Lululemon announced today that they’ve made strategic changes to their creative executives and eliminated Tara Poseley’s roll as Chief Product Officer who will be leaving the company, and added the roll of Creative Director and are blending the design direction of both Men’s and Women’s. Lee Holeman has been named as Executive Vice President and Creative Director. Dr. Tom Walker has been promoted to Senior Vice President of ‘Whitespace’ (basically R&D). Dr. Tom Walker has an interesting video on youtube talking about product innovation in athletic apparel if you are interested in watching, Stretchy Pants and Margin Gains. It really gives you an idea of the direction the company is headed in R&D and some of the sports psychology behind the rebranding of the pants wall and repricing.
I really respect the field of margin gains in sports but I wonder if that matters to you as wearers of Lululemon? Are you finding the urge to be so competitive that your sports wear is the pivotal difference in your performance? Those of you that are marathoners, ultra marathoners and triathletes? I definitely think this fills a niche for Lululemon that they’ve been needing to set themselves apart from their competition which is quick on their heals. R&D is the #1 way to give their product value to investors for sure. That and patents and trademarks which Lululemon did not do at the start (which Kit and Ace has been wise to do). It makes the brand image more valuable to investors but will it do the same for you as customer? I’m finding myself gravitating to brands that are offering the same comparable adequate (and even superior) functionality and the same design focus but with better value vs. gravitating to the more highly technical brands. Maybe the interest with the highly technical will grow on me with the marriage of design, but there is absolutely a price threshold for me as a consumer and none competitive athlete. There are brands that are competing with Lululemon that are more fashion focused and high street, and there are brands competing that are more technically focused and the cost for those brands varies wildly. The one thing I have always had an appreciation for Lululemon for is the value, and the perceived value of the product. It seems they are wanting to grow themselves out of the high street athletic apparel market but I’m not sure all customers will grow with them.
Another thing of note is the greater focus on the men’s line over the women’s line (hasn’t women’s been languishing this Fall so far?) which is reflected in this new merging of men’s and women’s design executive teams. Uploads with men’s product featured on the landing page, social media pages directed at male customers, product alert emails focusing on men’s line and much less visual marketing to women or social media merchandizing photo shoots. Is it a coincidence that the executive changes are now male focused? They’ve made so many changes to their head office employees and I’m seeing so many familiar female names leaving the company over the past 6 months. I realize that they are broadening their brand laterally into mens and Ivivva since that is where they are seeing growth and women’s but I am missing some of that estrogen driven aesthetic.
What do you guys think? What do you think this means for the brand and future designs?
lululemon Announces Organizational Changes to Elevate Design and Innovation
Lee Holman Appointed as Company’s Creative Director
VANCOUVER, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)– lululemon athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) today announced strategic changes to its organizational structure that further elevate and reinforce the Company’s design and innovation-driven brand focus.
Lee Holman, formerly Senior Vice President, Women’s, has been appointed as lululemon’s Executive Vice President, Creative Director, effective immediately. In this new role, Mr. Holman will oversee both Men’s and Women’s product design and will report directly to lululemon’s CEO, Laurent Potdevin.
“Standing out requires a fierce commitment to constant innovation in functional performance. Our unwavering dedication to a singular design vision and craftsmanship has made us the global market leader in the category we’ve created and continue to define,” said lululemon’s CEO, Laurent Potdevin. “Changes to the organizational structure, including the new role of Creative Director, are critical to executing upon our 10-year vision,” added Mr. Potdevin.
As a result of these changes, lululemon has eliminated the role of Chief Product Officer. Tara Poseley, who joined the Company in October 2013 as Chief Product Officer, will be leaving the Company after a transition period. “We greatly appreciate Tara’s contributions, including the build-out of strong product, innovation, and merchandising teams, and we wish her continued success in the future,” said Mr. Potdevin.
The establishment of a Creative Director position will further unify Men’s and Women’s design under a singular creative vision, strengthening the design ethos of the brand. Mr. Holman joined lululemon in 2014 with 20 years of design and leadership experience, including senior positions at Nike, where he served as Creative Director of Nike Sportswear and most recently as Vice President of Global Apparel, Innovation and Equipment Design Men’s & Women’s. Prior to Nike, Lee was Creative Director for high profile brands such as Burberry, and spent several years at Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi Strauss & Co, and Paul Smith. Mr. Holman obtained his MA Fashion Design from Central Saint Martins. Felix del Toro, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Men’s, will continue to oversee the Men’s business and will report to Mr. Holman.
Dr. Tom Waller has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Whitespace™ reporting directly to CEO Laurent Potdevin, further reinforcing product R&D and innovation as the core pillar and growth driver for lululemon. Whitespace, lululemon’s team of scientists and engineers, will continue to drive long-term innovation. Prior to joining lululemon in 2012, Dr. Waller was Head of Aqualab at Speedo International. As Director of R&D at Progressive Sports Technologies, he provided strategic consultancy to global brands, as well as federation and elite athletes.
Stuart Haselden, Chief Financial Officer, will assume broader operational responsibilities adding Executive Vice President, Operations to his title. As operational excellence continues to be a key priority, lululemon has begun a search for a newly created position of Chief Supply Chain Officer reporting into Haselden, who will be responsible for continuing to optimize the company’s scalable, global supply chain across multiple categories.
About lululemon athletica inc.
lululemon athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) is a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company that creates components for people to live long, healthy and fun lives. By producing products that help keep people active and stress free, lululemon believes that the world will be a better place. Setting the bar in technical fabrics and functional designs, lululemon works with yogis and athletes in local communities for continuous research and product feedback. For more information, visitwww.lululemon.com.
Source: lululemon athletica inc.