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Building Athleisure Brands: From Lululemon to Alo Yoga

by Marianne Navada

Cover Photo: Mirror

Lululemon reached a deal to acquire Mirror, an at-home workout platform for $500 million. Mirror offers on-demand workout sessions and virtual classes. “One of the best inventions of 2018” according to Time, the acquisition signals Lululemon as more than an athleisure clothing company, but as an “experimental brand” that promotes the “sweatlife”.

Lululemon is purpose-driven and is positioned well to continue to inspire guests living the sweatlife across multiple experiences.

Calvin McDonald | CEO Lululemon 2019

More than a Digital Community

Building beyond a virtual community,  in 2019, Lululemon also opened an “experimental store” in Chicago. The 20,000 square foot space has a restaurant and bar, complete with meditation rooms and yoga classes. The Mirror gives Lululemon a platform to market their products through a wide-range of virtual classes, from yoga to dance. Fitness instructors have always been key to selling workout clothes.

Other athleisure companies have expanded their products beyond clothing to foster a more loyal and vibrant community. Alo Yoga purchased Codyapp, now Alo Moves, a subscription based fitness and wellness platform. Nike also has stores with “live” experiences and there’s the Nike Training Club app. But the Mirror clearly ia a step above when it comes to technology.

Unlike pre-recorded classes or live streaming, the Mirror allows teachers to give you live feedback, it integrates with devices such as the Apple Watch, so you can see your stats on the mirror, and the possibilities of a smart mirror are endless. And for those that just want to disconnect from the phone while working out, the mirror solves the problem.*

As the creator of athleisure, Lululemon enjoyed dominance for some time, but has recently faced competition from young brands such as Alo yoga and celebrity-backed lines. I remember a few years ago when almost everyone in a yoga class wore Lulu, top to bottom. There’s certainly more variety of brands now.

Exclusivity

The Mirror, priced at $1,495, does not include taxes, delivery, and the $39 monthly subscription. It might seem steep now, but remember it’s now owned by the same brand that got the world to buy $100 yoga pants, an idea that most people would find shocking just a decade ago.

Did You Know?

Brynn Putnam, CEO and founder of Mirror, started her career as a professional ballet dancer and graduated from Harvard University.

*Owners of the Mirror can stream classes on their phone, computers, tablets, and smart TVs as well. 

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