brand extensions

Lululemon's Little Sister Tests the Waters in America

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 13, 2012 10:05 AM

Canada's upscale yogathletic brand lululemon has a younger sibling: ivivva athletica, a dance-inspired activewear label for girls and teens that has been dipping a pointed toe in the tween/teen market with a modest debut in Canada and a co-branded line with Disney.

The younger brand has been available in lululemon’s hometown of Vancouver and in Calgary, and this summer has been quietly slipping south of the border to the US via showrooms (not full-blown stores) to test the waters in Bellevue and Seattle, WA, plus Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

“A note to all of our amazing + loyal ivivva girls: an ivivva SHOWROOM is a little different from an ivivva STORE," a blog post explains. "A showroom is a small space that we open in new cities to show a few pieces of our product line. It is the perfect place to go to get decked out in all of your core essentials and try on all of our sizes so you know what size to order in all of the crazy colours online! And, if you want more, you can always purchase online using the iPads in our showrooms.”

Parent company lululemon athletica, of course, is the yoga-inspired athletic apparel lifestyle brand that, while a little overreaching to some observers, has certainly raised the barre in technical fabrics and functional designs, not to mention in convincing women to pay a premium for yoga pants. But will lululemon moms stretch their wallets as wide for their dance-, track- and gymnastics-obsessed daughters?

“The preteen who already wears mini-versions of Tory Burch flats and J Brand jeans can now beg Mom for one more pricey, formerly adult-only brand: lululemon,” as Chicago Business wrote about its new ivivva store. “The Canadian purveyor of $98 yoga pants and $52 fluorescent tanks will unveil an Ivivva store for girls... brightly colored 'cross-functional' athletic apparel for girls 6 to 14, geared toward dance classes, gymnastics or 'just having fun.'"

Selling products with the same quality and design as lululemon, the offshoot brand for the pre-tween set was created with extensive feedback from lululemon consumers who wanted dance specific products for a younger age group, designed for athletic pursuits well as all-day versatility – and ivivva athletica hoodies, leggings, cropped spandex and small accessories are the result. 

With an active life on its website, on Facebook and Twitter and a YouTube channel, the offspring of former surfer founder Dennis "Chip" Wilson’s billion-dollar lululemon empire extends lululemon's mission to "elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness."

The brand's signature manifesto is stretching for teens with one Ready for USA commercial move: ivivva's Shake It Up dancewear collection for girls in collaboration with Disney Consumer Products that launched in February, inspired by the hit Disney Channel series of the same name. With Ivivva, it seems that Lululemon is also willing to shake up its brand. Can a menswear extension be far behind?


JudyJudyJudy United States says:

lululemon athletica ... ivivva athletica ... so what will the male version be? yobro athletica?

August 13, 2012 03:04 PM #

Jeff Canada says:

It is one of the more confusing parts of the lululemon brand. They created a new brand name for younger girls but they kept the lululemon brand for guys. In Canada, we've had lululemon available for guys for years now, but under the same name. I know lots of guys who would wear the stuff except for the brand name.

Why did they expend the effort to create a teen brand that would have been happy to wear their "mom's" lulu, but force buys to accept a female dominated brand?

It is also very telling of their growth strategy that they are expanding into the US while they only have one store in the Toronto-area (a distant suburb of Toronto, that is).

August 14, 2012 08:47 AM #

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