Five years ago, the brand Lululemon was mainly known by die-hard yogis who embody the centered and fit lifestyle that practicing yoga can bring. Today, with private fitness companies from yoga to cross-fit to boot camp becoming trendy and available via discount sites like Groupon and Living Social, the concept of fashionable workout clothes has become a new social pressure. For this reason Lululemon has become a name even people who aren't interested in yoga are familiar with.
With the shift of the Lululemon logo becoming a status symbol, those die-hard yogis could be looking elsewhere for their workout gear. Keeping up with the latest and greatest trend doesn't quite seem like a principle practiced in the yoga room.
The latest ding against the company has been their focus on customers who fall within the range of sizes 2-12 in their clothing. A former employee reported to Huffington Post that larger sizes were not stocked on the floor and not available to customers http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/lululemon-plus-size_n_3675605.html. The company defended itself in an interview with Business Insider saying that they design and build their product around their target audience http://www.businessinsider.com/lululemon-defends-not-carrying-plus-size-2013-8.
The outcry and flack the company received for this information seems to raise the question, where is the line drawn between focusing on your target audience and discriminating against those who do not fit that description? Any company has a specific audience they focus on with every print ad, new product and TV commerical. From the average annual household income to the number of kids within the home, hobbies, occupation and marital status, the research is everywhere and companies would be silly not to use it to their advantage.
As a female in my mid-twenties, I am not going to make a fuss if I walk into a Cabela's and their camoflauge hunting overalls aren't immediately available in my size. Of course they aren't! I'm probably the fartheset from their target audience as anyone. While Lululemon agrees that fit and healthy people come in all different shapes and sizes (just as hunters could), isn't their decision to stock more of their inventory with the sizes of clothing that are most frequently purchased a warranted and sensible business decision?
Retail insigthts delivered from Theory House.