I see this question a lot on social media. I never thought about answering it before because I figured it had already been answered but, upon reflection, I am happy to add my opinion to the collection. One issue with the opinions available online is that I was unable to find any written by “super fans” like me. (Side note: If Lulumum or Lululemon Addict has written a post similar to this one, please link it below!) I did find this one but by and large positive articles were difficult to find. This was my favorite critical, but fair article. There were many dissenting opinions, and some people complain with near vitriolic hatred about the price of Lululemon. If you don’t believe me, just spend a day on Twitter searching for Lululemon related posts.
There are several reasons why people have enormous collections of Lululemon and continue to buy and collect it. There are also reasons why people maintain smaller collections, selling as they get bored and using that money to add new items to their collection.
I wanted to show you some Lululemon closet photos to prove that there are many people who are dedicated to the brand, and also because they’re pretty. 🙂 I found some Lululemon Closet photos by Googling, and Lulumum has some posts on her blog from her subscribers.
Let’s start with an obvious reason to pay more. I’m the first to admit that Lululemon has had some quality issues in the past, but I feel that they’ve come a long way since then, and I am also dismayed to have witnessed the amount of coverage they received in the media about their lack of coverage. I have older Nike crops that have pilled on me, or sheer out when stretched, but Lululemon received a lot of bad publicity when people started complaining about it happening to their items. My theory on why they received so much bad publicity is because people expect higher quality standards for Lululemon items than they do for cheaper items. For example, I know that my Nike bottoms that are 80% Polyester are not going to feel as compressive as my Lululemon crops that are 80% Nylon. I also know that Polyester is prone to sheering out. So, people like me, who buy Lululemon on a regular basis, and pay for higher quality were outraged when the quality was disappearing from our expensive items. That’s my theory, what do you think? Why do you think the media covered Lululemon’s quality issues so fervently?
Now let’s address what Lululemon does right. First of all, most of Lululemon’s clothing is made from Luon, which is generally comprised of 80% Nylon and 20% Lycra, or some close combination thereof. If I spot an item that says “Luon” and it’s made of any less than 70% Nylon, I can tell the difference in terms of feel. “Feel” is another thing that Lululemon does right. Their Rulu fabric is some of the softest stuff out there. I love my Base Runners and my Vinyassa scarves and they’re both made of super soft Rulu. Regular old Luon is also much softer than any Polyester-based item I can find at Target or Nike and that’s a huge reason why I hardly ever buy from those places. I once purchased shorts from Target, but the fit was off. There’s another thing Lululemon does right. Lululemon clothing hugs the body and twists in the right places. I’ve tried knock-offs and have fit issues I don’t experience with Lululemon, either thumbholes are not in the perfect place, or the tops ride up, etc…
So, aside from the above quality issues like fabric content, feel, and fit, fashion is another reason why people like me are willing to purchase Lululemon. Lululemon’s designs have been cutting edge for a while, and I still enjoy seeing what they come up with. The Nouveau Limits tank will never replace my No Limits tanks, but I enjoy this creative design. Although I can agree with people who love Zella, especially for their prints, I just can’t get over the 80% Polyester content. Same with Nike. Same with Target’s brand. I touch their clothes nearly every time I stop in there, and I’ve yet to be impressed. One other brand from which I do own quite a few pairs of crops that I LOVE is Glyder. 80% Nylon or better, and they feel just like my Wunder Under Crops. They’re around $50-$60 and I would love to have more, they just don’t come out with new colors that often.
Lululemon has been known for their dedication to innovative design for a long time, and as a consumer, I am happy to benefit from that. They even have the “Lab” where they release limited runs of items to test them out and ask for feedback so they can continue to be innovative with their designs. Although Zella and other companies do an excellent job with their designs, I still feel that Lululemon is the first to market with a lot of their ideas.
I love the little details Lululemon takes the time to put into their clothing. Apart from the little quotes they often put on their clothes, they also take the time to put hidden pockets or other features.
Here are some pics of the “hidden” quotes under the hemline of the Swiftlies.
Function, for most people who exercise, is the most important thing. These clothes work for me. I am never pulling up my crops, like I have to with my Nikes or my Bebe Sport crops. The waistbands on most of my non-Luon, Lululemon workout crops have built-in drawstrings that I can tie tightly so I don’t have to worry about pulling up my crops.
Thumbholes are great, and I find myself legitimately disappointed when I don’t find them on my non-lululemon workout tops. Thumbholes help keep my hands warm, and they also help keep my sleeves from rolling up when I’m putting on layers.
There are many other function-related details Lululemon adds to their clothes that contribute to their awesomeness, but I won’t list them all. What are some of your favorite features? Tell me about them below!
Brand Name Value
This reason, in my opinion, has some of this highest validity, yet both the lowest recognition and the lowest level of understanding on the part of those who do mention it. I’ve seen people say, ‘If you buy Lululemon for the brand name, you’re just…’ Insert your own brand of criticism here, but that’s essentially what they have said. However, people need to understand that there is inherent value in a brand name and that brand names influence our purchasing decisions whether we like to admit it or not. The same people who judge Lululemon addicts for buying Lululemon for the brand name are the same people who buy Nike shoes instead of New Balance. New Balance shoes are of good quality, and will perform well, but Nike shoes have a higher brand value. Nike shoes are designed and marketed expertly. Nike outsources the manufacture of its shoes, much in the same way that Lululemon outsources the manufacture of its clothing. However, both Lululemon and Nike operate and maintain their design functions as core competencies of their companies. People talk about quality, but New Balance manufactures its shoes in the USA, while Nike outsources, yet Nike has the higher brand name value, shown in the table below. Lululemon’s brand value is also shown below.
I hope you can see that what I’m getting at is that brand name, regardless of the criticisms, does have value. Therefore, people who buy Lululemon or Nike “just because” of the brand name are actually making a pragmatic decision. The brand value that has been added by proper marketing or by previous experience with that brand creates a positive feedback loop with regards to perception and people are willing to pay more for that reliability.
Unfortunately, both Nike and Lululemon have done damage to their brands in the past and the effects of those faux-pas’ have been seen in the bottom line, and when they’ve been serious enough some C-suite personnel changes have occurred. We saw this in 2012 with “Pantsgate.” However, it seems to me that Lululemon has bounced back from that severe setback. It’s stock price is on the rise, and it has adapted to consumer demands such as manufacturing larger runs of popular items, so customers experience fewer sell-outs immediately after upload.
I just want to say “Thank You” for reading if you made it this far. It’s admittedly difficult for me to be impartial, since I have had such positive experiences with the brand and I very much enjoy Lululemon’s products. In that same vein, if you feel that I’ve missed a reason, either to love or hate Lululemon I would love to hear your opinions in the box below!