LULULEMON PUBLIC RELATIONS PLAN
Athletic apparel is a rapidly growing industry in the United States. The demand for yoga apparel is increasing and retailers in the U.S. are profiting. Workout apparel is worn everywhere, it is no longer limited to simply exercising. Top athletic apparel retailers in the U.S. include, Under Armour, Dicks Sporting goods, Bon-Ton stores, Kohls Corporation, Quiksilver and Christian Dior. Analysts at Barclays estimate “the U.S. athletic apparel market will increase by nearly 50% to more than $100 billion at retail by 2020” (Germano).
Chip Wilson, a Canadian born businessman and philanthropist, founded Lululemon Athletica Inc. in 1998. Marketed as an "upscale athletic apparel company," Lululemon was built under a strong foundation of surf, skate and snowboard clothing knowledge and experience (Beninger). Wilson previously owned Westbeach Snowboard Ltd and became intrigued with yoga and yoga clothing. He opened a design studio in 1998 to sell yoga apparel and host yoga sessions. Wilson's venture took off when yoga was beginning to grow in the mainstream international market; when Wilson believes that, "Yoga was growing like a hockey stick upramp" (Beninger). This perfect timing marked Lululemon as an industry leader in the yoga apparel industry. The first Lululemon apparel store opened in 2000 in Kitsilano, a neighborhood of Vancouver, Canada. By February of 2013, Lululemon had over 200 stores and 6,000 employees - a fast stretch from the initial one location in 2000. The company also sells merchandise online and in other retail stores across other continents including Europe, Asia and Australia. Lululemon focuses its mission on, "Creating components for people to live longer, healthier, fun lives" (Beninger). The company aims to provide high-quality products for its consumers while maintaining a business with integrity. Its products are made with the intention of a five-year lifetime depending on proper use and conditions. Materials used for the apparel include both synthetic and natural fabrics. In 15 locations around the world with approximately 50 different manufacturers, third-party suppliers contribute to the manufacturing of Lululemon's products. Lululemon works with companies to certify the fabrics by, "testing for a variety of performance characteristics, including pilling, shrinkage, abrasion resistance and colorfastness" (Beninger). In addition to its unique and controversial marketing tactics - such as "naked passes" asking customers to bare it all in exchange for free merchandise and a half-marathon featuring drag queens and a manicure station - Lululemon relies heavily on its social media platforms (Cutt). The company is continuously active on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. As of March 2014, its Facebook had over 920,000 likes. Lululemon also remains active in blogging on the company's main website.
The company's initial target market consisted of “sophisticated and educated (women) who understand the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle" (Benginer). As of 2014, Lululemon has expanded their product lines to include apparel for adult women, men, and youth. The company has been criticised by both employees and consumers for putting too much emphasis on the ideal body image and only producing apparel for women and men who are already "fit" and "in-shape." Lululemon praises its employees promoting a healthy lifestyle. Originally, the company only hired yoga practitioners to sell their products, but switched to accompany the growing market for yoga
apparel. The company's environment promotes a fast-paced, goal-oriented culture by providing training, personal development workshops and goal setting with its employees. According to reviews on GlassDoor.com, Lululemon employees ranked the company 3.3 out of 5 stating that the culture seemed "cult-like" and put high pressure on its...
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