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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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History and Background

Being the notorious active fashion brand that they are, Lululemon was founded by Dennis  J Wilson in 1998. Due to past start up companies, The name Lululemon originated from a marketing strategy to attract the Japanese market. Because the letter “L” does not exist in the Japanese vocabulary, Wilson thought adding three “L”s in the company's name would ultimately intrigue their tastes and preferences, considering it would be something the society is unfamiliar with. Hence, the name Lululemon. Lulu started up in Vancouver, Canada with a vision. That vision being: “to create more than a place where people could get gear to sweat in, we wanted to create a community hub where people could learn and discuss the physical aspects of healthy living, mindfulness and living a life of possibility.” -lulu

Although the idea started in 1998, the first Lululemon Athletic opened in the beach town of Kitsilano in November of 2000. It wasn't until January 1st of 2004 that Lululemon would expand their possibilities frontier and set stores beyond Canada. The first store in Japan opened a year later, and would eventually be one of four. Three years later, all four of the Japanese stores closed because they wanted to focus on a different giant. This giant being North America. This could of been the effect of founder Dennis J. Wilson stepping down from the CEO position and having, American, Robert Meers fulfill the position. This pushed Lulu into a completely different direction.  It is interesting to reflect back when Wilson created the name “Lululemon Athletica” for the interest of Japanese society, yet backfiring and focusing on the North American market.

Every think about what the Lululemon Athletica ever meant? Well the well known emblem that is placed is the most visible places on their clothing is really just an stylistic “A” that also represents the outline of a woman. This directly reaches out to their consumers targeting women. Along with their logo, they've also came up with other techniques to start a buzz around their product. Because their main consumer comes from women, they target this market the most. For any certified yoga instructor, Lululemon gives a discount in order for them to wear their product. Instead of large sports icons, they believe that having these yoga instructors being their ambassadors would ultimately benefit them more in the long run.

Lululemon Athletica has expanded to over 350 stores world wide. Some even being set in New Zealand, Singapore and Puerto Rico. So what's it like working in some of these stores? According to some past employee experiences, The Lulu experience is all high energy and fluidity. Lululemon's gives back to the employees by providing them with a various programs all for free. For example, Lululemon offers free crossfit to any of its employees. All the employee needs to do is bring a receipt so that the company can reimburse him or her for the expenses. Lululemon athletica does this in order to sustain their image of a healthy and balanced living style.

In 2013, Lululemon experienced a setback that would cost them a substantial amount of money. This bump in the road was known as the Sheer Pants Debacle. Lulu had released a line of  yoga pants that took up 17% of their inventory. This line received complaints of them being too transparent, leading to a mass recall. They bandaged their mistake by opening a renovated line that had an extra layer of fabric. Ironically, the name of the new line was “Second Chance Pant”.

Founded by Chip Wilson in Vancouver, Canada in 1998, lululemon is a yoga-inspired, technical athletic apparel company for women and men. What started as a design studio by day and yoga studio by night soon became a standalone store in November of 2000 on West 4th Avenue in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood.

Our vision for our store was to create more than a place where people could get gear to sweat in, we wanted to create a community hub where people could learn and discuss the physical aspects of healthy living, mindfulness and living a life of possibility. It was also important for us to create real relationships with our guests and understand what they were passionate about, how they liked to sweat and help them celebrate their goals. Today, we do this in our stores around the globe.

Founded in 1998 by Dennis J. “Chip” Wilson, Lululemon was at the forefront of this shift. Wilson spent the first 20 years of his career in the surf, ski and skatewear industries. When he fell in love with yoga, he saw an opportunity to bring the more technical, performance-oriented focus of the product being created for these categories to the wimpy cotton pieces worn by hippie-dippy yogis. He used word-of-mouth to sell his gear, setting up shop inside yoga studios and enlisting instructors as ambassadors, a method the company still employs today. In 2005, Wilson sold 48 percent of the company to private equity firms Advent International and Highland Capital Partners. By 2007, the company went public. In its 2014 fiscal year, annual net sales reached $1.8 billion, up 13 percent year over year, although sales at brick-and-mortar stores open at least one year were down 1 percent. According to projections, the company will close fiscal 2015 ahead again. Between Cyber Monday and Christmas Day 2015 — a period in which most retailers, particularly in North America, were forced to rely on deep discounting and doorbuster deals in order to liquidate product — 90 percent of Lululemon goods purchased were sold at full retail price. Lululemon estimates that 2015 fourth-quarter revenues will reach between $690 million and $695 million, pushing full-year sales well over $2 billion.

It's a success story to be sure, but Lululemon has also faced significant stumbles, most notably its much publicised Sheer Pants Debacle. In March 2013, the company was forced to recall a $98 pair of leggings — 17 percent of its pants inventory — which customers complained were see-through. (Six months later, it re-released the style with an extra layer of fabric, calling it, with a wink and nod, the “Second Chance Pant.” It retailed for $92.)

At the time, Wilson was still very much the spiritual leader of the brand, despite the fact that he had stepped down from his role as chief executive in 2005. Exacerbating the on-going situation, the founder made a controversial statement on Bloomberg TV in November 2013: "Quite frankly, some women's bodies just don't work for it… Even our small sizes would fit an extra large. It's really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there.” The comments outraged customers and baited the business media, which often relies on volatility and drama to attract a broader readership. What was once a rapidly growing company ran into financial turbulence, with several consecutive quarters of negative comps, a measurement of productivity used to compare sales of retail stores that have been open for a year or more.

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