The Eleventh Hour
Eleven James, an online rental shop for luxury watches, is now secondhand news with their recent shutdown. We promise. Try going to their website: www.elevenjames.com
For those unfamiliar with Eleven James, they launched quite the business model a few years ago: a monthly subscription for rotating access to the most expensive men's and women's wristwatches on the market.
Let's rewind and look at their TechCrunch reveal. It appears founder Randy Brandoff had ambitious ideas around algorithm matching, trade-in services, person concierges, and a bunch of comments about how this is not another rental service (it is?).
Was Eleven James ahead of its time? Looks like it. Fast-forward to August 2018 and the company's main line of credit has been pulled, and this is after claims of "thousands of subscribed members" and over $40 million in funding. And now the remaining team members are left scrambling to retrieve all those rented luxuries.
Alright, so why did this happen.
As we all witness the Rent The World experiment in which businesses attempt to lease every facet of everyday life, some themes are starting to appear. An important one is that consumers long for a certain percentage of ownership. And when expert craftsmanship gets involved the pendulum swings even heavier in ownership's direction. A Swiss watch, a hand-crafted canoe, a grandfather clock....these type of items evoke real pride and care-taking that surpass short-term reasoning.
As for businesses tackling lower value items, it is less obvious to why some models haven't caught on. Whether this is due to a subconscious desire for consistency, or the fear of too much of one's life to be fleeting, only time will tell.