You Can Now Rent High-End Maternity Clothes

Awesome news for pregnant women everywhere: The popular clothing subscription box brand Le Tote now offers maternity clothing rentals. The genius idea was the brainchild of Le Tote founder, Rakesh Tondon, as a solution for women who want to look good during those nine months of pregnancy, but don't want to throw down tons of cash on expensive clothing that only gets worn a few times. According to Fast Company, Tondon was inspired by his own wife, who began trading maternity clothes with friends while pregnant. "She didn’t want to spend money on maternity clothes," he says. "She would wear them once or twice and never want to wear them again."

If Tondon's wife was standing in front of me now, I'd say girl, I feel you. When I became too pregnant for regular clothes, I had to schlep to a maternity store four towns over (this was before Liz Lange for Target, mind you), and was shocked by the prices. I spent my entire pregnancy in five t-shirts, two pairs of jeans, and a borrowed coat. But then, I'm not very fashionable. If $40 jeans seemed crazy to me, I can only guess how hard it must be for fashionistas who want to look fancy during pregnancy without breaking the bank.

Tondon's maternity idea actually came several years go. He founded Le Tote in 2012, and soon realized some flaws in his business plan: Maternity clothing is a pretty small market, and pregnant women are less likely to throw money around on subscription boxes than their non-pregnant friends. So he started out renting regular women's clothing, reasoning that it's much easier to build a straight brand than a maternity brand.

The launch started off with monthly subscriptions for mystery boxes of clothes that women could keep for as long as they'd like, sort of like a Netflilx-Birchbox combo. Le Tote later added the ability to purchase items, and to choose the box's contents rather than be surprised. They've now amassed over 20,000 subscribers, so the time is right for Le Tote to make good on the initial plan of renting maternity clothes.

Subscriber demographics for the brand indicate that the move will be beneficial; the users skew early thirties, and are mostly urban professionals. Forty-four percent are mothers, and they've already shown that they're interested in clothing subscription rentals. Plus, Tondon notes that current customers often put their subscriptions on hold during pregnancy, so there's already a built-in client base for the maternity launch.

The maternity subscription line offers three garments and two accessories per shipment for $59 a month (with unlimited shipments), which might be a lot for your average customer, but seems pretty low if you're actually into high fashion. Especially high fashion that you're only wearing for a few months. For what it's worth, I watched the promo video explaining how Le Tote works, and their packaging is really cute, too. Presentation is everything, am I right?

Image courtesy Le Tote