Lifestyle brand at home in Whistler
When Paule Labrecque moved from Montreal to Whistler this past autumn, she wasn’t travelling light. She was bringing the Lolë brand and with that came a vibrant collection of women’s activewear to create a new retail space on the Village Stroll.
When stepping her snow boots into the resort retail marketplace Labrecque realized that to make a name for her new store, she needed to build a sense of community around the Lolë brand. Long before her store doors opened, Labrecque set out to introduce those living in the resort to the lifestyle and values behind the products.
Finding common ground
Lolë provides technical activewear to encourage wellness for women by leading active, engaged lives. An ambassador program creates partnerships with wellness professionals to promote the brand within their community. Labrecque also felt it was important to reach local, active, health-conscious women by partnering with brands who share common values and like minded customers.
She hosted a Lolë week at TaG Cycling where those getting their sweat on were treated to Lolë giveaways and contests. Before the Lolë retail space opened Labrecque connected with neighbour businesses to host a Lolë merchandise display at West Coast Float with healthy samples from the Naked Spout.
Labrecque introduced her brand to the business community sponsoring the Whistler Chamber’s Holiday Power Lunch where Lolë led a yoga break with the help of Yogacara, another neighbouring business. The partnership with Yogacara will power up in the New Year offering free yoga sessions in the Lolë Store.
Finding partners complimentary to their brand and establishing strong ties to neighbouring businesses was key to creating common ground in a new community and continues to be a priority for Labrecque
“It’s important to know the businesses around you well,” she said. “It’s rewarding to work together and even if they are a competitor it’s good to grow with them rather than against them.”
Sharing experiences and getting social
Labrecque believes today’s customers are looking for more than just a product. The customer relationship magic seems to spark when they offer an experience where the product compliments the lifestyle and values of the customer. It’s with this in mind that Labreque focuses on creating experiences first, then offering a product to support that lifestyle.
To encourage women to be active and involved in their communities the store has a meet-up program offering free fitness sessions and special events with wellness ambassadors.
Their social media reflects the same spirit. You won’t find a feed filled with product shots. You’ll find a reflection of the lifestyle Lolë wants to share.
“On social media we are not just showing a product, we are sharing experiences. Our social (media) is a community as well,” explained Labrecque, who also manages their local Lolë accounts and regularly shares lifestyle tips with followers.
A sense of community in store
The layout of the atelier is designed around the concept of a social space, like a living room. The goal is to create a community space where people gather to discuss, share and exchange. Transactions and interactions take place around a large wooden table with iPads for customers to view meet-up schedules, engage on social media, browse the online store and more.
Store staff offers the most personal brand touch point. The team is educated with expert product knowledge and encouraged to live the brand lifestyle to create a genuine customer experience.
“We instill our core values amongst our team so staff can share their personal style when selling Lolë. We ask (ourselves), ‘How do you live out loud every day?’ and this enables us to explain the value and performance behind the products,” said Labrecque.
“When you connect to the brand it’s easy for you to understand and easy to sell.”
Paule Labrecque on bringing a brand to a new community
“You don’t just open your doors, you build your brand in the community first.”
Link to Whistler Question article: http://ow.ly/VMn1Z