Despite the problems at retail—or maybe because of them—Lululemon, Elie Tahari and Amazon continue to invest in new products and business models.
Lululemon invests in cycling apparel company
Lululemon is stretching from yoga to cycling through a new strategic partnership with a minority stake in 7mesh Industries, a performance cycling apparel company.
Lululemon has been known for pioneering its own fabrics and construction technologies through its lab, dubbed Whitespace. Together the two companies plan to create advanced technical apparel.
“We’re always open to unlock opportunities to fuel our innovation pipeline,” said Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin. “In bringing together 7mesh’s extensive technical apparel expertise and performance-focused mindset with the capabilities of our industry disrupting R&D Whitespace team, we perfectly blend fashion and function to co-create transformational products for our guests.”
Lululemon CFO and COO Stuart Haselden says that although it’s a relatively small category, the collaboration makes sense because there’s overlap between cycling and yoga enthusiasts.
“It is an interesting collaboration, a relatively small effort if you will, but what we like about it is it is an example of how we are looking to stretch our model of innovation outside our four walls,” Haselden told Fortune. “Cycling is a category that is small but if we could leverage a partnership with them, it could make sense for us to enter it effectively.”
The deal furthers the company’s attempts to be known for more than yoga. The first pieces from the collaboration are expected to hit stores in mid 2018.
Prime Wardrobe Steps into Stitch Fix Territory
Amazon has just made the subscription box model more convenient.
The e-tailer, which has its tentacles into practically every arena, is testing an e-commerce model for clothing that allows Prime members to try before they buy with no commitments.
Unlike typical subscription boxes, which curate a pre-selected array of goods, Prime Wardrobe allows consumers to select the pieces they want. Once received, shoppers can try them out for up to seven days, and they’re only charged for the items they keep. There are no additional membership costs. Plus, consumers can earn discounts, 10 percent for keeping three to four items and 20 percent for five or more.
Items are sent via UPS, returns are free and shoppers can elect to schedule a free pick-up for those returns, alleviating headaches.
Currently, more than a million items are available through Prime Wardrobe, spanning women’s, men’s and kids.
Elie Tahari to Launch Intimates, Sleepwear With IHL Group
Known for its sophisticated tailoring, the Elie Tahari brand is expanding into intimates and sleepwear for Fall 2018 through a license with IHL Group.
The deal with the New York-based lingerie company includes designing, manufacturing and distributing children’s, men’s and women’s intimates and sleepwear. Under the agreement, IHL Group will have wholesale rights for these lines to all North American retail channels, including department and specialty stores, for six years.
“This exciting new partnership represents an important step for IHL Group in our ongoing strategy of enhancing our global brand portfolio and further establishing our presence within the intimates and sleepwear industry across all major channels,” IHL Group president Sami Souid said.
The line will debut to the trade in August. Luxurious and feminine aesthetics will make up the women’s offerings, while premium quality and comfy fine fabrications will be featured in men’s undergarments. First year sales for the line are anticipated to exceed $10 million at the wholesale level.