Little Black Stretchy Pants [Lulu Lemon] P84

Post Length: 3 min

In Review: Little Black Stretchy Pants

Author: Chip Wilson

Length: 10 hrs 34 min

Reco: solid [5/5 bananas]

Did you ever wonder what this pocket’s for? I’ve always wondered that. Well, now we know …

iPod nano launch, 2005.

Great marketing creates a void that products fill. In Apple’s case, that happened with the iPod more than 400 million times.

Chip Wilson has that same skillset as Jobs and other visionaries, to project future trends, create the void and have the product ready when it hits. He tells his epic story in Little Black Stretchy Pants to a similar tune that Phil Knight did in Shoe Dog.

The worst thing a company can do is start planning when the need is already there. A company must invest prior to demand. - Chip

He identified his ideal customer, designed the clothes and made business happen. Their secret sauce, however, was their internal structure and commitment to personal development.

Aside from the Landmark course that everyone attended, Chip laid out Lulu Lemon Linguistic Abstractions. This template made sure everyone was able to communicate through their stratospheric growth phases.

  1. Committed Listening - listening without an obligation to act

  2. By When Date - date when a project or a task promises to be completed

  3. Condition of Satisfaction - an action or criteria against which completion can be measured

  4. Looking Good - a protective way of being that is inconsistent with how we proclaim ourselves to be.

  5. Talking into Listening - consider the filter through which the listener hears what we are saying

This framework sharpened its message.

For the 2010 Olympics held in Canada, there was an embargo placed on all words associated to control companies associating without paying for the rights. To get around saying the 2010 Olympic Games, they plastered this everywhere:

Global sporting event held in British Columbia that takes place between 2009 and 2011.

They didn’t break the law, but they pissed a lot of people off, which led to more free press. That was in line with abstraction #4 above. Screw looking good, we are Lulu.

The brand that is not consuming new concepts will consume itself. - Chip

Chip was eventually replaced as CEO, and the company was taken public, making him a billionaire. Executive leadership changed and quality slid, but it is undeniable that he created athleisure as a market segment and changed how the world views athletic clothing.

In a world that Nike, Under Armor, and Adidas dominate, it is clear there is still room for innovation.

As business development experts, it is our job to forecast the problems that don’t exist yet and start the arduous process of creating that solution with haste.

As Norm Brodsky told me once,

The only skill you need in the world is the ability to predict the future.

Until next week-

Love, Ando