If you thought $90 was a lot to ask for, try paying 1000 times that for an out of stock style of yoga pants, and that’s not even for a fresh pair. Welcome to the land of Lululemon resale. According to Racked, lulu shoppers will go out of their way, and way beyond their budgets to score the no-longer-available yoga pants, tank tops or running shorts, spending as much as $800 to $1000 for that status symbol logo.
If you’re thinking this is crazy, you’re not alone. But it’s a real thing. People actually do spend insane amounts of money to snag “rare” items. According to the blogger at Lululemon Expert (a lulu super fan site), these hardcore lulu fans “obsessively study and monitor past and current trends” and see their collection as “wearable art.”
And, really, this couldn’t have been a better or more necessary feel-good story for the public image-ailing Lululemon right now if they had gone ahead and planted the whole thing themselves (see: See-through pants, Chip Wilson, a variety of poorly thought out marketing campaigns). Consumers can’t buy the clothes fast enough they have to go to eBay or the black market to satisfy their must-have fashion desires? (See, investors? Everyone still loves lulu!)
And people still do. These are your hardcore, never say die, intensely loyal fans. They’re also people looking to make a decent profit buying and reselling these coveted clothes, better known as “eBay flippers.” One flipper, Marie, shared her good flipping fortune with Racked.
“My goal is to make back 50 percent—that’s my magic number,” she says. “If I pay $50 for an item, I’ll try to get $100. That’s a general markup, but I also research the products to see what they are going for on eBay and try to come close to it. The summer before my husband and I took our trip to Europe, I was making a $70 to $100 profit off every item.”
There are also over 100 private facebook groups (one has over 22,000 members) where lulu shoppers can buy and sell their wares. But why are they in such demand to begin with? It’s because Lululemon is super slick when it comes with the amount of a particular style they actually manufacturer and carry in stores. Scarcity is the name of the game. So if you missed out on something, you’re pretty much out of luck. Unless you dig on eBay.
But Lulu is sort of lukewarm on the whole resale thing. According to their FAQ, their policy states, “We completely recognize that once someone purchases our product they can do what they want with it. We do not, however, support those who acquire large volumes of our product to resell at an elevated price point.” If you remember, they’ve been known to ban customers who’ve resold their clothing.
This reselling business is not all without its risks and investments (or debts). eBay flipper, ez2curgr8, explains:
“If people don’t like my prices, I say, ‘Go ahead and invest your own $100,000 in this!'” she laughs. “If I’m buying a few jackets at $200, that’s $1,000 tied up right there. Every time I buy something, I’m at risk that it might not sell and might not ever be popular.”
Bottom line, reselling lulu stuff is an entire business in and of itself, benefitting and piggybacking on the popularity of yoga, that Lululemon piggybacked on, and some would argue significantly propagated, over the past decade. If you have any Lululemon clothes in your closet you could be sitting on a gold mine. Cha-ching.