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how did lululemon get its name

This is a story of how the yoga brand lululemon got its name. The history is just weird and offensive, however people tend to mask that part of Lululemon and the brand’s success continues to thrive.

Chip Wilson’s former business “Westbeach Sports” was a surf/skate/snowboard company. In the early 90’s, Westbeach sold about 5 million dollars a year of snowboard clothing to the Japanese market. North American name brands had intense appeal there and Japanese consumers paid a premium for authentic product.

Westbeach also developed a skateboard brand in the 90’s called “homless”. The company sold a few hundred thousands dollars worth of homless product specifically to the Japanese market before deciding to stop producing homless and concentrate solely on the Westbeach brand.

A big issue for Westbeach with the “homless” name was that it was impossible to trademark. The prefix “hom” means male in French and there were just too many “hom” like names to be different. Consequently the name was never registered and Westbeach stopped producing the homless brand. The Japanese however did not forget. Not producing homless for the Japanese customer created a cult like following.

After a couple of years of pleading with Westbeach to continue making the homless brand, the Japanese Westbeach distributor asked to buy the name. The name “homless” had no real value to Westbeach and the Japanese yen was at its very highest. Japanese companies at the time were buying golf courses, name brands and buildings worldwide. After the purchase, Chip Wilson spent hours pondering the value of the “homless” name to the Japanese.

It was thought that a Japanese marketing firm would not try to create a North American sounding brand with the letter “L” because the sound does not exist in Japanese phonetics. By including an “L” in the name it was thought the Japanese consumer would find the name innately North American and authentic. Chip felt that the distributor had paid a premium for the “L” so he challenged himself to come up with a name that had 3 “L’s” for his new company.

In essence, the name “Lululemon” has no roots and means nothing other than it has 3 “L’s” in it. Nothing more and nothing less.

The Lululemon name was chosen in a survey of 100 people. The company’s distinctive logo is a stylized A, a leftover from one of the rejected names. Although it looks like an Omega sign, it is not Greek influenced. Some people think it looks like a woman’s flip hairstyle.

This article has since been deleted from other platforms. I am including it on Schimiggy Reviews for reference. You can also find a copy of the post here.

[Image credit from Fool]

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Alex Tran AKA Schimiggy is a fitness fashion, travel, justice, and food-obsessed raconteuse. She currently resides in Seattle and teaches yoga while writing her heart out. Schimiggy Reviews is a lifestyle blog where Alex shares her passions and interests with the world!

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