Meet Yousr & Amal Hassan, business partners, sisters extraordinaire and owners of Designer rental boutique On Rotation.
On Rotation is a Designer rental boutique. How did you come up with the concept of renting and returning?
Shopping when I was growing up was hard, because modest clothes just took more effort to style. I went to prom in both my junior and senior years in high school, and I got custom made dresses so I could have full coverage but I only wore them once. That was over 8 years ago, and I remember wishing I could just borrow a dress and bag, so I wouldn’t be wasteful and spend too much money. That idea had been in my mind since, and I finally got the opportunity to give that option to other women in Canada by launching On Rotation. Renting and returning something for a fraction of the retail price for special occasions, events and for styling seemed like something that would resonate with a lot of people.
Sustainability is integral to your company. Why is it so important to you?
I’ve always loved animals and the environment, and with the environmental issues on our planet I think it’s important to do what we can to have a positive contribution and also raise awareness. I’ve taken steps to be more conscious of my behaviour to try and make more sustainable decisions in my personal life, so it’s important to incorporate that into the operations of On Rotation as much as we are able to.
Are there specific brands you support? What are some of your personal favs?
There’s so many designers that we love, and so much emerging talent that is inspiring to us. We love minimal and bold designs, tailored pieces and versatility as well. Amur is a brand we love, their designs are feminine and elegant with a beautiful aesthetic. Maram, Reemami and Halston are some of our favourites as well.
What do you think of the fashion scene in Toronto? What Canadian designers should we keep on our radar?
The fashion scene in Toronto is bustling, with so many designers with unique concepts and sustainability in mind. Some of our favourite Canadian designers are Beaufille, Urbanovitch, Michael Kale, Andrew Coimbra, and Le Cavalier.
You are sisters, what is the working dynamic like? Do you have any tips for siblings that work together?
Each of us has a strong suit and our qualities complement each other when it comes to On Rotation. We are able to collaborate and bring out the best in each other and see different perspectives to be able to tackle issues that come along. Keeping an open mind is important for that, as well as good communication. It definitely has its ups and downs as any sibling relationship, but we make it work. I’d like to think that we are very honest with each other and verbal with what tasks we can take on.
Amal you are a stylist for the company. How does that work?
Styling services are complementary at On Rotation. We understand that it can be challenging to find the right size or style online so we wanted to make this option available. Anyone renting an item can reach out to us via email@example.com. From there, we email and can arrange for a call with our clients to answer any styling questions they have.
For special events like weddings, or for a client’s comfort and convenience, they can request an in-person stylist consultation where we can bring some pieces to style for them so they can look and feel their best for their event. This is an additional service that is charged.
Whatever the needs of our clients, we want to be able to provide a tailored solution that suits them.
The fashion industry is in the midst of a major overhaul. How do you see the retail industry changing for the better? What are your goals for On Rotation in the next five years?
We would hope that the consumer mindset shifts from wanting to attain variety to having more limited clothing and accessories of quality that will last longer and maintain the same stylistic integrity. We believe in quality over quantity, and many brands are recognizing that desire and expectation from many consumers.
On Rotation has started with providing pieces for special occasions, focused on clothing and bags. Featuring brands we love and believe in matters to us, and we hope to grow to offer a variety of styles and even more sizes so everyone can find something for their special event. Our short term goal is to grow and have Canadians recognize On Rotation as a brand to find pieces to love and rent when they need something special for any occasion. We hope to have a brick and mortar location within the next 5 years as well. However, with the current climate and the pandemic that we’re witnessing, there’s a lot of uncertainty. We would like to continue to focus on rentals, with some collections that may feature items for rent and for sale as well. We have made the decision to have some of our favourite pieces available for sale on June 6! We hope to have the support of the community in these tough times, and we hope to grow and thrive beyond the hardship of this pandemic.