With dozens of feature films and a Golden Globe under her belt, Kate Hudson long ago proved herself as an actress. Like her mother, Goldie Hawn, the actress isn’t one to rest on her laurels. Despite also being a busy mother of two, Kate Hudson helped to launch the “athleisure” fashion line, Fabletics, in 2013. Initially little more than an idea, what began as a small startup has already blossomed into a wildly successful operation. Without question, the brand owes much of its success to its co-founder, who has assumed a direct and personal role in its operation from day one.
It’s easy to assume that any fashion line that is developed by a Hollywood actress is little more than a scheme to get people to part with their hard-earned cash. All too often, famous names are attached to business ventures strictly for marketing purposes. The same can’t be said about Fabletics, however. When she helped to found the company in 2013, Kate Hudson wasn’t looking to make even more money. Rather, she was seizing an incredible opportunity: to provide women with attractive, comfortable, high-quality workout clothes that seamlessly transition to everyday wear. Best of all, she knew that these clothes needed to be accessible to women of all sizes, and she and Fabletics are making good on that promise.
Fabletics is more than just a line of casual athletic wear for women. It is also supported by a unique membership model that helps to deliver an even more personalized experience for customers. As VIP members of Fabletics, customers enjoy dramatic discounts on the types of athletic wear that typically cost a small fortune. At long last, active women can afford to buy quality workout clothes on a regular basis, ensuring that they always have something comfortable and stylish to slip into for the gym or for just hanging out.
Not surprisingly, Fabletics’ membership model raised a few eyebrows when the company hit the scene in 2013. Many did not immediately accept the idea of having to be a member in order to purchase clothes from the online retailer. However, upon closer inspection, women who regularly buy clothes like these can see what an amazing opportunity this is. In exchange for a membership (which is free – cost is only incurred upon receipt of product), they enjoy deep discounts on quality clothing that is backed up by Kate Hudson and countless active women who have already put the clothes to the test.
Despite a highly competitive market, Fabletics has blown away all predictions. Less than four years since it was founded, Fabletics has 18 retail stores and more than 1.2 million monthly members across eight countries. Most recently, the company reported a revenue run rate of $250 million, and its sales skyrocketed by 43 percent in 2016. This upward trend is expected to not only continue but to intensify, as Fabletics moves into the plus-size clothing arena and brings its stylish, affordable athleisure line to women of all shapes and sizes.
Fabletics’ parent company, TechStyle Fashion Group, is valued at more than $1 billion. That’s no surprise given the high demand for athletic wear in the U.S. Indeed, customers in this country spent more than $44 billion on active wear in 2016 alone. By the year 2020, that figure is expected to leap to more than $83 billion. With Fabletics, the company has taken a tech-centric approach that is driven by big data. Customers’ preferences are continually noted, and the offerings and prices are adjusted accordingly. As a result, regardless of a person’s particular situation, they can log in to Fabletics and find items that are right for their needs and their budget.
How did a Hollywood actress with a celebrity pedigree help to drive an active wear startup to such heights of success? She made it happen by doing things differently. First, unlike so many celebrities who get involved in business ventures, Hudson has had a hands-on role in the company’s operations since its inception. Every week, the actress sits down and looks at sales figures and other data. She keeps tabs on what’s moving and what isn’t, and she strives to bring new offerings to the line every month.
Hudson also points to her mother, Goldie Hawn, as inspiration for her business savvy. She has seen the good that her mom has done through her organization, the Hawn Foundation, which teaches mindfulness to children. By starting a successful company, Hudson hopes to continue her mother’s legacy and to keep supporting important causes like these. Already, MindUp, which is funded by the Hawn Foundation, has reached more than 1 million kids.
Perhaps the biggest secret of Hudson’s Fabletics success, however, lies in her ability to seize marketing opportunities that actually make a difference in women’s lives. For example, the women’s active wear sector is woefully lacking in larger sizes. All too often, these brands strictly cater to women who fit in “standard” sizes. Fabletics is helping to change that by offering clothes in sizes XXS through 3X. Rather than simply being larger versions of the smaller clothes, the plus-size offerings are designed to suit women’s bodies.
Kate Hudson and Fabletics also rely considerably on big data, and they are proving why it is the way of the future. Upon signing up for an account, customers are given a brief quiz. Based on their answers, they are provided with customized offerings and a personalized shopping experience. Big data also allows the company to control inventory more effectively by continually tracking what is moving, what isn’t and how people are responding to various items.
Finally, the best piece of advice that Kate Hudson has for anyone who wants to succeed is simple enough: Believe in yourself. Without question, plenty of folks told Hudson that she should stick to acting rather than start a company. However, the actress believed in herself and knew that with her star power, she could help to develop a line of active wear that everyday women could actually wear and afford. It will be interesting to see where her business ventures take her next.