In Conversation with Eshita Kabra
This week we're delighted to be joined by Eshita Kabra, Founder of By Rotation, the UK's first fashion rental app.
Inspired by a love for fashion that doesn’t weigh on her conscience, Eshita founded By Rotation as a side hustle in April 2019.
An investment professional with more than six years of experience, she combines her commercial experience with her passions for fashion and graphic design. As a “third culture kid” (India, Singapore, US and UK), Eshita is especially focused on creating a conscious and inclusive community that makes fashion fairer and does not harm the planet.
In March 2020, she was named as one of the "14 Inspiring Women Leading The Fight Against Climate Change" by Refinery29 alongside Greta Thunberg, Stella McCartney, Ellen MacArthur and Dr Jane Goodall.
Did you always know you wanted to start your own business?
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and was selling my graphic design online since the age of 13, so yes!
What does ‘sustainability’ mean to you and why is it important to you? Sustainability to me is about having a conscience behind every consumption decision and considering what kind of impacts it may have on future generations.
How do you think the international experiences shaped you as a person?
I've always seen myself as a global citizen, and I've never confined myself to culture or clique. Diversity and inclusion has therefore been of utmost importance to me, and that's why it is one of our core values also: a vibrant community of style-conscious individuals from all walks of life who want to democratise quality fashion for all.
What is By Rotation and what inspired the concept? By Rotation is UK's first fashion rental app which allows you to lend and rent each other's wardrobe. It's sort of like Airbnb for designer fashion, therefore enabling access to quality fashion for everyone. I came up with the idea for a self-sustaining community that shares fashion during my honeymoon to my motherland Rajasthan, India. It was there that I realised I was part of the fashion industry's problem, a major one being excessive consumption.
How does the app help make our relationship with fashion more sustainable? With the By Rotation app, you can lend out items and monetise your investment pieces. You can also rent items from others, as opposed to buying the item or a knockoff from a fast fashion retailer, which inevitably may end up in the bin within 12 months. It's all about sharing the love and still feeling the joy in wearing something "new".
When you are an aspiring entrepreneur, it can be challenging to find the right balance between purpose and profits to launch a disruptive idea. How was this for you? Despite our rapid growth, we're still in the early stages. I truly believe that profit will come itself as we serve our community and build a strong movement around the rental revolution. I don't like to compromise on our values for the sake of short-term profits or gains.
What keeps you going when you encounter challenging times? Do you have a personal mantra/quote/habit that keeps you grounded?
"If not me, who? If not now, when?" and also "Go hard or go home."
What would be one piece of advice on how to lead a more eco-conscious and sustainable lifestyle?
You're voting with your wallet, so be sure to look into the company/brand's values and ownership.
What book are you reading right now?
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore
Your favourite spot in Hammersmith & Fulham?
The Mitre SW6 pub, one of my best friends used to live around the corner and we have some great memories there.