I have to admit that I was very sad to read the Lululemon press release that announced that Lululemon co-founder, Chip Wilson, will be stepping down as Chairman in the coming year.
This is an end to an era that I do not want to face. So much of Lululemon’s success can be attributed to Chip and Shannon Wilson, so what will happen when they are gone?
I was there when this store opened in my neighborhood of Kitsilano in Vancouver. I was there in the early days when Chip himself was in the store and tried to sell me product. I was there years later after Lululemon had much success and he still tried to educate me when I was looking at mens pants one day. I was so impressed with his enthusiasm and down to earth manner both at the beginning and in later years.
This is someone who had the vision to foresee the popularity of yoga and provided the most comfortable and stylish clothing for it. Years ago, few people did yoga and now, yoga classes are as prolific as Sushi restaurants in Kitsilano. Now, Lululemon is so much more than being a yoga clothing store. There is dance wear, running apparel and much more.
Controversy? Yes. In the end, any comment or action could be misconstrued or exaggerated. In my opinion, most of the criticism was totally unfounded. But once somebody becomes the target of late night talk shows and angry people who can’t fit into yoga pants, there’s not much you can do.
So thank you Chip Wilson for your vision. I can honestly say that my lifestyle has changed for the better because of Lululemon. I regret that you are leaving Lululemon. I wonder what will become of the company. I do not have much confidence. I fear the future.
Oh yeah, there was something else in the news release about Christine Day finally getting her successor. Watch the movement of the stock to see what stockholders think of the decision.