Sam Zivot

How Lorna Jane Became The Talk Of The Active Fashion World


Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Sam Zivot, head of digital at Lorna Jane. This is American Fitfluence, how Lorna Jane became the talk of the fit fashion community. Thank you for joining me today. You can tweet me at any time @DoctorZ and I’ll be happy to answer any questions or comments.

Today we’re going to be talking about how Lorna Jane, a brand famous in Australia, yet unknown in the U.S.A., made its foray into the American market of fit fashion.

Pictured right here at center is our founder Lorna Jane. Yes, she is a real person, and she’s standing next to two of our favorite Los Angeles bloggers, showing right off the bat how closely we value those relationships when the head of a company is willing to take time to actually meet and greet bloggers herself.

I wanted to start today by giving you a bit of a background on the brand just so we’re all on the same page. Lorna Jane is an active wear company, and we aim to inspire women to live their best active live. We have 160 stores across the world, with 125 in Australia, 25 in the U.S. and a number of others throughout the world.

Now, we actually sell more active wear in Australia to women than Nike, Adidas and Lululemon combined. In fact, we sell a pair of our famous/infamous/dance pants every 37 seconds.

Now, over the past four years, we have built a very passionate social following in Australia. In fact, we have Australia’s largest and one of the most engaged fashion and retail communities.  What we don’t have in the U.S. is that 25 years of passion and advocacy.  Our challenge really is how do we catch up on those 25 years of raving fans and quickly build that passion coming over to the U.S.

This is what our brand looks like. We are not another yoga company. We are a lifestyle company who, as I mentioned, inspires women to live their best active life. This is done through our daily practice of move, nourish and believe. I nourish from the inside out. I believe that anything is possible.

As mentioned, our challenge here is really how do we carry 25 years of passion for a product in Australia to a new market in the U.S.A. where we are unknown and quite frankly have a very limited marketing budget. We always knew social media was going to be a big part of that recipe. It became evident that influencer strategy was going to be at the forefront of that mix. It is the great accelerant, and is really going to help catch us up quickly in terms of building that passion and raving fan base without 25 years to do it.

Today, I want to take you on a bit of a journey and show you some of the influencer marketing and tactics that we’ve used today in our foray into the American market, and how they’re helping us win the battle to get on our way to become America’s most fitfluential brand.

How did we start? We started really from square one. We started by looking for relationships. This is where the GroupHigh tool really played in well for us. It is essentially the equivalent of online dating. It allowed us to meet a lot of people very quickly and go on a first date with a lot of people very quickly.

We aimed initially to target and find bloggers in the fitness and fashion space within California.  This was incredibly successful for us. After two months we had blog posts featuring our brand and our product. This was phenomenal, but I think the greater benefit out of this was it really set the stage for a second date in that relationship, and allowed us the opportunity to work again with these bloggers when we need them or had a specific initiative for them to participate in.

Now, this slide here shows two of the more fitfluential bloggers or influencers that we work with. Pictured at top is Cassey Ho of Blogilates, who did a product review as well as a video review for us to her very large audience. On the bottom is the quite famous by primarily YouTube fame, Zuska or Zuzana Light, who initially did a product review for us and then did a blog post, and then eventually invited us into her studio to do some live video shoots with her and Lorna. On the right there is me pictured with Zuzana. A relationship may start with a simple email, but you can certainly progress it to the personal, which is the approach that we’ve been taking.

I guess, speaking about the personal experience, we really aim to give our bloggers the celebrity treatment. We started inviting people into our stores to have essentially a day of pampering. We set up a personal styling session for them, we told them about the brand, we made them feel at ease and really just gave them an amazing experience. Pictured here, Lindsay and Gina, two of our regular advocates on an organic basis, now that we’ve created that relationship, and frequent customers of Lorna Jane as well.

The next thing we really did, which is a flight aside from bloggers, is really embrace people at the local level. To do this, we used one of the great local channels out there, and that is Yelp. For those of you who use Yelp, you may be aware of what a Yelp elite member is. A Yelp elite is a person who interacts, leaves the most reviews, and is most active on the Yelp channel within their given city.

A city, depending on its size, may have 100, 200 or more Yelp elite as part of their community. For those of you who use Yelp, you know how powerful reviews are to bring people into the store. Knowing that, and wanting to improve our local Yelp presence, we invited 100 through the community manager, invited over 100 influential Yelp women to come out to an event with us that we titled a Morning of Movement, Nourish Believe.

We invited them to participate with us in a yoga session with a celebrity trainer. We have a meal for them. Yelp people love to review food, of course it was a healthy meal. Then concluded it with a Q and A with Lorna herself, and a shocking session. Not only was this the biggest sale day in U.S. history for the Santa Monica location, it also helped us achieve 40 four and five star review of the event, which really acts as a magnet for bringing future groups of customers into the store.

What this event really told us is these personal meet-ups, encounters, are very powerful. What we did is we created our own event. We invited 30 of our favorite bloggers from the Los Angeles area, most of which were people that we’d previously met and worked with through GroupHigh, and invited them out to a exclusive blogger event, and very much had an event in that same format.

We had a workout with Christine Bullock, who was L.A.’s hottest trainer, a lunch at True Food, and Q and A with Lorna, and an exclusive shopping event. The whole day, we engaged with them socially, getting them to do things like post sweaty selfies of themselves, go on scavenger hunts, pose with photos with Lorna, and try to build up interaction on our event hashtag as much as possible. That really helped drive some additional coverage and reviews from these bloggers really at no cost, aside from a few event related costs.

The next influencer point I want to chat about is the Lorna Jane Army. When we’re talking about the Lorna Jane Army, we’re really talking about our internal influencers, essentially our staff. Now, we have 25 going on 30 stores in the U.S. market. We really see building influence at the local level as key.

We actually give each of our individual store pages a social media presence, and really encourage them to build connection with their local communities through their social media. We have them sharing everything from fresh styles that come in to local community events, really just give more of themselves so customers really start to feel linked and interconnected with them. Having this Lorna Jane Army at our disposal to mobilize at any time is incredibly effective in building that influence and affinity at the local level.

The next stage for us was working with blogger networks. I personally have nothing but respect and admiration for these networks. They’re tremendous vehicles to work with that can really accelerate your influence or network. Advantages of them are absolutely speed, accountability, control of message. If you’re running a campaign, you can have 20 blogger posts go out at a given day and time all at once and build buzz around that. We work with several of the blogger networks in the fit space, one of them Fitfluential, the other one Fit Approach. I’ll briefly share some of the results of a recent campaign with Fit Approach.

We ran a challenge called the move, nourish, believe blogger challenge, where initially we asked 15 bloggers to participate in daily social media challenges based on the themes of move, nourish and believe, with a wrap-up post at the end of each week. We initially asked 15 bloggers, but at the end of it, we built up so much momentum that we actually generated a ton of blog posts as a result of this challenge.

In addition to that, we had over 2,500 Instagram images who participated in this challenged. Really delivered a tremendous social impact for us at a relatively minimal cost, allowed us control over the message, yet it still appears very organic, very authentic, and people maintain their character authenticity.

At the end of every campaign we run with these influences, we like to conclude it with a Twitter chat. What this means is we gather hundreds of women in one place at one time and get them to talk about a topic of our interest, be it fitness or fashion or how to be happy. On four separate occasions, running these campaigns, we’ve managed to rank in the top topics on Twitter, just by all getting together at once and creating a lot of buzz. This is something that companies are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for, yet we’re able to do it by the mass accumulation of inspiring women through these networks.

Just to show you how we’re progressing in this space, both spikes there represent our last three Twitter chats. You can see that on each progressive occasion, we’ve got more and more buzz built, and more and more social media mentions. I think what is also interesting is those between bits, between the spikes, have also picked up substantially. Those Twitter chats have really helped spike that daily organic conversation.

Is this really working? Of course we have to bring it back to some degree of measurement. Here’s a depiction of the share of social media conversation among our competitive set, Lululemon leading the way, primarily based on their large Twitter following. This is a Radian6 graph, which tends to bias Twitter. Lorna Jane standing in there at a sold 20 percent, beating out very established brands in this market already. Certainly we feel we can continue to climb and eclipse Lululemon in the near future.

Here is a depiction of the share of conversation coming from each country, looking at United States versus Australia. What is quite amazing is, and in engaging with these bloggers we’re seeing now over 80 percent of our social media activity occur in the United States, a market which we’ve previously had no presence or knowledge.

Going along with the quantitative graph, some great comments from people across the blogosphere, people loving the product, loving the lifestyle.

Now, is there an example of a dollar figure or direct measurement based on a blogger post? Well, here is an example from Fit Sugar. We simply sent them a diary. They decided to blog post about it. This post actually ended up generating five percent of our total web traffic from January to March, and 2.5 percent of total sales, just from one single blog post from a powerful influencer. You can imagine if you get a lot of powerful people on board, just how amazing the result can be.

I’d like to conclude with a photograph of Jen Seltzer, an Instagram star who has gone from zero to 3 million followers within the fitfluential space in a very short amount of time. Her fame can largely be attributed to her now infamous rear end, which on average, or at the top range, can generate up to 200,000 likes on a single post. Lorna Jane hopes that one day that we can be as fitfluential as Jen Seltzer’s behind.

Well, I will leave you on that note. Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you found that insightful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to tweet me at @doctorz. Thanks again, and have a fabulous rest of your day.