Inside Lululemon's Crazy Cult-Like Culture
Most yoga classes these days offer more than a soothing, sweaty exercise experience to harness the power of your body and mind. They give you the chance to show off all your favorite Lululemon leggings!
But then, would you still wear them if you knew the brand was built on freakishly weird values? Good question. Here's the thing: Not only is Lululemon founder Chip Wilson a fan of child labor, but he also supports anti-birth control and pro-cult indoctrination philosophies. Not convinced? Read on to take a sneak peek inside Lululemon's crazy cult-like culture.
Lululemon Is Based on Atlas Shrugged
Fun fact: Lululemon's entire ethos is based on Ayn Rand's classic book Atlas Shrugged. As a matter of fact, the yoga-centric company began posting the catchphrase "Who is John Galt?" on all of their shopping bags in 2011. For the uninitiated, it represents founder Chip Wilson's nod to his favorite 1957 book.
Lululemon Founder Supports Child Labor
Apparently, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson supports child labor. Yes, you read that right. According to his own words in his aptly named book, Little Black Stretchy Pants, Wilson is actually pro-child labor because "working young is excellent training for life."
Lululemon Founder Body-Shamed Women
In this modern world, would you be surprised to hear that Wilson’s pricey athleisure company is not a "one-size-fits-all" type of deal? In fact, he had no problem telling media outlet Bloomberg "some women's bodies just don't actually work" with his brand's exclusive and expensive leggings.
Lululemon Founder Blames Cigarettes and Birth Control for Divorce
News flash: The Lululemon founder once blamed cigarettes and birth control for high divorce rates. If you don't believe it, one of Chip Wilson's 2009 blog posts claimed that "women’s lives changed immediately [after the pill]. ... Men did not know how to relate to the new female." According to Wilson, the result was "the era of divorces."
Lululemon Once Claimed Pants Were Made of Seaweed
If things weren't already weird enough for you, Lululemon once claimed its pants were made of seaweed. Not only was this a blatant lie, but the company tried to convince consumers that this made wearing the pants healthy. The marketing team even put this unsubstantiated claim on the tags, which is totally against the law to do.
Lululemon Refuses to Make Plus-Size Clothing
It’s the simple truth that wearing a size that doesn’t fall within the most common size ranges makes it more challenging to find appealing clothes that fit well and look great. It certainly doesn’t help that companies like Lululemon refuse to make clothes that fit people of all sizes. If you're wondering why, Wilson has a simple answer for you: It just costs too much to invest in that many sizes.
Lululemon Staff Members Are Called Educators
It’s pretty easy to see that Lululemon specializes in athletic clothes, not education. Despite this fact, the company insists that its staff members be called "educators." Why? When they're trying to sell you a $100 pair of yoga pants, they're actually trying to educate you on a whole new lifestyle.
Lululemon Educators Are Super Cliquey
Lululemon retail stores don’t exactly give off the friendliest vibe. The company has specifically been accused of only acting welcoming toward its target customers, which are a very specific group of people who look and act a certain way. As a matter of fact, most of the store’s ads target the extremely wealthy and health-obsessed upper echelons of society.
Lululemon's Ideal Customer Is Someone Named "Ocean"
Apparently, Lululemon's ideal customer is someone named "Ocean." If you're wondering who Ocean really is, you're not alone. According to an explosive tell-all by journalist Mary Mann, her former Lululemon coworkers explained to her that "Ocean is our ideal customer. She does yoga every day, makes $100,000 a year and dates a triathlete named Mountain."
Lululemon’s Name Makes Fun of Japanese Accents
Imagine learning that founder Chip Wilson actually named the company Lululemon to make fun of Japanese people, particularly their accents. Pretty offensive, right? Incredibly, Wilson told National Post Business Magazine in Canada that he called the company Lululemon because "it's funny to watch them try and say it," in reference to Japanese pronunciation.
Lululemon Workers Feel Like They're in a Cult
After reading this far, is it really shocking to learn that some Lululemon workers feel like they're in a cult? Probably not. From assigning mandatory book lists to requiring insanely monitored workouts, the company dictates far too many aspects of employees’ lives and works hard to promote a culture of "sameness" among its team.
Lululemon Educators Are Trained to Eavesdrop on You
According to The Wall Street Journal, Lululemon CEO Christine Day prefers her staff to spy on customers instead of paying for expensive focus groups to gather information. Shockingly, Day even wanders around Lululemon outlets herself to overhear what customers complain about so she can use that information to change up the company’s products.
Lululemon Founder Makes Staff Ask Supervisors Weird Questions
For some weird reason, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson forces his staff members to ask their supervisors super weird questions that involve bizarre scenarios. For example: "12 people have been shipwrecked on a deserted island. There is one boat that will hold six people, and if those six people work perfectly as a team, they have a 10% chance of survival."
Lululemon Founder Thinks Getting Sick Is Your Fault
In increasingly stranger news, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson thinks getting sick is your own fault. According to his blog post called "The Secret," he admits to believing that becoming ill is a personal choice. To sum it up, he quipped, "Health attracts health, sickness attracts sickness."
Lululemon Founder Blames You for Lacking Greatness
If you've ever felt that your life wasn't "great" enough, join the club. Unfortunately, feeling this way, even temporarily, is nothing more than a pity party in the eyes of Chip Wilson. The outspoken executive wrote on his blog that "Greatness is demanding the best of everything and doing what is required to get it."
Lululemon Founder Was Forced to Step Down
Unsurprisingly, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson was eventually forced to step down from his position as branding and chief innovation officer. Although the company didn't exactly say why Wilson was asked to leave his lofty positions, it’s probably safe to assume it has something to do with his many controversial comments.
Lululemon Employees Do Everything Together
The secret is out: Lululemon employees do everything together. Just take another look at Mary Mann's essay in Salon, where she revealed, "We were positive. We were healthy. We were enthusiastic." It doesn't sound too bad until she says they had to work out together before, during and after work.
Lululemon Creates Painful Clothing
Consider this: Not only do you have to worry about squeezing into Lululemon's exceedingly tiny yoga pants, but you also have to be worry about poking your eye out while trying on tops. In an embarrassing PR disaster, Lululemon was forced to remove almost 320,000 tops from stores as a result of so-called "dangerous drawstrings" in 2015.
Lululemon Tells Employees Work Should "Feel Like a Party"
If you've ever slumped into work early Monday morning after a busy weekend, you probably didn't feel like work would be a fun party. In fact, you probably felt like the party was officially over as soon as you crawled out of bed. Meanwhile, Lululemon managers actually encourage their staff to have a party-like attitude at work.
Lululemon Actually Has Its Own Language
Super fans of the Lululemon brand have even created their own language. Similar to trendy sneaker companies, the company often releases must-have Wunder Under Pants and Wunder Under Crops as WUPs and WUCs, respectively. As if that's not confusing enough, the athletic company calls its current online clothing section "uploads" instead of items.
Lululemon Educators Are Fans of Naked Yoga
Okay, if these details about Lululemon haven’t made you feel awkward enough already, here's another shocking gem. Lululemon staff members are all about naked yoga. Ironically, the corporate website has a blog post that advocates nude yoga — pretty weird promotion for a clothing store.
Lululemon's Ideal Male Customer Is Named Duke
Guess what? Another anonymous Lululemon employee revealed more about the company's weird cult tactics to the female-oriented media outlet Jezebel. If you recall what was said about Ocean, Lululemon’s ideal customer, you won't be too surprised to find out she has a male counterpart.
Lululemon Has a Nonsensical 10-Year Goal List
Think about this: Lululemon has a 10-year goal list that makes just about as much sense as the label on a Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle. Incredibly, an anonymous Lululemon employee spilled the beans that "It’s a company that really purports to be about their people, so you’d think they’d examine [the high turnover rate] more."
Lululemon Has a "Clearing" Ritual for Angry Employees
If you've ever walked into work in a terrible mood, then the last thing you really want is to be put through a ritualistic "clearing" ceremony to get you through it. Oddly enough, that's exactly what the company does to angry Lululemon employees.
Lululemon Educators Are Walking, Talking Billboards
If you've ever worked at Lululemon, then you know a lot of effort goes into convincing their educators to wear Lululemon products all day, every day. It's simple: The company tells its educators to attend community fitness classes exclusively clad in the brand's skin-tight spandex. (Because working out three times a day with fellow employees isn’t enough.)
Lululemon Makes Employees Take Public Transportation
It's no coincidence that most Lululemon educators are super fit and ultra-fitness-obsessed. That's because many of them work hard to practice what they preach when it comes to the sustainable gym rat lifestyle that they're selling.
Lululemon Has Really Sweaty Interviews
You know the feeling: clammy hands, nervous heartbeat, jittery footsteps. If you're like most people, going for an interview is already an overwhelming and stressful experience. Now, try doing it on a motionless spin bike with sweat pouring down your brow.
Lululemon Gets Customers Addicted to Its Products
For those of you who whip out your credit card at the first sign of a Lululemon sale, we salute you. One of the reasons the brand’s marketing tactics are so effective is because they literally get their customers addicted to their products.