Three years after first launching, high-end clothing rental service Armoire is expanding. The Seattle startup, which aims to make buying clothes obsolete, celebrated the opening of its new permanent Pioneer Square headquarters on June 21.
Formerly housed on Capitol Hill in the basement of The Riveter's female-forward co-working space, Armoire now takes up 7,500 square feet of loft-style digs just off King Street on First Avenue South. There, the company runs its entire operation: office space for its 37 employees—90 percent of whom are women—and room for all 30,000 designer pieces currently in circulation, plus its crown jewel boutique.
Founder and “chief boss lady” Ambika Singh devised the idea for Armoire in 2016 while a student at MIT. Fed up with the stressful and time-consuming process women face when choosing work-appropriate outfits, Singh developed an alternative that was all at once cheaper, sustainable, and more efficient: rentable high-end designer clothing at an affordable price. For $149 per month, members receive four personally curated pieces shipped to their door. Members can keep the items for as long as they want and can trade them in for new pieces at any time. If a member falls in love with one of the pieces they receive, they can purchase it at a discounted rate.
Unlike other clothing rental services like Rent the Runway, Gwynnie Bee, and Le Tote, Armoire uses data-based algorithms to track its members' likes and dislikes and curate personalized recommendations. Instead of making members mindlessly scroll through Armoire’s extensive collection, the algorithms allow each member to be presented with 50 to 100 items that it knows they will like based on their previous rentals and preferred colors, styles, and fit. These algorithms also give members an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone by including items they wouldn’t normally wear. “We like to think of ourselves as your best friend’s closet,” says Singh. “We suggest things we know you’ll like, then push you to try something new as well.”
Following a successful downtown popup earlier this year, members can now book a complimentary personal styling session with one of multiple on-site stylists to curate a personal closet, try clothes on in one of three changing rooms, and take items home.
As Armoire continues to expand its service across the country, Singh remains adamant about staying true to the company’s Seattle roots: “No one thinks there’s fashion in Seattle, but there is. And our ability to support and carry local designers is something we’re really proud of.” Armoire currently carries more than 500 brands, ships nationwide, and offers sizes 0–14, with plans to become fully size-inclusive in the near future.
505 First Ave S, Pioneer Square, Mon–Fri 9–6