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Lululemon founder Chip Wilson: The company 'needs to masculinize'

Adriana Belmonte
Associate Editor

For over 20 years, Lululemon Athletica (LULU) has been a fixture in the yoga clothing industry. The company’s founder and former CEO Chip Wilson spoke about his vision for the company while appearing on “The Final Round.”

“I’ve really been trying to move Lululemon into, believe it or not, rugby or hockey,” Wilson said. “I think it’s that they’re gentleman sports where, even during the game, everyone’s a friend, everyone’s a buddy. It’s like you’re really a gentleman even when you’re playing the game, but it’s rugged.

“And I think it fits into the new world we have, like the #MeToo movement and everything where men have to be different,” he continued. “I think it’s the same for Lululemon. It needs to masculinize, but in a nice, gentlemanly way.”

Lululemon founder Chip Wilson spoke with Yahoo Finance about his vision for the company. REUTERS/Ben Nelms

Lululemon Athletica was founded in 1998 and became a public company in 2007. Last year, then-CEO Laurent Potdevin called the men’s division one of its “best-kept secrets.” The company said at the time it expected to grow that division to a $1 billion business by 2020.

In Lululemon’s first quarter of 2018, the company said men made up 30% of its new customers.

“When we started in 1998, the yogi male was maybe 1% of everything,” Wilson said. “They were very small and slight men. So all our kind of clothing at that beginning came out of almost the very opposite from the NFL football-type thing.”

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Wilson has described the ideal male Lululemon customer as Duke, a 35-year-old man who is “an athletic opportunist, surfing in the summer, snowboarding in the winter, and willing to pay for quality.” The company sells an array of men’s workout attire, including tanks, hoodies, jackets, jogger pants, shorts, and more.

“As we have gone on, that market really hasn’t been as big,” Wilson said. “I’ve been trying to work on masculinizing the men’s line for a long time.”

Adriana is an editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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