When Kate Hudson created her athletic apparel brand Fabletics in 2013, she aimed to approach online fashion retail in a totally new way. In the four years that the company has been around, Hudson has proven to the world that she’s more than just another movie star capitalizing on a trend.


The “athleisure” trend caught Hudson’s attention long before she created the brand. The trend that gives women permission to wear comfy athletic gear like leggings and sweatpants outside of the gym appealed to her. Soon, Hudson, a fitness and wellness enthusiast, could be seen on her Instagram page wearing stylish leggings and comfy sweatshirts while sharing her fitness tips with her millions of followers.


Fabletics was launched as an e-commerce business. Shoppers can pick from hundreds of athletic apparel items that range from high-performance sports bras to maxi dresses made with breathable fabrics. In addition to being able to purchase clothes directly from the company’s website, shoppers can become VIP members. All they have to do is fill out a brief questionnaire regarding their fashion tastes and pay a monthly fee of $49.95 to receive a full workout outfit in the mail each month.


Blogger Teri Hutcheon of afoodiestaysfit.com was delighted when she received her first Fabletics workout outfit. She joined the membership program because she couldn’t resist the deal as well as the convenience factor. When she examined her new clothes, she was surprised by how well the clothes are made. Fabletics items use high-quality fabrics and are built to endure strenuous workouts. After several washes, the colors haven’t faded.


Recently, Hudson has invested in a few physical Fabletics stores. Unlike pop-up shops, these stores act as “reverse showrooms” that are intended to encourage customers to join the VIP membership program. Each time that a customer tries on a Fabletics item, that item is added to their online shopping cart. While customers are in a Fabletics store, employees encourage them to sign up and join the program.


The “reverse showroom” strategy, made famous by tech company Apple, strives to get customers to make purchases online once they can feel and see the products in person. When it comes to apparel, some customers like to try on clothes before making an online purchase. These Fabletics brick-and-mortar stores allow customers to see for themselves how well Fabletics items are made before committing to the VIP membership program.


Thanks to Hudson’s understanding of the modern fashion consumer, the company outperforms Amazon in the athletic apparel department. Hudson will be launching more physical stores over the next five years.