Inclusivity Is Not Optional, It’s a Responsibility, Says Kate Hudson

by Aria Darcella
Kate Hudson

When Kate Hudson announced she was starting an athletic apparel brand, all eyes were on the Academy Award–nominated actress. Since launching Fabletics in 2013, her line has opened 25 retail stores across the U.S., boasts more than 1.2 million VIP members worldwide, and generated sales of $300 million in annual revenue. The Daily caught up with the new queen of athleisure to find out how she plans on growing the brand, and the secret sauce behind her success.

What inspired the launch of Fabletics? What was the initial concept?
There was a big hole in the market. The world of athleticwear was all grays and blacks — very monochromatic. We wanted to come in and provide athleticwear that has the technology that you could perform in, but that was cute, fashionable, and affordable. I partnered with these guys over at TechStyle, who were the perfect partners because we were able to get a quality product to the consumer at an amazing price. We really were at the beginning of the whole athleisure explosion. We came in with lots of color, and women really responded to it. Here we are, five years later, with a big company, and it just gets better and better, and we have more and more fun.

Fabletics offers sizes from XXS to 3XL. Why is inclusivity so important to you?
It’s just a responsibility to a brand to be as inclusive as we can. Our entire foundation is based on inclusivity, living your best life, living your healthiest life, being as active as you can be, being supportive, and connecting with people in communities. It wouldn’t make sense for our company to not include everybody. It’s the same reason why I partnered with Weight Watchers — people are always looking for a place where everybody’s welcome. It’s a passionate world. Anybody who’s in the wellness space who is really about healthy and active living, it’s a really inspiring space to be in because there’s a purpose to what your goals are. That has to include everybody.

(Fabletics)

Tell us about teaming up with your co-CEOs, Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler.
I work closely with Adam. He is a rock star of a partner. Adam really has been wonderful. We have a great time together. He’s the president over at Fabletics and also a partner in the overall company, TechStyle, but Adam really understands the numbers. He’s one of those partners who allows for a real understanding of bringing people in, listening to brand messaging, and taking risks without ever putting ourselves in any danger.

What are some of those risks?
We want to try new things because we want to see what works and what resonates with girls. At the same time, because of our technology, we’re able to really understand what girls want, so we create less waste. That’s really important to us — that we’re not putting all this waste out into the world. We know that the things that we’re going to make are actually going to be worn and used.

After only a year in business, Fabletics launched in Europe. Why do you think the brand was so successful so quickly?
It’s a number of things. It’s luck. It’s talent. It’s innovative thinking, and it’s being at the right place at the right time. And being on top of the white space. But I think that the special sauce is authenticity. You can come in and be like, there’s nothing like this out there that hopefully will be a successful model or a successful business, and it won’t hit because it doesn’t come from an honest place. You have to be super authentic. Right now, I’m literally head-to-toe in my own clothes. Nobody’s watching me. I’m not looking to post anything. It’s just how I live. People feel that, they know that, and then they trust it. If you can make a good product and they know you’re striving to make the product the best it can be, then they continue to trust you.

Who are your most trusted sounding boards?
My partner [Danny Fujikawa], my mom [Goldie Hawn], and Ollie, my brother. Family!

How big is the brand these days, and how do you hope to grow it in 2019 and beyond?
We have 25 stores across the U.S. We’re starting to do pop-ups. We’re in 12 different countries, and we’re expanding to many more. We’re opening a lot more stores in the next two and a half years. We really hit some big numbers, and we’re always striving to make the best product, and keep growing and growing. I’m so grateful that girls love it, and they’re so loyal. We really have an incredibly loyal membership community.

How has the customer responded to your membership concept?
It took a second for people to understand what it was, but now that they’re getting it, they love it. It keeps customers engaged, and it makes creating original content fun. We have over a million-and-a-half members.

Can customers buy retail at the stores?
Yes, and you can use your VIP membership as well.

What’s the most challenging part of running your own brand?
It’s nonstop. You’re always going. I’m really lucky, because I’m not doing the heavy lifting. I’ve got the most amazing team. Our CMO, the president of the company, our design team… everyone works so hard. Sometimes I come in to make sure certain things are happening a certain way, but everyone’s so wonderful.

What’s your favorite part of your fashion job?
The community. I set out to do something that would be inspiring to others, and then, of course, what ends up happening is that they become inspirational to me. I like to connect with people, period.

What’s your favorite workout these days?
I’m a Pilates diehard! I love dance workouts as well. The one thing I want to try is Barry’s Bootcamp. I have a friend who loves Barry. If I can’t get out, I have a Peloton. I almost wish I could do a sweepstakes of Peloton every year, because it’s just such an amazing thing when it’s in your home. Talk about no excuses!

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