and sanity.
Billed as a “closet as a service," Armoire is a wardrobe rental startup offering monthly clothing subscription services, similar to box models like Birchbox or Graze. The company emerged from the MIT Accelerator Program, an entrepreneurship program designed to aid startups. The newly-formed company recently relocated to Seattle, headed by CEO Ambika Singh, whose love for clothes began at age 10 with cross-country wardrobe swaps with her cousin.
Armoire CEO Ambika Singh. Photo Credit: Timothy Anaya
“I love trying new things in all aspects of my life, and my wardrobe is no exception,” Singh says. “I’ve been sharing clothes with the women in my life since as long as I can remember. As a result, when I was introduced to the concept of clothing rental, it made perfect sense to me. I loved that I could wear things a few times and then share them with others, adding variety to my wardrobe while reducing the clutter in my closet. Additionally, I was pleased to be doing my part to ease the strain the apparel industry puts on the planet.”
How does it work? Using a combination of algorithms, current fashion trends and input from customers, Armoire offers personalized, curated closet sets for women based on their individual style preferences. Without the hassle of closet clutter and time-consuming shopping trips, Armoire offers customers access to high-end items (an average retail of $300), including shipping and maintenance costs, for the beta subscription price of $149 a month.
The algorithm works with customers’ personal preferences of cuts, colors and fabrics and they receive four pieces for their wardrobe. Customers can rent the items for as long as they want, or even purchase them at deep retail discounts. Clothing choices include pieces from brands like Ministry of Supply, Brass and Of Mercer, and feature work-appropriate (but stylish) dresses, separates and coats, as well as “Friday Night” pieces and cocktail wear.
For $149 a month, Armoire subscribers get high-end fashion pieces delivered to their door. No endless online shopping required. Photo Credit: Timothy Anaya
“We tested this idea with over 500 women last year, and there was a resounding sentiment that having access to an endless stream of personalized items without the hassle of shopping sounded like magic,” Singh says. “Our service is targeted to the modern, busy woman—or as we like to affectionately refer to her: the boss lady. She is smart, efficient, busy and most of all, high achieving at work and at play. This is her identity, and she needs a wardrobe and a service to keep up with her busy lifestyle. We are building a service and brand that caters to her.”
Singh is indeed the model of a boss lady, with her finger on the pulse of women’s style needs in Seattle while operating her fashion start up.
“Being a Seattleite myself, I don’t think that it’s a huge surprise that the Armoire concept is nicely symbiotic for Seattle boss ladies,” Singh says. “Our goal is to efficiently dress our customers in something that makes them feel great—and feeling great means stylish, polished and at pace with their lifestyles.”
“I am super inspired by our customers and learning about the amazing work they do,” Singh continues. “We have customers ranging from life-saving surgeons to top-tier management consultants, venture capitalists to tech CEOs, and incredibly hardworking mothers of two, three and even four children. I am inspired by the fact that we are doing our small part to enable these women to spend their time doing what they do best instead of worrying about what they are going to wear. When a customer writes in to tell us how Armoire made a difference or fulfilled a unfilled need, it’s what fuels what we do.”