Rent The Runway: Jenny Fleiss
About The Company:
Rent the Runway is a disruptive eCommerce business with a mission to democratize luxury in the U.S. – simply, we believe that everybody deserves a Cinderella experience. We provide millions of women the ability to rent designer dresses, accessories and other essentials for a fraction of the retail price, allowing them to look, and more importantly, feel, beautiful for all of their special occasions.
About Jennifer Fleiss:
Jennifer Fleiss is an American businesswoman and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of Rent The Runway. She serves as President of the company. Previously, Fleiss was a strategic planner for Morgan Stanley. She then left Morgan Stanley to work for Lehman Brothers. At Lehman Brothers she worked for the asset management department. She also founded an online college tutoring company. Fleiss co-founded Rent The Runway, a website that allows users to rent fashion items such as clothing and shoes, in 2009 with Jennifer Hyman. Today, Fleiss serves as President of the company. In 2011, Fast Company named her and Fleiss as two of the top 100 most influential women in tech. Inc. called her and Hyman two of “America’s coolest young entrepreneurs,” in their 30 under 30.
She provides mentoring and advise to startup companies as part of the New York Economic and Development Corporation
Q&A With Jennifer
Why are you an entrepreneur?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Even growing up, I had lemonade stands and was trying to invent things. I love going after an idea and iterating on it until it works. It’s incredibly meaningful to see an idea have an impact on so many women’s lives.
What can a fellow learn from you?
It is really important to love what you do and to do everything that you can to make that happen. When Jenn and I first thought of the concept of Rent the Runway, we didn’t wait around and went directly to talk to Diane Von Furstenberg to see what she thought. After that meeting, we took every meeting that we could get, without really knowing where it would lead. Going after what you want to do and seizing every opportunity, without knowing the clear outcome, is extremely meaningful.
What Will Your Fellow Be Exposed To?
The PR/tech/product/fashion/design teams sit within 20 feet of each other in an open space. As the head of the Business Development team, I work on projects that touch all areas of the business. A fellow would get exposure to all aspects of the business and work in collaboration with the heads of all teams.
What do you expect out of a fellow?
I expect that a fellow is diligent and enthusiastic, is a serious go-getter and a hard worker. Rent the Runway is a fast-paced company and every day we have new projects that come up. We need someone who is nimble and can pivot on ideas quickly.
What makes your startup unique?
Rent the Runway has an incredibly open culture where everyone’s opinion is heard. Our employees recognize each other’s efforts at team meetings, pitch new ideas to the whole company, and even write new ideas on our office walls. We support each other, celebrating everything from new product releases to people’s birthdays!
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