I Tried 3 Clothing Rental Apps: A Review of By Rotation, Tulerie & Pickle

Peer to Peer Clothing Rental Apps Review

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know that I am a big prononent of extending the lifespan of clothing – whether through giving them a second life via donations, resale, or rental programs like Nuuly (reviewed here) and Rent the Runway.

An acquaintance in London mentioned that she’d been renting out some of her nicer clothes via a peer-to-peer rental platform – which I thought was genius! That platform is By Rotation, a UK-founded marketplace that connects lenders and renters. I learned that they recently expanded to the US as well, and decided to give them and a few of their peers (ha) a try.

The three apps I’ll be reviewing today are: By Rotation, Tulerie, and Pickle.

Overview

How does peer-to-peer clothing rental work? All three of these apps function as marketplaces — that is, they allow lenders to connect renters who are looking to rent clothing or accessories. Which differs from platforms like Rent the Runway and Nuuly, who build and rent out their own inventory. The minimum rental period is typically 3 days, with options for longer, even up to one month.

The platforms take a % fee from the transaction, and vary amongst each other re: additional customizations and shipping processes. All three also offer an option of resale; however, I haven’t utilized this particular feature and won’t be covering that today.

I love this idea for items that intentionally don’t get as much wear in my closet! Namely, dresses and evening accessories. While I’ve been trying to repeat pieces at different events, there are many months that go by in between.

tl;dr

For context, I’ve used By Rotation the longest for ~6 months. Tulerie and Pickle are newer to me, I signed up a little over one month ago. I’ll go into details below on each platform, but first, here’s my overall take:

  • By Rotation: So far, BR has been the most promising – mix of contemporary and luxury brands, I receive ~2-3 rental requests per month with a small offering. I just wish shipping were integrated (pricing, and label creation) as part of their platform, it would be perfect.
  • Pickle: Best for folks local to NYC, with wide range of inventory from affordable to luxury. Pick up & courier options allow for last-minute rentals. With the heavy NYC focus (I’m estimating at least 80%+ of listings are in NY-NJ), there’s less demand for items based elsewhere.
  • Tulerie: Seems to have the most luxury pieces, with a more strict vetting process for new members. However, this means that the userbase is smaller, I have yet to receive a rental request.

All three platforms allow you to invoice extra fees to the renter, which can come in handy for multiple scenarios. For example, I once invoiced a renter who was willing to pay the difference for 2nd-day air shipping to get a dress last minute.

They also have chat functionality, so renters can connect with the lender and ask any and all questions about fit, etc. before committing.

PlatformRenter DemandInventory TypeFeesShipping
By RotationGood$$ – $$$$20%BYOS(hipping)
PickleGood (NYC)
OK (Elsewhere)
$ – $$$$20%Integrated ($8 each
way for USPS Priority)
TulerieOK$$$ – $$$$25% + 2.9%
payment
processing fee
Integrated ($10 each
way for USPS Priority)

By Rotation

@byrotation

By Rotation was originally UK-founded and has built an avid following there – they have over 300K users! They According to their 2023 wrap up, they cater towards contemporary designers – lots of Cult Gaia, Self Portrait, Realisation Par – with a sprinkling of luxury as well. Only certain brands are allowed on the app.

The sign-up process is relatively straightforward. Payments are handled directly through the platform with Stripe as their backend vendor. For trust and safety, a renter must have several successful lower-priced rentals before they can rent more expensive pieces ($1,000+ MSRP). Their fee is 20%, similar to Pickle and lower than Tulerie.

Renters can select any number of days to rent, but pricing is typically set at 3, 7, and one month increments, with discounts on the daily fee for longer term rentals.

Pros

  • While the US community is still growing, it’s been sizable enough for me to consistently get 2-3 rentals requests per month. This is not bad for items that would otherwise sit in my closet with little use!
  • So far, all of the renters (or “Rotators” as they say) have been lovely. Very communicate through chat, and my pieces have all returned in good condition.

Cons

  • Some of the experience has yet to be fully internationalized to US standards. For example:
    • The usage of “RRP” instead of “MSRP” or “Retail Price”
    • Calendar weeks starting on Mondays instead of Sundays (which, I actually prefer but can cause some rental date confusion)
  • The expectation for shipping to arrive next-day (ha ha ha), which:
    • Makes it trickier to gauge buffers between rentals (people are more likely to use slower shipping to return)
    • Also has resulted in my having to decline cross-country rental requests with less than 5 days notice
  • No “vacation mode” or way to set a buffer between rentals (ex. don’t allow people to request <2 days before start date, or <5 days before another rental date)
  • App can be slow to load – some screens take as much as 3 – 5 seconds, which is eons in this day and age

Pickle

@shoponpickle

I had really high hopes for Pickle! It seems like they have a robust marketplace, with a wide range of brands and price points — as of October 2023, they have over 50,000 items listed for rent. And in addition to items posted by individuals, they partner with select brands like Cynthia Rowley and influencers to expand their closet. Unlike the other two apps, they also have a brick-and-mortar location in SoHo.

Pros

  • Lots of inventory, including those at lower price points. Paired with shorter rentals (ex. 2 days) means that it can overall be more affordable if you live near the lender
  • Seamless delivery options: if choosing courier, you select time slots directly in the app. If choosing delivery, a shipping label will be automatically generated. And with USPS Priority Mail, shipping is fast (3 days or less) and covers weights up to 5lb.
  • App loads very quickly (especially compared to By Rotation)
  • (For renters) Decent recommendation engine — when looking at listings, there’s a section at the bottom with “Other listings you may like”, which is pretty good

Cons

  • (For renters) If you do not live in NYC, it is very hard to find lenders who will ship to you. When browsing the “Shop” tab, you can filter for “local only” or “shipping + delivery” – the latter includes courier and shipping together.
    • I reached out to several closets, and unfortunately wasn’t able to successfully have an offer accepted
    • Example: there are 129 Jacquemus pieces listed, of which 118 (91%) are in the NY-NJ metro area
  • Likewise, as a lender, there seems to be less traction as I assume most users are based in NYC and using location-based (ex. 20 miles or less) filters when browsing
  • While the app is quick, it sometimes can be a bit glitchy when doing detailed actions like setting delivery time slots, etc. Restarting the app seemed to work

Tulerie

@tulerie_

Tulerie’s overall experience and app is similar to By Rotation’s – a minimalist UI, with generally higher-end luxury brands and items listed for rent. The default rental periods are 4 days, 10 days, and 20 days.

Pros

  • Interview and ID vetting process for renters, which is nice if you are planning to lend more expensive items
  • Shipping is automatically included and charged to buyer, at $20 total (to and from). Tulerie uses USPS Priority Mail, which is reliably fast
  • Stricter policies around cancellations: renters are charged 50% if they cancel within 14 days, 100% within 7 days

Cons

  • Higher fees, at 25% of rental with a 2.9% finance processing fee
  • (For renters) Search functionality is not very robust. There’s some merchandised collections, but not to the extent of Pickle & By Rotation’s curations
  • Said vetting process above seems to result in a smaller community – so far, I’ve received a handful of “likes” on my items but no rental requests

What if something goes wrong?

Now, the biggest question, or rather, concern, you may have is – what happens if a renter ruins my item? All three platforms have damage / theft policies, where they will work with the lender to either recoup the cost of repairs, or replacement, from the renter. Since the renter has already paid, they typically will have a working payment method (with connected personal identification via Stripe) on the platform.

Thankfully, I have yet to encounter this myself – and if I ever do, I’ll be sure to update this post with details of that experience.

Conclusion

Overall, I love the concept of peer-to-peer rentals and hope that it continues to gain traction here in the US. While By Rotation has been the most successful for me as a lender, I’ll continue to cross-post across all three – maybe things will pick up more once wedding & summer vacation / events season picks up in a few months.

Have you tried any of these apps? Would love to hear about your experience!

Welcome!

Im Kristy, a marketer based in sometimes-sunny San Francisco ⛅ This is my personal blog, where you will find my random musings, in-depth reviews, and latest sewing endeavors.

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