Lululemon founder responds to comment controversy on YouTube
Chip Wilson, founder of Lululemon, addresses a controversy over his comments in a YouTube video on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. (YouTube)
Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has posted an apologetic YouTube video responding to the outcry he sparked blaming women’s bodies for quality complaints earlier this week.
Wilson has been under fire since Wednesday, when he told a Bloomberg TV host that body shapes could be responsible for a recent wave of pilling complaints with the company’s popular yoga pants.
“I’m sad for the repercussions of my actions,” Wilson said in the YouTube video, posted Friday.
“I’m sad for the people of Lululemon who I care so much about, that have really had to face the brunt of my actions. I take responsibility for all that has occurred and the impact it has had on you. I’m sorry to have put you all through this.”
The Vancouver billionaire then encouraged loyal customers to continue taking part “in a conversation that is above the fray.”
The complaints started showing up on Lululemon’s Facebook page in October, with some claiming their yoga pants began pilling after a few months, or even a few uses.
During Wilson’s Bloomberg TV appearance, he addressed the concerns by saying “quite frankly, some women’s bodies just don’t work for it.”
“It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there, I mean over a period of time, and how much they use it.”
The company also faced quality concerns earlier this year, when sheerness issued forced it to recall 17 per cent of its yoga pants.
Despite the recall, a page on the Lululemon website still blamed some customers for buying sizes that were too small for their bodies.
Lululemon Athletica sold $1.4 billion in merchandise in 2012.
The full transcript of Wilson’s YouTube statement:
Hello, I’m Chip Wilson. I’m founder of Lululemon Athletica. I’d like to talk to you today about the last few days of media that’s occurred around the Bloomberg interview.
’m sad – I’m really sad. I’m sad for the repercussions of my actions. I’m sad for the people of Lululemon who I care so much about, that have really had to face the brunt of my actions. I take responsibility for all that has occurred and the impact it has had on you. I’m sorry to have put you all through this.
For all of you that have made Lululemon what it is today, I ask you to stay in a conversation that is above the fray. I ask you to prove that the culture you have built cannot be chipped away. Thank you.