Carefully Crafted on March 16

What is Your Company’s Secret Sauce?

When Rent the Runway built out their leadership team, Jennifer Hyman, the first C-level executive hired, was a chief of data analytics. Interesting for a fashion company, right? You’d think maybe they’d hire a chief creative officer, or a CMO. Maybe even a CTO. Nope. Data was that important.

During her South by Style talk, Jennifer explained that understanding all the data and relying on it to inform business decisions has been critical to Rent the Runway’s success. For example, data shapes their pricing-on-demand model. Data is also a competitive asset that they can share with designers. By providing insights about how women are interacting with their garments, Rent the Runway can be a better partner to the designers they work with.

According to Jennifer, the fashion industry doesn’t have blockbuster hits, like the movies. For example, every Christmas and Independence Day, the movie industry can pretty much bank on a couple mega-hit movies that often follow a similar formula. But, fashion isn’t so formulaic. Sometimes you have a big hit (remember when everyone had “The Rachel” haircut?), but it’s not something you can predict or plan on.

So, when you don’t have a blockbuster moment, you’re forced to rely on data. For Rent the Runway, data helps the platform provide recommendations to make sure customers like their clothing options. Data is fashion’s secret sauce.

In business, we hear about the mega-hits, like Instagram or The Honest Company. But, most companies won’t ever achieve a billion-dollar-plus valuation. That said, a business doesn’t need a blockbuster-sized exit to be incredibly successful. Regardless of the size of your business, you do need to know your secret sauce.

What’s the one thing that will accelerate growth and propel you to success? For Rent the Runway, it was data. What’s yours?

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