Palanta is about to celebrate two years in existence this September, and that is why the founder, Sara Devenyi, decided to answer a few essential questions about renting with Palanta. From why this circular fashion rental was founded to how our memberships work or what is the Rent My Wardrobe initiative, dive into this insightful interview with this passionate change maker.
Sara, can you tell us why Palanta was founded and what the name Palanta means?
The name Palanta comes from the word ‘palánta’, which means ‘sprout’, ‘seedling’ and ‘toddler’ in Hungarian–my native language. It takes time and effort to take care of such little things, but they will grow into something beautiful, just like our journey towards a more conscious and sustainable life.
When I was packing for my 7-month stay in the UK back in 2018, I posted an Instagram story asking: “Will my clothes fit in the suitcase?”. There was no other option; I had to leave most of my dresses behind.
At that moment, I was looking at my overflowing wardrobe and started thinking - “Do I need this much clothing if I cannot even take it with me?“. I thought I was a responsible fashion consumer, but this situation opened my eyes. Then I decided to challenge myself to become more conscious of my clothing habits.
From that moment, I worked on educating myself on the topics of sustainable production and fashion waste. I also tried to adopt a minimalist way of thinking, driven by less is more and learned a lot from eco-bloggers, vloggers and documentaries on Netflix, such as The True Cost.
What started with a one-suitcase-wardrobe challenge grew into an ambition for a healthier fashion industry and planet. It was time to take action! With the inspiration from the minimalist filmmaker and YouTuber Matt D'Avella's documentary, Minimalism - I decided to connect this vision with slow fashion and sustainability.
“If I’m travelling somewhere that’s cold, maybe I’ll buy a second-hand jacket or maybe I’ll rent one. I don’t know if that’s possible. Can you rent jackets? I’ll find out. - Matt D’Avella”
This is how the idea of renting out sustainably made clothing came to me. So, just like that, Palanta was born–planting a seedling, an idea and concept dedicated to renting out sustainable and ethically made clothing. As an answer to over-consumerism and fashion waste in the clothing industry, driven by an ambition to contribute to a healthier planet.
How does Palanta work? Can you tell us more about the different rental options?
When we launched Palanta in September 2020, our goal was to offer the easiest way of renting, so we started with a pay-as-you-rent model, which primarily means flexibility. Renters can enjoy a Palanta item for 4, 14 or 30 days and then send it back. With this model, renters can simply choose an item or more items on our website, decide for how long they want them and go to the checkout.
This pay-as-you-rent model is popular for special occasions, vacations, or when you want to try a rental–ideal to experiment with new colours or surprise yourself with something you would never buy but always wanted to try.
Our other popular model is the monthly memberships, we launched them back in November 2021, and it’s attracting more and more conscious women. With Palanta’s monthly memberships, renters can satisfy their fashion cravings and expand their wardrobe with new, premium brands every month - without ever shopping again. They can choose 3 items every month for a fixed monthly price.
We have memberships for the women’s and our baby collections as well. Members can get their essential dose of new inspiration and enjoy more variety with less hustle. Do good for the planet and their wallet - while staying fashionable.
Whether you rent via the pay-as-you-rent or the memberships, Palanta’s platform automatically sends you an email when the initial rental period comes to an end. Renters can decide if they’d like to send back, purchase the items or keep them for longer.
We only offer items to purchase for renters who already had tried the item, to support conscious decision-making when it comes to buying clothes. If they decide to purchase, Palanta can offer them a discount from the retail price.
If the renter wants to send back the item, they will receive a link with the return label - so no printer is needed - they can simply use the mailer or box they have received the clothes in and reuse it for the return shipment - more and more circular!
There is always the option to prolong the rental - on average 60% of our customers keep their items for longer. That is possible when there is no one else on the waiting list for that item. Then another payment will be deducted automatically. Our internal system just got an update to further ease the way of renting for both us and our community.
That sounds interesting, how many members do you have monthly?
We have a growing number of monthly members on our platform. We introduced our monthly memberships in November 2021, which allow our community to expand their wardrobe with new, premium brands every month. Our next steps are to collaborate with other conscious brands and organisations to provide fashion rentals for their community as well.
You have recently introduced the Rent My Wardrobe initiative, renting clothes from consumers. How does this work and why have you decided to facilitate consumer-to-consumer renting?
Our conscious community means everything to us, and how we can connect, inspire each other, and become more circular together. That is why we asked our favourite sustainable trendsetters to share their wardrobes via Palanta. We have launched our Rent My Wardrobe initiative to connect on another level with our community through personal and beloved statement pieces from Alisson Simmonds, Talkita Kalloe, Sara Devenyi, founder of Palanta and many more.
From our rental market research, we decided that the Rent My wardrobe Initiative would be the level we step our toe in peer-to-peer rentals. Why is that? During our research, we found that rental is indeed a new way of dressing up, and we also need more trust to do so - trust in the fashion rental platform to send the items clean and in good shape. Peer-to-peer rentals make this a bit more difficult, as most of the time these types of rental platforms are just a marketplace to connect people, so the company cannot check the quality of an item sent from the lessor to the lessee. In this case, lack of quality can cause a lack of trust not in the consumer who has sent it in bad shape but in the rental marketplace.
So we decided to launch the Rent My Wardrobe collection with sustainable trendsetters who we know take care of their items and agreed to send these items to our HQ, so we handle all the logistics for them. And we are continuously looking for more inspiring individuals to share their wardrobe via Palanta as well.
What is your dream for Palanta?
Our mission is to provide a sustainable alternative to fast fashion and the current fashion industry by offering monthly fashion rentals and inspiring people to live and dress more consciously.
We are a fashion rental platform that gives access to an infinite wardrobe for less money in a sustainable way. Unlike webshops and fast fashion stores that encourage people to buy cheap and unnecessary items, our service brings new clothes into people’s wardrobes whilst supporting the circular economy, responsible consumption and our planet.
All in all, we have a holistic approach to helping customers take the next step toward a sustainable lifestyle. On top of the rental, we organise mindfulness workshops and eco-events where the community can join and meet like-minded people. We are currently planning to organise mindfulness workshops such as yoga, meditation, stress release ceramics, and educational workshops about circularity and slow fashion.
Ultimately, our goal is to be the most circular and sustainable company in the fashion industry in Europe. We aim to help sustainable brands gain more attention and help them reach more conscious consumers. In the long term, our goal is to re-educate the fashion industry and minimise fashion waste altogether.
It’s always been our ambition to expand to more EU countries, and that is also included in our expansion plan. We have already received applications from Spain, Sweden and Hungary, but for now, we are 100% focused on growing in the Netherlands to finalise Palanta's fashion rental framework and business structures.
Renting daily clothes might seem like a huge decision to make. By finding mindful moments and being at peace with your inner self, you will have space for new adventures and more conscious ways of living and dressing up.
Check out Palanta’s collection here.