Oct. 1, 2014 / Jeff
Lululemon's First Ever Mens Store
Creating Lou Lemon
Say hello to Lou Lemon. It’s not actually called that, but it could have been. Lululemon for men. After its success as a women’s brand, Lululemon set out to create the men’s version. How do you retain the brand story for women’s yoga wear and shift the gender?
To start the process, we went to Vancouver to visit the Lululemon Corporate Headquarters and immerse ourselves in their world. And there is no question that Vancouver loves Lululemon. All over town, everywhere you go, people are wearing Lululemon. This is a brand with a cult-like following. We had presentations from their product development team. We did yoga. We had presentations from the brand team. We did the Grouse Grind! There were presentations from Operations, Community Relations, etc… We had to make a space that did more than sell yoga pants. So we created four goals:
We re-define what a Lululemon experience for men is.
We educate on what it means to be a mindful athlete, where yoga is used to elevate performance and speed up recovery.
We inspire and ignite our culture and connect with guys who get it, and convert those who don’t.
We create an experience that is reflective of our values. Its human, modern, technical, intuitive, premium, innovative, adaptable and discovery-worthy.
Back on the East Coast it has become fashionable for women to wear their yoga pants out and about … to shop, to have coffee, etc. But for guys, not so much. How do we make street-ready athletic wear for men work in NYC where denim is the uniform? Lululemon had some really great men’s product and ideas on how to capture a bigger portion of the men’s athletic wear market. But how do we get the guy in the door?
The space should be creative and flexible and offer a range of activities … classes, events, ways to create a culture of like-minded guys. It should be a place to hang-out, learn some new things, and develop your skills. Customers are Guests. Salespeople are Educators.
We created a mood board that got to the essence of Mindful Male Athlete. We zoned the store into three areas – sweat/post-sweat/no-sweat – signaling different ways to use the space. Then we came up with 3 different schemes that were all transformable and guy-centric: Screens, Monoliths and Open Space. For fixtures, we looked at items that were used to discover and make things: tool boxes, lab tables. These things were also transformable: a tool box extends open to display, a lab sink becomes a place to ice beers post-sweat.
After selecting one of the schemes, we expanded and refined the ideas. We took good ideas from one scheme and incorporated them in the chosen one. We added features and dropped them later. But every time we checked in with our four goals as filters to the design. Did this design redefine the Lululemon experience for men? Did it educate the mindful athlete? Did it inspire a guy culture? Was it a destination for discover? We think so. Meet Lou Lemon.