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Little Black Stretchy Pants

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  694 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The unauthorized story of lululemon. This is a book about ordinary people who took an opportunity to be creative, to be innovative, and to maximize their potential.

Chip Wilson’s part in this story comes from the learnings of thousands of mistakes. He set the culture, business model, quality platform, people development program and then got out of the way. Lululemon’s expo
Paperback, 432 pages
Published November 27th 2018 by RosettaBooks
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  694 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Dec 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am surprised to not see more low star reviews. This book started out interesting but the author quickly became obnoxious with his pompous attitude and contradictory life views. He talks about accepting responsibility for your mistakes, yet blames everyone else for his own. Chip seems to think he’s perfect and if not for the board members and CEO he was part of the selection for Lululemon would be owning the 30 something Super Girls of the world (as long as they are a size 12 and under). He boa ...more
Jon Morrison
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Too many of us Millennial entrepreneurs and business leaders think that all you need to be the next big brand is a great idea and a business license.

In Little Black Stretchy Pants, Chip Wilson opens our eyes to the reality that behind every successful brand is a heroic story of a leader who pursued a dream, worked countless hours, made sacrifices, learned tough lessons, had their heart broken, and built a world-class business. This is not a tell-all book. This is a critical case study on daring
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: capitalism
Nothing says "I respect women" like having a closeup of a woman's ass on the cover of your book, right? (I get that it's a book about the stretchy athletic pants, but still.) So the strongest parts of this book are the discussions about technical fabrics and design + production- this was genuinely interesting. If this book was meant to counter the rumors floating around about how cultish Lululemon culture is, yeah, it didn't do such a good job about that. Especially with the insistence that EVER ...more
The first half of this book is much better than the second half.

Chip Wilson is a maverick, eccentric founder, with a murky reputation to match. Which doesn't seem to be all that unusual among the industry-shakers of the world. Bezos, Jobs, Musk, Zuckerberg, and many others who have helped redefine the way the world looks and operates also have similarly murky reputations, punctuated by headlines and rumors of scandals.

It appears that Little Black Stretchy Pants is Chip Wilson's effort to exone
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
This read was both interesting and painful. I was often distracted from the content because of spelling mistakes, seemingly disorganized timelines, and most of all, self-aggrandizing, sweeping, obviously inaccurate statements. But perhaps at the end of the day, that’s the beauty and uniqueness of this book — it’s a founder’s authentic voice. And there’s no denying the success of what he built.
Jingwei Shi
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brands
Before reading the book, I thought that the book would just another glowing biography of a founder. Instead, the book exceeded all my wildest expectations. The author/Lululemon founder brought the reader an in depth look at his analysis and reasoning behind every single business step and gave the reader a valuable lesson on the athletic clothing industry.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Little Black Stretchy Pants, billed as the unauthorized story behind lululemon, is at its heart a memoir by the author, Chip Wilson. Before launching into the origins of the infamous little black stretchy pants, Wilson sets the stage regarding the factors he felt led to lululemon’s astronomical success. The first factors are intangible: a finger on the pulse of up and coming cultural trends (fads) and an innate sense of the clothing that appeals to said trendsetters. The next factors aren’t: an ...more
Tasos Manouras
May 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Second book of 2019 I could not finish.

Did not like it at ALL ! ! !

Shoe Dog is 1000 times better.
Amy B
Feb 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
The best part of this book was the author's personal pictures throughout the years showing the early days of lululemon and his previous company Westbeach. Found the writing really basic and some of the author's statements were reminiscent of something Trump would say, unfortunately. Too bad as I was really looking forward to this as a good business book as well as interesting story. I do feel for the author after what happened to the company in the more recent years and the way he has been treat ...more
Luann Mae
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the fascinating story of lululemon told in a genuinely, honest way by founder Chip Wilson. With his ability to predict athletic trends, he begins designing snowboard and skateboard apparel in Canada before either of these sports were mainstream. After selling his company, Westbeach in 1998, at the age of 42 Chip had the capital to finance a new venture.
In 1998, yoga was not a popular form of exercise, but Chip predicted that it would take the world by storm. It was his vision of creating
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely phenomenal book, on par with Shoe Dog for business & entrepreneurship. I came across Chip Wilson in an interview he gave, and was quite surprised with just how sharp and humble a man he was — not to mention his background in the skate & snowboard industry (running a women's yoga brand, who would have known???). Chip is a product guy and a creative thinker, and warns of the dangers of having metrics-driven people with no particular interest in the brand, the product, or the com ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books, favorites
Little Black Stretchy Pants is a phenomenal and inspiring book by Chip Wilson the founder of lululemon. This book covers everything from Chip’s youth to starting his first company and then growing lululemon into the giant it now is. Chip Wilson is a fascinating individual and a brilliant entrepreneur who packs endless amounts of business wisdom into the 429 pages of this book. Chip wasn’t afraid to push the envelope - from running ads that said if you show up naked you pay nothing, to giving awa ...more
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
This book was highly recommended by a bunch of people in the business community, and I liked it overall. I always enjoy reading about an entrepreneur's journey. One consistent theme that popped up again in this book is a failed marriage at the expense of a business. His second company (Lululemon) went better and I enjoyed reading about the specific steps they took to make a unique culture and capitalize on it.
I liked learning about the vertical production model. I also liked learning about the
Taylor Wong
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
There is no doubt that Chip is an enthusiastic guy who created a great grass-roots brand but he tries to defend himself as a great businessman but the book further reinforces that he is not. He is accusatory of management that runs lululemon and candidly, throws a lot of people under the bus. I respect the loyalty he has to his first employees but he tries to take credit for all of lulus successes and is quick to blame the board and senior executives for every misstep and lost opportunity.

I also
Sandra Copeland
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The love of money is............

Having just been through founding and selling a company, this story rang true to the very end. Everyone is out to.power grab. The one with vision is quickly set aside. After all the root is to make big bucks that is all that counts in the end. Who cares that a company has integrity and who makes products for the future when you can make big bucks now? Always the best people are those that began with the vision to help others and to be fair with each other and your
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-nonfiction
An inspirational tale of a unique personality , with a bittersweet ending. Lululemon is not an athleisure retailer: it is a people developer, so its team members can not only excel there but anywhere else they choose to be, and in every aspect of their life.

Why be good when you can be great? As Chip Wilson exhorted us readers to reflect upon at the end: if you have only 40,000 days to live, how do you make the most of each day? How do you, in essence, pay it forward: be a leader to yourself and
Ivan Mitrovic
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wild book. It is a story of bootstrapping, of hard work, of knowing your target demographics, of being detail and product obsessive, of creative vs. operative struggle, of obsession with the company culture... The chapter “What Happens to Design Companies Over Time” about how companies go from great to good is a superb analysis. The book was written by a very opinionated man who thinks highly of himself and his instincts, but my impression is that a different person wouldn’t be able to ...more
Gina Meier
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting read!

I feel like this book was very inspirational and eye opening. I had just recently fell in love with lululemon and thought it would be cool to read how it all started. Chip went through so many battles and it is quite sad. Some people get a title and they do nothing with it but sell you out. Chip’s story should be read by everyone and I like all the other titles you mentioned. Now I know the importance of voting with my proxy’s, do your homework. Now I need to get out the
Curtis & CeCe Barlow
His hand bitten by the mouths that he fed

Chip made the mistake of not keeping enough shares of his company so that he could consistently elect Board members who shared his passion and vision instead of one's who placed their personal short term goals ahead of the company's long term best interest. The Lululemon board is still a group of self-interested, metric analysts. The problem with most companies today is that they are more focused on meeting the expectations of stock market analysts each q
Mark Polet
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Chip Wilson's story leading to the establishment of Lululemon and the lessons learned is compelling, honest and moving. It details 35 years of hard work toward instant success. He honours all those who walked with him along the way, especially his remarkable wife Shannon. For any entrepreneur considering approaching private equity capital or going public with their company, READ THIS BOOK FIRST. Stop what you are doing and read this book. You'll be able to far better navigate the equity market w ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
NOW I understand the "unauthorized!"

I still don't understand a thing about the retail clothing business, but holy crap, what a great inspiring and cautionary tale for every founder who seems to catch lightning in a bottle - or in this case, an underserved market in little black stretchy pants! I now understand why I never "got" lululemon. By the time it got to me, Chip Wilson's beautiful, passionate vision for a new generation of women had been vastly watered down - overstretched, in fact. Ha.
Kayla Heffner
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really found this book to be fascinating because I can’t say when I really discovered Lululemon... probably 2013, but they have literally become part of my everyday wear, from work out clothes to casual clothes. Despite the problems Chip identifies in the book, I do take thus with a grain of salt as it is one perspective and as the Founder, perhaps more emotionally provoked. However, there were times that I told felt Chip’s anger and frustration. Again I found it really cool to see under the v ...more
Kyle Gorjanc
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful and wise, for an entrepreneurial memoir

Chip Wilson is of course eccentric and controversial, but I found his memoir motivating. Reading about his methodology in creating what is arguably one of the most successful disruptive businesses of our time gave interesting insight into one way upholding values and ideals can drive a company toward success. His reading recs are really great too!
Bill Bartlett
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I stumbled on to this book.
I love Lululemon workout clothes but at times the price is a bit high.
Always fascinated by how this company came to dominance.
Chip Wilson is a driven man. The story will really get you to understand how they went up against the big guys like Nike, Adidas etc. and kicked their butt.
And created an amazing culture. You will also learn how hiring the wrong people can destroy that precious culture.
Fran Cormack
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Require reading for all lovers of lululemon

I love reading about how these companies start. Whether it’s someone’s garage, or a pop up shop, or simply a market stall, how they get to be the companies they are is fascinating.

And often, it is the drive of a founder that gets them there.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, memoir
This book was a slog and is mostly the author stroking his own ego and seemingly attempting to convince himself that he’s smarter than everyone else. Half of it should have been cut and the remaining 50% could have been split into two much shorter books; one giving the interesting parts of creating the business and the second being the authors self-help manifesto crap.
John Diaz
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cautionary & Thought-provoking Memoir of Lululemon's Founder

Chip seems to bear it all in his road before and after Lululemon. What resonated the most with me was the importance of the culture he built for his company and the perils of losing control to a board of directors who aren't aligned with that culture.
Didier Otero
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a few typos in this book... couldn’t afford editor? Rushed to press? Other than that, I love and respect the lululemon brand that Chip Wilson built, so I was always curious about the back story. I was impressed with Chip’s gut instincts on so many business decisions, which may not have served him well in this #metoo climate.
Sherryanne Meyer
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Founders story of an innovative product and retail model (lululemon) tells Chip Wilson’s entry into athletic apparel in Vancouver BC and eventual creation of high quality yoga tights. It’s also a cautionary tale about IPOs and the co flirts that arise between a founder and CEO.
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“When I die, I want to die like my grandmother who died
peacefully in her sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in her car.”
“I’d go into the bathroom, pee, close my eyes, and try to find a mental black dot. Then I’d float through that black dot for almost sixty seconds and be in nothing. I’d come out of the bathroom thinking how perfect I felt.” 1 likes
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