The Future of Kids Clothing Rental: 5 Minutes with Charlotte Morley, Founder of thelittleloop
With the popularity of kids clothing rentals on the rise, thelittleloop has paved the way as the UK’s first shared wardrobe for kids. Clothes swapping and clothing rental subscription services offer more than just a sustainable way to shop and many families are keen discover the possibilities of clothing rentals for children. We caught up with Charlotte Morley, founder of thelittleloop to learn more about this sustainable shopping movement.
Charlotte founded thelittleloop while working as Head of Digital Product at Notonthehighstreet - leaving her role to build it full time. She describes it as both the biggest risk she’s ever taken, and the best thing she could imagine doing for her children’s future. As one of the first brands to contribute clothing to her collections, we were keen to catch up to see how the rental market has changed since the business launched 18 months ago.
For anyone not familiar with the concept behind thelittleloop, can you give us a quick overview of how it all works?
Our vision from the very start has been to create a world without children’s clothing waste. We do so by renting clothes - enabling parents to keep them for as long as their children need and love them, and then sending them back to us to be worn again. This keeps every garment in circulation - guaranteeing they reach their potential and giving them up to 4x more life thus reducing their eco-footprint by upto 80%. Not only that but we use entirely reusable packaging, and - this is the super innovative bit - we partner with our brands to help them introduce circularity into their business model. Our partner brands share revenue with us, which means they are rewarded for longer lasting clothes, and so incentivised to improve their production practices. On top of which, we feedback data to them to enable them to identify ways to make their garments even more durable.
Has recent press attention over the clothing rental market helped to boost interest in your concept?
There’s been a lot of chatter about rentals in the media. Getting rental out there as an accepted way to dress kids is great. But families aren’t going to just start renting kids clothing because they’ve seen someone wearing an expensive ‘hire’ dress on the red carpet. People within the trade can see it’s the next big thing but consumers catching up with the thinking. After our initial launch we’re now in a position to increase marketing activity to really help to educate around the concept of renting. Because we’re doing something different, we’ve benefited from lots of publicity and picked up a lot of interest and just recently winning Silver in the Junior Design Awards for Best Childrenswear Retailer. In the last couple of weeks alone we’ve seen a noticeable uplift in orders which we hope will continue. We even won a competition to win a TV advert on ITV which we’ll be able to use across our own channels. We’re at a good point now where we’re seeing positive action not a passive one on behalf of the brands who are proactively contacting us to get involved. Now when people see us they feel more warmed up to the idea of renting and so are more likely to subscribe.
Why should families considering renting their kids clothes?
What we say is that it’s no one thing. When we ask people why they rent they might say because it’s more sustainable. But what they might not realise until they start their rental journey, is all the other benefits such as convenience, better value and the fact that you’re getting access to lots of beautiful quality brands in one place. Sustainability attracts people to us but the other elements are what convince people to sign up and then keep people renting with us. It’s definitely a model that engenders loyalty. The overriding story is one of simplicity and the way we have built it to be a swapping service means you have what you exactly what you need, when you want it and then you swap it.
Have you noticed families favouring any particular brands or types of clothing?
Not really! What we’ve found is that adding a wider range has really helped as people do tend to fall into style camps. Initially we had a certain look which attracted a certain type of person. But with the wider choice of styles there’s the opportunity to try other brands, experiment with different colours and prints. People are often inclined to let their kids choose their rental clothes which is great and ensures the kids will genuinely love wearing them. That’s been a really nice surprise benefit of renting.
If you could give advice to a family that is considering swapping buying for renting, what would you recommend is the best clothing to rent for children?
We find that if people try it, they love it. But it’s essential to try renting to get the full experience and if you don’t love it, send the clothes back and buy something! There’s genuinely no downside to giving it a go. Outerwear is a really good place to start as it can be expensive to buy and requirements can change with the seasons. If you’re not sure about renting or are worried about damage, try starting out with the special items that don’t get worn to death. It makes much more sense to rent things you’re getting less wear from. Buy your basics from charity shops or the high street and then pair with special occasion items. We’ll be introducing more occasionwear such as skiwear and party dresses and swimwear. Highly seasonal holiday items that have so much wearability but in fact if you buy them, they might not reach their potential. These can be the perfect entry point for anyone trying out renting for the first time. Follow thelittleloop
on instagram! Learn more about thelittleloop on their website.