Alex Preston, from Stratford, has started a business called Wardrobe Collective where she is renting out dresses and outfits for special occasions.

LISA BURD/Stuff

Alex Preston, from Stratford, has started a business called Wardrobe Collective where she is renting out dresses and outfits for special occasions.

A young Taranaki woman who began hiring out her own clothes has turned her love of fashion and shopping into a flourishing side hustle.

Last June, Alex Preston started Wardrobe Collective, where people can hire an outfit for an event.

She started renting out dresses she already had, but has grown the collection to over 300 garments from sizes 6 to 16.

“I’d been thinking about it for a few years and decided to just bite the bullet and do it,” the 26-year-old said.

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“I had seen a few businesses like this but not a lot, so I thought there was a space in the market, especially in the area.”

Preston is now always on the hunt for dresses to add to her collection, regularly searching Trade Me, Depop, Facebook Marketplace, and Designer Garage, and hopes to expand the range up to size 22.

The cost for hiring an outfit ranges from $15 to $130.

Customers can visit Preston in Stratford to try before committing, or she can post it out.

Her collection of outfits features over 300 pieces from size 6 to 16.

LISA BURD/Stuff

Her collection of outfits features over 300 pieces from size 6 to 16.

She operates New Zealand-wide and her dress collection can be viewed online and booked in through the website calendar.

Outfits are returned the next day and Preston cleans them.

“If you want it for a Saturday you would pick up on a Thursday or Friday and return on a Monday.”

It’s quite a lot of admin as Preston works full time in accounts and admin at Interdrill Ltd, so Wardrobe Collective is just in her spare time.

Her partner William also runs a farm, so she helps out there when she can too.

But one day Preston would like the dress rental to be her full-time job.

“Renting outfits is becoming the way of the future.

“Making quality high-end garments more sustainable and easily assessable for more people is a major incentive.”

Preston thought the idea had been received quite well, despite only ever existing in Covid times.

“Some weeks are busier than others. My girls’ events often get cancelled or postponed, so that makes it a bit hard.”

She started the business using some savings, as well as help from what she calls ‘the bank of dad’, and services like Afterpay had helped her to buy dresses to add to her collection without breaking the bank.

“My parents have been super supportive and help when and where they can.

“I’m back taking washing to mum some weeks.”