Friday, March 4, 2011

Lululemon for... Neiman Marcus?


Neiman Marcus Funnel Collar Jacket - $128 (very reasonable for Neiman Marcus!)





A sharp-eyed fellow Lululemon addict spotted this Gratitude jacket clone at a Neiman Marcus store and posted about it in the This Just In Facebook group yesterday. (FYI, the Newport Beach Lululemon store is right across from Neiman Marcus in the same shopping center.) The story was picked up by the various FB groups and blogs and someone posted today that they spoke with a Neiman Marcus employee and they told her that NM is carrying a new line made by the same people who make Lululemon. This is very believable since the design details on the two jackets are nearly identical. The NM version doesn't have a drawcord at the bottom but that is the only major difference. The woman who spotted it said the fabric felt very similar to french terry but slightly silkier and the fit was slightly more form fitting. Anyway, it's very interesting that Lululemon is forming these silent partnerships with retailers covering a wide range of price points: high-end (Neiman Marcus), middle (Nordstrom Zella) and low-end (Tuff) retailers. Should we expect Lululemon for Target soon?

Lululemon Gratitude Wrap (front)
Lululemon Gratitude Wrap - back view

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I ordered the NM one. I'll post what I think when it arrives. I kind of like that it appears from the real life photo on FB to be more form-fitting and less drooopy diaper in the back.

ellie said...

This may or may not be a partnership with Lulu, many retailers use the same factories in China and elsewhere and the styles are open for purchase by other companies - they just switch out the tags...it's interesting though. It makes me think that not all the Lulu styles are designed in house - some are probably purchased...

LisaLuvsLulu said...

Luluaddict - do you really think Zella and Lululemon are a partnership? I don't think they are... I believe one of the Lululemon designer's started her own business, no? This NM partnership could be a good thing!

LuluAddict said...

@ ellie - Very interesting that designs are open for purchase by more than one company. It's weird to think that Lululemon couldn't sue another company for stealing designs, particularly such a unique looking one as the Gratitude wrap.

@Lisluvslulu - I don't know if Zella and Lululemon is a partnership but some of the designs are so similar (like the Still/"Soul" pants) you would think Lululemon would have sued to protect their designs. I know a former Lululemon employee founded the Zella line but maybe there was an understanding between the companies.

I have no idea how the apparel industry works but it's so weird that apparently everyone can ripoff everyone else's look.

Erin said...

^ I'm shocked that the two wraps are SO similar, down to the triangle patch on the back. That shape easily could have been altered to prevent any liability issues. I wonder if Lululemon maybe sells older and discontinued designs to other outlets though. Lululemon's 'thing' is a constant evolving/revolving inventory. Although some are calling for a gratitude wrap release, I do believe they were in the loot section a couple of times. Maybe it's more cost-beneficial to sell the design to a larger retail and make a cut of total sale, versus relaunching a couple thousand units?

Anonymous said...

I would think a canadian company would branch out to other canadian retailers first, at least ones that are in both canada and the u.s.

Addy said...

Plain and simple. This is simply a rip off of Lululemon. I can't think why Lulu would give the rights to some other company to produce one of their sought after items and sell it under a different brand. It just doesn't make any sense. The designer who works for Zella was from Lululemon previously and she/he had most of the blueprints/designs of the Lulu Items and that is why Zella's items was so similar to Lulu. As for this, could also be a previous Lulu designer working for NM or freelance designer who sold this design to NM and NM decided to produce this. Any partnerships and affiliates will have to be announced officially to the public as they are a listed company. So guys, quit speculating.

momof5 said...

They did release info regarding this publicly in a research report from Credit Suisse -- it is listed as a new channel opportunity --

I think it is strange that they wouldn't release the GW again when so many customers were demanding it and then poof here it is on the NM site at the exact same price point -- and sold out as soon as FB got ahold of it -- could all be part of their marketing strategy -- in fact that "eagle eyed reader" might have just planted that info to generate interest/drive sales

Susan said...

I don't think the reader planted it... Just my opinion. We are a small new group that is private... the odds on that are slim to none IMO.

Susan
Lulu This Just In

Anonymous said...

I know GEC reads this blog. GEC: comments/answers?

ChiRunner said...

I stopped by Neiman Marcus today and tried this on - and it was nowhere as nice as my Lulu Gratitude Wrap. It looked and felt like a cheap knockoff. The fabric was thinner and didn't hang well, so it looked sort of lumpy. The snaps were only secured to one of the two layers of fabric, so they didn't feel secure. And the lining was tencel that felt like cheap polyester. Also, the fabric wan't a dark, true black like it looks in the photo, but a more faded/washed looking black. I was super disappointed, because I was hoping it would be just like the GW and it wasn't even really close (at least for me).

I'm really surprised to hear that Lulu signed off on this version and also surprised that a high-end retailer like NM bought the design and didn't bother to keep up the quality.

For folks who are interested, there are some differences from the GW: The NM version has no thumb holes, no drawcord at the bottom or in the funnel neck (even though it looks like it has one in the photo), and it is shorter than the GW. The fit is also smaller - I wear a 4 in the GW and the XS in this was super snug. The S fit more like a Lulu 4.

Anonymous said...

@ChiRunner? Really? No thumbholes? But it looks like does have, in the pic?

ChiRunner said...

@Anon 4:57 - I know - the photo definitely has thumb holes (and a drawstring at the funnel neck), but the one in the store had neither. I'll be interested to hear what folks who ordered it online have to say about it - and whether the one they receive will have thumb holes, etc.

It makes me wonder if the NM online photo is actually a photo of Lulu GW rather than a photo of the NM wrap - maybe taken before they finished production on the NM line? I don't know. Very odd.

RunMama said...

As a publicly traded company, doesn't lululemon have to list partnerships? Until I hear confirmation from lulu, I think it's just that lulu's designs are being ripped off. There are enough differences with this wrap that it's difficult to say if it's a complete rip-off or just imitation. Either way, lulu should get a clue and reissue the GW. Bet if that ever happens though we'll see a good price jump.

Susan said...

I think someone stated that the online version is different than what is in stores. I guess we will find out when people start to receive them.

Anonymous said...

OT-Studio pant-no liner restocked in all sizes in black if anyone is interested. US side.

Anonymous said...

I tried this on in store today as well. I'm an 8 in lulu tops and the medium was a very snug fit. I don't have a GW so i can't compare however I did notice that there were no thumbholes.

Anonymous said...

Just tried to order this and it is already sold out.

momof5 said...

the funnel wrap clearly shows thumbholes on the NM website -- maybe this one bought at stores was an older version and the online version is the new model -- this is supposed to be an online only item so it might not be the same thing as the one in stores

Kate said...

I just wrote this over at Lulumum's blog:

This is going to put my recently completed business school education to the test. LOL I haven't finished reading all of Lulu's Annual Reports yet so I really can't say anything definitive.

The Credit Suisse Analyst Report excerpt looks a lot like a SWOT analysis to me; although they do touch on premium wholesale accounts all this is purely speculation on their part and not necessarily the route Lulu will take. I'm inclined to say that Lulu is very protective of their branding, grassroots marketing and products. This may be a case of items being made in the same factory and them being sold under different names with enough changes to avoid copyright infringement. Intellectual property is very difficult to control when you do not exclusively own your factories and use third party suppliers. I found this statement interesting: “we currently own no patents or exclusive intellectual property rights in the technology, fabrics or processes underlying our products.”

Here's an excerpt from the 2010 SEC filing:
"The operations of many of our suppliers are subject to additional risks that are beyond our control and that could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations....
During fiscal 2009, approximately 5% of our products were produced in Canada, approximately 75% in China, approximately 8% in Southeast Asia and the remainder in the United States, Israel, Peru and Taiwan. As a result of our international suppliers, we are subject to risks associated with doing business abroad, including:

... reduced protection for intellectual property rights, including trademark protection, in some countries, particularly China ..."


Since a large portion of their products are made in China (where copyright laws are not as stringent as they are in North America) the creation and sale of similar products by suppliers does not surprise me. Lulu is well aware of this issue but it is inevitable (everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon of a popular or successful item/brand). What's the saying? Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery?

Source: http://investor.lululemon.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=950123-10-28033&CIK=1397187
Above quote is from pg 19

This brings back memories, I wanted to do a case study on Lulu for my strategic management term project but I was vetoed in favor of Apple (another gooder.) ;-) I'm by no means a business analyst (just my take on things) feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Is the demand for the GW really that big? Or is it magnified by the small community of Lulu addicts like ourselves? I personally passed on the GW when they were released. Just curious...

LuluAddict said...

It does seem weird there is no public disclosure of "partnerships" in a public company but may be things are hidden behind various "shell" corporations and whatever (I watch too much tv, obviously ;-) ). However, it seems weird that Neiman Marcus would rip off such a unique design by a huge athletic wear manufacturer. The same with the Tuff athletic wear sold by Costco.

Kate said...

I think the Internet ate my long winded post. Tried cutting and pasting my comment over at lulumum's blog here but didn't I guess it didn't work.

Is the demand for the GW really that big? Or is it magnified by the small community of Lulu addicts like ourselves? I personally passed on the GW when they were released. Just curious.

Kate said...

Another crack at posting this, if it double posts feel free to delete.

I just wrote this over at Lulumum's blog:

This is going to put my recently completed business school education to the test. LOL I haven't finished reading all of Lulu's Annual Reports yet so I really can't say anything definitive.

The Credit Suisse Analyst Report excerpt looks a lot like a SWOT analysis to me; although they do touch on premium wholesale accounts all this is purely speculation on their part and not necessarily the route Lulu will take. I'm inclined to say that Lulu is very protective of their branding, grassroots marketing and products. This may be a case of items being made in the same factory and them being sold under different names with enough changes to avoid copyright infringement. Intellectual property is very difficult to control when you do not exclusively own your factories and use third party suppliers. I found this statement interesting: “we currently own no patents or exclusive intellectual property rights in the technology, fabrics or processes underlying our products.”

Here's an excerpt from the 2010 SEC filing:
"The operations of many of our suppliers are subject to additional risks that are beyond our control and that could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations....
During fiscal 2009, approximately 5% of our products were produced in Canada, approximately 75% in China, approximately 8% in Southeast Asia and the remainder in the United States, Israel, Peru and Taiwan. As a result of our international suppliers, we are subject to risks associated with doing business abroad, including:

... reduced protection for intellectual property rights, including trademark protection, in some countries, particularly China ..."


Since a large portion of their products are made in China (where copyright laws are not as stringent as they are in North America) the creation and sale of similar products by suppliers does not surprise me. Lulu is well aware of this issue but it is inevitable (everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon of a popular or successful item/brand). What's the saying? Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery?

Source: http://investor.lululemon.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=950123-10-28033&CIK=1397187
Above quote is from pg 19

RunMama said...

I think lulu designs are copied all the time (the Bay's "Cocoon Wrap", Define knock-offs by many yoga wear companies). I think this particular GW design is just noticed more b/c it's a popular jacket. I wonder if the knock-offs issue or partnership agreements will be addressed next week, I think Christine Day usually does a conference call when earnings reports are released.

erica said...

kate:
aren't blogs and social networking sites amazingly effective at amplifying desire by creating an echo chamber!? i see people in lululemon every day here in boston and cambridge, but i've only seen the GW twice aside from girls working in the stores.

as for me, i would like one someday, and i wish lululemon would just go ahead and make a bunch more, but of course they won't---anything to drive up demand and move merch as quickly as possible. the hysteria about certain pieces is ridiculous, and the quality doesn't merit such obsessive behavior.

LuluAddict said...

@ Erica and Kate - I'm with you, I don't think the quality merits the hysteria or the $300 prices on ebay for used GWs (or for any Lululemon, really - e.g., $100 for the Vinyasa scarf). I seem to remember people posting about the snaps/buttons coming off the GW when they were out. I tried on the GW and felt like I looked like I was wearing a sloppy sack. I much prefer the neater look of the Savasana wrap.

cristie said...

I am the "sharp-eyed fellow Lululemon Addict" that spotted the Gratitude Wrap at Neiman Marcus in Newport Beach and posted it on the Lululemon This Just In page. I will assure you that my post was not a "marketing tactic" to generate interest/drive sales! I am just a fellow lulu addict that wanted to help out my friends :)

momof5 said...

I was being tongue in cheek with my marketing tactic comment -- i really do not believe that Lululemon would not do anything to generate more sales though -- they are a business afterall and I do not believe that "their culture" wouldn't permit them to sell out to Neiman Marcus or another larger brand- if they see an opportunity -- they will take it -- they make great athletic clothes but they are a business, not a lifestyle

Laura B. said...

Already sold out and "discontinued" as the sale rep told me over the phone. wow...

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let everyone know that they have some XS's posted on Neiman's website if you're interested

Industry Insider said...

"...a new line made by the same people who make Lululemon".

This doesn't mean Lululemon is making Zella product or that they have a partnership. It actually means they are using the same factory. I know this because I have worked with the factory before. They make Lulu product, Zella and a lot of other high-end yoga brands. Lulu has a very strict contract with them so there is no cutting-out the label and sewing another brand in. The factory can't even use the Lulu fabric for another customer and many of the designs are property of Lulu so there can be no direct knocking-off. There can be "similar" designs though.