Lululemon Has Invested In A Cycling Apparel Startup
Lululemon Athletica has acquired a stake in a Canada-based cycling apparel startup, a collaboration that could stretch how the yoga-gear maker approaches technical fabric innovation. Vancouver-based Lululemon said it has made a minority investment in 7mesh Industries, a startup based in nearby Squamish, British Columbia, that is a purveyor of $250 cycling jackets and $140 shorts. Lululemon—well regarded for a technical approach to performance gear in sports like yoga and running—said 7mesh would collaborate on new ventures with Lululemon’s research and development arm called Whitespace. “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,” said Lululemon CFO and COO Stuart Haselden in an interview with 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.” In the U.S., cycling as an apparel category that is easily dwarfed by gear that’s meant for sports like running, basketball and even yoga. And the pieces designed for those latter three categories are more frequently worn casually, a trend that’s highlighted by the “athleisure” craze that’s led to strong sales growth for yoga pants, basketball shoes, and moisture-wicking shirts that aren’t worn for athletic endeavors. “We aren’t pursuing [cycling] as a big growth driver for our business,” said Haselden. But, he adds, “it is a category that a number of our guests participate in.” Read more at Fortune.