The tale of: Urbn Gray

Urbn Gray is a Canberra based fashion for hire service that provides a luxury experience for a fraction of the cost.

They make high-end designer looks, straight from the runway, accessible to you. International and Australian fashion brands are only a click away…

No matter the occasion, you can look stunning without breaking the bank. Hooray!

We spoke to Elise Barker, owner of Urbn Gray about how she got started and what it’s like to own a small fashion business.

Tell us a little about Urbn Grey and how you got started.

About 2 years ago I used to hire dresses/outfits for events that I would go to and I loved the concept. I did some research and at the time there where no dress hire businesses here in Canberra and I thought what a great way to bring something different into Canberra, which has taken off in Sydney and Melbourne.

I’ve also grown up in a family that has had different businesses over the past 30 years and ive always wanted to start up my own business and challenge myself in that way and I love fashion. This concept fit so perfectly into my life style at that time. It has been one of my biggest challenges but so far I have loved every step of it.

logo (beige)

Which brands do you stock?

Atmos & Here
Bec & Bridge
Elle Zeitoune
Grace & Hart
Keepsake The Label
Manning Cartell
Misha Collection
Nicholas The Label
Rodeo Show
Sass & Bide
Stephanie Chehade

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How late can someone contact you and get in to hire an outfit for an event?
It depends on what state you live in. If you’re from Canberra you can hire the day of your event. Recently we transitioned into an online shop to expand to other states within Australia. We still offer the option to try on in our boutique show room for anyone who would like to try on before they hire or last minute hires.

Do you offer styling assistance for the rest of the outfit including shoes and accessories?
Currently we don’t but since now I’m working full time on the business this is something we are getting into.

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In the last year or so navigating business, have you faced any challenges?
So many challenges!!! Which Is good because it has helped me learn.
My biggest challenge was working part time on Urbn, I struggled with only putting half of my time into it, which I fast got to realise that it wasn’t working, so I took the big risk of quitting my fulltime job in Real Estate.

Who inspires you?
I love hearing about small business owners that started up with nothing and become successful. I recently read an article about Pia Muehlenbeck success she owns SLINKII which sells luxury apparel that’s made from organics materials. In short the article is about how she started up her business with her partner from having not much money for stock or marketing.

What are some of your favourite fashion labels?
Camilla and Marc
Rebecca Vallance
Alice McCall
C/MEO Collective

If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own business, what would it be?
To try and put your all into it. If its something that your passion about and you enjoy doing every day and you can see yourself running your business long term, then go for it and take that risk.


Describe your typical day in a life:

I usually start my day at about 5.30am at the gym for about an hour with my partner. From there we go get a coffee and head home for brekkie and check my emails.

Then my day really depends on what appointments I have booked for that day and what orders have come through. I always try and post on instagram twice a day, one in the morning and one late afternoon.

At the moment where working on buying a lot more dresses and accessories to add to our hire collection and also bringing in a new hire range which we will announce In the next month or so.

ELISE in a flash:

Coffee or tea?
Both! Coffee first thing in the morning and peppermint tea all throughout the day.

On your bedside table we’ll find:
Book, Jewelry box and candles

Favourite flowers:
White Hydrangea

Book you are currently reading:
Get Remarkably Organised by Lorraine Murphy- I highly recommended this book for startup small business owners!

Signature scent:

5 can’t-live-without handbag contents:
Mobile phone
Chap stick
Hair Comb

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