As our partnership with Reebok enters its fifth year (and marks over five million units of clothing) now’s a good time to look at what it means to Les Mills and Instructors, how it works, and what we can do better.
The partnership took our then-small apparel business and made it global, allowing us to get Les Mills branded gear into the hands (and on to the bodies) of Instructors around the world. A truly global apparel partner that reaches all the countries we do is quite hard to find, so Reebok has meant a huge step up for us.
For Reebok it has meant a direct connection to the group fitness market, which is part of their own business strategy to “own” the category. For us it has been an opportunity to create a dynamic “uniform” that helps our Instructors and Master Trainers stand out, and enhances our Tribe’s culture. Of course, we also get to offer 25 percent discounts for Instructors in the process!
Our objective is to build a great clothing business that we are all proud of and that Instructors love and want to wear. Working closely with Reebok, Vaughan Schwass and Rochelle Carter in our Enterprises team are driving the design process with Jackie Mills and Les Mills Jnr. Each range can take up to a year from conception to being on sale.
It’s an ambitious goal, and we are always learning. Reebok has allowed us to increase sales from 40,000 units per year to over a million, which is great news. But there is no denying we’ve had the odd stumble and wrong turn along the way. Staying ahead of this super-competitive category curve is massively challenging – but we are listening to your feedback and constantly working to bring top designers on board.
On the up-side, Reebok has made a serious contribution to the Les Mills brand. They put $12 million into our Les Mills Live events, and millions more into major brand building efforts such as our quarterly marketing shoots, 2017’s BODYPUMP 100 campaign, BODYATTACK 100 this year, and of course the Nina Dobrev partnership. Ultimately it’s all about growing awareness of Les Mills and getting more people into your classes, which is why so much energy goes into making the partnership work.
We’ll keep you updated on developments this year, including our focus on giving Instructors an early view of new ranges, making it even simpler to buy items, and keep stock levels up to avoid frustration.