Be it a Husain’s horse, a BMW, an Armani tux, a Gucci clutch, a Jimmy Choo tote bag or even a designer bridal trousseau, if you can’t or don’t want to spend a fortune on these, don’t sweat over it — all these are available on rent.
There are dozens of companies and portals that rent out some of these items of luxury. For instance, New Delhi-based Art Bank rents out expensive paintings to business houses and hotel chains for anywhere between six months to three years. Art Bank’s collection of 1,000 paintings includes names such as MF Husain.
“It is cheaper for companies to rent a painting for six months by paying just Rs 25,000 than buy them for crores of rupees. Hotel chains also interchange paintings among their various properties in order to give them a fresh look every time,” Adeshwar Puri, an art curator and founder of Art Bank, told Financial Chronicle.
While rentals may be anything around Rs 5,000 a month, the borrower has to make a one-time payment of about 2 per cent of the value of the painting towards insurance premium.
If creating an impression is the idea, then arriving in a Mercedez Benz or a BMW could do the trick. Again don’t worry if you don’t own one. Both Daimler Chrysler and BMW lease out these beauties. Just walk into a Merc or BMW store and choose your ride. You can use them for as long as three years.
“We are targeting top-rung managers and senior executives for our leasing business to begin with. There is a big market for this,” said Sidhartha Nair, CEO of Daimler Financial Services.
Mercedez Benz cars that cost anything between Rs 29 lakh and Rs 1.50 crore can be hired for one to three years on a monthly rental that would work out 15-20 per cent cheaper than the EMI one needs to pay to purchase the same, Nair pointed out.
If these mean machines matter to men, for women it has to be branded bags, designer dresses or shoes (to name just a few).
Two portals, Bagsutra and Bag4aday, rent out luxury bags of big brands such as Gucci, Dolce amp; Gabbana, Jimmy Choo and Bulgari. Bagsutra charges an annual membership fee of Rs 10,000 and a weekly rental of Rs 1,000-2,000 a bag. A Bulgari bag that costs as much as Rs 28,000 can be hired for Rs 600 a week, while a Jimmy Choo tote bag that costs Rs 35,000 can be yours for Rs 500 a week, through Bag4aday.
Both these portals function like secret societies and entry is only by invitation or through the recommendation of an existing member. In a society where it is a cardinal sin to repeat an outfit or carry a fake branded bag to a party, it is important that the secrecy of the bag’s ownership is maintained.
From parties to weddings, even the outfit for the bride or groom is no more sacrosanct. Delhi-based Shahi Handicrafts rent out the entire bridal trousseau — including lehenga for the bride, sherwani for the groom, bridal jewellery, groom’s turban, stole and jootis — for anything between Rs 1,500 and Rs 4,000.
“Bridal lehengas cost anywhere between Rs 25,000 and Rs 80,000. It is not possible to wear a wedding outfit at someone else’s wedding. It is a waste of money to spend so much on an outfit that you would wear only once. Our customers are not lower middle class people, who cannot afford it. They are rich and practical people who are astute about their spend,” says Surjit Singh, owner of Shahi Handicrafts. The company rents out 300-400 outfits a month during the peak wedding season.
And finally, there are designer dresses. A recently-launched portal, Secret Wardrobe, allows women in Mumbai to hire designer partywear. A Malini Ramani dress with a price tag of Rs 16,000 can be hired for Rs 2,200 while a Maheka Mirpuri sari costing Rs 35,000 can be hired for Rs 4,999.
“If you want to buy these dresses, they are expensive and you cannot repeat them after a while. Borrowing is a cheaper option,” says Jessica Nagpal, founder of Secret Wardrobe.
Since the capital cost in this business is high, companies are entering into revenue-sharing deals with customers who can put up their designer-wear for rent for a share of rental income. In fact, ventures like Bag4aday and Art Bank are planning to go big and are looking for funding through the private equity route.