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Rent the Runway Proves Success Is the Best F You to Sexism

Founders Jennifer Hyman (R) and Jennifer Fleiss of Rent the Runway. Image via Getty.
Founders Jennifer Hyman (R) and Jennifer Fleiss of Rent the Runway. Image via Getty.

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Despite the fact that clothing rental service Rent The Runway was valued at $50 million back in 2009 when it was in start-up phase, co-founder Jennifer Hyman still faced an inordinate amount of sexism when she reached out to venture capitalist firms to back her company. In a recent Forbes profile, Hyman recalled a meeting with venture capitalists where, mid-way through her pitch, one of the male members of the firm reached out and held her hand:

When Hyman was about to get to the part where she explained how many inventory turns she could get from a Diane von Furstenberg, one of the men interrupted the presentation, cupped her hand in his and said, "You are just too cute. You get this big closet and get to play with all these dresses and can wear whatever you want. This must be so much fun!"
The incident just spurred her on to create what Rent the Runway has become, a fashion-forward e-commerce site that has a back-end that's just as impressive as the front-end. "Opposed to screaming and shouting about inherent sexism in this entrepreneurial world, I thought, Let's work it–let's build the most kick-ass logistics company in the whole world, and then we'll reveal what's under the dress," Hyman told Forbes.
· How Mixing Data And Fashion Can Make Rent The Runway Tech's Next Billion Dollar Star [Forbes]
· Tech and Fashion's Fight Over Talent Has Only Just Begun [Racked]
· For $75, Rent the Runway Will Lend You Balenciagas for Days [Racked]