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Why This Buzzy Athleisure Brand Is Getting Into Skincare

why-this-buzzy-athleisure-brand-is-getting-into-skincare

Alo Yoga is betting that consumers will want to buy leggings and moisturizer from the same brand.

The direct-to-consumer brand known for its athletic wear is expanding its product portfolio with the launch of Alo Glow System, a skincare line. It is debuting with seven products, starting with the essentials to any skincare regimen: cleanser, serum, moisturizer, body spray, body wash, body lotion and body oil.

At first blush, the move might seem unexpected for Alo—its product lineup is almost entirely activewear or accessories directly related to yoga practice, like mats or blocks. But the move is more in line with thinking about Alo as a wellness brand, rather than just an athletic one, according to Danny Harris, Alo Yoga’s co-founder and CEO.

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“We’re big believers in actually that what you put on your body is as or more important than what you put in your body,” said Harris. “If we were like a conventional athletic company, you would probably into more conventional sports accessory products. But we’re more so about mindfulness and being present. A natural progression for us, I believe, is in the beauty space.”

Alo, which was founded in 2007, has already expanded a bit beyond its core products further into the wellness side of things in the past. For example, its website offers a small selection of mala meditation beads. But the launch of the Glow System represents an entirely new category for the brand. (After all, the beads are still wearable.)

It’s an apt moment for Alo’s expansion, however, considering the fact that it’s been a good year to be in the business of making comfortable clothes. When stay-at-home orders first went into place in March, cozy garments like leggings and sweatshirts went from around-the-house wear to all-the-time wear. And Alo Yoga is one of the brands that has benefitted from that shift. Alo has seen a 123% increase in total revenue since 2019; in digital, its business has quadrupled year-over-year. 

The company’s development paved the way for it to emerge well-equipped for this moment. That positioning has gone beyond Alo’s array of comfortable clothing: In 2017, it acquired Cody, a yoga class streaming platform, and rebranded it as Alo Moves. So when gyms shuttered at the start of the pandemic, Alo found itself well-positioned to take advantage of that shift in demand. Today, subscriptions to Alo Moves are up sevenfold year-over-year.

Leaving aside Alo’s successes in adapting to the pressures of the past few months, it’s worth noting that the Glow System was in the works long before the pandemic took hold—two years, in fact, according to Harris. The product came out of an internal team that was premised on going out to find the right ingredients for healthy skin. The process ultimately lead the team to zero in on antioxidants.

The expansion into skincare isn’t intended to silo the two sides of the business, but rather to integrate them, Harris said. From a brand identity standpoint, showing moisturizer and a pair of leggings side-by-side in marketing materials completes a broader image of what Alo is all about.

“When we think of the Alo brand, we think of it as like a badge of wellness and mindfulness and saying, ‘This alternative lifestyle is important to me,’” he said. “And it includes many things, beauty as well yoga.”

Alo is also a brand that’s built up a community online. In addition to Alo Moves, 90% of its sales come from digital channels. To be sure, its social media presence is robust, with 2.8 million followers on Instagram, a particularly high figure for a brand of its size. To put that number in perspective, athleisure giant Lululemon has 3.4 million followers and nearly 500 stores. Alo only has nine brick-and-mortar storefronts. Harris believes the community is engaged enough with the brand that they’ll follow Alo wherever it leads, whether it’s a new yoga-centric product, or skincare.

What do you think?

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