Lululemon: Ignore the Jerk!

How can women feel beautiful when the founder of a company that promotes women’s empowerment tells us that “some women’s bodies just actually don’t work”?

My answer? Ignore the jerk!

For those of you who don’t know, “Lululemon Athletica Inc. is facing another legal proceeding in the U.S. related to the controversial recall of its too-sheer black Luon yoga pants.” (The Canadian Press).   Last week, Chip Wilson, the founder, made a statement on Bloomberg TV that the problem has to do with the women wearing the pants, claiming that if your thighs rub together, their pants may not be for you.  He then made a public “apology”, not apologizing to all the women he offended, but to his employees.  YIKES!

As a marketer and former plus-sized woman, I was shocked and offended!  Actually….if I was a size 4 lawyer or teacher or electrician….I still would have been offended.

On a marketing standpoint: One of the basic principles of sales is “the customer is always right”.  What Chip Wilson has done is not only offended his customers but BLAMED them for the sheerness and poor quality of his products.   I think he’s incredibly superficial and just trying to put the blame on someone else to help his lawsuit (ie. trying to save his ass).  What he doesn’t realize is that he might win the lawsuit but he’s damaging his company’s brand and reputation which will ultimately reflect in major sales and customer loss.   Women want to support companies that support us and buy products that make us feel good about ourselves.

 If Lululemon wants to recover from this, they should ban their founder from ever speaking publically, continue supporting organizations that promote women’s empowerment and expand their size selection. The average sized North American woman is size 12-14 (The Chronicle Journal) and Lululemon currently only make sizes 2-12.  Even on a sales standpoint this doesn’t makes sense!

On a “feeling fabulous” standpoint:  If the Lululemon founder continues to make these foolish short-sighted statements and only make clothes for a very specific demographic of people, then all the rest of us should proudly shop somewhere else.  It’s their loss (literally and figuratively)!  Although most of my friends own a pair of Lululemon pants and love them, I have never bought anything there because, before my weight loss, I couldn’t fit into them and now, frankly, I can’t justify spending that much money on yoga pants that I wouldn’t wear on a regular basis.  I buy most of my yoga/exercise pants from Winners, Marshalls and Costco – decent quality, great prices and a wide selection of sizes.  Nothing feels better than finding clothes that fit well, are on sale, and make you look fabulous!

So, to sum it up:  Let companies (and people) that make stupid statements dig their own graves.  Wear clothes that you are proud to wear and make you feel beautiful!

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