Before lululemon, there was Westbeach — the first retail apparel brand founded by Chip Wilson.
Chip Wilson honed his expertise in technical apparel through his early days building the Westbeach brand, which he founded in 1979. The popular retailer was targeted to the surf, skate, and snowboard markets. Evolving Westbeach from a primarily “surf and skateboard” brand to become a pioneer in snowboarding apparel required risk and was a testament to Chip’s keen intuition about athletic and apparel trends.
Chip Wilson began creating the blueprint for athleisure brands early in his career.
By 1988, Chip Wilson had predicted the rise of snowboarding, knowing it was about to hit mainstream. As a result, Westbeach was able to use snowboarding as an entry point to become a truly global company and a critical player in the snowboard industry.
After years of building the company and gaining invaluable retail and business experience, Chip Wilson sold Westbeach in 1997. His intuition was telling him something big was about to happen with yoga— and he was right. Chip Wilson founded lululemon Athletica Inc. a year later.