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20 Things You Didn't Know about Lululemon


What do you know about the apparel company Lululemon? There is no doubt that you've at least heard about it. Even if you don't buy the products yourself, you hear about stores that advertise athletic wear on television and the radio and they're always carrying on about having these types of products. Most people know that the company makes a line of yoga pants and unless they purchase their products, that might be all they know. As it turns out, there are quite a few interesting things about this company. Find out about 20 of them by reading through this article.

1. The company really hasn't been around all that long

Most companies have been around for several decades and in some cases they've been in existence for a hundred years or more. That definitely is not the case here. In fact, this company didn't come into being until the late 1990s, 1998 to be exact.

2. They're based in Canada

Many people think this is a company based in the United States but that is incorrect. As a matter of fact, the company got its start in Canada and still has its headquarters there. Currently, the headquarters is located in Vancouver, British Columbia.

3. They make more than just clothes

If you think that the only thing the company makes is pants for yoga, think again. While this is certainly one of their biggest sellers, they also make other athletic wear such as shirts and shorts. They don't stop at just making clothing, either. The company is also known for creating a wide variety of accessories that people use in yoga, up to and including yoga mats and blocks.

4. They're not just for women

The overwhelming majority of marketing techniques are targeted at women so you might be interested to know that the company also makes athletic wear for men. This is something that the majority of the public knows nothing about, especially those who don't wear the products. This is because almost every time anything is marketed for the company, it has something to do with athletic wear for yoga and it's almost always targeted at women.

5. The company tries to portray itself as educational

The company has always tried to produce a certain image, and that is one of providing superior products while simultaneously trying to educate its customers about living a healthier lifestyle. This is something that the company has invested quite a bit of money in, not to mention time and effort, as it wants its customers to see it in a certain light.

6. They've been accused of being cliquish

Lululemon might be interested in portraying a specific image but more often than not, it seems to have backfired. Most of the time, the company has come across as being more cliquish than anything else. As a matter of fact, they've come under quite a bit of scrutiny over the years, mostly for being a company that only targets a very specific demographic of individuals. More on that will be discussed in the final paragraph of this article, but for now you need to know that the general public usually sees right through advertising campaigns that are nothing more than that, and that has certainly been the case with this particular company. In other words, most people don't seem to be buying the image that the company is trying to sell.

7. They have more than 400 stores

They do have several stores peppered in different areas. As of a couple months ago, they had 404 stores located throughout the United States and in other areas as well. More on the specific areas will be discussed in the following paragraph.

8. Those stores are located in four major areas

As you already know, the company got its start in Canada so it still has a major presence there. It's also got several stores throughout the United States. What you might not already know is that the company also has a major presence in Other areas around the world, including Oceania, Asia, and Europe.

9. They made a lot of money last year

The company has definitely had more than its fair share of struggles and for the most part, it's brought those struggles on itself. That being said, it still manages to make a great deal of money. Last year alone, the company made upwards of $2.65 billion in sales. Even after operating costs, taxes and everything else that they needed to pay out, their net income for the year was approximately $258 million.

10. The company has more than 13,000 employees

When the employees of all 404 stores are counted, as well as those that work at the headquarters in Canada, the company has more than 13,000 people who work for it. As of the most recent count, which was conducted in January of this year, that count was listed at 13,400 individuals who work for the company in one capacity or another. It is not known how many of those individuals are full-time employees and how many work part-time for the company.

11. The brand was actually a yoga studio when it first started

You might find it interesting to know that when the company got its start, it was not selling athletic apparel. As a matter of fact, the first Lululemon was nothing more than a yoga studio located in British Columbia. It operated in this capacity for quite some time before it evolved into the company that most people are familiar with today.

12. It became a store just two years later

The company had been operating as a yoga studio since 1998, as mentioned in the paragraph above. Two years later, in 2000, it became a full-fledged store. Although the location was still operating as a yoga studio at the time, there was a dedicated section of the establishment that sold all kinds of athletic wear and accessories. As it turned out, people were more interested in coming to the location to purchase items than they were to take yoga classes.

13. By the next year, it was selling yoga apparel in several locations

Once the store started selling items, it only took about a year for it to become a full-fledged athletic wear company. By 2001, the company had ceased to operate as a yoga studio and was exclusively selling items that people could purchase in order to take yoga classes in other locations. The company started opening more and more stores and growing at a fairly rapid pace. It also created a website where people could purchase athletic wear and accessories without ever setting foot into a brick and mortar store.

14. Store managers have quite a bit of leeway

The store manager has the capability of deciding how they want to run their particular store, within reason of course. While they do have supervisors that direct them and certain benchmarks that must be met, they get a great deal of say when it comes to the way that their particular store looks, as well as the most prominent items that are stocked there. Another area where they have a lot of decision-making power is in the community. They have the capability of deciding how much they want their store to be involved in community projects and that can range from very little to being involved in almost everything until they are considered an integral part of that community. Obviously, that decision also serves as insurance for the company, as companies that have become an integral part of the community are less likely to close down due to poor sales, as people within that very same community are far more likely to support them in return.

15. Most managers are hired from within the company

It's been noted that as much as 70 out of every 100 managers are hired from within the company as opposed to being recruited externally. This isn't anything new, as most companies prefer to hire management from a pool of individuals that have already been working for the company and proving themselves for quite some time. Of course, the other 30 percent of the company's managers does come from external hiring procedures. This is typically done when a suitable candidate hasn't been found within the company and it's necessary to look elsewhere in order to find one.

16. The company has a strong presence on social media

This is a company that you will find on virtually every social media platform. They have a strong presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It's also not uncommon to find them on places like YouTube. This isn't really that much different from any other company, but when you consider the level of their involvement with social media, you will soon start to notice that they are much more heavily involved with advertising on social media than most other companies. As a matter of fact, they rely heavily on these social media platforms to advertise their products. While they do participate in more traditional forms of advertising such as radio and television ads, they spend the majority of their time focusing on social media. This is largely because they're targeting a specific demographic and the same people they're trying to reach are the ones that spend the overwhelming majority of their time on social media in the first place.

17. It even makes social media a main source of its marketing program

This has already been touched on quite a bit in the previous paragraph, but it is worth noting one last thing about their marketing strategy. The fact that they advertise mostly by social media is certainly not by accident. The company has always been known for catering to a very specific group of individuals. As a matter of fact, they received a fair amount of criticism for basically excluding anyone that doesn't meet that demographic. Since they're largely looking for people that are already fit and who are younger than 35 years old, they don't feel the need to advertise on other platforms as much, allowing them to spend more time on social media.

18. The company made headlines for false advertising in 2007

They got in quite a bit of hot water back in 2007 when they were advertising a specific type of yoga pants that they claimed had extra health benefits. To be more specific, the company claimed that anyone who wore these pants could benefit from certain antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. As it turns out, these statements weren't exactly true but the thing that really got them in trouble was that they didn't stop there. They also claimed that these same pants had properties that made them anti-inflammatory, not to mention the fact that they were telling their customers that wearing the pants would help them stay hydrated and would detoxify their bodies while they exercised. Supposedly, the pants were supposed to be made out of some special space-age material that could do all of this. Of course, that was not the case and when a few curious individuals decided to have tests carried out on these pants it was discovered that they were nothing more than your same old run-of-the-mill athletic pants and they couldn't do any of these things. The company wound up dealing with a lot of litigation surrounding false advertising and it was forced to pull the product from its shelves.

19. There have also been issues with product quality

Chances are, you’ve heard about this one. A few years after the issue discussed in the above paragraph, they got in trouble again because their pants revealed a little too much. As a matter of fact, their yoga pants were found to be so sheer that when people put them on and proceeded to go to a yoga class or do any other type of workout, they were basically showing off their business to everybody else in the room without meaning to. Once again, this caused a lot of backlash against the company and it forced him to pull all of the affected yoga pants from their shelves. You'd think that eventually they would learn but maybe not.

20. There are many reasons why the original founder, Chip Wilson, is no longer there

This individual was responsible for both of the debacles that are discussed above. In addition, he seem to have a hard time knowing when to speak up and when to be quiet. He consistently said, quite openly, that he didn't want anyone buying his products that was overweight or over a certain age. Despite the fact that the company has a large presence in Asia, he also made fun of the way that Asians pronounced the name of the company and he did this in public several times over. Eventually, he was forced out of the company because of his statements.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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