Campus fashion app Curtsy stages pop-up storeBy Olivia Stover | 02/05/2018 8:03am
By Olivia Stover | Contributing Writer
Every occasion needs the perfect outfit, but the trouble is always how and where to find it. Curtsy, a fashion app that allows women on campus to rent clothes from one another, is staging a pop-up shop that seeks to make outfit selection a little bit easier.
The temporary pop-up shop will open Monday, Feb. 5, and close at the end of the semester in May. It will allow customers to rent from a limited selection of Curtsy’s more than 12,000 dresses at the Curtsy Closet, which will open in a vacant space next to Five Bar in downtown Tuscaloosa. The selection will feature top brands such as Rory Beca, For Love & Lemons, Free People, BCBG, NBD, Badgely Mischka and Parker. Handbags, shoes and local jewelry are also available for rent at the pop up shop.
“My team and I would host these weekly trunk shows at sorority houses, and eventually I had collected so many dresses, I had to clear out an entire room in the back of my house to accommodate for the dresses,” said Olivia Kercher, a senior majoring in marketing and the head of retail operations for Curtsy in Tuscaloosa. “I decorated the room and we all called it ‘The Curtsy Closet.’"
It was originally a place where women could come try on dresses for date parties and events if they missed a trunk show, but now it has been transformed into a one-stop-shop for all Curtsy members. Users can come to the Curtsy Closet, try on a total of 10 dresses in under half an hour, and rent one on the spot for the night.
Until now, the process of renting clothes off the Curtsy app has been face-to-face. This means that renters and owners must meet in person so the renters can try on the outfits and decide whether or not to they want to rent them.
It is high season for sorority and fraternity formals, yielding an even higher demand for Curtsy rentals. According to an email sent by Curtsy to users this past weekend, 10 times more users rented on Curtsy in the past week.
With the Curtsy Closet, owners will no longer have to meet with the renters to drop off or pick up the dresses. Renters also benefit from the new feature because they no longer have to message a number of owners through the app to get the dress they want.
“The greatest part about the store is that it gives the 'elite' owners, which are the girls who have had six or more rentals in the past month, a break from their Curtsy jobs,” Kercher said. “Owners can also rest easy knowing that all inventory they own in the store will be properly taken care of and returned to them dry cleaned.”
Users will still be able to rent as they usually would through the app. If an item a user wants is currently available to rent at the Curtsy Closet, the user will be notified as the app marks these items as “managed by the Curtsy Closet.”
The Curtsy Closet has also been renovated for its opening today, Feb. 5. New wood flooring, paint and custom-designed racks are all in place at the pop-up store. A local artist and UA student, Anne Smith Reeves, is doing the major art work for the store, so users will be sure to see new pieces of art throughout the semester.
“If complete strangers were knocking on my door last year to access the scrappy Curtsy Closet in the back of my house, I know for a fact that they are going to love what we have planned for this store,” said Kercher. “I’m excited to experiment with the store concept and see where it takes us.”
Madeline Willoughby, a junior majoring in elementary education, has used Curtsy in the past to rent outfits for sorority parties and other events.
"I love Curtsy because it's so easy, cheap and convenient to rent something for a weekend and not have to spend a lot of money on something you will only need once," Willoughby said.
Willoughby also said the Closet will make the rental process much easier.
"You can go to the Closet whenever you want and see all of your options in one place," Willoughby said. "It'll be easier than renting one or two things at a time and not knowing if it'll work."