lululemon: a health brand with a bigger promise


The idea was to have the store be a community hub where people could learn and discuss the physical aspects of healthy living from yoga and diet to running and cycling as well as the mental aspects of living a powerful life of possibilities.

This is how Chip Wilson, founder of international retail phenomenon lululemon, describes his first store, which he opened in 1998 in Vancouver BC. He goes on to say that “unfortunately for this concept, the store became so busy that it was impossible to help the customer in this way in addition to selling the product.”

There’s a great lesson to take away here about lululemon, which underscores their success: while their business might be selling yoga-related apparel, the business of their brand is about enlightening, creating community and enriching people’s lives. Here are just a few reinforcements:

1. Their mission is creating components for people to live a longer, healthier, more fun life.

2. Their “public-facing” manifesto, which is just as much about their customers as it is about them.

3. Yoga serving as the vehicle to create community, happiness, energy and change. Every week, lululemon stores and showrooms push their products aside, unroll yoga mats and turn their spaces into instant yoga studios. Classes are complimentary and lead by instructors from local community studios.

4. Helping employees and their customer community with goal setting, which is a big part of lululemon culture. Every employee is encouraged to set personal, health and career goals and is given goal setting training. They provide this framework (below) and this downloadable worksheet on their site.

I really like what lululemon stands for. Obviously, so do many others given their dramatic growth. It’s a high-energy brand with a strong point-of-view, that creates interest and excitement, is experiential, participatory and responsive and provides life-enriching value in ways that others do not.

What’s your pov?