lululemon pop-up shop at farmers’ market pisses off locavores

Lululemon containers ready for the people of Regina! (image via Facebook)

A Lululemon pop-up shop at the farmers’ market in the Canadian prairie town of Regina has organic farmers and lovers of local veggies all fired up.

Regina Farmers’ Market vendor Heliotrope Farms posted the following message on their Facebook page:

Normally I just send happy messages about our veggies, however this day I am sending this out to express our extreme disappointment with the City of Regina for deciding that this Wednesday and Saturdays’ Regina Farmers’ Markets should be the location for LuLu Lemon’s [sic] pop-up store sales, with very little or no warning or say allowed from the Farmers’ Market Board or Vendors.

Regardless of your thoughts about LuLu Lemon, they are certainly not local and thus in contrast to the rules and spirit of the Farmers’ Market, which specify that all products sold at the market be local.

We do not have any issue with the sales happening in the pedestrian mall, but we STRONGLY feel that they should not happen on market days, any other days would be fine.

More people at the market does not mean more sales for the vendors, especially with a lot of people’s money going to a large corporation. For many of the vendors at the Farmers’ Market like us, the markets are not just a chance for them to enjoy a hobby, it is their livelihoods and the way they support their families and our community.

We need to show the Farmers’ Market and the City of Regina that we do not agree with large corporations taking over even the small space Regina offers for those who wish to support local farmers and business.

A lively discussion ensued on the Heliotrope post and on the Regina Downtown BID (Business Improvement District) Facebook page, with most of the commentors not in favour of Lululemon’s presence at the farmers’ market. As one person noted, “The market is intended for locally produced items, and those that sell there rely on it for their livelihoods. The notion that LuluLemon [sic] being on site will increase sales for the rightful vendors of the market is undeniably false and good people will be affected by this.”

There is no Lululemon store in Regina, so the September 13 – 15 container sale is a big deal for fans of overpriced yoga clothing. While Lululemon continues to masquerade as a “community loving” company with “grassroots” marketing, it has a value of 9 billion dollars. And unless your farmers’ market happens to be located in China, Lululemon’s products are anything but local.

How would you feel if Lululemon popped up at your local farmers’ market? Is their presence good for vendor’s business or out of alignment with the core principles of a farmers’ market?

(Thanks to Root & Branch Sustainable Food Support for bringing this to my attention!)

6 Comments

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  1. You had me at “Who is John Galt”.

  2. I have to agree that the argument that Lululemon will bring new people and increase sales to other vendors is false. Above and beyond the fact that lulu isn’t local, and it’s no longer even Canadian owned.

    I would be surprised if Lulu couldn’t afford to just open a regular store in Regina (Halifax has one, and we’re not that big). Opening at the farmer’s market appears to be a marketing ploy of “local-ness, granola, good for the planet” by association.

    However, when your products are made in China from materials that are for the most part petroleum based (nylon based) and your company is no longer even Canadian owned, it’s a huge leap to claim “local legitimacy”.

  3. I was at a yoga training this past weekend and a woman had a big Lulu bag for her stuff….it had one big word on it, “poser”, with the Lulu logo where the O should be. #irony

    ….or the CEO’s private joke at the expense of Lulu consumers…..

  4. Living in a BC city of 85,000 & I would be thrilled to have lulu come for a visit. We have a local “spa” that sells lulu, but more selection would be fantastic. I would get excited about this. I’m a weekly farmers market shopper & start YTT in 3 days 🙂

  5. Thank you for posting this. For the small companies out here making truly local products its nice to see that you are in support of small companies. My pricepoints are pretty much the same as lulu and I have everything 100% locally made. Each purchase is impacting 5 local businesses and people actually get paid for their work to be able to support their families. Sweat shop free baby! Thanks It’s All Yoga Baby!

  6. Tell ’em, Heliotrope Farms! No free (and manipulative and hypocritical) branding opportunities here! I approve!