The “Showroom” Concept in Yogawear – applicable in health care?

At the end of this walk...
Lululemon Showroom Washington DCLululemon Showroom Washington DC

I had an interesting retail experience last week when I went to find Washington, DC’s Lululemon Store, to buy a piece of workout clothing (healthy for life…).

I had a tough time finding it (hint, don’t rely on Google maps, the address on the Web site is the right one), which seemed odd for a store in a rapidly growing national chain. When I finally found the nondescript signage, I noted a decor that was definitely staff inspired, along with a community feel – free yoga classes on site? This was not what I had encountered in either the Vancouver, BC or just-opened Seattle, Washington store. I asked, what was this all about?

Here’s what I learned (and please forgive me, official Lululemon representatives, if I am not 100% accurate, I was impressed): This is not a store, it’s a “showroom,” designed to build experience operating the business in the community. With success, the showroom will be replaced with a store. However, the showroom is a store also – products can be purchased and staff are available to provide a full level of service. On certain nights of the week, they invite local yoga instructors in, clear the floor, and have a class right in the space, at no additional charge.

As I tried on and purchased my garment, I thought about how this could work in health care. What if an organization set up a health care showroom, where practitioners could work in a lower-overhead space to get to know their community, in anticipation of a full service operation? Just like with this showroom, there would be minimum functionality, such as functioning information technology, appropriate licensing, etc. However, prior to making a big investment, an organization could understand the distinct needs of the community, and maybe involve them in creating a functioning medical center.

I like the concept, especially if we believe that 80 % of all the health care delivered in the United States is done by patients themselves. A health care showroom might introduce the community to itself, in terms of self-management resources or even physical activities. Maybe doctors new to a community could go for walks with patients to talk physical fitness, nutrition, and healthy living where they live and work prior to settling in for a new practice. Why not?

I took the liberty to copy the job description of a Lululemon Showroom Manager and am posting it below. What would the Showroom Manager of a new health care center be responsible for?

Position Title: Showroom Manager
Reports to: New Market Manager
Department: lululemon USA
Store Location/City: Georgetown, DC Showroom
Yoga-inspired athletic wear company, lululemon athletica, is looking for a highly motivated, outgoing, upbeat and organized
person who believes in the power of community, the impact of yoga/athletics, and the life-altering potential of wearing
stretchy pants to work every day.
lululemon is seeking a person to fill the role of Showroom Manager to be a leader in giving our guests the ultimate experience! This is
a person who wants to contribute in making our new Miami, Florida showroom into a hub for athletes, yogis and guests to come
together for fitness, health, yoga and a darn good time!
This job is for you if:
. You like having your yoga class paid for. Yup, a part of this job is taking weekly classes at the studios and gyms in the
. You can carry an authentic conversation with anyone, even a headless mannequin if you thought he/she had some
constructive feedback to offer about our products.
. You like to meet people and help them find that perfect match in products and activity that is the yin to their yang. You
rival Clint in getting a thrill out of “making someone’s day!”.
. You are a bit of a talent scout by way of law of attraction. You spot people amongst our guests or in the community who
have the skills, attitude and drive to be considered as part of our family and people can’t help but want to interact with you!
. If you could be any reptile, you would totally pick the Veiled Chameleon over the Green Anole because, beauty contests
aside, that beady-eyed fella can adapt to his environment like nobody’s business. An educator can be a Superstarimous
Educatoritus in any setting.
. You are passionate about health and fitness (without having lost all appreciation for the occasional Ben & Jerry couch
. You love animals (actually, this has nothing to do with the job, but you’re likely to score some points with a few of us if you
do – just a little tip).
. You love color-grouping and size-ordering your underwear drawer – the rainbow assortment in your closet is your
proudest achievement next to your graduation.
The other stuff …
Hours of Work
• Full time which is approximately 40 hours per week. Working weekends is a mandatory expectation and part of this job (that’s when
the shoppers come out after all!).
Competencies (Knowledge, Skills, Attributes, Traits) and Qualifications
• Excellent team player, and ability to work independently
• Upbeat, optimistic, passionate, friendly and authentic
• Responsible and dependable
• Proactive and solution-oriented
• Excellent communication skills – verbal and written
• Extraordinary customer service, organizational and time management skills
• Ability and willingness to accept and provide feedback
• Strong problem solving and decision-making skills
• Preferred knowledge and involvement in yoga, and/or other fitness, health or sports activities
• Preferred – one year’s work experience in retail sales
• Preferred – post-secondary schooling.
• General computer knowledge
• 1-2 years of retail, business or project management experience

Ted Eytan, MD