Lululemon Courts Alpha Males


Mark Rubin defends his title as Wall Street's Best Athlete. Photographer: Marc Fader/ via Bloomberg

Barclay's Mark Rubin defends the title as Wall Street's Best Athlete

With their ubiquitious yoga pants, well-placed retail stores, and cheeky marketing campaigns, Canadian yoga clothing company Lululemon has certainly infiltrated—some could say dominates—the Western yoga scene. Now the the brand is expanding its focus to a market it hasn't quite yet captured: Men. Over the weekend, Lululemon provided uniforms to participants in the RBC Decathlon, a notoriously alpha charity event that crown's "Wall Street's Best Athlete," and allows titans of finance to exhibit their fiercely competitive natures beyond the trading floor.

In the past, Lululemon, like most yoga clothing companies, focused its marketing efforts on women. Women make up more 80 percent of yoga practitioners in America according to the Yoga in America study. Men make up 18 percent of the estimated $10.3 billion market, which means there's a sizable opportunity for companies like Lululemon.

Even so, yoga clothing might still be a hard sell to men, many of whom still perceive the practice as feminine. Lululemon has offered men’s clothing in the U.S. since 2003 and in Canada since 1998 but sales have been stagnant, Bloomberg reported. “There’s a ‘soft’ stigma around yoga and yoga-related things being for women,” decathlon participant Peter Prinstein, told the news service. Lululemon plans to market its expanded men’s line to sports endeavors such running and golf. The company also plans to open stand-alone men’s stores in 2016.

Of course, Lululemon isn’t the only company marketing yoga products to men. Yoga Jack, which yoga props just for men, launched earlier this year. And popular athletic-wear brands such as Nike and Under Armour are well represented in yoga studios as well as in health clubs.