Lululemon style at Canada’s busiest intersection.

Lululemon athletica inc., commonly known as Lululemon, is a 26-year-old company, founded in 1998.

From its humble beginnings as a design/yoga studio and retailer of yoga wear, Lululemon evolved into a multinational, multibillion athletic and lifestyle apparel company.It went public in July 2007, rivalling established market sector brands. Seventy percent of Lululemon’s revenues are derived from its women’s apparel segment and twenty percent from its men’s category. Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Lululemon’s distinctive Canadian roots and character were brought to the fore when designated as Team Canada’s Official Outfitter for the Canadian Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2021, held in Tokyo, Japan.

Lululemon style at Canada's busiest intersection Lululemon style at Canada's busiest intersection

Inspired by the emerging trend of yoga, and the need for women to have comfortable, durable, and stylish workout wear, Lululemon’s founder, sports entrepreneur, Chip Wilson, envisioned designing fashionable and versatile athletic attire for women, which could be worn for workouts as well as leisure activities. Wilson thus pioneered the stylish athleisure look, launching a novel and booming market trend. 

The widespread popularity of Lululemon’s signature little black, skintight, stretchy leggings, prompted its expansion beyond yoga wear to include product lines of sweaters, tops, sports jackets, hoodies, jogger shorts, running shoes, hats, and undergarments as well as a slew of accessory workout products and personal care items. 

The brand’s technological innovations and patented materials further served to demarcate it from its competitors. Recognized for their soft, lightweight, breathable quality, superior shape retention, durability, and luxurious feel, Lululemon’s proprietary “luon” and “nulu” fabrics, among others, enhanced the brand’s popularity during the mid to late 2000s.

Lululemon style at Canada's busiest intersection

Lululemon’s first official standalone store opened in Canada, in November 2000, on West 4th Avenue in the Kitsilano district of Vancouver, British Columbia. Its entry into the United States began in 2003, with a store opening in Santa Monica. Lululemon’s global expansion started in Australia in 2004 and its foray into the European market, in 2014 with the opening of a flagship shop in London’s Covent Garden. 

In 2013, the company adopted a distinctive strategic approach for venturing into and penetrating the Chinese market. It created a subsidiary and established multiple showrooms across the cosmopolitan hubs of Shanghai and Beijing as a means of instilling, first and foremost, brand knowledge and recognition among Chinese consumers. It was only in 2016 that brick and mortar shops were introduced. Attesting to the brand’s successful immersive marketing technique and brand image is the emergence of China as one of the brand’s most rapidly growing regional markets. 

With over 700 stores worldwide, Lululemon’s largest market by far is the United States with over 350 stores, followed by China, with more than 120, and by Canada, with close to 80 store locations. The company also operates across European countries (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Ireland, and Spain) as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and most recently, Thailand. 

Lululemon style at Canada's busiest intersection Lululemon style at Canada's busiest intersection

Lululemon launched its e-commerce in April 2009 and by December 2023 offered international shipping services to a total of 78 countries, increasing its worldwide influence. The company also sells certain of its product lines, wholesalers to businesses in the health, fitness, and yoga sectors. 

Having built stores for Lululemon for over twelve years, SAJO was tasked with the construction of one of the brand’s largest flagships, located in Toronto’s downtown iconic Mink Mile, at the bustling intersection of Yonge and Bloor Streets. The new Toronto store is the largest one in Canada and second to Chicago’s sprawling 20,000 square-foot flagship, located at Lincoln Park.

The Toronto store, which opened in the spring of 2024, measures more than 12,000 square feet, and spans the three lower floors of a 34-storey commercial tower. The floor below ground is directly connected to the Toronto transit system, making accessibility a salient facet of the store’s location. The first and second floors are clad by a double-height wraparound glass façade, featuring a giant, red and white, Lululemon logo on its storefront. The expansive, luminous exterior and unmistakable signage draw instant recognition. The store’s interior design features a glass staircase, wavy fin ceiling, curved millwork, and perimeter walls punctuated by mirrors and a new LULA installation. 

Lululemon’s global brand image promotes a spirit of individual health and communal living, while embracing its distinct Canadian heritage and identity.

Lululemon style at Canada's busiest intersection.

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