Trendy, overpriced yoga clothing retailer Lululemon,ubiquitous around Vancouver in particular and Canada in general,has come under criticism in the past for it's use of child labour and the origins of the store name (hard for Asian tourists to pronounce). Now an article in the August 2006 issue of the Canadian women's magazine, Chatelaine, is causing yet more lululemon devotees to question their support of the company. The article,titled The Untold Story of Lululemon, details Lululemon's connection with the Landmark Forum:
Wilson credits his success to The Landmark
Forum, an intensive international 3 1/2-day training seminar. The program has
garnered widespread criticism for what some see as its boot-camp techniques,
hard-sell recruitment tactics, heavy reliance on free labour, secretive nature
and its links to Werner Erhard, a former Scientologist who developed the
Wilson so heartily believes in the Landmark approach that it has been
made mandatory for management staff to participate in the training. Lululemon
picks up the tab on the $495 tuition. Legally, companies like Lululemon have
the right to ask this of their employees. If employees do not want to attend,
they can be terminated as long as severance is offered.
The article goes on to talk with one manager in detail about her reservations about the advanced Landmark training she is expected to undergo and her conflicted feelings over taking the training or losing her job.
I was a happy customer of Lululemon back when they were a small little operation hidden at the top of a dark staircase on West 4th -and one of the only places in Vancouver to buy yoga supplies. Now I am among the many disenchanted.