🤼 The athleisure wars - The Hustle
The Hustle

🤼 The athleisure wars

If you’ve been to IKEA, the thought of sleeping in the store may have crossed your mind. Interestingly enough, on Wednesday, a group of IKEA employees in Denmark actually did spend the night, watching TV on the sofas and then sleeping on the beds, after a blizzard trapped them inside.

(Quick reminder: We’re giving away $7k+ in prizes to 10 readers. More details below.)

Today’s rundown:

  • Battle of the bougie: Peloton vs. Lululemon, explained.
  • Black Friday chart: Why it was bigger than the numbers suggest.
  • Pricing psychology: The case for Apple’s $19 polishing cloth.
  • Around the web: The 1st text message, a 111-year library rental, and more wild internet stuff.

Let’s do it.

The big idea

Peloton vs. Lululemon, explained

Two of the hottest fitness companies around are suing each other over strappy sports bras and leggings. Why?

The backstory

At-home fitness company Peloton has long offered branded activewear through partnerships with companies including Nike and Fila.

Its deal with athleisure pioneer Lululemon began in 2016, per Retail Dive. Peloton bought Lululemon products wholesale, had a printer slap on Peloton branding, then sold the clothes to its dedicated fanbase.

According to Peloton’s claim, this process took ~1 year, which Peloton deemed “burdensome.” So, when its deal with Lululemon ended in September, Peloton launched its own line.

Lululemon sent a cease-and-desist letter and filed a lawsuit this week.

The ‘trade dress’ beef

Lululemon claims 4 bras and 1 pair of leggings are in violation of its patents, while another pair violates its trade dress.

Peloton, which sued back, argues that:

1. They’re not that similar.
2. Lululemon’s patents aren’t distinct enough to be valid. Some brands, including Sweaty Betty, have similar designs that predate Lululemon’s patents.

BTW, what’s “trade dress?” A design or shape element that would identify a product’s maker. As an example, The Fashion Law uses the design of the Hermès Birkin bag.

Lululemon claims Peloton’s One Luxe Tight (a Nike collab) violates its Align pant’s trade dress, but would have to show that the average consumer would be confused by the 2 products.

That could be tricky because they basically look like any other leggings — except for their logos, which are placed in different spots.

The crossover

The lawsuits come at a time when the 2 companies aren’t staying in their lanes.

Peloton’s hawking clothes and Lululemon bought fitness tech company Mirror for $500m in 2020. Like Peloton, Mirror offers live and pre-recorded at-home workouts.

But what we want to know is, do people without Pelotons even buy Peloton-branded workout gear? And if so, is it… to make people think they have a Corvette Peloton?


Underwear D2C Parade opened an in-person store in New York replete with a circus tent and a claw machine full of products. #ecommerce-retail

Some have claimed that wind turbine blades can’t be recycled. It turns out they can… except it’s rarely done. #clean-energy

Quad power: Tesla is making an electric 4-wheeled bike for kids. It’ll retail for $1.9k. #emerging-tech

Qualcomm’s new phone’s camera is always on and looking for you, allowing users to unlock it by looking at it. Cool, or creepy? #privacy

Reverse course: Facebook once banned most crypto companies from advertising on its platform. Now, it’s changed its mind. #fintech-crypto

Five textbook publishers are suing Shopify, claiming the platform is liable for “textbook pirates” who use it to sell unauthorized school materials. #big-tech

MFM extra: The Hustle founder Sam Parr retired at 31 with $20m. Here’s how. #mfm

Gray Friday

Why the Black Friday numbers were a little bit gray

While there was a 1.4% dip in Cyber Monday sales, don’t be fooled — sales this season are through the roof.

From Nov. 1 through Cyber Monday, US consumers spent $109.8B online, up 11.9% from 2020’s levels, with the trend expected to keep pace through year-end.

It’s the result of a longer shopping period in which companies like Amazon started touting deals in October, and shoppers worried about things going out of stock, well, stocked up early.

Can’t blame ’em — out-of-stock messages across online stores were up 169% from pre-pandemic levels.

Apple Shenanigans

Apple sells a $19 polishing cloth. The price point actually makes sense

In October, Apple announced it was selling a $19 polishing cloth and the internet went absolutely crazy… with jokes.

“Oh look, crazy Apple selling overpriced stuff that its captive loyal customers will still buy” was the popular sentiment.

As it turns out, the $19 price point makes a lot of sense…

… based on Apple’s pricing strategy

According to the Wall Street Journal, every Apple product has a starting price that ends with the number “9.” Here’s a quick spot check:

  • iPhone 13 Pro: $999
  • iMac 27”: $1,799
  • 3rd gen AirPods: $179

The logic behind this pricing is known as charm pricing, which “uses odd numbers — often nines — to demonstrate perceived value to shoppers and convince them to buy” (think about it: $4.99 feels a lot cheaper than $5).

So, Apple needs to price its polishing cloth with a ‘9’

But it also has to signal its premium position in the market. For this reason, a $9 polishing cloth is too low a price because you can find comparable single-digit options on Amazon.

The next “9” price is $19, and it’s clear that Apple believes this is the market-clearing price for its upscale clientele. In addition to the cloth, the iPhone maker sells many commodity accessories at $19, per WSJ.

  • Earbuds
  • Power bars
  • USB-C cables

Earlier this week, Elon Musk poked fun at Apple’s $19 cloth by selling a limited edition Tesla “Cyberwhistle” for $50. If he was following Apple closely, he should have priced it at $49.


📱 On this day: In 1992, engineer Neil Papworth sent the 1st text message from his computer to the Vodaphone network to a friend’s phone. It read, “Merry Christmas.”

📕 Wait, what: After 111 years, an Idaho library got its copy of “New Chronicles of Rebecca” by Kate Douglas Wiggin back. It was returned anonymously and in good condition.

🤨 That’s interesting: The Atlantic explores the Breakaway Movement, an aspirational, Instagram-fueled business that turned out to be… an MLM selling fancy water machines, sort of?

⏱ Useful: FollowUpThen is a tool you can use to schedule follow-up emails.

🌲 How to: Did you know that you can make syrup from a spruce tree?

🥰 Chill out: NPR’s Joy Generator offers short breaks that boost happiness. Click to be taken to a random, blissful experience.


(A roundup of our best reads from the last couple weeks…)

💃🏽 Feature story: The economics of Broadway shows

🇹🇭 How Thailand is betting on crypto to spur tourism

🤖 Will the ‘Grinch bots’ ruin Christmas?

🚔 Visual explainer: Why thieves love to steal catalytic converters

📦 Why retailers are telling customers to keep returned items

Shower Thoughts
  1. “Microwave doors all seem to open from the same side.”
  2. “Old-timey Wild West saloons seem cool until you realize all the drinks are warm.”
  3. “Millions of people wake up at the exact same second from using their cellphone as an alarm clock.”
  4. “Your hand size determines your sign language font size.”
  5. “Humans are the only animals that have a common experience of burning their tongues.”
via Reddit

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