It all started last summer when I heard that a yoga wear brand, lululemon athletica was coming to Edinburgh. I didn’t want to get too excited at first – I thought they might come to our sleepy town with 2.5 yoga studios and decide, nah Manchester, Glasgow [insert bigger European city here] is a bigger,better option. They didn’t, they came, they saw and they liked what they saw. A small city yes, but one with an underground yoga and fitness scene made up of the usual big players and myriad of small players working with passion and forging an independent course for the benefit of their clients.
I was in luck, lululemon were here and they were coming to my yoga class. Around this time my husband went to Canada and I asked him to bring me back some Luon of his choice (his choice of my specified colours, sizes and garment types…). He brought back my first ever lululemon experience – a Power Y tank, In The Flow Crops and an All Sport Bra.
Instantly I was hooked, the gear performs functionally and makes it appropriate to wear bum hugging leggings in class, to class and after class which in my line of work means I no longer have to change 100 times a day to maintain my dignity. My interest piqued, I had a look on the lululemon website and things got interesting. It struck me from their blog and manifesto that lululemon actually stand for more than opaque coverage (as an aside the word opaque really confused me – opaque tights = see through. opaque leggings = don’t you dare say you can see through) and form fitting tops. They stand for living life to the full, encouraging health in all areas of life, learning new things, getting outside and spreading the benefits of yoga. That sounded familiar to me. I saw our shared beliefs and thankfully the lululemon team saw them too.
Lululemon is a Canadian brand. They like to have real, honest conversations, particularly those that make us Brits awkward. When they ask their ambassadors to join their community they like to do it with a big show of love (eek), p.d.a. (ahh!) and making a big deal out of something that we Brits might send an email about. And that’s how I became an ambassador, before my class, amongst my embarrassment, red cheeks and sweaty palms.
The ambassador scheme started for me at the perfect time, when I was stepping up to one of my goals of running my own classes in my own venue and dealing with the associated responsibilities. This step has been elevated and supported by lululemon, providing a platform for people to become aware of the benefits of yoga and building community to support that development. Community is something we both feel strongly about. There was little to no inter-teacher /studio community in Edinburgh before the lululemon showroom popped up. For me, no longer working at one yoga studio specifically, the showroom gives me somewhere to go to talk yoga, health and be inspired by other teachers in yoga but also in other health professions. I also get to teach community classes which helps me to get my name out and build new business.
Of course the clothes are great, but the people are what make the brand what it is – “the smiley ones” as my husband calls them. They’re smiling because these kids are passionate about what they do, and why not when part of their job involves daily sweats and talking to people with the same interests. A personal highlight was when I had the chance to assist the London team in a photo shoot for the website. It was a full bells and whistles shoot that I had (clearly) never experienced before but the team made me feel really at ease.
This summer the showroom will be growing up and blossoming in to a mahoosive *STORE* on Edinburgh’s prime retail spot in George Street. This is from a team that started last June as a one man band, meeting and building community from coffee shops around town (Sam you rock). The feat is nothing short of outstanding, Edinburgh will join London as the only cities in Europe to have a store with all the benefits that will bring for our community. They are currently recruiting too so get in touch if you are interested and I can refer you on. I can’t wait for all of the exciting opening events, joining forces with lululemon to encourage Edinburgh’s people to live long, healthy and fun lives. Stay up to date with these events here – I look forward to seeing you to celebrate the grand opening!