If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the man behind the world’s most famous little black stretchy pants, you’re in luck.
Lululemon founder and former CEO Chip Wilson has written a tell-all book suitably titled Little Black Stretchy Pants, detailing his story as the former head of the multi-billion dollar athletic apparel company.
In a sit-down interview with Daily Hive, Wilson said he wrote the book to “lay out the whole story” about the company, which he founded in 1998.
Wilson felt like now was the right time to share his personal and professional experiences in a book.
“We were so busy at lululemon — I mean we didn’t have time to take a picture, write a story, to do anything,” said Wilson.
Wilson has had his fair share of time making headlines for his opinions. Perhaps the most notable moment came in 2013 when lululemon recalled 17% of its pants for being too sheer.
What took things from bad to worse, however, is when Wilson suggested that some women’s bodies were just not made for his pants.
“Frankly, some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for it,” said Wilson in the interview to Bloomberg TV. “They don’t work for some women’s bodies… it’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it,” he said.
Wilson apologized for his comment but ultimately resigned as CEO in 2013. A year later he sold off a portion of his shares, reportedly for a cool $845-million. In 2015, he stepped down from the board of directors.
While media outlets were keen to publish stories about lululemon and its controversies, Wilson said he felt like he was not part of telling that story.
“People were looking for anything to write about and people started to write about the history of lululemon and the history of me. So I think part of it was laying out the whole story.”
The 33-chapter book begins with Wilson’s childhood upbringing in Calgary and chronicles his journey as an entrepreneur, starting a surf and snowboard apparel company in the late 70s. He ultimately sold Westbeach in 1997, the year before starting the yoga brand that launched his career into orbit.
The billionaire gives readers his personal accounts of what went on behind closed doors with executive members of the company — and how he really feels about them.
But Wilson admits that building lululemon did not come without mistakes.
“My part in this story comes from the learnings of thousands of mistakes,” Wilson writes.
“This book is also about missed opportunity — five years of missed opportunity. I was playing to win, while the directors of the company I founded were playing not to lose.”
Wilson certainly doesn’t hold back and he notes that the book “has not been authorized by the official maker of black stretchy pants, lululemon athletica.”
If you’re looking for a juicy read, Wilson’s unauthorized tell-all seems like quite the page-turner.