You Can Now Rent Couture Gowns in the Philippines Through RSVP.ph
July 3, 2018
Through RSVP.ph, you can now rent couture gowns in the Philippines and still have that luxury experience of visiting an atelier. Founders Maica Salud and Cara Sumabat thought outside the box and devised a new way for young millennials to up their style game.
As young people get older, there are suddenly more events that have to be attended: weddings, work events, balls and even more weddings. That’s a lot of gowns that need to be made, gowns that might only ever be worn once.
Enter RSVP.ph. The brainchild of Maica Salud and Cara Sumabat, this eveningwear rental service specializes in gowns that can be borrowed for a fee, to be worn for the night for a real-life Cinderella moment and then returned the next day. Rent The Runway is a US-based website that does the same but RSVP.ph’s version focuses on the luxury experience of borrowing. “RSVP is the first luxury rental service of its kind in Manila and holds an edit of local, high-profile designers in its closet,” both girls say. “We give our clients the luxury, full-suite experience with a personal, face to-face edit every single appointment.”
Cara and Maica had the same frustrations of dealing with a continuous onslaught of events coming their way. “Two years ago, we were working full time jobs and stressing about having a wedding or event to attend almost every month,” they share. “We didn’t have the time to have these gowns made or bought.” They both realized they weren’t the only ones with these problems, so after months of brainstorming and selling their pitch to designers, they opened the service. Today, designers involved with this venture are Vania Romoff, Martin Bautista, Sassa Jimenez and Stacy Rodriguez.
What started out as an operation in Maica’s house is now housed in a studio apartment in the Rockwell Area, artfully cluttered with fashion books, plants and millennial pink accents. The bathroom is well stocked with beauty products that the customer is encouraged to try (Glossier is a favorite, along with Aesop hand wash), and the studio is scented with much loved candles (the girls are big fans of Diptyque, Jo Malone and Le Labo’s offerings).
Clients begin their RSVP.ph journey by booking an appointment on the website, which includes a short questionnaire that allows Maica and Cara, also working as in-house stylists, to prepare for the fitting and pull out a curated selection of dresses they both feel will suit the client. “We prepare a personalized dress edit to match every occasion,” Maica and Cara answered, when asked how they operate as a team. Once a dress has been decided on, clients can immediately pay to borrow, but if they feel like they’d like to wait, a short grace period to decide is allowed. After the event, clients don’t have to take care of dry cleaning; RSVP.ph takes care of that.
The most rewarding part for both girls is the sheer look of joy when “The Dress” is discovered. “The success of the business is helping the girl find her look each time,” they say. Customers tend to vary: “Girls who are looking for something for prom, debut, wedding, and life celebrations.” they shared.
Beyond those in the know, there are scores of young ladies who don’t know that a service like RSVP.ph exists, and continue to do it the traditional way of getting an outfit made: Visit the atelier, get a sketch made, go to fittings and then leave with a specially designed gown. In the beginning, Maica and Cara knew this would be a roadblock in the business: how do you convince customers and designers to deviate from the norm and think out of the box? Their answer can be applied to every question young, enterprising business owners have ever asked about starting a new business: “If your business has an intention and you really believe in it, keep trying,” they said. “There’ll be bad days and good days especially when you’re first trying to execute your business idea. Once you’ve lifted off, just always go back to why you started the business so that the intention is always present.”
To make an appointment at RSVP.ph, visit <://www.rsvp.ph/>