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The Secret Weapon Behind Lululemon’s Biggest Competitor’s Explosive Growth 12,000+ Athlete Ambassadors


The Secret Weapon Behind Lululemon’s Biggest Competitor’s Explosive Growth? 12,000+ Athlete Ambassadors

California-based athletic apparel brand Vuori strategically partners with college athletes and influencers to promote its products and connect with new audiences. The company’s relationship with NCAA gymnast and social media influencer Livvy Dunne exemplifies this approach, WWD reports.

Vuori first teamed up with Dunne in 2021. Since then, the brand has evolved its partnership to spotlight her journey as a young athlete. Earlier this month, Vuori released a commercial featuring Dunne to promote its new stretchable BlissBlend collection designed for movement. The ad airs on television, Dunne’s channels, and includes a website takeover and a hand-painted New York mural.

“Our collaborators provide a real-life demonstration of the versatility and performance of Vuori product and the embodiment of our brand’s values,” said Vuori Chief Marketing Officer Karen Riley-Grant. “The authentic introduction of the brand to the athlete’s existing audience allows for a seamless new customer introduction and reinforcement for existing customers.”

Vuori’s strategy extends beyond Dunne. In 2023 alone, the company partnered with around 400 college athletes through various name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals and gifting initiatives. Overall, the brand works with over 12,000 athletes at the professional, college, and community levels, including over 1,000 NFL draft picks.

Vuori vets potential partners to ensure authentic, well-aligned relationships. “We work to identify partners that are aligned to our core values to ensure our relationships are authentic and our messages align,” Riley-Grant explained.

In addition to Dunne, the company’s athlete ambassadors include professional tennis player Marcos Giron, cyclist Justin Williams, endurance runner William Goodge, surfer Alana Blanchard, and golfer Michelle Zhang.

“We believe in supporting young, ambitious athletes and helping them achieve their goals,” the CMO said, elaborating on their partnership with the college gymnast. “Our relationship with Livvy is a great example of how we partnered with her early in her career and evolved our partnership to tell her story.”

By putting its apparel to the test through real athlete usage, Vuori aims to reinforce its performance positioning while exposing the brand to new audiences. The athletes, in turn, receive support advancing their sports pursuits and aspirations.

“As we look toward the future, we will continue to evaluate how we collaborate with NIL partners to aid in building an authentic community of athletes,” Riley-Grant stated.

While she declined to disclose specific figures, Riley-Grant confirmed Vuori has “found great success” in its athlete influencer strategy across the professional, collegiate, and community levels. The company plans to further elevate this approach as an “integral tool to scale globally.”

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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