Posts Tagged ‘Chip Wilson’

This “lulu” is a “lemon”

January 13, 2014

I had never heard of Lululemon till today. Yoga and black, transparent stretch pants are just not me.

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Apparently they specialise in yoga clothes and are (or were) “upscale and very trendy” (which suggests to me that their products are/were unnecessary and extremely pricey). Their black stretch pants ($98) turned out to be transparent when stretched and had to be recalled. Their “outgoing chairman and founder Chip Wilson said in early November that some women’s body shapes “just actually don’t work” for Lululemon’s yoga pants, prompting a backlash from some customers”.

  • “lulu”Informal – one that is remarkable or wonderful
  • “lemon” – Informal. a person or thing that proves to be defective, imperfect, or unsatisfactory; dud: Our car turned out to be a lemon.

With a name like that I suppose today’s news report was inevitable.

Reuters:Upscale yogawear retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU.O) cut its quarterly forecast as the company struggles with the lingering effects of an embarrassing recall and controversial comments by its founder, sending its shares down 15 percent.

Lululemon has been under pressure since March after it recalled some of its signature black pants that proved too see-through. …. Vancouver-based Lululemon warned last month that weaker sales would hit the crucial fourth quarter ending February 2. …… 

Troubles at the company have been compounded by complaints about product quality and comments by outgoing chairman and founder Chip Wilson.

He said in early November that some women’s body shapes “just actually don’t work” for Lululemon’s yoga pants, prompting a backlash from some customers. … Lululemon shares were trading at $51.60 before the bell, after closing at $59.60 on the Nasdaq on Friday. They have fallen about 11 percent since the recall in March.

Chip Wilson founded the company in 1998. He chose the name Lululemon because “It was thought that a Japanese marketing firm would not try to create a North American sounding brand with the letter “L” because the sound does not exist in Japanese phonetics. By including an “L” in the name it was thought the Japanese consumer would find the name innately North American and authentic.” Rururemon would not be a threat clearly. 

There are a number of weird stories about him and his company. He apparently blames birth control pills and smoking for high divorce rates, approves of child labour, believes that illness is a choice and that “Health attracts health, Sickness attracts sickness.” 

But I suspect that Mr. Wilson having completed his $327 million IPO in 2007 and now having resigned as Chairman is not particularly concerned.

Still with a name like that, it was only a matter of time before the “lulu” would turn out to be a “lemon”.

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