Lululemon’s ex-CEO and Jewish founder, Chip Wilson, sounds like a pretty… interesting character. Now that he’s left the company, he’s been working hard on his latest venture, Kit and Ace. In his recent profile in The New York Times, he had a lot of things to say about running a business.
For starters, 60-year-old Wilson said he believes in “Jewish Standard Time”(which is when you’re running late, apparently because you’re Jewish). He did clarify it’s only acceptable when it’s not business related and not longer than a 15 minute delay, stating, “It’s showing you didn’t respect your friends’ time.”
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So, why did he end up leaving Lululemon? Apparently, he feels it is no longer “a woman’s company,” and that it has “turned from being a woman’s company to being a man’s company…It didn’t follow through on building a pipeline of women. We got a lot of women who were older, and they didn’t develop women under them. I think they were trying to protect their jobs.”
In case you missed it, Lululemon’s public disaster a couple years ago revolved around all those expensive, see-through pants, and of course, the fact that Wilson blamed the transparent nature of the pants on the big butts within them, and the people he worked with:
“I became a scapegoat for a lot of people not doing what they were supposed to do…It was Machiavellian rules, but I didn’t know I was playing a game. I’ve been coached not to say the things that I’m saying.”
Now, he’s focusing on promoting “athleisure” to customers who want to wear comfy loungewear with a focus on “technical cashmere.” Kit and Ace has 60 stores across the globe, which he compares to giving birth:
“A new business is like a baby. It cries, it’s puking, it’s 24 hours a day and sometimes you don’t know why you did it. But then you give it a bath and put some powder on it and you can’t believe how beautiful it is.”
Let’s see how his babies grow up.