The Canadian founder and ex-CEO of Lululemon, Chip Wilson, has written a tell-all book about starting his super-famous yoga apparel company and boy is it revealing. The ex-CEO did not hold back in his new book, Little Black Stretchy Pants.
The book is self-described as "the unauthorized story of Lululemon" and claims to be about "ordinary people who took an opportunity to be creative, to be innovative, and to maximize their potential".
Thank you to everyone who came out to my Unauthorized Book Signing in #Vancouver yesterday. It was great to celebrate Little Black Stretchy Pants, back where it all started at home in #Kitsilano: https://t.co/krt6wM0EpS. pic.twitter.com/KFhZk8vWNf— Chip Wilson (@ChipYVR) October 19, 2018
If you read through the Lululemon founder's book, you will find some secrets that could be considered rather controversial. We've included some of the juiciest nuggets below:
In his book, Wilson talks about how the yoga apparel company was formed for a specific, elite demographic: the "Super Girls". The Lululemon founder claims that the clothes were aimed at these "Super Girls" who were “the best of the best” and “utopia was to be a fit, 32-year-old with an amazing career and spectacular health. She was traveling for business and pleasure, owned her own condo, and had a cat. She was fashionable and could afford quality".
Considering the relatively high price of Lululemon apparel, it makes sense that the founder targeted this specific group of women. Wilson also says that the company was fuelled by "wealthy women" who could “‘buy’ time in their lives and were consequently often in great shape and very healthy."
Lululemon was not only designed for a specific type of woman in mind, but it was also designed to make women's butts look better. "Accentuating what made people feel confident — wider shoulders, smaller waists, slimmer hips — meant Guests would feel and look good in our clothing," says Wilson. He also added about the leggings, "I believed that eventually, men would tell women the pants looked great without really understanding why.
Wilson has been criticized before for saying in an interview that Lululemon leggings did not work well for women who didn't have thigh gaps.
The Lululemon founder also shames soda drinkers in his book and says the brand was not intended for people who drink soda. According to the book, at first, he wrote into the company "manifesto" that "Colas are NOT a substitute for water. Colas are just another cheap drug made to look great by advertising".
Another interesting reveal from Wilson was that "Coke and Pepsi threatened to drown Lululemon in lawsuits" after seeing the opposition against soda in the manifesto. He also mentions that he hates the term "athleisure" because it can associated with "a non-athletic, smoking, Diet Coke-drinking woman in a New Jersey shopping mall wearing an unflattering pink velour jumpsuit".
If you love the Lululemon headbands that cost upwards of $10, you won't be happy to know that the quality of the material of the headbands may not match their price tag. Wilson admits in his book that the inspiration for the headbands came from discarded fabric in factories. He wrote, "We thought, ‘what a great idea! Let’s take these pant ends and sell them'".
Not everyone is the biggest fan of Wilson or his new book. Check out some of the Twitter reactions below.
New tell-all book by Lululemon founder Chip Wilson frankly makes him even less likeable (barely possible) than before; boasting of all kinds of crazy things. Almost bid for Under Armour: https://t.co/EarcZ4o19x— Fynmere (@fynmere) October 16, 2018
Not every wealthy entrepreneur should write a book.— Madeleine S. Ware (@madeleinesavan1) October 21, 2018
Lululemon founder Chip Wilson describes how he made the company's ex-CEO cry, slams Under Armour, and insults Diet Coke-drinking women, in a new tell-all book https://t.co/CgnbaszlWi via @businessinsider
Critics aside, there are still fans of his book. Currently on Goodreads, the book has an average four out of five-star rating based on 11 reviews. One reviewer wrote, "In Little Black Stretchy Pants, Chip Wilson opens our eyes to the reality that behind every successful brand is a heroic story of a leader who pursued a dream". Wilson also did a book signing in the Kitsilano neighbourhood in Vancouver on October 18th.
Despite being the founder of Lululemon, Wilson has since resigned from the company. He left the company back in 2013, just a month after the controversial statements he made about Lululemon leggings working best for women with thigh gaps. He started the athletic apparel brand in Vancouver, Canada 20 years ago in 1998.
If you want to read the full tell-all yourself, the book was just released this month and can be found on retailers such as Amazon and Kindle.