Sunday, November 21, 2010
Oprah and Luluemon - Follow Up
Wow, so many comments on this topic! I love the debate. I'll be honest, I am not a talk show person so I hardly ever watch Oprah, daytime tv, or even Letterman or Kimmel for that matter. I know tons of women watch the show and I've obviously grossly underestimated her influence. As for being ageist, I'm 46 years old. I mean no disrespect to women older than me who are into fitness and rock Lululemon. I've seen many, many of them here in Orange County and I definitely want to be one of them ten and twenty years from now. I've read that when Lululemon was started back in 1998 it was aimed at women in their 30s so of course their customer's reach into their 40s and beyond. I was just thinking out loud that if you aren't already into fitness/yoga are you really going to seek out Lululemon pants because Oprah touted it? Especially $98 yoga pants. As for income issues, I think there is definitely a difference in the typical Lululemon customer in the US and Canada. I think the information I found about Lululemon's customer having an income of $85,000 was with respect to the US customer. Most people I see wearing Lululemon in the US are well-off women 30+ and they wear it primarily for fitness purposes and not casual wear. It is definitely seen as the upscale fitness brand by women in the US. Lululemon deliberately positions it that way by putting it in expensive studios and gym chains (Equinox) and some of the most upscale malls in Southern California. They also hand it out at celebrity events. Additionally, my view is probably skewed because I live in Orange County, CA one of the more affluent areas of the country. I think Lululemon may be more an all-around status brand in Canada for both casual and work out wear. (Canadian readers you can weigh in on this.) As for affording Lululemon on a student's income, it can be done if you shop the markdown rack. I've bought new Lululemon tops for $14 and pants for $9 so you can build a decent Lululemon wardrobe if you are a patient shopper. I have to agree with some of you that Oprah's influence may be temporary. We'll see. I'll definitely keep my eyes and ears open when I hit the stores from now on. What is an interesting tangential observation is that Lululemon obviously embraced (and possibly courted) the Oprah recommendation. Oprah definitely has an audience that skews 35+ years old. Just a year or so ago, it was very obvious that Lululemon seemed to be courting a much younger customer and now it appears they have pulled back on that strategy. I applaud them for that. I think it makes sense for them to appeal to women of all ages and offer a variety of designs that work for everyone. Now, if they would only get back to making the line consistent up to size twelve, offer some size fourteens again, embrace that women in those sizes are into fitness, too, and need good-looking functional technical wear.
Posted by LuluAddict at 12:09 PM