the story of lululemon: everything you’ve ever wanted to know about yoga’s most notorious brand

lululemon-storyWhether you love or hate Lululemon, the company has had a significant impact on North American yoga culture and the public perception of the practice. For better or worse, Lululemon has become, for many people, synonymous with the word “yoga.” But have you ever wondered how the company came to be?

If you’re like me, probably. And luckily, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has decided to spill all with his new book, 40,000 Days and Then You’re Dead: The Story of Lululemon. (Warning: when you open the page, you have to enter your birthdate and it calculates how many days until you’re dead. Creepy!)

The book is releasing one chapter per week on Wilson’s new brand project thing, whil. Chapter three, which explains how the company got its name and details the initial focus groups which helped define the Lululemon products, was just released this week. At this point, we’re just at 1998 and are getting an insight into Wilson’s entrepreneurial spirit. He has told the story of his first marriage and his transition out of snowboard and skateboard brand, Westbeach.

Of course, the good stuff – controversy! scandals! – is yet to come. The remaining chapters will be released on a weekly basis. The book has an interactive element, with expandable sections and video interviews with contributors such as Vancouver Mayor Gregor RobertsonFiona Stang, Chip’s first yoga instructor; Baron Baptiste, founder of Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga; and Tom Stemberg, founder and former CEO of Staples.

whil, a “content portal” and platform for the book, is worth exploring in its own right. It appears to be some kind of digital meditation aid or something. “Whil is a brand about nothing. But in that nothingness exists infinite possibility,” explains Wilson in a recent press release.  “I hope that, through reading this book, you’ll see how committing to powering down, ‘getting present’ and powering back up again will help turn dreams into reality.”

At the very least, it might inspire you to run out and start your own million-dollar yoga-inspired apparel company!

  1. Lululemon synonomous with yoga – you’ve got to be kidding.