Peloton says you can wear its new athleisure line to work
This is great news for a seemingly unlikely player.
Jill Foley, VP of Apparel at Peloton, spoke to CNN Business about the company’s strategy for winning customers.
The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity, brevity and fluidity.
CNN BUSINESS: Why are you launching this line now?
JF: It was a reaction to demand from our members … In the spring of 2015, we started selling clothes online. Over time, my model was still to buy [unbranded] clothing and put our logo on it. Then our volume got to such a level that some designers and labels said they wanted to create exclusive products for us.
So we started working with brands like Beyond Yoga and Terez. Even Lululemon started selling us and we could brand him.
But what happened next was that the clothes we were selling frustrated our members because they never knew what a “little” Platoon was. [size] was because Beyond Yoga’s little one is different from Terez’s little one, which is different from Spiritual Gangster’s size.
We also didn’t really have any control over the quality or design … Finally in 2018 we realized we just wanted to do it ourselves. We wanted our own production and engineering design team to give our members what they wanted … We have this wealth of data from our members over the years – what works, what doesn’t, that belt is too small, it also shows a lot when I bend over the bike. Men say give us more colors … We incorporated [this] comments on our new Peloton clothing.
CNN Business: What lessons have you learned from the pandemic that have helped you develop Peloton Apparel?
JF: What I’ve learned is that sometimes, if you’re wearing a sweatshirt, and it’s structured well – a stand-up collar, a half-zip – it can look chic enough to go to work.
A lot of people are going to start bringing a casual style to the office, and I want to make sure that we create styles that they can do it in. We are all so comfortable working from home. When I go to the office, I’m going to want to wear leggings and a structured sweatshirt. I really think people will want to stay in that feeling of comfort where they can.
For example, we’re going to make some pretty men’s vests that they can put on over a collared shirt. If people are returning to the office space, we want them to feel comfortable but to look professional and well organized.
CNN BUSINESS: The sports and leisurewear market is already quite crowded. How do you plan to differentiate your line?
JF: My strategy is twofold. We focus on our members. We have six million members. For our members who really enjoy the experience on the bike, the treadmill or the app and want to feel closer to us, the clothes are perfect for that. They cannot buy anything else with the mention “Peloton”.
Plus, on a lot of our clothes we put these little love notes on them to remind people why they love their bike or their tread. “Together we go far” is one of our phrases. Others are “show up”, “make your mark”. We try to be an extension of their experience on the bike to bring them to a successful conclusion in their day … On the price side, we are working to diversify the price and to democratize certain parts. We are trying to get tanks as low as $ 38 to $ 42. On the high end, it’s $ 54.
We really focus on inclusion, not only with price, but also with size and style.
CNN BUSINESS: Who is Peloton Apparel’s target demographic and where do you see an opportunity to grow within this group?
JF: The pandemic has changed things a lot. When I started the business, our population was made up equally of men and women. The early 1930s to early 1950s was demographics.
Now we are seeing opportunities in the younger ones, in their twenties. College students are starting to wear Peloton [clothing]. We never used to sell longshoremen, and now we do.
Also, I used to keep the business focused only on our members. Now we’re starting to see people who don’t even own a Peloton bike or treadmill buying the clothes… I can’t speak too far into the future, but yes, we want to be as inclusive as possible. [Included] in this is motherhood and [clothing for] tall people … People want to wear Peloton all day long, from home, to the cafe, to work, in the evening and even to the beach.
CNN BUSINESS: What is Peloton Apparel’s marketing strategy? How do you plan to create the buzz for this?
JF: Our instructors are brand ambassadors. They have helped us over the years to create the great products and they proudly wear the brand.
They also tested the clothes for us. I get feedback every week from at least one instructor on at least one thing. They are not paid to wear it.
They wear it in class. They are also allowed to wear other marks. Some of them are sponsored by other fitness brands and that’s good. We don’t want every instructor to be the same. We want their individual personalities to come out.
We’re never going to tell them what to wear, but we’re asking them to wear Peloton on the stream.
CNN BUSINESS: What is the Peloton clothing deployment plan?
JF: It is online and in stores in North America, UK, Germany, and Australia.
We will have our eight seasonal launches (two per season) of new products. We will also create capsules related to our brand and our content.
For example, for Pride Month, we have a lot of Pride fitness content and we are designing an outfit with input from our content team and creative teams. We also do this for Black History Month and with musical artists.
We made a great Grateful Dead collection where we had lessons and my team made clothes for it. Our members could put on the equipment and then walk around wearing it, like a concert-like sensation.
CNN BUSINESS: What’s the plan for how you’re going to present the Peloton logo on the new clothing? Will it be as large as it appears on existing clothing?
JF: Many of our members have requested that the logo be smaller and we are starting to do so. There was a time when we made a smaller logo and it didn’t sell well. As our membership base has grown so large and we manufacture quality clothing, it is not the logo that drives the sale but the quality of the product.
You will start to see a very minimal logo on some styles, especially on the basic styles that we are developing.