Founder of fitness mirror MIRROR: 34-year-old business venture during pregnancy, Lululemon invested in the acquisition

What can we learn from the female founder behind Lululemon’s first acquisition?

Founder of fitness mirror MIRROR: 34-year-old business venture during pregnancy, Lululemon invested in the acquisition

Brynn Jinnett Putnam和MIRROR

The first acquisition in Lululemon history

On June 29, 2020, Canadian yoga sportswear company Lulu lem on Athletica inc. announced that it has acquired a company that sells “mirrors” for US$500 million. This was the first acquisition in Lululemon’s history, and when the news was announced, it received widespread attention.

What is the origin of this “mirror” company? It is MIRROR, a home fitness equipment manufacturer based in New York.

MIRROR’s product is a “full-length mirror” with a height of 132 cm and a thickness of 3.5 cm. When this fitness mirror is closed, it is a full-length mirror that perfectly blends into the home environment; when it is turned on, it broadcasts live and recorded fitness courses through the interactive mirror display with built-in cameras and speakers, and reflects the user’s exercise status in real time. Realize the communication and interaction between users and fitness coaches and other students.

MIRROR is positioned as a high-end user group. Users need to spend $1,495 to purchase this “mirror”, plus an installation fee of $250, and then need to pay $39 per month for courses using the MIRROR software.

With this mirror, users only need a yoga mat to turn any room in the home into a home gym, which can be controlled by a mobile app to experience aerobic exercise, strength training, barbell, boxing, yoga, and Pilates at any time Wait for 50 different sports modes.

Founder of fitness mirror MIRROR: 34-year-old business venture during pregnancy, Lululemon invested in the acquisition

Mirror users can easily take fitness classes in front of the “mirror” at home

Started a business at the age of 34 and got a seed round of investment on the day of giving birth

As the founder of MIRROR, an electronic product company, Brynn Putnam’s resume looks very atypical. Putnam has been a professional ballet dancer since he was a child. He studied Russian literature and culture at Harvard University and has not received professional business training. After graduation, I have never entered a company to work. I have been setting up a fitness studio for 10 years before doing MIRROR. I don’t understand technology, female, solo founder (no co-founder).

As a person with such an atypical background, how did Putnam discover opportunities? How did you build the company?

Founder of fitness mirror MIRROR: 34-year-old business venture during pregnancy, Lululemon invested in the acquisition

Brynn Putnam, who was once a professional ballet dancer

In 2010, Putnam retired from the New York Ballet and opened a fitness studio called Refine Methods, which mainly teaches HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) courses.

In 2016, Putnam, who was first pregnant, felt unwell every day after getting up. It became very difficult to walk 20 minutes a day to her fitness studio like in the past few years. So she thought to herself: “Is there any way to bring the experience I gave users in the gym to my home?”

As a professional ballet dancer, Putnam spends a lot of time facing the mirror, but she has never realized that the “mirror” is the product she will make. Until she made a survey of members of Refine Methods, she realized, “mirror” that can be put courses, interactive feedback in together and moved the ideal medium home.

When Putnam introduced MIRROR to investors, she was 34 years old and 9 months pregnant. It’s hard to imagine a female founder with no technical background and a big belly showing investors a prototype that looks good but does not realize the product function (her husband helped her make the first sample).

As a result, investors have suggested she find a male co-founder and technical backgrounds come looking for him who have given birth investors suggested she reconsider financing.

In the process, she quickly realized which investors could understand her vision, and who did not understand it at all. She is very confident that she has a very good product, and the time to launch this product to the market is ripe. She didn’t want to miss this opportunity, so she didn’t wait.

On the day she gave birth to her son, she signed her first investment in the hospital-three million dollars from First Round Capital. Two weeks later, she returned to work with the breast pump.

Founder of fitness mirror MIRROR: 34-year-old business venture during pregnancy, Lululemon invested in the acquisition

Brynn Putnam tried to use a mirror and a tablet to verify that the basic functions of MIRROR can be realized

In 2018, MIRROR products were launched. Since the products are mainly in the high-end market, MIRROR chose to help promote the products by giving celebrities, actors and Internet celebrities, as well as vigorously promote through outdoor advertisements and TV advertisements.

In 2019, MIRROR sales reached 150 million U.S. dollars, with 125 team members. By 2019, MIRROR has received a total of 72 million US dollars in external investment.

In 2020, MIRROR was acquired by Lululemon. This is not the first time Lululemon has dealt with Putnam. In fact, ten years ago, when she opened a fitness studio in Putnam, she was the brand ambassador of Lululemon. In the B-1 round of financing in October 2019, Lululemon also invested $1 million. I believe the long-term relationship between them has also played a role in promoting this merger.

After the merger, MIRROR will use Lululemon’s brand effect and the number of stores to accelerate the pace of global expansion. Putnam, 37, is still the CEO of MIRROR, leading MIRROR to move forward.

Founder of fitness mirror MIRROR: 34-year-old business venture during pregnancy, Lululemon invested in the acquisition

MIRROR & Lululemon

What can ordinary people learn from MIRROR cases?

What can we learn from the case of Putnam and MIRROR?

I don’t want your thoughts after reading: Putnam graduated from Harvard, and I am not graduated from a prestigious school; Putnam’s husband can help her make a prototype, and I don’t have such a husband; Putnam or his family may be related to investment institutions and can know each other. Many investors, I…saying this will not help us in any way, it will only become a restriction we set ourselves.

What I think ordinary people can learn is:

1. Observe life, find problems, and give solutions

Observe life more and ask yourself “why”-why is this thing like this, why this thing should be solved in this way, and is there a better way to solve it? For example, the question Putnam wants to solve is: Why go to the gym? What kind of experience do people value in the gym? Is there a way to bring the same experience to home?

If you are not satisfied with the status quo, observe more, be good at discovering problems, think about ways to solve problems, and listen to user feedback. Maybe you will see the next good idea.

2. Not limited to your own skills

If Putnam thinks hard and finds a good idea, but says to himself: “I don’t understand technology, so I guess I can’t make this kind of hardware product”, then we won’t see MIRROR.

In an interview, the host asked Putnam what he thought of the fact that he had no technical background. Putnam believes that having no technical background may be her advantage, which allows her to focus on user needs and design products from a user experience rather than a technical point of view .

At first, her husband helped her make a simple prototype. Later, the real product was realized by the formed team.

With her own product expectations, she went to China to find manufacturers capable of making this product to learn the process flow, then returned to the United States to polish the product, and finally mass-produced in Mexico. “I don’t understand technology” has never been an obstacle to her advancement.

3. Not limited to one’s own state

At the age of 34 and 9 months pregnant, who can associate these words with an ambitious entrepreneur?

The media always remind us that Internet companies do not recruit employees over the age of 35. It seems that if they have not reached the management level at the age of 35, they will be eliminated.

Relatives always remind us to do what we need to do when we are at our age. When we are pregnant, we should concentrate on raising a fetus and learning to raise a baby, and we should not spend our minds on other things.

Think about the information and education you have received. Which ones limit you invisibly?

Our thinking determines our upper limit. The thinking of others is their limitation. If we accept these thinking, then their limitation will also become our limitation. Excluding the influence of restrictive thinking, our lives can have more possibilities.

Reference materials:

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