I want to buy a classy, branded handbag, but it costs a thousand dollars. Too costly to buy multiple items, so I need to pick one with a ‘bland’ design for long-term use.
More than a few women have experienced such a dilemma upon purchase of a new handbag. To help women solve this problem, Es Corporation, a Japanese Internet service company based in Hiroshima, recently launched an online luxury handbag rental app called Laxus.
Make your choice from over 1,000 branded handbags
Laxus allows users to rent their favorite handbag from more than 1,000 choices from 11 fashion brands by paying a monthly subscription fee of 6,800 yen ($57). Handbags are typically valued around $2,500 and includes brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes, and Chanel. To eliminate the possibility of piracy, these bags are procured by Es Corporation from partnered suppliers belonging to Japan’s Association Against Counterfeit Product Distribution.
The rental procedure is simple. After signing up for the service, you can choose and reserve a handbag of your preference using a smartphone app. You may rent it for as long you wish, and send it back after use with an attached receipt via courier service. Upon returning your rental, your next choice will be delivered to you. Since the rental period for each item has no limit, you can keep using the same choice as long as you pay the subscription fee.
There have been handbag rental services, but Laxus improved problems concealed in conventional services and adjusted it to fit the needs of today’s consumers. Unlike other conventional services designed for desktop use, Laxus lets users complete the entire booking flow via mobile phone. Prices do not vary according to which item you rent, but it’s entirely available for a flat-rate monthly fee of 6,800 yen. While typical rental services for luxury items require you to present an ID when receiving an item, all you need to do with Laxus is upload your portrait during the sign-up process.
Shoji Kodama, ES Corporation founder and CEO, told The Bridge what motivated him to launch the app.
If you buy a $2,000 handbag under a 20-month installment plan, you will need to keep paying $100 every month but can buy just one handbag. But our service allows you to make any choice from more than 1,000 handbags for less than $60 a month. You can even change it to a new one in any number of times.
The limit in the number of handbags users can buy has narrowed the range of their choice. We want to help them enjoy choosing the best handbag for their outfit in a bolder manner.
Laxus was officially launched on 23 February. During the pre-opening period, a new user signs up for the service every 6.5 seconds, which suggests a high need for women who want to enjoy fashion in a more casual way. Kodama says his team wants to acquire over 1,700 members in the first year, looking to reach 37,000 members in the next year and 400,000 members in five years.
Luxury branded handbags are popular in Japan as well as overseas. Es Corporation’s four founders have illustrious backgrounds in this space, such as global sales to 85 countries and 19 years of experience in the e-commerce industry. Leveraging this expertise, the company plans to expand globally next year.
Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by Kurt Hanson and “Tex” Pomeroy