An activewear brand with a cult following in Australia is planning a massive global expansion in the U.S., Asia and Europe.
Lorna Jane is planning to nearly double its U.S. stores within the next six months, bringing the total number to 50, while expanding to at least a half dozen new countries including the U.K., France, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates, co-founder Lorna Jane Clarkson told Business Insider in an interview.
The company has the third largest sportswear market share in Australia behind Nike and Adidas, according to Euromonitor, and it posted a 52% profit growth last year to $US19.2 million, The Courier Mail reports.
Revenues totaled $US138 million, representing a 30% jump from the previous year, while same-store sales in Australia rose 10.9%, according to the Mail.
The company sells fashionable leggings, sweatpants, t-shirts, sports bras, and other fitness apparel exclusively to women at an average price point of $US75.
“We are the Lululemon of Australia,” Clarkson says earnestly. “But we sell three times more activewear per capita and we’ve been around a lot longer than them. We were just in a corner of Australia for a long time and we weren’t shouting it to the world. That is about to change.”
Clarkson is Lorna Jane’s chief creative officer and the face of the company. She has published two books — “Move, Nourish, Believe” and “More Of The Fit Woman’s Secrets” — about her life experiences, workout routines and favourite recipes.
She founded the company 25 years ago when she was working as a fitness instructor and hand-sewing her own clothes. Her clients began asking her to make clothes for them, and she eventually decided to start designing and sewing clothes full time. That’s when Lorna Jane, the brand, was born.
Clarkson still considers herself first and foremost a fashion designer. That’s part of the reason why her company offers 70 to 100 new styles monthly.
“This brand is my personality and everything about it is me,” Clarkson said.
Lorna Jane’s biggest brick-and-mortar presence is in Australia, where it has 134 stores. In addition to selling clothes, the company also publishes a 135-page monthly magazine on healthy living in Australia and holds an unofficial international holiday every year inspiring women to get active. The company is currently lobbying the Australian government to begin recognising the event as a national holiday.
In the U.S., Lorna Jane has 27 stores, which are all located in California. Over the next four months, the company will be expanding to Arizona, Texas, Washington and Nevada.
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