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Lianhe Zaobao (February 2013) by 2013

Rental of Seasonal Dresses Are Becoming Popular

Ms Deborah Ng of Maternity Exchange, a maternity wear sale and rental business points out that besides Chinese New Year, year end holidays is also a time of high demand. Customers like to shop for a suitable maternity wear for evening banquets. Ms Deborah Ng went into this business because she had experienced difficulty getting a suitable maternity dress at a reasonable price for herself .

Ms Deborah Ng said: The quality of imported maternity wear is higher but they often costs more than $100 each. Also our local market lacks maternity formal evening wear.

Professional women likes to maintain their image evening in their pregnancy and would like to have a broader range of maternity wear to choose from suitable for different occasions. Our rental service meets both this need for variety and affordable prices. Customers can also try on rental and if they like it often, it can also be converted into a sale.

From her observations, customers prefer to purchase pants that are often worn and rent expensive gowns. Or rents only at late stages of pregnancy. A maternity blouse that costs around $180 to buy will costs $50 to rent. A computer system will track each garment's rental frequency and adjust prices lower for the next rental or sale.

Expectant mother, Ms Tai Mei Yue (33 years old, auditor) said, "Comfortable maternity wear are not cheap. I prefer to rent them and also buy slightly larger normal dresses to meet my needs."

Poor Economy, Good Business

Ms Deborah Ng pointed out: Our business model of dress rental is a viable one. Sales have been growing since she started Dress Sense 3 years' ago to sell and rent evening wear and accessories. Our customer list have grown 300% year on year. More than 50% of them chose to rent, especially in times of poor economy.

Property Agent, Mr Koh Yong Yau, setup his website "Rent N Wear" listing his collection of winter wear for customers who needs to rent them. He said he could not keep up with the demand especially at end of year.

He also said that many would not like to be photograph wearing the same winter clothes each time they are abroad. But winter wear can be expensive and it may not be feasible to buy new winter clothes for each trip. To prevent abuse of the rental service, even though he has setup this rental platform on the web and charges a rental of just 3 to 5 % of the garment price, he still delivers them directly to his customers and collects the full price of the garment. When the customer returns the garment returns, the balance amount will be refunded after deducting for the rental charge and cleaning fees.

Seasonal wear rental is also becoming popular with consumers. Miss Chan LiLing (21 years old, student) thinks that it is not worth buying a dress that is not worn often. They also takes up storage space. Last year, she rented an evening dress to attend a wedding dinner. 

This article was published on Thursday 14 February, 2013.
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