Red Carpet Rocks Wants to Be Rent the Runway for Jewelry Lovers | Franchise News


Red Carpet Rocks has the “glam glam,” says Urvi Tejani, center, founder of the concept that rents luxe costume and demi-fine jewelry for proms, galas, weddings and other special occasions.

It’s fitting that Urvi Tejani’s last name translates to “sparkle” in Hindi. After building her eponymous bridal accessories brand into a $5 million business with clients including Kleinfeld Bridal of “Say Yes to the Dress” fame, Tejani’s next endeavor aims to bring red-carpet inspired jewelry to markets across the country via a new retail franchise.

“We’ve got the glam glam,” said Tejani of Red Carpet Rocks, which she described as Rent the Runway for jewelry, with stores offering demi-fine and luxe costume jewelry to rent or buy. “It’s refreshing, it’s new, it’s so different.”

There’s the jade statement earrings featuring semi-precious stones set in sterling silver that cost $59 to rent versus $565 to buy. Or a vintage hinge bracelet with faceted crystals that, like most of Red Carpet Rocks’ four-day rentals, starts at $39, with a buy price of $395. Customers sip champagne as they receive personal styling advice and try on collections selected by Tejani that were designed and made by Indian artisans in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

“I always knew I would go into fashion,” said Tejani, who after she graduated from what’s now known as LIM College, or the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, worked at prestigious fashion houses such as Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Nicole Miller. She started her Tejani bridal brand in 2004 and ran it for 12 years, also with a store on New York City’s Upper East Side.

“I do know a good earring when I see it,” she said. “In our category, so much of it is junk. You can tell when stones are set versus glued, the quality of the plating, even the weight.” Red Carpet Rocks uses Austrian crystals, cubic zirconia or semi-precious stones in its jewelry, with 18-karat gold or rhodium plating.

The brick-and-mortar franchise model comes after Tejani first launched Red Carpet Rocks as an e-commerce brand in 2019. “It was a total flat tire,” she said. “It just didn’t resonate with people, buying it online.” Handling returns was also a pain, with jewelry “just thrown in the box,” causing costly breakage. Add the COVID-19 pandemic—“There was absolutely no need for Red Carpet Rocks because there were no special events,” she said—and it was time to pause and regroup.

In 2022 through a pop-up program at The Mall At Short Hills in Short Hills, New Jersey, Tejani signed a nine-month lease and opened the first Red Carpet Rocks store. “Right out of the gate it was a success,” she said, with sales in the six figures and transactions split between customers renting and the other half purchasing pieces to keep. Another 10 percent of customers wound up buyers after putting the rental fee toward the total retail price.

Tejani is looking for a space to open a permanent corporate store and said franchise locations would do best in retail shopping centers near other special occasion outlets, nail salons, eyelash extension studios or “anywhere women are paying to look beautiful.” The initial investment to open a store ranges from $260,000 to $343,000, with a $40,000 franchise fee and 5 percent royalty fee.

For now, the e-commerce side is on hold. “I do envision it being omni-channel, but for the moment it really needs that look, touch, feel aspect,” she said. Prospective franchisees, meanwhile, should have a “passion for jewelry and red-carpet style.”

“They have to like the industry, they have to like fashion,” she continued. “And you have to be a people person. You have to genuinely care.”

Texas, California and New York are initial targets for development, along with Chicago, though “there are special occasions everywhere,” Tejani noted. The appeal of Red Carpet Rocks extends beyond weddings, which she said are natural occasions for rentals because the accessories are only needed once, to proms, birthdays, charity galas, bar and bat mitzvahs, and holiday parties.

“Women have been borrowing jewelry forever,” she said. “I’ve just monetized a long-standing tradition.”

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