RENTALYA was founded by Nisha Balwani and Lauren Whitehead. Here’s how it all began.
Ten weddings in one year isn’t unheard of when you’re in your late 20s. Nisha had just attended her eighth Indian wedding of 2018, with two more to go before the year ended. At every wedding, she not only struggled herself to find something to wear, but was also the go-to person to help outfit friends.
The idea of making it easy to find Indian attire was fresh in Nisha’s mind when she entered the Entrepreneurship 101 class at Columbia Business School. It was a fortunate stroke of serendipity that Nisha and Lauren ended up sitting next to each other. They bonded over their mutual love of fashion, innovation, and technology, and set out on their mission to make global fashion accessible to all.
Lauren and Nisha learned the ins and outs of everything to do with Indian fashion. They spent their evenings speaking with potential customers, suppliers, and designers, and their weekends visiting retail stores and interacting with store owners. Again and again, they heard a resounding need for access over ownership - a theme already popularized by companies like Airbnb and Rent the Runway. Even stronger, they felt the community’s need for identity and empowerment through culture.
RENTALYA bridges together both these needs: for access and identity. The first part, “rent”, speaks to making Indian attire accessible to all, allowing those who wish to celebrate the culture to do so with ease and without judgement. “Alya”, is a female name that means to ascend, to rise, and to empower.
At RENTALYA, we believe in
Put your passport down and use your vacation days for vacation. We bring you the latest in Indian fashion to your doorstep.
Everyone deserves access to the finer things. We make wearing stylish labels a reality at a fraction of the price.
The fashion industry doesn't exactly have the cleanest of reputations. We’re building the first ecosystem of sustainable South Asian fashion.
Be bold, be classic, be you. Whatever your style, we have a piece for you.