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|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.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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A conversation about higher education with the presidents of the University of Oregon and Clackamas Community College, followed by September's powerlist.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Strong public schools shore up the economy, survey respondents say. But local schools demonstrate lackluster performance.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS
In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
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Janice Levenhagen-Seeley reprograms tech.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
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