Never Forget How Rent The Runway Fired 100% Of Their Retail Employees In 5 Minutes With NDA’s (UPDATE)

How another “tech company” with a billion dollar valuation will nosedive after years of exploiting one store location in NYC, their 250,000-square-foot sweatshop, and mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ariel Zorrilla
9 min readApr 14, 2020
Photo by Jermaine Ee on Unsplash.

UPDATED 05/09, 8:46 a.m EST: Since my initial call-out, The Huffington Post and Business Insider reached out to aid their publications. The collaborative effort to stand up for for thousands of people once employed under Rent The Runway’s decade of poor leadership was reverberated with substantial praise and gratitude. Although comments between subscribers have been polarizing, the damage has been done. Voices were finally heard.

First Business Insider, then Huffington Post, now Diet Prada.

See original story below.

After a break from writing at my office desk two weeks ago, I discovered on a random Instagram story confirming the entire (former) Flagship staff at 30 W 15th St. were fired without notice via a five minute pre-recorded Zoom message from distraught CEO Jen Hyman.

As a former employee, it’s important to disclose this is not a think piece aimed to discredit or disrespect an accomplished entrepreneur. I met Jen in 2017 as an Operations Associate before maturing into a Senior position at the former Flagship store in New York. Twice more afterward before my emailed resignation letter last January 2019.

Although I was able to walk away on my own accord for a myriad of frustrating reasons, many weren’t.

Today we are experiencing an unprecedented global health and medical pandemic with the coronavirus.

In over a month, about 17 million people have applied for unemployment benefits, with another 6.6 million new applications submitted to end the week of April 4th. The fragility of the American economy became exposed and so did the quantity of poor leadership from thousands of employers. Diligent workers were betrayed.



Ariel Zorrilla

Dominican-American artist, athlete, and artisanal perfumer from Brooklyn, NY. Ariel’s writing explores life. https://byariel.com