Chip Wilson is a billionaire businessman with dual American-Canadian citizenship, renowned for establishing numerous retail apparel ventures. His most notable contribution is the founding of Lululemon Athletica Inc., a prominent brand in yoga-inspired athletic apparel. Wilson is widely credited as the innovator behind the athleisure trend.
Age- 68 years
Height- 6 feet 2 inches
Full name-Dennis J. “Chip” Wilson
Born- 25 April 1955
Birthplace-San Diego, California, United States
Profession-Canadian businessman, Founder of Lululemon Athletica
Net worth- 690 crores USD (2024)
Born in 1955 in San Diego, California, Wilson hails from a family with a strong athletic background. Both of his parents were college athletes, and his father went on to become a physical education teacher.
Chip Wilson has been married twice. His first wife is Nancy. His second wife, Shannon Wilson, is a Canadian fashion designer, businesswoman, and philanthropist. Shannon is renowned for her previous role as the lead designer at the yoga apparel company Lululemon Athletica. In 2014, she founded Kit and Ace, a technical luxury apparel company.
Wilson has five sons, two from his first marriage to Nancy, and three from his second marriage. The names of his sons are JJ Wilson, Brett Wilson, Tag Wilson, Tor Wilson, and Duke Wilson.
In 1980, he completed his undergraduate studies, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Calgary.
In 1979, Wilson established his initial retail apparel venture, Westbeach Snowboard Ltd, catering to the surf, skate, and snowboard markets. After selling Westbeach in 1997, he founded Lululemon Athletica Inc in 1998. His personal and business interests, as of 2016, are managed through Hold It All Inc.
Wilson served as Lululemon’s CEO until 2005 when he sold a 48% stake to private equity firms Advent International and Highland Capital Partners. Lululemon went public in 2007. In January 2012, Wilson retired from his executive role but retained the position of chairman of the board of directors until December 2013. In June 2014, he voiced concerns about the company’s alignment with its founding values. Following a board reconstitution, the company’s share price rose significantly.
In August 2014, Wilson sold 13.85% of his Lululemon ownership to Advent for approximately $845 million. He stepped down from Lululemon’s board of directors in February 2015, stating that he had achieved his set goals. In December 2015, he mentioned considering buying Under Armour three years prior. In June 2016, Wilson expressed dissatisfaction with Lululemon’s direction and market share loss to Nike and Under Armour.
In 2016, he founded Hold It All, a holding company encompassing Wilson Capital, Wilson 5 Foundation, and Low Tide Properties, aiming to enhance people’s lives. In 2019, during a stock rally, Wilson further reduced his stake in Lululemon by selling millions of shares.
Chip Wilson disease
Wilson was diagnosed with a subtype of muscular dystrophy known as facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy at the age of 32. In support of research for this condition, he has generously contributed 100 million Canadian dollars.
Financial Portfolio and Investment Ventures
In 2004, Ernst & Young honored Wilson as its Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year for Innovation and Marketing. As of 2012, Forbes recognized Wilson as the 10th-wealthiest Canadian and 401st globally, estimating his net worth as of March 2013 to be $2.9 billion.Wilson is currently listed on the Forbes World Billionaires List, holding the 574th position globally. Acknowledged by Business Insider and Forbes, he is recognized as the 8th richest person in Canada. Wilson is a partner with Anta Sports, a Chinese sportswear company. Together, they acquired Amer Sports, with Wilson securing a 20.65% stake in the joint venture alongside Anta and FountainVest Partners. While no longer the CEO of Lululemon, Wilson maintains the largest individual shareholding in the company, possessing 10,955,225 shares or 8.75% as of July 2, 2021.
Controversies surrounding Dennis J. “Chip” Wilson include a statement from a 2004 interview where he explained the inspiration behind the name “Lululemon,” suggesting it was crafted to appeal to Japanese consumers due to the exotic nature of the letter ‘L’ in their language.
In 2013, Wilson faced criticism when addressing customer complaints about pilling on Lululemon’s yoga pants. He attributed the issue to certain women’s bodies, stating that “some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for [wearing Lululemon pants].”
A 2009 blog post on Lululemon’s website, titled “How Lululemon came into being,” contained controversial statements from Wilson. He suggested that women’s lives changed positively with the introduction of Lululemon, but men struggled to adapt, leading to an era of divorces. Additionally, he expressed views on birth control, emphasizing its role in establishing equality.
In his book “Little Black Stretchy Pants,” Wilson controversially expressed a lenient stance on child labor, stating that working at a young age provides valuable life training. He highlighted the alternative perspective in Asia where children not suited for traditional schooling would learn a trade and contribute to their families, emphasizing the necessity to work or starve.
Net Worth 2024
As of 2024, Wilson’s net worth stands at $690 million USD.