Sometimes, personal experience leads to an unexpected career path, and other times, it’s personal frustration that gets someone there. For Rent-a-Romper Founder Lauren Gregor, it was both.
After years working successfully in the corporate world, Gregor, also the mom of two boys, made the leap to entrepreneurship when she realized she wasn’t the only parent that felt frustrated by the never-ending task of shopping for kids who are constantly growing out of their clothes. Gregor knew that if she figured out a way to make shopping easier and more affordable, then she could help overwhelmed parents—like her—get more of their precious resources back.
Gregor’s vision didn’t stop there. She had also been thinking about ways to lessen her family’s environmental impact and knew that fast-fashion and clothing waste were big contributing factors to climate change. “Shopping as we know it is unsustainable—for our schedules, bank accounts and the environment,” says Gregor. “I knew that if I was going to work on making shopping easier for families, that I wanted to make it more sustainable too.”
Gregor describes her transition to entrepreneurship saying, “Even though it felt daunting to get started on my idea, I saw examples of women like me building amazing companies and changing the status quo. I started talking with other founders, got support from my local startup community, and started sharing my idea with other parents. When it became clear that people wanted—and needed this solution—I got to work building what is now Rent-a-Romper.”
As the saying goes, build it and they will come. However, for Gregor, members started coming and signing up before she had even fully built the Rent-a-Romper platform. Going from 0 to 30 subscribers in one day meant that she had to just make it all happen – find the clothes, figure out shipping, source sustainable packaging and perfect Rent-a-Romper’s now proprietary methodology for cleaning, repairing and sanitizing the clothes.
Figuring out everything needed to make a business work is never easy. For Gregor, starting one by herself was made even more complicated and intimidating by a global pandemic. Based on her own experience, her number one tip for any entrepreneur is to believe in themselves. In Gregor’s words, “You’re more capable than you think you are or give yourself credit for.” Driving down the point, she further emphasizes, “There are a lot of people out there who run their own businesses or start something that are probably less talented, or less skilled, or less familiar with the customer than you are, yet they’re successful. You just have to go for it. Take that first step and then that first step will lead to the next one, and the next one.”
Another important reminder that Gregor imparts is that it’s never going to be perfect. “Just try your best and improve a little bit every day.” Gregor encourages, “Be willing to try things. Put something out there that’s not 100% ready so you can learn and get feedback to make it better.”
Using this “figure-it-out as you go” philosophy, Gregor is transforming Rent-a-Romper from an ambitious idea into a parent’s go-to closet for their kids while simultaneously leading the way for the fashion industry, which is currently experiencing a long overdue shift to more environmentally friendly business practices.
It’s clear that Gregor won’t stop trying new things, testing new strategies, and taking every step to achieve her goal of making the clothing industry more sustainable for our planet, and for the families who call it home.