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Business Insider on 12 Bizarrities of Lululemon, Women’s Lib and ‘Cult-like’ Success

in Business of Yoga, YD News

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Business Insider takes a look at the bevy of bizarrities that the billion dollar Lululemon biz has built, biotch.

We may be worn out by all of the cantankerousness in lulu news, but it really is a rather fascinating list of tactics, strategies and ideologies when you see them all laid out in a row.

Financially, Lululemon Athletica has gone from strength to strength in the last year. It reported 2011 revenues of $1 billion, up from $712 million the year before, for its trendy $98 yoga pants.

But that success came at a price. In January, founder Chip Wilson stepped aside and his duties were taken over by CEO Christine Day, after he generated a string of unfortunate headlines about his weird beliefs.

Those beliefs include favoring child labor, his disdain for the ability of the Japanese to speak English, a love of Ayn Rand, and his opinion that The Pill created a generation of divorce-shattered women now seeking empowerment through yoga.

People have asked, why are you picking on lululemon? They’re just so gosh darn interesting! Of the 12 facts noted, Chip Wilson’s stance via lulu blog, on birth control and divorce and the era of “Power Women” caught our attention:

[after The Pill and a newfound independence] Women’s lives changed immediately. Men’s lives didn’t change however and they continued to search for a stay-at-home wife like their mothers. Men did not know how to relate to the new female. Thus came the era of divorces.

Girls raised by Power Women knew that education was essential because “when they got divorced” they too would need enough income to manage a house and a job at the same time. I term the daughters of Power Women “Super Girls”.

Super Girls spent weekends with a divorced father who had no training on how to be with a daughter for two straight days. Fathers did what they knew best: they got their daughters into sports and became their coaches and mentors.

Breast cancer also came into prominence in the 1990’s.  I suggest this was due to the number of cigarette-smoking Power Women who were on the pill (initial concentrations of hormones in the pill were very high) and taking on the stress previously left to men in the working world.

Ultimately, Lululemon was formed because female education levels, breast cancer, yoga/athletics and the desire to dress feminine came together all at one time.

Huh? So essentially we can thank The Pill for divorce, increases in breast cancer and lululemon. Really, this is a captivating read if you’d like to hear generalizations about womens lib, “super girls,” how dads had no idea how to be fathers and how feminism was saved by luon.

We’re pretty familiar with all the other methods of “greatness.” Read the rest of the article here.

Recent lulu headlines:



16 comments… add one
  • honomann

    This is a creepy company that I avoid at all costs. It has nothing to do with yoga and everything to do with creating a cult of women who take “keeping up with the Joneses” to a ridiculous level.

    I am freaked out by the sales ladies who are so calm and nice. Same profile as the lady who hacked up her coworker and stayed calm during the sentencing.

    Just stay the hell out of my yoga class!

  • StephR

    As a yogi and yoga instructor, I resisted Lulu for a very long time based on what I’d heard about the company. When I finally found myself in the store, I did try on and purchase what has become my favorite pair of yoga pants.

    I spoke to a clothing designer friend who works at well-known activewear company, and she confirmed that the materials they use are top-of-the-line and quite expensive ($10/yard compared to $5ish/yard used elsewhere). They also offer a great fit that other companies strive to match. My pants have lasted really well and they are always the first I grab. Just something to think about…

    • J.T.

      Something else to think about is being a conscious consumer…Comfort, great! But at what cost?

      • StephR

        I am right there with you, but if this one pair lasts longer than five pair of cotton pants from a “good” company, isn’t that less wasteful? I am just saying, this wasn’t a flippant decision I made and I just wanted to bring up the other side.

        I am a conscientious consumer who has a veggie garden, chickens, a beehive, an eco-friendly Jade yoga mat, a meat-free diet, etc. I strive to buy durable goods that I won’t have to replace as often. When it comes to an article of clothing that may be washed and worn up to 3x a week, I’ve been hard pressed to find anything else that measures up. I am always open to suggestions!

    • Lulu Lemon are an excellent business model. They have never had a sale!

  • I read this article earlier. I’m so glad I have never purchased anything from lululemon It seems like they think very little of their customers and they have a ridiculously twisted view of women in general. I get most of my yoga clothes at Goodwill, TJMax or handmade shops on Etsy. Here’s a good tip: Cut up old t-shirts to create great yoga pullovers. Wear them with leggins and a sports bra and you’re set. You don’t have to spend a fortune to look and feel good.

  • yeah, this is completely crazy and i’m not surprised that such misogynist crap would come out of chip wilson’s mouth.

  • Cathy

    Chip sounds like a creep. I don’t see the point to spending nearly $100 on a pair of shorts or pants which I’m going to throw into the wash after every hot yoga session I do. Nike, Reebok, ROOTS, Calvin Klein, Donna Karen have all jumped on the yoga-wear bandwagon and offers items which do their job just fine at a fraction of a price when you pick it up on sale at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s or Winners in Canada.
    Any company which has a mental screw-up with such misogynistic views like Chip Wilson does NOT really give a rat’s ass about you or women’s issues but just want women’s money. Wake up, people put on your glasses and see through the smoke and PR…

  • Procrustes

    I think in the article is a linkbait “point at the weirdos over there” hatchet article. It’s lazy journalism scraping articles from other sources and applying zero editorial perspective, commentary, or insight just looking for dirt that’s been recycled a thousand times before.

  • Embee

    Can someone elaborate for me what is offensive about his hypothesis? I’m not being snarky or sarcastic. I read what he wrote as being unsound scientifically, but not offensive.

    To me he basically said: by gaining control over their reporductive lives, women’s roles in the home change, and for some couples that didn’t work out. Then because of divorce, more women went to work, and had the concomitant stress and related health problems. Meantime, more girls became involved in athletics (I get that his rationale that dads were responsible for this is a bit sexist and short-sighted) Then women turned to yoga to deal with their stress and to find a social circle.

    I mean, simplisitc, yes, but I don’t get why it’s creepy. He doesn’t appear to blame anyone, and he’s giving a plausible explanation why yoga (and hence his company) is so popular.

    What am I missing? (Please be gentle; my question is sincere.)

    • LA

      I agree 100% with you! I felt the same way…. I am a female and didn’t really find that offensive at all! A bit sexist, like you said, but I took it as his theory as to how yoga became so big in the Western culture with females.

  • E

    Um, I had breast cancer and was never on the pill, so I think that kind of blows that theory.

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