Customers once loyal to the Lululemon brand are now considering looking elsewhere for their yoga and workout gear. The company’s message board, heylululemon.com, once home to praises, now holds pages of customers wondering what has happened to the quality of the high-end athletic wear.
Earlier this year the yoga clothier, Lululemon, recalled the thinner version of their trademarked fabric, Luon, which was touted be durable. The pre-shrunk fabric is a blend of nylon and Lycra. The company manufactured the stretchy, moisture wicking yoga pants at one of its overseas factories. The company stated in a press release that the quality control issue was not due to a change in manufacturer or quality of ingredients.
The fabric in the Luon yoga pants, as it turned out, was so thin it exposed some of Lululemon’s customers’ assets causing the company to recall 17 percent of its yoga pants. In addition, customers complained that the fabric was so cheap in quality and manufacture that the fabric had pilling (small balls of fluff that can develop on knitted fabrics), would develop holes, easily snagged and seams would come apart after little use.
Customers have complained that in addition to the issues with the fabric, Lululemon’s customer service representatives have been less than helpful and possibly dishonest. Customers claim that the customer service department states that the Luon fabric is not faulty but that the new colors require “special care.” Customers allege the fabric shows signs of wear after the first use.
Lululemon built a reputation and loyal customer base on the durability and long lasting quality of its yoga apparel. This reputation is under attack now, with new complaints revolving around the Wunder Under and Groove pants. The poor quality and customer service issues that have already caused a number of Lululemon’s once loyal customers to move on with other brands such as: Athleta by Gap, StudioLux by Under Armour and Zella by Nordstrom’s.
Lululemon has faced a number of lawsuits stemming from the controversy. The company’s investors it seems are losing faith in the brand as well in the wake of the up to $67 million in losses the company could suffer this year. The investors have also filed a lawsuit against Lululemon, former Chief Executive Christine Day and Chairman Dennis Wilson. The lawsuit alleges that the company and its executive officers, in an attempt to cut costs and gain market share, knew the products were defective and hid that fact from shareholders.
Customers comment that the quality that drew them to the company is no longer there. Many of them are disappointed that the pants they bought a few years ago are in better shape than the pants they bought this year. They are aware of Lululemon’s competitors and warn that the quality needs to improve for the company to keep their business.
Lululemon representatives have begun addressing customer concerns about quality posted on the message boards, but it may take some time before the full impact of the company’s recent issues are known.