Second-year student Margaux Woellner has recently launched a new business, Ensemble, in St Andrews, a dress rental and lending company for University students.
The business operates with students of St Andrews lending their dresses to Ensemble and offering other students the opportunity to rent out those dresses for balls and events.
Ms Woellner described the company as geared towards “students who are tired of wearing the same dresses or spending too much money buying new ones for each ball.”
Customers can browse the website and email Ensemble regarding a dress they intend to rent by entering in a pick-up date and dress identifier.
Meanwhile, lenders can claim back their dress at any time, especially if they request it back a week before they need it.
Ms Woellner said to The Saint, “Ensemble provides a cheap and easy alternative that discourages wasteful consumerism.”
The dresses on Ensemble start at £5 per night to rent, and lenders make £1 every time their dress is worn.
When asked what encouraged her to create the business, Ms Woellner said, “Nearly every St Andrews girl has seen how much we need a dress rental service. I decided that there had been enough dress stress, so I simply created a platform for girls to relieve this completely unnecessary burden.”
The company aims to provide St Andrews students with a way to counter the financial burden that accompanies the University’s endless balls, with many students buying multiple expensive dresses for one occasion.
Initially, the company struggled with the costs of dry-cleaning, but they are now working with Johnson’s Dry Cleaning in order to ensure that every customer receives a dry-cleaned dress with every purchase.
Nearly every St Andrews girl has seen how much we need a dress rental service
The company had gained a collection of over 120 dresses by the end of Fresher’s Week and reports this collection is steadily growing as more girls in St Andrews lend their dresses.
Students also have the opportunity to model their own dresses for the website, a characteristic trait of Ensemble.
Ms Woellner stated that one of her initial concerns, publicity, actually resulted in more success than she thought possible, with “friends old and new” helping to spread the word.
The company is set to host their first event, Ensemble Exposé, at The Saint Bar & Kitchen on Wednesday 10 October, where models will showcase Ensemble’s newest dresses.
There are 150 tickets available, and the event will include dinner and one cocktail, which guests can enjoy beside the runway.
Ms Woellner said on her future as head of Ensemble, “I can see myself branching into men’s clothing in time, even if that just means starting with ties.”
However, for the foreseeable future, Ensemble will be operating mainly with dresses.
Students can rent or lend from Ensemble on their website, ensembledresses.wixsite.com/ensembledresses.