Free Rentals? Ba&sh’s 'Happy Hour' Retail Teasers
How much do you trust your customers? Possibly not as much as French womenswear brand Ba&sh. It’s currently seducing fans at its sociable new NYC store by allowing them to congregate on Friday nights for Happy Hour with Prosecco, manicures and free-to-borrow outfits (just return them by 7pm Monday, please).
Building on the rise of luxury garment rental companies such as US-based Rent the Runway, which let shoppers pay to borrow outfits for a pre-designated period (see Pause & Pulsate in our Liquid Retail Spotlight), Ba&sh has gone a step further by reimagining leasing as a fee-free engagement opportunity.
There are, however, a few caveats: shoppers must leave a credit card at the store as insurance; garments must be returned by 7pm the following Monday; and (slightly questionably, considering the need for inclusivity) only sample sizes are available. If shoppers fulfil these requirements, they have from 5-7pm on Friday evening to select their weekend outfit from the brand’s loaner selection while sipping Prosecco and receiving complimentary manicures.
While ‘try before you buy’ is rife in retail, it’s generally contained within the store environment – kept under the watchful eye of the brand (see The Soft Sell). This presents Ba&sh’s concept as an unusually trusting gift to its fans, both existing and prospective. It’s also likely to appeal to the next generation of luxury consumers – detailed in Luxury Youth, Selling to Gen Z – who are increasingly more interested in a brand’s accessibility than its price point.
Notably, Ba&sh is bolstering its browse-and-borrow Friday Happy Hours with other community events devised to thrust its Gallic heritage front and centre. On Thursdays, there are French language classes. Occasionally, it hosts ticketed dinners with acclaimed French chefs. And each month, in solidarity with native retail partners, it will highlight a new French brand making its US debut.