Lululemon's ground-level business strategy

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

By Jacq Lacy

Athletic apparel company Lululemon’s marketing strategy includes cupcakes, camp outs, dances and running clubs. Last week it took the unusual step of organizing an overnight camp-out in upscale Bridgeport Village.

The company relies solely on social events, word of mouth and social media to get customers to its stores. It seems to work. Lululemon’s 2009 revenue grew by 28% over the year before. The company’s gross revenues for 2009 were about $453 million.

Lululemon, which was founded in 2000 in Vancouver, B.C., began business in Oregon five years ago with its Pearl District store. Last week the company demonstrated how its approach works with the opening of its new 3,000-square-foot store at Bridgeport Village in Tigard, a store that sprung from a Lake Oswego showroom that had opened in August 2009. A Bend showroom opened in April.

Lululemon’s strategy is to analyze a community by using a showroom where employees interact with consumers through fitness classes and events. Once the employees understand what consumers in the area want, and think they have a strong customer base, the company moves from a showroom to open a storefront.

The Lululemon vibe is similar to that of a church or a nightclub. The management transforms each retail store into a place where people can relax, be challenged, and achieve goals. For Lululemon, class participants become customers.

“We see ourselves as a community resource instead of a retailer,” said Shannon Kaiser, assistant store manager to the Bridgeport location.

The Lake Oswego showroom advertised events in its online calendar and on its Facebook page. After developing friendships over the past year, a grand opening camp out seemed like the right idea for the Lululemon community. It was the first of its kind in Lululemon history, said Carmen Ip, a regional community relations manager.

More than 35 people, invited online, arrived at the mall last week with tents and sleeping bags ready to get free Lululemon apparel and free yoga classes taught by local instructors. About 10 campers said that friends or family introduced them to the brand.

“We always have a large group for our store openings, mainly because we’ve already developed friendships in the community,” Ip said.

Campers participated in a “rock ’n’ roll yoga” session, received complimentary yoga mats and joined a sunrise yoga session instructed by Annie Mockford of Yesyoga, a Portland yoga studio.

“A lot of people may be intimidated to come into the yoga studio. Somehow it’s a bit easier to go to a free community class. It makes it easier to get that first try,” Mockford said.

Lululemon invites local yoga studios to teach free classes at the store, which introduces people to yoga and creates customers for Lululemon’s athletic clothing.

Those at the grand opening said they liked the practicality and durability of Lululemon, and said the high price tag was worth it.

“[My fiancé] has about 15 other pairs of pants that have gone unused now because she has her Lululemon ones,” Vanden Bos said.

The company operates 130 stores in Canada, Australia and the U.S., each with the freedom to design and implement Facebook pages and events specialized to that store’s community. The company plans to add 15 new stores and 40-45 new showrooms worldwide by the end of this year.

Jacq Lacy is an associate writer for Oregon Business magazine.

 

More Articles

The short list: Holiday habits of six Oregon CEOs

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121214-xmaslist1BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.


Read more...

Powerbook Perspective

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


Read more...

Taking the lead in boosting Oregonians’ health and strengthening our economy

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 08, 2015
0108-injection-thumbBY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


Read more...

Corner Office: Marv LaPorte

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS