The Virtue Jennifer Hyman Values Most in Others

UPDATED: November 14, 2017
PUBLISHED: November 14, 2017

Jennifer Hyman, the CEO and co-founder of Rent the Runway—and our cover subject for the December issue—believes one’s mindset is everything. She herself is easygoing and optimistic. She’s not competitive and she doesn’t stress out about deadlines. This low-key, positive mindset transfers to the company at large. Rent the Runway allows women to rent designer clothing and accessories for weddings, cocktail parties and date nights at a fraction of the cost. Founded in 2009, the company has 8 million members and had over $100 million in revenue in 2016.

Related: How Jennifer Hyman Is Disrupting the Way We Get Dressed

Rent the Runway has a set of core values, most of which are focused on personal development. One is particularly meaningful for Hyman: “Happiness and positivity is a choice.” Hyman says she thinks this mindset is incredibly important, because we all have hurdles we need to overcome in life.

“I think that life is difficult,” she says. “People have challenges. Family members get sick, people get older, you don’t always get the job or the promotion that you want. You have conflicts in your life. And really, life is about your resilience and your ability to go through your life and all of the ups and downs with a positive attitude.”

Hyman—whose company has raised $190 million in venture capital for her business, more than any other female-run business in the U.S.—says she tries to surround herself by people who embody a positive, optimistic attitude.

“You’re making a choice to look at any given situation and find the good in it, and find the happiness, and find the positivity,” she says. “That’s really a personality type. There are people who do that, and there are people who don’t.”

Related: 10 Clever Tricks to Trigger Positive Emotions

To her, the ability to cultivate a positive attitude is centered on one’s resilience.

“It’s the number one determinant of happiness and emotional maturity. The more time goes by, the more things will happen to you in your life. And the ability to be positive throughout and look for the good in people, look for the good in situations—it’s so important.”

Here is Rent the Runway’s full set of core values:

  1. Everyone deserves a Cinderella experience.
  2. Dream big and go after it!
  3. Make the most with what you have—scrappiness is a virtue.
  4. Debating, honest conversations and collaborating make the company stronger.
  5. Happiness and positivity is a choice.
  6. Embrace the Rent the Runway family and bring your authentic self into the office each day.
  7. Bring your best intentions to everything and trust that others do the same.
  8. Adapt and learn from everything you do.
  9. Roll up your sleeves and get involved. Everyone should be accessible and involved with the day-to-day elements of Rent the Runway.
  10. We are all founders of Rent the Runway.

Related: Jennifer Hyman on Taking Risks for Something You Believe In

Jamie Friedlander is a freelance writer based in Chicago and the former features editor of SUCCESS magazine. Her work has been published in The Cut, VICE, Inc., The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider, among other publications. When she's not writing, she can usually be found drinking matcha tea into excess, traveling somewhere new with her husband or surfing Etsy late into the night.