The lululemon logo is all but tattooed onto yogis the world over – a simple arch signalling a brand that has gone from strength to strength since emerging in 1998. But how have they done it?
“Using yoga, run and other sweaty pursuits, we create real connections between our guests, our ambassadors and our community partners,” says Delaney Schweitzer, Executive Vice President of Retail Operations. “We are naturally audacious and curious and will always stretch our minds to invent the future and deliver the exceptional product that our guests are expecting from us.”
Recently, we got the low-down on what’s up at one of Forbes Most Innovative Growth Companies.
What do you love most about working for lululemon?
I love the people of lululemon. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Canada, the US, Asia, Europe or Australia, our people leave me inspired and happy. My favourite moments are when we open in a new market or city – the energy of our community, the excitement of our people bringing lululemon to new friends and our knowing we are raising the level of health and yoga in new places around the world.
Corporate responsibility is a visible area of your focus. How important is sustainability and transparency to lululemon?
Like yoga, we see sustainability as a practice. Our practice of sustainability has three strategic areas that span our global reach: responsible supply chain, sustainable operations and ‘the metta movement’ – our grassroots community philanthropy program. Each year we provide grants to launch or support projects that contribute to social and environmental health.
Tell us about lululemon’s unique process of designing and testing their activewear.
The original lululemon store was a design room and yoga studio surrounded by a retail store. Guests would come to the space, practice yoga in our product and provide us with in-the-moment feedback. Collecting feedback and product testing in our communities continues to be the number one way we keep our product relevant.
How has lululemon made yoga culture more accessible to the mainstream market?
We strive to elevate the level of health and fitness in every community we touch. On a weekly basis our stores and showrooms give the gift of yoga to their communities – they push their products aside, unroll yoga mats and turn their spaces into instant yoga studios. Classes are complimentary and led by instructors from local studios in their community.
What’s next for lululemon?
We expect store rollout to really ramp up in 2016 and beyond. By the end of 2017, we plan to be present in all major European and Asian regions, with more than 20 stores in each respective market.