Activewear brand Vuori has spent 2022 growing beyond its California roots, spreading the breezy SoCal lifestyle across the U.S. and around the world.
On the heels of receiving a massive $400 million investment and $4 billion valuation from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 late last year, the company embarked on a global marketing push as it aims to connect with consumers both locally and abroad.
Vuori, which is based in California, has grown exponentially since its 2015 launch, with its commitment to sustainability and Southern California aesthetic helping it compete in the saturated sportswear market. Many activewear brands focus on their apparel’s ability to withstand intense athletic performance, often demonstrated by a roster of professional athletes, but Vuori takes a different approach.
It emphasizes its “athleisure” identity, showcasing how its clothing can smoothly transition from cardio to everyday activities such as chores or errands, said Cristina Fernández, managing director and senior research analyst at Telsey Advisory Group. That point of differentiation has helped the startup brand gain market share against established rivals including Lululemon and Nike.
While Vuori executives declined to specify sales numbers, Fernández estimates that Vuori’s sales soared from roughly $10 million in 2017 to $469 million in 2021.
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The brand has largely focused its 2022 efforts on expanding into new markets, both by introducing e-commerce opportunities in new countries such as China and Mexico and building a dozen new brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S., along with its first international store in the U.K. Vuori has revamped its marketing strategy accordingly, putting community at the core, said Kelly Loreto, Vuori’s senior director of brand marketing.
Vuori's community-building strategy is multifaceted, Loreto said, simultaneously aiming to create culturally relevant messaging in international markets; establishing real-life connections with consumers in U.S. cities where Vuori opened new stores, including New York and Chicago; and embracing social media—specifically TikTok—to flesh out the brand’s identity.
Over the past year, as Vuori brought online shopping to 12 global markets, the company partnered with local agencies in those countries to assist in aligning Vuori’s marketing strategy with the culture of each location, said Vuori’s Chief Marketing Officer Nikki Larson Sakelliou. In China, for example, an agency connected Vuori with two influencers on Douyin, China’s TikTok equivalent, to help promote the brand’s products, she said. The company has also established wholesale partnerships with luxury retailers internationally, such as Selfridges in the U.K. and Ireland’s Brown Thomas.