When it comes to the recent activewear boom, all roads lead to Lululemon. The workout giant, which went public in 2007, has managed to garner a cult-like following with its diverse offerings of yoga pants, breathable tops, and fitness accessories galore. Their pieces are known for begin comfortable, stylish, and, above all, rather expensive: Just one pair of the regular Wunder Under Pant will cost a cool $82.00.
Now, you might be thinking, all that for just another pair of glorified leggings? I wondered that as well. But then I realized that it’s not so much the product the Lululemon customer is buying, rather an entire lifestyle.
Underneath it’s retail pretext, Lululemon houses an entire subculture that easily reels in the average female consumer. When a potential customer walks into a Lululemon boutique, she is surrounded by salesgirls who are all fit, smiling, and decked out in brand apparel. As is the way with women, she immediately wants in to the mysterious little club. The first step? Why, to purchase some Lululemon apparel, of course! Just like that, with the swipe of a credit card, she is a new woman. The intense personal training sessions, yoga classes, and kale smoothies may or may not follow, but that doesn’t change the fact that she feels (not to mention looks) like a carefree workout guru.
This “Lululemon effect” is obviously working: Overall sales increased by over $1 billion form 2008 to 2013 and their e-commerce platform (shop.lululemon.com) has a sell-out rate of 33%. And despite more and more major retailers beginning to offer Lululemon imitations for a fraction of the cost, it seem unlikely they will detract from it’s momentum. Because, let’s be real: nothing makes you feel fit’n’fabulous quite like a Lululemon legging. Even if you wear them to sit on the couch and eat chips.