You may think you know all there is to know about Lululemon. The brand sells quality leggings, stocks athletic clothing to lust after, and remains undeniably trendy. There’s not much else to know, right? Well, you probably didn’t know the first Lululemon was actually a yoga studio or that the mega-brand is worth an estimated $52 billion dollars.
In fact, there are likely countless other facts you don’t know about Lululemon. To get clued in, check out these 7 things you didn’t know about Lululemon.
1. Lululemon is a Canadian company first founded in 1998.
Though you likely associate Lululemon with the U.S. athleisure boom of the 2010s, the company was actually founded in the late ’90s in Canada. The Vancouver-based company was the brainchild of founder and yogi Chip Wilson, who emerged as a much-discussed figure in the brand’s history.
2. The brand actually started as a yoga studio.
Opening a single location in Vancouver in 1998, the space was a design studio by day and a yoga studio at night. Eventually, the apparel portion of Lululemon gained its footing, leading the location to turn into a dedicated apparel store in 2000.
3. The name Lululemon originated as a marketing tool for Japanese consumers.
Lululemon founder Chip Wilson once told Canada’s National Post Business Magazine that it’s “funny to watch [Japanese people] try and say it,” referring to the brand name and its spelling with three “Ls.” The magazine awarded the brand a special citation for marketing and product innovation.
4. The Lululemon logo was actually designed to fit another possible brand name.
The Lululemon logo may just look like a white upside-down horseshoe in a red circle, but it’s actually meant to be a stylized “A.” According to Seventeen, the logo was first created to fit an early name—”Athletically Hip.” Though the name didn’t catch on, the logo stayed. The logo does slightly correlate with the brand’s full name, which is Lululemon Athletica.
5. Lululemon’s founder was removed from his own company.
Wilson was engulfed in controversy after making comments that child labor from developing countries was ethical, according to Time magazine. He also once said some women’s bodies just “don’t work” for the brand’s leggings and claimed manufacturing sizes above a 12 was “too expensive” to be worth it, according to a Business Insider report. Wilson stepped down as CEO of his own brand in 2013, then was removed from his board of directors role in 2019.
6. Lululemon’s muse is a mythical woman named Ocean.
Wilson once told The New York Times that Lululemon’s ideal consumer is “a 32-year-old professional single woman named Ocean who makes $100,000 a year,” adding that she is “engaged, has her own condo, is traveling, fashionable, [and] has an hour and a half to work out a day.” According to Wilson, “Ocean” is the perfect muse not because she’s relatable to women, but because she’s aspirational.
7. The company’s net worth outranks some big names in fashion and athletic apparel.
Current estimates value the Lululemon brand at a whopping $52 billion dollars. That’s more market cap than H&M ($32.4 billion), Under Armour ($9.3 billion), Puma ($17.9 billion) and even Prada ($15.5 billion). In fact, Fashion United estimates that Lululemon was the 11th most valuable fashion brand in the world in 2020.