The Jennifers Image via Forbes
I want to start off firstly by saying I have had first hand access with this company a while a go when I was called in to interview with them. This is purely my experience and opinion, as well as what I have heard allegedly (had to put that key word in there just incase they try to come after me and my future children) goes on within the company.
I’ve been hearing a lot about the Unlimited program and decided I would take it for a test drive so I can write about it. This is a two part post and mainly I will talk about my experience with the company as a whole in the first segment. I was not to keen on the program and certainly wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for my blog. Not because I think I am too good to wear clothes that were used, but because of the things I have heard, the selection of clothing and the same article of clothing is worn by like hundreds of others. Let’s backtrack a bit, so you can get an idea of this company and what I have experienced. Again, this is in no way bashing the company or anyone involved with it. It is solely my experience and opinion!Queen Hymen
A while back I was called in to interview with the company while I was living in New York City. Upon walking in I was met with several other ladies, both young and old. We were immediately told that they were going to take photos of us for an “ID”. In my opinion it was more to do with our age, looks and style. But, I’m not complaining too much about that since we all know the fashion industry is all about looks and we were applying for a job in styling. After the photos were given to someone behind a desk and reviewed (they were Polaroids), the young lady came out and immediately dismissed all but one of the more mature candidates. I was in shock because some of the women that were “let go” were very fashionable, good looking and had way more experience and education than I did at the time. All I had was an internship since I was fresh out of college.
After the ladies were ushered out without even getting a chance to be interviewed or to sell themselves to the company, the rest of the group went into a conference room where we viewed a Power Point slide show about the company. This included slides like what the company stood for, it’s history and questions for all of us to answer. We were surrounded by several workers on laptops jotting down every move and statement we made. Some of the questions were ridiculous! One of them was something along the lines of “What is your favorite thing about Jennifer?” and “Why do you think she is such a fashionable business woman?”. Seriously. The Jennifer’s (Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss are the founders of Rent The Runway) seemed to have this better than you attitude. It was very The Devil Wears Prada. Other questions were routine questions you would get at any job interview like “Why do you want to work for the company?” and “When was the company founded?”.
The older woman that was there hit every question out of the park! I was starting to think she was a decoy secretly spying on us. She knew everything! She was so fashionable, worked for DECADES as a stylist and had so much experience under her belt that I almost left the interview because compared to her I was nobody! Afterwards, all the employees took their laptops and left us alone in the room. They came back and separated us into three groups. Two groups were “safe” and advanced to the next round (I was one of these groups) and the third group just disappeared. I assume they were told they were not a fit for the company and were asked to leave. In my group was the older woman while my cousin was in the other safe group. While we were waiting for the hiring managers to come back (one of which was a girl I went to college with) I chatted a bit with the older woman. She was so sweet and gave me so much advice on how to make it in the industry. We even exchanged numbers. When the recruiters came back we took a test. Yes, a test about the company, their “Cinderella Experience” philosophy and questions on how we will handle certain situations. Half way through the test the older woman was tapped on the shoulder and never came back. I later found out that she was told she got an offer and was told they would contact her, which they never did.
I was so confident about my knowledge in the industry. Now that my so-called competition was out of the way, I knew I would shine bright. I was over qualified for the position, in my humble opinion. I knew I would get the position as I had all the qualifications they were looking for, answered all the questions right due to my late night research binge and my prior internship. After another round of questions I got pulled aside and met with one of the co-founders. Not going to mention which one, but she was the most conceited and rude person I have ever met. She even said my shoes were from last season! I couldn’t help but giggle and she said “That’s not funny, that’s sad”. At this point I was just ready to walk out but I stuck it through. After waiting a bit one of the recruiters (the girl who I went to college with) walked me out the door telling me she will get in contact with me. That they have a better position for me.
Image via Cosmopolitan
Well, to cut the story short she called me and asked me to meet for coffee! I thought this was going to be another part of the interview but, it wasn’t. She told me I was not going to get a call back from them and said the reason she wanted to meet with me in person was to not have any traces of communication. When she said that I was like what in the world is going on here? Was I applying for the C.I.A.? It literally felt like a scene in a movie. Was the Fashion Industry really like this? In short she told me that I knew too much and the co-founders did not want “smart people who can upstage them”. Those were literally the words that came out of her mouth. She then preceded to tell me how horrible the company treated her and if I had any connections in my network that I can pass on to her. She told me how scared the co-founders were of being replaced and how anyone who didn’t compliment them or agree with their ideas, good or bad, would be treated horribly.
After that conversation, I remembered an article I came across the night before I was headed for the interview at Rent The Runway. I was researching the company like I do before any job so I can demonstrate my interest and knowledge. I came across something about the company culture but paid no mind to it at the time. When I got home I searched the company and found it. It pretty much says a lot about what I saw first hand and more. I can’t find the original article, but I found a few others that are even more recent. Here are the links, Employees Describe Company as Real Life Mean Girls,Fortune: 7 Top Executives Lost in One Year at RTR and Business Insider: “A Culture of Fear”.
Long story short, you would think this company thought they were Vogue when in reality they are just a clothing rental company that runs the largest dry cleaning business in North America. True story. Maybe they should stick to dry cleaning. Now that you have read my experience with corporate, read about my experience as a customer here.