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Athleta, Mantra Yoga + Health; Their Target Markets

Wednesday, April 09, 2014



It is EASY to feel that Athleta's clothing is marketed to a
certain class of women. I have practiced yoga regularly for 7
years, am a perennial advanced beginner. AANNDD I am a middle-aged
pushing-60 woman, who has been loving Athleta's perceived-by-me
age-diversity until now ...

Part of being young(er) is knowing you have a wide-open window to
play around inside and outside of ... for just about everything: jobs, hireability, household situations, fashion, exercise, health maintenance ... everything!

Two words: TIMES SQUARE

Did not think I might be in the same position again same time this year ... but I was very recently laid off and the job market is not so good for me ...

I am referring to the Solstice Celebration that takes place June 21, 2014 (this year it's a SATURDAY, not a workday in the kind of jobs I've held, for added irony at its best!) at
the summer Solstice in Times Square, New York City. Yoga classes (no pilates, no bootcamp, no calisthenics/cardio classes despite the commercialized yoga "boom" having finally passed) of 4,000 strong apiece - right in the middle of Times Square, all day from right after dawn and into the darkness of evening ...

I went last year only because, very temporarily, my work hours had
been halved (due to business conditions; and totally decreed by my
then-boss) - just for a two week period... ! I'd had THAT much of a
daily commute to my otherwise full time job for nearly 6 years; and
this solstice celebration takes place on a workday ...

My issue may be Athleta, one of the sponsors ...

Finally seeing the new flagship Athleta store at Flatiron, NYC is
also seeming to be just a slightly friendlier rendition of the Lululemon Athletica just down the street ...

The other Athleta stores in this city are just not like that ... but that is one reason why Lululemon suddenly dropped like a rock from the New York City yoga lexicon (amongst women into yoga
fashion).

I feel the same way about Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, published by the same people who publish Origin magazine, and readily available at Whole Foods Market, where I'd bought some wonderful dark blonde K cups for my coffee (I open one up and pour out its perfectly pre-measured contents into my Freiling pour-over filter. Magic!) and pitifully few other things ...

I'd just left the magazine on the Whole Foods rack. Kicking myself that I had not seen earlier print-only issues, when they may have been first feeling their way ... and could now offer no fairer assessment.

Mantra magazine is a little too rich for my blood (print version) ... finally had held a copy in my hot little hands ...

It is probably great in a locality that does not have so many freebie LOHAS (lifestyle of health and sustainability) publications ... New York City has green, eco-friendly, alternative, health-conscious, yoga-related FREE and FREQUENT publications and catalogues up the ying-yang!! Even a Queens-only such publication. In addition to having sections in various Brooklyn-only/mostly freebie and widely available print publications ....

It was advertisement after advertisement for commercialized yoga. A case history or two thrown in ...

No hints or suggestions for the primarily home yoga practitioner. All right, no retreat advertisements either. But lack of retreat advertisements still does not make a downmarket mag that the vast majority could relate to, except in their dreams.

Mantra magazine has comments/capsules and website links from yoga "personalities" (i.e., up and coming but mostly established "yoga teachers")

I'm still very much entrenched in commercialized yoga, if I could shell out for J. Brown's video ($25 U.S.D.) the other week ... so you could imagine how that magazine must hit me.

A frequent yoga practitioner just to an expensive video (amongst assorted do-it-yourself sequences as well) is NOT the same as this possible target Market:

This Mantra magazine seems definitely for the upscale/hip, live-class attendee-cum-hipster/musician type ... or someone with a large coffee table (REAL suburbs, not where I live ...)

OMG, did I say hipster twice?

Origin for the win ... this Mantra may not last ... No wonder Yoga
Journal still seems to be going strong. Not the threat to Yoga
Journal that Mantra (and its publisher, Maranda Pleasant) had promised it to be ... at least ORIGIN is a LOT prettier, photographically, and it purports to have some social
consciousness, which appeals to highly educated-if-working-poor me ... in the exact same way that UTNE Reader does.

One of the reasons I conflate both Mantra Magazine AND Athleta, in my mind is that in contrast to both Yoga Journal and Lululemon, they are FEMINIST and much more BODY-DIVERSITY/ETHNIC DIVERSITY-accepting/promoting than what I am comparing them to. That's an incontrovertible fact. Big FAIL for the do-it-yourself yoga practice market. Come ON, I am the creator of my OWN (not yet commercial in this lifetime) yoga system for home practice.

You see, though. Everybody wants to just cater to an economic elite in an eroding market ... That's the Next Big Thing.

I think the love affair is just about over between me and the Athleta store. Or, at least "we" remain "just friends—no benefits" ...
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