Sisters, twins, and fashion revolutionaries, Eda Franci and Seda Aksoy are bringing Turkey’s largest fashion rental platform, DCEY, to the UK. Our Fashion Editor Hannah Tan-Gillies gets the scoop.
DCEY brings together 80 of the world’s most fashionable labels, making them available for rent for savvy fashion lovers. The company was founded in Turkey in 2010, at the beginning of the rental economy breakthrough, and has been making waves since.
Now, it has set its sights on the UK – and we think that soon, DCEY’s sustainable, circular and downright stylish platform will take over the fashion world too.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background – how did DCEY come to be?
Even though we chose different career paths after graduating from Saint Pulcherie High School, our passion and interest in fashion was the biggest thing we had in common as sisters. I used to work in the Marketing and Purchasing departments of several brands such as Ralph Lauren and Harvey Nichols at Unitim Holding, and Seda has extensive experience in finance. Both experiences prepared us to start our own business.
Our interest in fashion comes from our family, especially from our mother. She loved fashion since she was a young girl and wore every piece with style and taste.
Nowadays, most people don’t want to spend a lot of money for a dress to wear for one event, because they don’t think they’ll wear ever it again, which is quite understandable.
As sisters, it was very common for us to borrow items such as bags and dresses from each other. This gives us more options and is more economical and ethical. One day, we thought why not turn this into a business?
The first seeds of DCEY were planted here. We established DCEY in 2010 as the first fashion rental company in Turkey.
Do you think renting is the future of fashion? What role do companies like DCEY play in the rental revolution?
We can all buy a t-shirt, a pair of jeans, or a bag that we see through the windows of a store. Nowadays, people are more conscious about the value and quality of what they buy.
When buying occasion wear for example, the option to rent something saves time and money and is better for the planet. All while giving people access to more than one product.
In our opinion, rental prevents needless fast fashion consumerism. The role of DCEY and other brands that are open to renting in the fashion industry is that we can be the biggest players in a fashion revolution.
How does the rental process work? From choosing the right pieces, to sizing, to returns?
Contrary to the popular belief, the rental process is faster and more practical than buying something. You can filter your options by brand, size and style, creating a personalised selection for yourself. If you are unsure about sizing, you can opt to receive additional size options with your order. Even if you have length or size issues, we offer bespoke alterations.
Once you have selected something, you select the rental period and occasion for your order. The process is completed with the shipping of the product, after all the necessary cleaning controls are done. You will then receive your order 1-2 days before the date of your rental.
After the dresses have been worn, we ask our customers to ship the products back in the same packaging, within a certain time frame. Since the rental period includes the shipping period, the product must be delivered to the courier the day after the event date.
The cleaning process is then carried out by expert teams using organic dry-cleaning methods. This way, we can once again list the item on our system to be sent to other customers in pristine conditions. It’s that easy!
What is the best and worst thing about working with as sisters?
As sisters, twins, we have always been quite different from each other. Even if we look the same and we went to the same school and grew up in the same house. As DCEY’s founders, that distinction has perhaps laid the foundation for the company’s success.
Let’s consider the advantages of using the right and left sides of a brain, which in my opinion applies to us as Co-Founders of DCEY.
Seda is the creative one. She has artistic and sharp point of view. She travels frequently as our creative director and participates in fairs and expos abroad. She makes sure that we are up to date with new trends and seasons.
My job is strictly with numbers and strategy. One of the hardest parts of working as twins is trying to keep a balance of our personal lives and work, but we’re apparently doing just fine. I am more prudent in terms of business partnerships and Seda doesn’t hesitate to take risks. We cannot deny that it makes it tough sometimes when making decisions.
At the same time, our differences create a perfect balance for us as business partners – and I think this is what brings us success.
How important is sustainability to your ethos at DCEY? How are you incorporating sustainable and conscious practices in your own business operations?
Sustainability is a way of life. As the founders of DCEY, we are also prioritising sustainable actions in our personal lives.
Sustainability is a movement that aims to change the fashion industry through circular practices, conservation and promoting social justice and conscious consumerism. This includes changing not only the products but also the social and cultural goals with which fashion is linked.
DCEY continues to progress with the aim of promoting the rental economy, where people can extend the life cycle of a product and see themselves as stakeholders in circular process.
We try to be sustainable across all our operations. We use organic cleaning methods and minimise the waste of our logistics.
In our rental and return policy, we have added a guide section where we educate our customers that by keeping the products they use in good conditions, they can extend its lifecycle and prevent landfill.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an entrepreneur so far?
Making people understand our concept is the hardest part. Trying to explain something that has never been done before is usually very tricky. My advice is to give the idea time to grow. Believing and achieving are the two most important parts of running a business.
What advice do you have for those looking to take the leap and start their own business?
If you have a start-up or a business idea, and you are planning to introduce an unusual and new business model, you must own your idea and use all the positive and negative feedback as a steppingstone to take your business idea to the next level.
Launching a new business is the first step, but you need to give that business time to grow. You need to have a good understanding the customer and the market well by using the right marketing strategies, making the right moves and following the right trends. Working in a disciplined way and believing that it will bring you success is crucial. The rest will follow.
What is next for you and DCEY?
Like every company, we have growth and sales targets. However, the most important thing for us is to increase our brand equity by strengthening the bond with our customers, without losing our values in the process.
We entered this industry with the aim of creating a sustainable fashion business with a conscious approach. Our goal is to show our customers that they can create value thanks to renting. We created a platform to help fashion loves include join the sharing economy and we want to be the market leader. We want to be the first point of call for fashion renters in the UK just like we already are in Turkey.