Jenn Hyman is the CEO and co-founder of Rent the Runway. Before that she went to Harvard Business School (and Harvard for undergrad too, NBD). She’s writing a column for us that we’re calling Fashion-preneur. In it she’ll dole out advice and lessons learned on everything from raising funds, branding yourself, sales and generally managing a business. She’s also taking your questions.
Fashionista asked me to begin what will be a regular column with something that I think is applicable to every dreamer, future entrepreneur and job holder out there: How to ask for money.
First, why me? Well, I founded Rent the Runway with my close friend Jenny Fleiss, and over the past two and a half years, we’ve asked for and received a lot of money–$32MM to be exact, from some top venture capitalists. More importantly, we asked for money as women in our 20s, without much experience in running a business (especially one in fashion), but with a lot of passion for following our dreams, smarts to iterate our idea, and humility for how much we both had to learn. Fast forward two years and RenttheRunway.com has grown to a community of millions of young women who are able to rent designer dresses and accessories before special events in their lives, fall in love with new brands and feel their best everyday.
So back to the money. There is a lot of money out there–way more than there are great ideas and ambitious people who will go after their dreams, without fear of failure. I believe that asking for money should have the same rules as asking for anything else in your life. Follow these three rules and you should be off to a good start.