Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree with your point that Lululemon has a quality issue that needs to be resolved quickly. Since writing this post, I’ve had several people tell me that Lululemon and Abercrombie are alike because both had key executives making disparaging comments about people. The comments generated similar controversy but the context is very different. The Abercrombie comment stated that the brands clothes weren’t for everybody and that was okay because the company only wanted to sell to the cool kids. If you are one of the cool kids that wear the brand, you just got an ego bump.
The Lululemon comment blamed the customers for quality issues. Instead of bolstering customers’ egos, Wilson offended them. It appears that the pilling issue is new. The complaints came after changes were made to eliminate the see-through issue. This suggests a major quality problem that has to be resolved. The question that lingers is, will it be too late to save the brand’s reputation.
I disagree with Josh Elliott’s comment that “you can’t sell to part of the population” because, as you noted, every company sells to part of the population. The key to success is defining that part well enough to be selective and broad enough to have room for growth. I think the Duck Dynasty group does that very well. They have created two markets. The first are duck hunters that buy their primary product. The second is their reality show fan base that buys the accessories. And, then there is that third group (like me) who is simply a fan of people managing their marketing and business well.