The offspring of Hollywood’s elite often have predefined career paths. Kate Hudson, imbued with her mother’s fresh-faced beauty and megawatt smile, joined the family business at a young age. By the time she played Penny Lane in “Almost Famous,” Hudson was already living the almost famous lifestyle, acting in minor roles, enough to demonstrate that she was serious about a career in acting and in finding her own way without riding on the coattails of her parents, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, the latter being her mom’s long-time partner and father figure for most of her life.
An Evolving Career
Kate Hudson has worked continuously in film and television projects through the intervening years. She is the quintessential blonde girlfriend, bubbly best friend or animated assistant, infusing these roles with the subtle humor and the pizzazz that echoes her mother’s comedic abilities. Hudson has producer credits in the 2009 movie “Bride Wars,” where she also played one of the leads.
It is no secret that Hollywood careers tend to have a limited shelf life, which is especially true for women. Many artists are fortunate to have enduring careers while others enjoy a flash-in-the-pan trajectory. Kate Hudson understands this business like someone raised on a diet of movie scripts, contracts and nondisclosure agreements. Hers is a career that has crested several times already and is likely to grow even more as Hudson expands into other areas. Already, she has voiced the Mei Mei character in the box office acclaimed “Kung Fu Panda 3.” Her most recent and current works are in the drama/action genre, proving that she has more than that dazzling smile going for her.
Acting chops aside, Hudson has also written and published a self-help book, “Pretty Happy: Ways to Love your Body,” which highlights her devotion to transcendental meditation, clean living and making healthy life choices. Given her interest in meditation and physical activity, it is not surprising that Hudson has also made a go of running her own athleisure fashion company known as Fabletics.
Fit and Fashionable with Fabletics
With Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler, Kate Hudson launched Fabletics in October 2013. Interest in athletics-inspired clothing that could double as street wear was on the rise. Other fashion brands had already perceived the appeal of form-hugging, comfortable clothing with some spandex support for maximum movement. The popularity of Yoga, Pilates and other fitness programs created the need for well-designed outfits that could be worn in the gym, on the hiking trail or while shopping, which can be just as physically exhausting as the first two activities.
Kate Hudson is just as comfortable in Valentino gowns as she is in distressed jeans. She understands that looking good is part of feeling good about yourself and confident about your choices. These are some of the principles she sought to demonstrate with Fabletics merchandise. Unlike celebrity-endorsed product lines where the celebrity’s involvement is limited to having their name on the merchandise tags, Hudson is 100-percent involved with the design and management of Fabletics.
Leggings, which are foundational pieces for athleisure collections, are designed for form and function. Fabletics leggings have little to do with the utilitarian leggings of your mom’s generation, but even they are loving the bold and fashionable incarnations of what were mainly exercise wear. There are cut-out embellishments, see-through panels and cross-strap designs for added ventilation and a touch of sass on Fabletics garments. Since athleisure is designed for multifunctionality, the range of products covers head-to-toe needs along with accessories to create a pulled-together look at all times lest the paparazzi, or just a nasty neighbor, catch you sweaty and unfashionably garbed after a workout. The brand also carries footwear, bags, hats and resort-style dresses. Clearly, this vision has created a blockbuster for Hudson and her partners.
Disrupting the Norms in Fashion Retailing
Fabletics crashed into the fashion mainstream in a big way not just because of Kate Hudson’s celeb appeal but also because the company dared to go against established retailing models. Hudson, fashionista that she is, knows what shopping therapy is all about, yet Fabletics took a different tack altogether. Knowing that its target demographic was likely to be at home with online shopping as well as the big malls, the company opted to build its brand through digital channels.
Fabletics’ primary retail channel is a direct-to-consumer approach using a subscription model at the outset. Hudson and her partners sought to deliver top-quality merchandise to complement the aspirational appeal of their brand. The strategy included enhancing the customer experience by providing a selection of customer-focused merchandise and emphasizing exclusivity through a membership program that borrows its processes from gaming models. Within three years from its launch, Fabletics is valued at an estimated $250 million with robust growth expected as the company hones its product development and marketing strategies.
The subscription model has netted some 1.2 million members, facilitating the growth of its data-driven model especially with regards to customers’ key preferences and buying habits. With this data, Hudson’s fashion empire has expanded to include brick-and-mortar locations, including non-traditional pop-up stores. This approach has limited the ‘showrooming effect’ where customers browse traditional stores but reserve purchases for online outlets that offer better pricing. About 30 to 50 percent of customers who go to Fabletics stores are already members. The conversion rate for non-members shopping in mall stores is estimated at 25 percent. But even in Fabletics stores, merchandising and marketing is data-driven and constantly updated to preserve the last-mile service that the brand is known for.
Kate Hudson has played diverse roles in life and in the movies. She is her mother’s precious daughter, displaying a closeness that speaks of respect and unwavering support. She is a doting mom to two boys, Ryder Robinson and Bingham Bellamy. She is a supportive sister and business partner to her brother Oliver Hudson. She is active in various philanthropies, including the youth-focused Hawn Foundation established by her mother. She continues to take on various moviemaking roles, and intends to remain as the face and one of the business brains behind Fabletics because if there’s anything that drives Kate Hudson, it is going after her dreams.