Chip Wilson Success Story
When Chip Wilson decided to make Yoga specific apparel, all he had was the confidence to overcome failure, and today he is worth $2.2 billion. Lululemon the brainchild of Wilson not only what earned him his billions, it is also where he met his wife, Shannon Wilson, who he hired as one of the original designers of Lululemon.
Born in 1956 Chip Wilson received his degree in economics from the University of Calgary. In 1979, California born Canadian surfer Dennis J. “Chip” Wilson started an outwear company called Westbeach Snowboard Ltd. which focused on apparel custom made for the snow, skate and surf boarding market. He sold the company after 2 decades in 1997 after having served as its CEO from 1980 to 1995, Head of design and production from 1995 to 1997.
He decided to start Lululemon Athlateica inc. in 1998 a yoga specific outfitting company. He opened the first Lululemon store in 2000 in Kitsilano. Chip Wilson saw a rise in the popularity of yoga in the west. As Yoga required no equipments and no specific dress code, Wilson saw potential in the untapped and un-tested waters of yoga wear. He set about creating a brand of Yoga-wear which was comfortable, durable and good looking enough to wear outside the Yoga studios.
Lululemon proved to be an instant success catapulting Chip Wilson into the Forbes Billionaire list as the 19th richest Canadian (#847th in the world). He served as Lululemon Athletica inc.’s CEO from 1998 to 2005, and as their Chief Product designer from 2005 to 2010. He stepped down from day to day operations in 2012.
In 2014 he resigned from the board and sold 27 % of the stake in the company he founded for $845 million, he still controls 13.85 % of shares. “I have achieved the goals I set when I came back, and after careful thought, I believe that now is the right time to step away from the board,” said Wilson. “I leave behind a new and talented management team and new board construct”
A Ride of Success that’s Going Strong
This 58 year old father of five (two from his previous marriage and three with his current wife) lives in Vancouver, B.C. with his wife Shannon Wilson and kids. In 2007 he and his wife started the imagine1day foundation. A charity dedicated to improving education in Ethiopia. He is currently mentoring and assisting his wife and eldest son launch and run the contemporary Luxury brand “Kit and Ace” which is trying to bring cashmere into everyday wear by allowing for their product to be machine washed.
Kit and Ace have currently seven stores in Canada andUSA (New York specifically).There is only person in the world who can sell the concept of a machine washable cashmere T-shirt, and he is the same guy who convinced the world that his brand of Yoga apparel was good enough to wear outside a yoga studio. His name is Chip Wilson.
“Ten to fifteen years from now, it will be indistinguishable what is street wear and what is athletic wear.” Wilson remarked about sportswear trends. Spandex may very well be the new Jeans.