The renovation clock is ticking. We've blacked out our online store as we move ahead with our site's renovation. We've affectionately called the place "Boutique Noir" because let's face it, it sounds better that way. To celebrate the state of affairs, we interviewed Sheree Waterson, our Executive VP of Merchandise Management. Why? You'll see.
Sheree is the woman ultimately behind the fabulous colour you know and love from lululemon. We are all intrigued by the way she plays with texture, shape and proportion, all with function at the core, no matter what she’s creating.
We’re also intrigued by the amount of black in her wardrobe. The woman can wear black. I mean really wear black. Think 29 days out of 30: black shoes, pants, tops, jackets, hair, nail polish, accessories – all black. Considering our online store is about to look a lot like Sheree’s wardrobe, it only seemed fitting to spend a little time with the woman to talk about her favourite colour. (Is black a colour?)
the woman in black
Elissa: So how long have you been wearing all black?
Sheree: Since I started in the business. I used to wear a lot of colour. When I started, I was a buyer for designer sportswear. We used to travel a lot and so, you know, your wardrobe has to be easy. Truthfully, I love dressing this way because it’s easy to play with proportion when you keep the palette all black. My clothes are all black and my environment has to be white. I admit. I send myself white flowers. I need a clean blank canvas to create so that ADD doesn't creep in.
It’s funny, when I lived in San Fran, I had some friends who had a shop called “Alabaster”. They helped me decorate my apartment. I said I wanted this particular Napolean couch in white velvet and another piece in white silk satin, a look inspired by this Oscar De La Renta dress. “Honey,” she said, “we can’t do that. It’s going to look like a wedding cake in here.” That was the point.
E: So you own a lot of black luon?
S: Oh yeah. (she laughs.)
E: Do you own any coloured luon?
S: A bit. I have some jewel-tone pieces, Dark Classic Sport Grey, Snorkel Blue, Flush…but mostly black. It’s about proportion and function at that point.
E: Before you were at lululemon you were...
S: Before I was at lululemon I was President of Speedo North America and before that, I was the VP of Women's at Levi's.
(At this point, the accessories designers interrupt with a colour board to show Sheree. It’s for upcoming water bottles. I get to observe a really unique moment where Sheree challenges them to get inside her head and try to understand what’s working for her and what is not. I have never seen anyone speak so passionately about colour’s ability to inspire, to drive emotions and to communicate.)
S to designers: The colour has to blow me away – I mean literally. It has to blow me away. This finish? (She points to a metallic bottle) This slays me. I walk by this and think “quality”. It’s really just a water bottle. It’s the opposite of intellectual. It’s purely creative. Are you with me?
(After ten minutes of interacting over water bottle colours and graphics, the designers leave the office to go back to the drawing board.)
S to E: Did that make sense? Did I communicate that well?
E: Yes, I get it. I have a mother who did women’s colour analysis in the eighties, so I totally get the whole language of colour thing. I’m curious: how many black pairs of shoes do you own?
(She’d rather not comment, but she did mention she’s in the triple digits. Whoa.)
E: Who’s your style icon?
S: I don’t know. It’s hard for me to say. I don’t really think anyone dresses that great these days. Who rocks hard? (Sheree looks at Janine, a designer who is standing within earshot.)
E: Ok, if you take “style icon” and replace that with whose work do you love?
S: Oh, easy. I love Givenchy. Ricardo Tisci, McQueen - I love Rick Owens. His favourite colour is black too. We're soul mates.
E: Black or red licorice?
E: White or dark chocolate?
S: Oooh, it depends on the brand.
Janine: Gummi bears!
S: GUMMI BEARS! Vitamin Gummi bears! (We all laugh.)
E: Favourite workout?
S: Kundalini Yoga...at Semperviva with Gloria, or Yoga West with Hari Singh, or Ghurmuk Kaur Khalsa when she’s in Vancouver. (I find this amusing. A lot of people who practice Kundalini wear all white.)
Goals for the year?
S: Go to Harvard. (Check. She heads to Boston for a two-month leadership course on Saturday. Ironically, she’s wearing a stunning cherry red cropped jacket to celebrate. There’s a long silence. She looks me square in the eyes.) Truthfully, I am so wrapped up in work that the thing that I really care about – really care about – is that the team that I work with is the most inspired, happiest team in the world. That is it. I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather have. Except more yoga. Do more yoga.
Erika (Sheree's Executive Assistant): …and drink more water.
S: More water, yes.
E: …out of a sexy water bottle?
S: Yes, out of a really sexy water bottle! Exactly. It has to be chartreuse. No, really. (Her expression goes completely stoic.) Chartreuse is the number one colour in the world.
- Meet some of the other people behind our products. Say hello to Katie.
- Follow our designers on their trip to Europe. Croissants and goals abound.
- Find out about the product black-out. Read our reno page.
We like Sheree's philosophy as much as we love her office. Sometimes things are simpler in black and white. Consider our all-black selection our clean slate as we tidy things up behind the scenes. Thanks so much for your patience!