I hate to admit it, but I kind of geeked out a little bit when I learned the luxury yoga-inspired fitness apparel brand Lululemon Athletica was opening a showroom in my town early next Month. For those that might be out of the loop, Lululemon is a workout clothing company that’s gained so much popularity over the last few years that it’s been branded “cult-like”. Maybe it’s the exclusivity of the showroom-style stores that are only open certain hours of the day. Maybe it’s the high-quality fabrics. Maybe it’s the flattering fit and cute styles. Or maybe it’s just a beneficial recipient of the best marketing strategy on the planet: word of mouth. (I’m sure a mention on Oprah’s favorite things in 2010 didn’t hurt.)
When I first heard of Lululemon Athletica, probably somewhere in the fitness blogosphere, I admit I fell for it, and for good reason. I only own 3 pieces of Lulu gear, but they are my tried and true favorites. This is coming from a girl who usually heads to the discount rack at Target for her workout wear. The clothing is expensive, but seems to live up to it’s pricetag. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced loo-loo-lemon, like the fruit. I will decline to admit how long I tried to make it sound fancier than it really is.
Until recently. Lululemon Athletica just announced that they are recalling their yoga pants because of an issue with their supplier of their luon fabric. Apparently the quality of this recent batch of Lululemon bottoms was subpar, resulting in pants that were a little too sheer for your average yoga class. In an attempt to remedy the situation, Lululemon stated they would be pulling all affected bottoms from their stores and website until further notice. Customers that purchased Lululemon pants after March 1st and are concerned with inadequate booty coverage are encouraged to return their merchandise for a full refund. The unwanted pieces will be recycled, although Lulu reps have yet to expand on what that means.
The company released this statement on the Lululemon blog:
“We keenly listen to your feedback and it is paramount to us that you know we’re listening. We are 100% committed to doing the right thing for our guests and living our standards.”
What impact will doing “the right thing” have on the Lululemon Athletica enterprise that’s swept the fashion-focused fitness nation by storm? A big one potentially, both financially and in consumer loyalty. Lululemon revealed in a press release Monday that this supply issue affects 17% of their bottoms and their projected first quarter revenue will likely be in the range of $333 million to $343 million instead of the originally predicted $350 million to $355 million. Only $330 million? Cue the sad violins. On a serious note though, this is a huge opportunity for lower-priced brands to jump into this competitive niche market.
If you’re a Lululemon Athletica fan, does this recent recall on yoga pants affect your feelings for the company or your willingness to continue shopping with them? Does doing “the right thing” change how you feel about the issue in any way?