The Skinny on Lululemon’s Success

 

On Friday afternoon, NPR Marketplace interviewed me about the success of retailer Lululemon Athletica. I was excited to weigh in on the yogawear juggernaut because I’ve been a fan since first discovering them in a Vancouver store while on my book tour in 2005. I’m addicted to the brand and have watched (and contributed to!) their growth ever since. Here’s why:

1) Terrific execution at retail: their philosophy of optimism and energy spiced with a dash of yoga zen pervades the entire experience. No matter the store, they cast their salesforce to engage the local community. They’re helpful, never presumptive, always knowledgeable and fun. (They ask where I practice yoga and even offer free classes in store!)

2) Consistently gorgeous design/color/news that can sustain the hefty pricetag in a category of disposable black leggings: They’ve co-opted the fast fashion code of Zara to activewear, driving frequency of visits and size of purchase (Gotta have that grape pullover with the thumbholes before they sell out!)

3) And as I mentioned in the interview, the brand’s secret Whole Truth: the fabric makes your butt look great. (Try it out yourself.)

Even with expansion, the brand hasn’t lost its chic. More like a Chanel bag or a Tory Burch flat, it’s ‘what to be seen in’ at the cooler gyms in big cities, high end ‘burbs and resorts. Lululemon is a cult of ‘namaste meets fashionista’, with a discrete logo that follows you from yoga mat to sidewalk runway. (Oh, and did I mention it makes your butt look good?)

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