I found myself in Kingston's lululemon athletica this afternoon while shopping on Princess Street.
As the shop’s ebullient staff (excuse me, ambassadors) waxed poetic about the seaweed-woven t-shirts (I kid you not) and odour-free workout gear I was trying on, I found myself struck by something quite odd. The lululemon logo, it turned out, was barely visible on any of the items inside my fitting room.
For someone who grew up in an era of Ralph Lauren polo ponies and Benetton rugby shirts, I was somewhat taken aback. After all, here was a brand built almost entirely on lifestyle and the customer experience rather than logo and media hype. Mystifying.
In our logo-crazed culture (for a detailed history of the phenomenon, check out a great read by Naomi Klein, No Logo), lululemon offers a refreshing alternative to mob aesthetics.
And while I walked out of the store without making a purchase (seriously, $59 for a t-shirt?), I found myself faintly impressed that a company would take such a calculated marketing risk.
In historical terms, I believe such companies are known as “trailblazers”.
P.S. For more on lululemon athletica, stay tuned for the fall launch of our Podcast Café, a collection of Canadian case studies that’ll give you something to talk about…