Lululemon’s massive success is in part because of their ambassador program, considered by branding experts to be a “key pillar” of the company’s “local” marketing strategy. But recent developments in Lululand – most notably founder Chip Wilson’s unintentionally derogatory (and just stupid) comment about Lululemon pants transparency issues are not because they’re poorly made but because some women’s bodies “just don’t work” (e.g. they have fat thighs that rub together) – are causing some ambassadors to question their relationship with the company.
There’s actually a little backlash a-brewing. Among the most proactive is two-time Lululemon ambassador Alanna Kaivalya, who publicly declared she’s severing ties with the brand in a Dec 11th Huffington Post article, Chip Wilson Can Kiss My Size 12 Ass.
Kaivalya claims to have started giving away her Lululemon a while back, after being put off by the increasingly “strange things” within the company. And now she’s taking her resistance to the next level, by encouraging other ambassadors and regular consumers to “drop” their Lululemon pieces. As she states in her #dropluludrive intro video, on December 20, she will give up the last remaining vestige of her ambassador’s collection, get her friends to join her, collectively gather everyone’s Lulu’s, and donate all the clothing items to a “good cause.” She’s looking for ideas for an organization to partner with.
Follow the #dropluludrive hashtag on Twitter and organize a meet-up/drop-off in your city. Especially if you’re an ambassador or former ambassador who is feeling a little embarrassed about that free shiz you’ve been modeling to your students in exchange for teaching for free over the years.
While Kaivalya may be the first former/present ambassador to advocate ditching all her luon and giving it to people who may not be able to afford $100 yoga pants, she isn’t the first to speak out against Lululemon. Philadelphia-based teachers Diana and John Vitarelli hung up their yoga pants in a long detailed declaration on YogaDork (reblogged from their website), and others are following suit.
For a brand that built itself with the ambassador model, is it possible that the ambassadors can bring it down, too?