- Press Release
- How The ‘Power Of She’ Will Propel Athleta To $1 Billion In Sales
- 1. She’s in touch with her breathing.
- 2. She stays positive.
- 3. She still practices yoga every day.
- ABOUT COOKIES
- Athleta’s Power of She Campaign Celebrates Women Making an Impact
- Athleta’s Power of She Campaign Is Empowering Women of All Ages
PETALUMA, Calif. – April 18, 2016 – Today, Athleta is unveiling “The Power of She,” a bold campaign inviting women and girls to stand together, collaborate and put an end to undermining. Through the launch of this campaign, the brand aims to create a sisterhood of women and girls fueled by the core belief that alone we are strong, but united we thrive.
With the brand’s new Athleta Girl line, the brand will continue to encourage healthy, active lifestyles and instill a strong sense of confidence in the next generation of girls. Starting April 26, multiple generations of women and girls can shop together for beautiful, versatile high-quality products with the debut of Athleta Girl’s first collection, truly bringing Athleta’s brand mission to life.
“We believe in the limitless potential of women and girls, and we are passionate about the power of women coming together – it’s in our DNA,” said Nancy Green, president, Athleta. “As we enter the girls’ activewear category with the launch of Athleta Girl, we feel a responsibility to create a campaign that can teach and inspire the next generation of women and girls about the power of collaboration.”
“The Power of She” is a long-term effort that aims to inspire women and girls to join forces and empower one another. Starting today, all are invited to visit athleta.com/powerofshe to learn more about the campaign and take a pledge committing to:
- Living on the healthy side of competition
- Lifting their fellow sisters
- Realizing their own limitless potential
- Putting an end to undermining
Once the pledge is taken, consumers will be able to share their commitment across their social media channels, along with a customized personal image. Additionally, Athleta is assembling an incredible force of notable women who will take the “Power of She” pledge, while also bringing their unique and powerful voices to this important conversation.
“The Power of She,” also marks Athleta’s television debut. Created in partnership with YARD, a strategic and creative agency, the anthemic video features inspiring women and girls playing and working out together across various sports and activities. Another powerful element of the campaign is a four-part video series highlighting “sister groups” that exemplify women supporting women from the worlds of surf, running, dance, and yoga. Each group speaks to their individual experiences, realizing their full potential and the importance of sisterhood. The campaign will be felt and seen across every touchpoint of the brand, including online, catalog and in each Athleta store.
“Athleta’s mission is to ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential. Now is the time to start an important conversation that inspires collaboration and brings awareness to the issue of undermining,” said Elisabeth Charles, senior vice president of Marketing, Athleta. “With the launch of ‘The Power of She’ and Athleta Girl, we hope the next generation will feel inspired to join together to achieve active, happy and full lives.”
Through “The Power of She,” Athleta will continue and enhance its commitment to its national charity partner, Girls on the Run, an organization with a similar mission around empowering the next generation of girls and creating opportunities for women to participate and volunteer on the local level. Through the campaign’s digital hub, customers can get involved, volunteer and donate to the organization.
Athleta has been the premier fitness apparel brand exclusively for women since 1998. With female athletes as its designers, Athleta creates versatile and fashionable performance and lifestyle apparel for the fitness-minded woman who lives life on the go. Offering products that move with her throughout the day, Athleta strives to help her look as amazing as she feels. Athleta offers apparel and gear for a range of activities from yoga and run to strength training and hike as well as seasonal sports, including ski and tennis. Athleta apparel is sold in retail stores across the country and online at www.athleta.com.
How The ‘Power Of She’ Will Propel Athleta To $1 Billion In Sales
LightRocket via Getty Images
Buried in Gap Inc’s second-quarter financial reporting, which showed comparable sales were down in all its major brands—Old Navy Global off 5%, Gap Global down 7% and Banana Republic declining 3%—there was one bright spot: its Athleta brand.
Athleta reports in its “Other” category, along with designer fashion brand Intermix and credit card income. In the second quarter ended August 3, sales in “Other” were up a stunning 25.4% (from $264 million over the same period last year to $331 million this year), following 16.9% in first quarter (from $284 million to $332 million), on top of a 22.3% rise in fiscal 2018 ($919 million to $1.1 billion).
In the second-quarter earnings call, Intermix didn’t get a mention, and when asked to provide more context on the “Other” category, CFO Teri List-Stoll said, “The biggest piece of that is Athleta, and we feel very good what we’re seeing there.”
By way of comparison, Athleta closed the quarter with 171 stores, compared with 35 for Intermix. The recently acquired children’s fashion brand Janie and Jack, which has 140 stores, reports in Gap Global.
As the numbers indicate, Athleta is on a roll. “We’ve reinvested in marketing of the brand, which drove increased demand and healthy customer growth,” CEO Art Peck said in the call. He also announced that Athleta is going to accelerate its store openings to 25 this year, to bring the total to 185 by year-end.
In reaching that goal, Athleta will be closing in on Lululemon in its U.S. footprint. At the end of the first quarter (May 5), Lululemon had 291 U.S. stores, out of a 455 global total. On the other hand, all of Athleta’s stores are located in the U.S.
While these two brands are often compared—both were founded in 1998 and target the active lifestyle woman—they came from different places and have followed different trajectories. Lululemon initially focused on yoga practitioners, which enjoyed tailwinds since yoga was a female-centric activity. And it got an added bump as the athleisurewear fashion trend took yoga wear out of the studio and onto the street.
Further, Lululemon has since expanded into men’s activewear and been focused on international expansion. In 2018 nearly 30% of its $3.3 billion in sales were generated in Canada or international markets.
Athleta was and is exclusively for women who participate in a wider range of activities and sports, including running, hiking, climbing, cycling, tennis, soccer and other competitive sports, as well as yoga. A boxing collection will be coming soon, wear-tested by Rumble instructors.
At its founding Athleta identified a need to dress women in performance-enhancing clothing equal to that of men. Until Athleta came along, female athletes were largely forced to wear male athletic gear to get the same performance quality that was built into men’s activewear.
In some ways, Athleta was a bit before its time, since women athletes had been trained by the industry that they shouldn’t or couldn’t demand something better. But times have changed and the women’s athletic market has found its stride. Women know they deserve the same enhanced performance as male athletes, but cut to fit women and styled to make them look good while engaged in their sport.
Online Athleta is rapidly catching up to Lululemon too, according to data from SimilarWeb. In particular, Athleta has seen direct-site visits increase 39% year-over-year and organic search up a whopping 267%. “This indicates that Athleta is strengthening its brand awareness,” reports Ilana Marks, marketing insights analyst at SimilarWeb.
Athleta & Lululemon Traffic Graph
Courtesy of SimilarWeb
Athleta is on track to generate $1 billion in sales shortly based on its promise of empowering women and girls through sport. I sat down with Athleta’s chief marketing officer Sheila Shekar Pollak to talk about the company’s latest initiatives that are powering it to reach that $1 billion goal.
Olympic champion runner Allyson Felix is the “Power of She”
Since 2016 Athleta has used the “Power of She” platform as the expression of the brand. “Alone We Are Strong, United We Thrive” is the message. And to represent it, Allyson Felix, one of the most decorated female athletes in U.S. history and who has won nine Olympic medals, has just joined forces with Athleta to serve as a beacon of the brand.
“It was important for me to find a partner that championed my values. I am particularly moved by the community of women and girls Athleta is empowering through sport,” Felix said in a statement.
That she chose Athleta to work with is particularly inspiring to women and girl athletes since her previous endorsement contract with Nike went south after she gave birth to her daughter in an emergency C-section at 32-weeks in November 2018.
Allyson Felix and daughter
After that, Nike wanted to pay her 70% less than before her pregnancy. “If we have children, we risk pay cuts from our sponsors during pregnancy and afterward. It’s one example of a sports industry where the rules are still mostly made for and by men,” she wrote in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
“As soon as we heard her moving and very personal story, we picked up the phone,” Shekar Pollak shared with me. “We are so excited to join forces with Allyson to create a meaningful, holistic partnership.”
In Athleta Felix has found a partner that celebrates her womanhood, her motherhood and her extraordinary athletic achievements. “We were so moved by Allyson’s purpose and passion, on and off the track, especially as she spoke to the unique experience of female athletes,” Shekar Pollak says.“Allyson is giving women and girls the confidence to raise their voices.”
That is the kind of story that Athleta is made to share. “Allyson exemplifies what we stand for. It’s the power of the collective of women and girls. We are stronger when everyone comes together and supports each other,” she continues.
With the Felix-Athleta partnership just starting this July, plans are still being fleshed out, but they include Felix exclusively wearing Athleta in competition, as she did in her first race since giving birth at the U.S.A. Track & Field Outdoor Championships in July.
Felix will also help design its performance line to “take it to the next level,” Shekar Pollak says, and hints that an evolved “Power of She” campaign starring Felix will be introduced in first-quarter 2020.
Performance-enhancing, sustainable fabrics
As a certified B Corp, which is legally required to consider the impact of its decisions on its workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment, Shekar Pollak says that means putting “the planet and people right up there with profit.” To that end, Athleta has committed to producing 80% of its collections from sustainable materials by 2020. It currently stands at 60%.
To achieve this goal it has introduced a new performance fabrication called Supersonic that is made from recycled nylon. “It is a fair-trade certified fabric,” Shekar Pollak explains. “We’ve saved 15 tons of waste to-date from landfills. That’s enough fabric to wrap around the earth 247 times.”
She describes the new Supersonic fabrication as ultra-light, which is what a runner needs. “It is extremely important for her to feel cool and sleek. That makes her feel fast.” The Supersonic collection, along with its Lightening running tights, also comes in extended sizes so that even the curvy athlete can feel sleek too.
While Athleta continues to build out its brick-and-mortar stores and draw traffic to its website, the Athleta direct-mail catalog remains a core part of its marketing mix.
Its long-form, tactile presentation lends itself to deeper storytelling than other media. “It really helps our customers engage with our brand. It is content-rich, not just a ‘look at this dress or shirt and buy it’ kind of catalog,” Shekar Pollak says.
“Our customers call it a magazine. We’ve had letters from mothers saying it is the only ‘magazine’ they let into their home. It sets a good example for their girls because it shows strong, athletic, healthy confident women and girls,” she continues.
Spanning the generations
Helping young girls grow into powerful, confident women is another value that Athleta holds fast to. “We are really passionate to make sure that the next generation of girls grows up strong and healthy,” Shekar Pollak says. “Between the ages of 11 and 13, girls are twice as likely as boys to drop out of sports And sports is an antidote for girls to build confidence, which can be problematic at that age too.”
Athleta Girl has been empowering the next generation of active women since 2016. “It is really important to keep girls in the game and playing sports. It builds her confidence and keeps her healthy,” she shares. “She doesn’t have to grow into an elite athlete, but through sports, she learns that failure isn’t something to be scared of. Rather, it pushes her to the the next level. We are proud we can service women and girls. We are truly a multi-generational brand.”
Shekar Pollak concludes that Athleta’s marketing doesn’t focus on targeting demographics, but rather psychographics: Women on her fitness and wellness journey no matter what her age, from pre-teens through grandmothers, like me, who full-disclosure is an Athleta customer too.
“It is important to us to be highly inclusive and make sure that every woman feels empowered and excited to be in a community with other women who feel the same.”
In 2012, Guinness World Records named Tao Porchon-Lynch the oldest yoga instructor in the world. Now, she’s 99 years old — and still teaching yoga at her New York studio. How’s that for healthy aging?
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Porchon-Lynch, author of Shining Bright: Quotes and Images to Inspire Optimism, Gratitude & Belief In Your Limitless Potential, shared some of her secrets for keeping her body healthy and her mind sharp. We rounded up some of our favorites:
1. She’s in touch with her breathing.
If teaching yoga for 75 years has taught Porchon-Lynch anything, it’s that mindful breathing can have surprisingly powerful effects. And she’s right — experts say that slower, deeper breathing can help us reduce anxiety, improve focus, fight pain and even help in the prevention of diseases, such as diabetes. “When you are in touch with the breath, there is no such thing as age,” Porchon-Lynch told the Huffington Post. “Nothing is impossible when you are in tune with your breath.”
2. She stays positive.
Porchon-Lynch says yoga helps people look at things in a more optimistic way and melts away stress. (A reminder: Stress can negatively affect your body in many significant, physical ways, including increasing your heart rate, blood pressure and risk of heart attack or stroke, and messing with your weight and digestive system.) “Never put negative thoughts in your mind because it goes right into your body,” she said. “When you wake up in the morning, say, ‘This is going to be the best day of my life.'”
3. She still practices yoga every day.
Even at age 98, Porchon-Lynch finds a way to make fitness a part of her daily routine: She wakes up at 5 a.m., gets to her studio by 8:30 a.m., and teaches several yoga classes per day. And that’s just the tip of her active-lifestyle iceberg: Earlier this month she took 1,000 students on a retreat to the Bahamas, and in February she’ll make a trip across the country for a dance competition. Plus, she and fellow yoga teacher Terri Kennedy are two of the new faces for Athleta’s Power of She campaign! (Watch their video for the campaign below.) Color us ommm-pressed.
(h/t The Huffington Post)
Heather Finn Content Strategy Editor Heather Finn is the content strategy editor at Good Housekeeping, where she heads up the brand’s social media strategy and covers entertainment news on everything from ABC’s ‘The Good Doctor’ to Netflix’s latest true crime documentaries.
Jan 27, 2017
- Faith Cummings
- Facebook Messenger
In a world where mass media paints aging as the antithesis of strength and beauty, it seems almost revolutionary that a woman could embrace each coming year with grace and fearlessness.
That’s exactly how many would describe Tao Porchon-Lynch, who at 98 is the planet’s oldest yoga instructor.
Porchon-Lynch is also a celebrity in her own right, though she didn’t initially set out to become one. By the sheer force of her skill, infectious personality and wisdom, people not only flocked to her, but have also come to see her as an authority on the practice.
And when we say people, we mean Deepak Chopra, Charles de Gaulle and Ernest Hemingway. Perhaps you haven’t heard of Porchon-Lynch until now, but you’re probably familiar with some of her pupils.
Yoga wasn’t her first passion, though. The fitness icon initially found success as a model and cabaret performer in both Paris and London, with famed English playwright and composer Noel Coward serving as her mentor.
“My friends, such as Marlene Dietrich and Coward, were so important during World War II and after,” she said. “Despite the tragedies around us, we laughed and had fun together. Having friends who genuinely care about you is important.”
She continued to build lifelong relationships when she moved to Hollywood and pursued a career in acting with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM). “I’ve had a lot of funny incidences at MGM since my spoken English was not very good,” noted the Pondicherry, India, native.
As her language skills grew stronger and her relationships with other actors developed, she began exposing the likes of “An American in Paris” (1951) actress Leslie Caron and “Anchors Aweigh” (1945) star Kathryn Grayson to the yoga practices she had learned as a child — instilled in her from her uncle who was a pupil of Indian Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda.
World-renowned Russian-born yoga teacher Indra Devi, who lived to be 102 and died in 2002, had encouraged Porchon-Lynch to share her gift of yoga. “Indra Devi was the first to bring teaching to the U.S.,” she said. “She was on a trip through California and came to MGM. As soon as they said my name, she looked at me and said, ‘I know you.’
“Gradually, I started to offer classes at the studio,” Porchon-Lynch said.
Over a decade later, Porchon-Lynch decided to pursue the practice full time and has grown her list of followers since. Almost five years ago, she set the Guinness World Record as the oldest yoga teacher in the world at 93 and became a two-time author thereafter, publishing “Reflections: The Yogic Journey of Life” and her autobiography with Janie Sykes Kennedy titled “Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master.”
That same year, she also decided to dip her toes into the reality TV world and competed in Season 10 of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” “Dancing on ‘AGT’ with my teacher Vard Margaryan was fun,” said Porchon-Lynch of the experience.
“I didn’t realize we would get such an incredible response. I knew my schedule would not allow me to go on in the competition, but we were thrilled to receive a yes from all four judges and a standing ovation,” she said.
Like yoga, dance has been a part of Porchon-Lynch’s life from the onset as well. “In India, I learned Bharatanatyam — a classical Indian dance with stylized hand and eye movements,” she said.
“That actually helped me get my first job dancing in a nightclub in London during World War II,” she said. “Now, dance has given me new life again.” She said the art form “fills spirit.”
Porchon-Lynch’s latest endeavor is a return to her modeling days, as one of the faces of Athleta’s most recent advertising campaign. “I was looking for yoga clothing that fit well and was beautiful,” she said. She believes yoga lovers should look put together while practicing to honor yoga itself. “Athleta’s ‘The Power of She’ campaign also celebrates women, which is important to me.”
Though she’s nearing centenarian status, age won’t slow Porchon-Lynch down. “I have too much to accomplish every day,” she said. “Just as nature recycles herself, I can recycle myself with every breath I take.”
You might be wondering: What are Porchon-Lynch’s secrets to living a long and fulfilling life? “Breathe deeply, think good thoughts, keep moving your body and do what you love!” she advises.
Faith Cummings writes for Paper Magazine and InStyle.com, among other publications. Check her out on Twitter @fcummings to see more of her work.
Athleta’s Power of She Campaign Celebrates Women Making an Impact
“Athleta stands for inclusivity,” said Athleta President Nancy Green. “We want to break down stereotypes and help redefine perceptions of wellness and strength while celebrating the power of the female collective to make an impact.”
The centerpiece of the campaign is a collection of stories each highlighting one ‘power’ of Power of She – including positivity, potential, community and confidence:
Positivity: Tao + Terri
At 98 years old, Tao Porchon-Lynch is the world’s oldest yoga instructor whose philosophy is “there is nothing we cannot do if we harness the power within us.” She and Dr. Terri Kennedy collaborated on a book about Tao’s life Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being and travel the world together to inspire and impact the lives of women across the globe.
Potential: Audrey + Estelle + Melanie + Kimi
When Audrey ‘s daughter Estelle was born with Down syndrome, she helped create Club 21 Learning and Resource Center as a community for parents of children with Down syndrome dedicated to including people with Down syndrome in society. She partnered with local studio Rose City Yoga, where instructors Melanie and Kimi lead classes teaching their students confidence and the power of their potential.
Community: Clancy + Kristen + Roma
This trio of athletes turned their passion for running into a way to support and bring awareness to maternal health for women around the world through Every Mother Counts (EMC). Clancy, Kristen and Roma participate in races to raise awareness and funds to provide skilled healthcare to new and soon-to-be moms around the world.
Confidence: Kate + Ella + Alice
Kate T. Parker is a professional photographer who takes photos of girls the way they are naturally – in her words, “silly, adventurous, frustrated, happy, athletic, fierce, funny.” She has collected her photos in a new book Strong is the New Pretty (Workman Publishing; available in March) celebrating the strength and spirit of girls being 100% themselves.
“These women embody the Power of She and represent the impact each of us can have in our community and in the world,” added Green.
Each of the stories will be prominently featured in Athleta’s catalog, in its stores and across digital channels. The brand’s Chi Blog hosts the campaign content and where Athleta has also added resources for women who are inspired by the campaign to get involved with the organizations featured. The brand will be hosting in-store events throughout the campaign to give women and girls the chance to showcase their Power of She.
Additionally, Athleta announced that it is a member of #SeeHer, a movement to accurately portray all women and girls in media spearheaded by the Association of National Advertiser (ANA)’s Alliance for Family Entertainment.
“We are delighted to have Athleta and their new campaign ‘The Power of She’ join our #SeeHer movement. Athleta’s portrayal of women as strong, smart, beautiful, fun and fearless is a valuable addition to our mission of championing an accurate representation of women in media. We applaud Athleta for amplifying this important message,” said Stephen Quinn, Chairman, ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment.
In support of its goal to increase the accurate portrayal of women in media 20 percent by 2020, the group created a proprietary Gender Equality Measure, GEM™ in which ad content is compared to thousands of other ads. In the analysis, executed by #SeeHer research partner ABX, Athleta’s 2017 Power of She launch video scored in the top 1% of approximately 10,000 ads measured for its portrayal of women and girls.
Athleta creates versatile premium performance apparel designed by women athletes to inspire a community of active, confident women and girls to reach their limitless potential. Founded in 1998, Athleta integrates performance and technical features across its collection to carry a woman through her life in motion. In 2016 the company launched Athleta Girl mirroring its signature performance in styles for the next generation. Based in Petaluma, CA and a Gap Inc. brand (NYSE:GPS), Athleta apparel is available at its 130 retail stores across the country, through its catalog, and at www.athleta.com.
Athleta’s Power of She Campaign Is Empowering Women of All Ages
While you may already be familiar with the Athleta brand because of its cute, affordable, and wellness-centric approach to athleisure wear, we bet you haven’t heard about the amazing things the company is doing behind the scenes to further their commitment to female empowerment. 2017 has been a year of incredible sisterhood, and from January’s Women’s March to March’s National Day Without Women to last month’s Her Conference, we’re feeling fired. up. to support our fellow women — and we love that one of our fave activewear brands is on the same page. After all, there’s never been a better time to celebrate the ladies! Athleta’s Power of She campaign introduces us to beautiful stories of sisterhood and strength.
“Our mission is to really ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential,” says Sheila Shekar, Athleta’s Senior Director of Brand Marketing. “Every time we talk about the next season’s Power of She campaign, we’re looking for amazing, inspiring stories about women and girls who are making an impact on the community through a foundation of health, wellness, and fitness.”
One such inspiring woman is Hanli Prinsloo, a professional free diver and ocean conservationist who founded The I AM WATER Ocean Conservationist Trust in 2010. As part of the Summer 2017 Power of She campaign, Athleta partnered with Prinsloo and the I AM WATER team to explore how women everywhere can support each other and the environment.
“When we found Hanli and I AM WATER, it was like an immediate love affair,” Shekar says. “She started her organization not just to help women and girls find their confidence in the water, but also to have sustainability for our planet.”
The organization’s mission is to “ignite a movement of blue minds across the planet, to facilitate physical and emotional connections to the aquatic environment, to build understanding of the interdependence of healthy humans and healthy oceans, and to influence behaviors to protect our global seas.” In her work with the Power of She campaign, Prinsloo recently returned to her native South Africa to help girls find confidence in the water with free-diving lessons and ocean exploration.
“Through this campaign, I was able to work with in leveraging my expertise to get more women in the water and overcome their fear,” Prinsloo says “We had so much fun working together in Cape Town, where the I AM WATER team and I got to show our personal take on the Power of She. long days exploring the ocean and seeing young girls have first-time experiences that will stay with them forever.”
These transformational experiences gave South African girls the chance to explore the water for the first time, despite the fact that they’d grown up mere steps from the ocean. The idea of building strength and confidence through physical activity — particularly outdoor activity — is a common theme in Athleta’s campaign.
“We know the power of being outdoors, and there’s certainly scientific research about how much calm it brings to you, and how much health and wellness is related to being physically outdoors and in nature,” Shekar says. She notes that Athleta’s team is universally passionate about getting outside and staying active, which has bonded them even further to the women whose stories are featured in the Power of She campaign.
This summer’s stories shine spotlights on 98-year-old Tao Porchon-Lynch, the world’s oldest yoga teacher; Club 21, a support system and yoga group for children with Down syndrome and their parents; Every Mother Counts, a running team that raises awareness and funds to provide maternal care to women worldwide; and Kate Parker, a photographer whose Strong Is the New Pretty campaign encourages young girls to ignore traditional female stereotypes and embrace their power. Like Prinsloo, each woman featured in the Power of She video series embraces the opportunity to uplift others by getting physical and celebrating nature.
Prinsloo notes Athleta’s refreshing approach to women’s fashion — and the way that perspective can have a bigger picture impact on womankind. “I think brands often feed on the male view of women, where we would want to look and dress in a way to attract men,” she explains. “This is an incredibly divisive tactic, as every other woman would be your competitor. The Power of She is the complete antithesis of this. We learn that we are stronger together, and that there is no need for competitive mindsets or judgement, which allows so much room for greater growth in confidence, self-esteem, and happiness.”
With its focus on the concepts of positivity, potential, community, and confidence, Shekar hopes that the Power of She campaign encourages women everyone to go after their goals, knowing that they’re never alone.
“It’s not just about one woman,” she says. “It’s really about the power of the collective.”
How does the Power of She campaign inspire you? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos and video via Athleta)