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Boardroom Q&A: Nikki Neuberger, Lululemon Chief Brand Officer

Last Updated: December 5, 2022
The apparel brand exec caught up with Boardroom at the 2022 FN Achievement Awards to discuss style, vision, winning the FNAA Launch Award for Women’s Footwear, and more.

Back in March, Lululemon entered the footwear market for the first time, offering four different silhouettes designed specifically for women. The Blissfeel running shoe, Chargefeel, Strongfeel training shoes, and the Restfeel recovery slide were built based on data and footwear scans from women and designed specifically for the female foot.

This approach, both an obvious concept to lean into and an innovative one, won this year’s Footwear News Achievement Awards’ Launch of the Year. On the awards’ red carpet in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday, Nov. 30, Boardroom chatted with Lululemon Chief Brand Officer Nikki Neuberger about the company’s simplistic yet groundbreaking approach — plus with a series of rapid-fire questions about taste and style.

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SHLOMO SPRUNG: What were the keys in Lululemon earning this honor?

NIKKI NEUBERGER: We have an incredible team and an incredible group of ambassadors that really inspired the design. We’ve been a brand designing for women for more than 20 years and identified an unmet need.

Most sneakers, and especially performance sneakers, are built on a men’s last, and we saw it as an opportunity to deliver something that the market and the consumer really needed. And then just a bunch of really creative people working together and having a really fun time to break down bias and bring a new story to the market. 

SS: Why do you think there was that gap in the market? 

NN: I think it’s just easy to keep doing the same thing over and over. And it takes extra time, energy, effort, and resources to make something new and to identify opportunities for people who are underserved and really put that to practice.

SS: Making performance sneakers for women seems like such a simple concept. 

NN: It is, but there’s a lot of things in the world that seem that way. There’s lots of opportunity.

SS: More broadly as a company, what challenges and obstacles do you think you’re going to face in 2023? 

NN: The challenges and the obstacles change every year, but I think one thing that remains true is for us to just stay really focused on what our consumer needs and what we feel like the world needs.

We are a brand rooted in mindfulness and meditation. We want to look for barriers to wellbeing and remove those for individuals all over the world, and so that’s what we stay focused on. So no matter what happens, there’s always going to be a job for us to do and really focused on bringing more innovative product solutions to those consumers.

SS: Where does your style come from?

NN: Oh my gosh. I get my style from everywhere. I get inspired by everyone walking down the street. I’m not afraid to walk up to someone and ask them where they got what they’re wearing. 

SS: What was the first shoe you remember loving?

NN: That’s a good question. I’m going to go with a jelly. A jelly was a sandal as a little girl that was so fun. It came in a million colors, and saltwater sandals, too. 

SS: What’s your absolute go-to pair of shoes to rock? 

NN: Lululemon Blissfeels.

Lululemon’s Blissfeel running shoe

SS: How many pairs of shoes do you think you own?

NN: Hundreds.

SS: What’s the most expensive pair of shoes you’ve ever bought?

NN: Probably a pair of Christian Louboutin heels.

SS: What’s a question you wish people would stop asking you? 

NN: “How is work going?”

SS: What was your first job? 

NN: I was a Nike Adrenaline intern. 

SS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

NN: Oh, that’s a really good question. The best advice I have ever received is to just breathe. 

SS: What makes an outfit? 

NN: One pop of color.

SS: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

NN: That I eat one Fruit Roll-Up every day. 

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About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.