2019 Speakers

Chip Wilson

Founder of Hold It All Inc.
Chip Wilson is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, loving husband and a father to 5 boys. As the founder of Westbeach Snowboard and lululemon athletica, Chip is a globally recognized innovator in the field of technical apparel. He is widely credited with creating the “athleisure” retail category, now a $100-billion-a year global business. Chip is known for his people-before-product leadership approach. At lululemon, he created a unique culture by surrounding himself with like-minded individuals; creative, driven, athletic locals enjoying a work-life balance inspired by the West Coast. In 2007, lululemon athletica went public. Today they have a market cap of roughly $20 billion. Today, Chip is actively involved in Hold It All Inc. (HIA), a multifaceted organization that houses the Wilson family interests, including Low Tide Properties and strategic private equity investments. The HIA businesses represent a carefully cultivated collection of entities that each hold true to the Wilson family’s vision of providing components for people to live longer, healthier, more fun lives. In 2018, Chip released his business memoir, ‘Little Black Stretchy Pants: The Unauthorized Story of lululemon’ to provide context for building a cultural company. In his personal life, Chip and his wife Shannon are passionate about Vancouver and developing its creative and entrepreneurial community. Through their Foundation, they have supported local art and design initiatives such as the Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) and the Wilson Arts Plaza at Emily Carr University. Together, they also founded imagine1day which went on to merge with the WE Charity in 2017, and Whil, a subscription-based mindfulness platform. In 2019, the Wilson family partnered to buy and take private Amer Sports which owns several brands including Arc’teryx, Salomon, Peak Performance and Wilson Sports.

Q&A with Chip Wilson

Ruth Kelly

Founder of Weft x Warp – Fabric Development Consultancy
Ruth has three decades of fabric and raw materials experience from a variety of global companies, encompassing brands, manufacturing and education. Prior to founding Weft x Warp, Ruth lead the Women’s’ Fabric Development Team at lululemon. Here she showed her technical knowledge of athletic apparel fabrics to be one of the best in the industry, integrating her creativity, leadership and problem-solving skills. A true global fabric expert, Ruth has worked in Raw Materials Teams for apparel manufacturers in the UK, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. Experience over multiple products and fabric types, has provided her with an international network of connections, and the practical in-depth knowledge of the fabric development, sourcing, validation and production processes. During her time lecturing in ‘Global Supply Chain Management’ at Nottingham Trent Business School and in ‘Global Textile Processes’ at De Montfort University, she pursued her love of learning and inspiring others, while perfecting her research and education skills. Ruth has a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Textile Technology from the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology, UK, and holds her designation as an Associate of the Textile Institute (ATI). She is also a certified 200-hour yoga teacher graduating from the Mind-ful-on, lululemon Yoga Leadership Teacher Training. Ruth lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and three children. Growing up in the UK, and having lived all over the world, Ruth deeply appreciates common human connections, within the teams she leads and the partnerships she creates. When she’s not mothering, working, or practicing yoga, she sings, goes to book club and cycles to raise funds for the Ride to Conquer Cancer.


  • - Tips and Tricks when Selecting and Developing Fabrics

Steven Sal Debus

Product Design & Marketing Consultant
From founding the multi million dollar Canadian brand Modrobes in the 90’s, 2 successful pitches on Dragons Den and spearheading the explosive growth of local brand DUER, Steven Sal Debus has always focused on leading edge tactics to grab attention in an overcrowded marketplace. After managing 10 Kickstarter campaigns and raising over $1 million dollars he has learned a process that can now be applied outside the crowdfunding platform. In this presentation he will not only talk about how to explode your growth through crowdfunding but also other proven strategies to get your audience begging for more.


  • - Crowdfunding Your Way to Success

Andrew Drigola

Director of Operations & Relationship Management at Apparelmark
Andrew is one of the co-founders and original partners at Apparelmark, responsible for daily operational decision making and business development processes. Coming from a sales and marketing background, Andrew has blended the roles of communication, number crunching and critical thinking in his role as head of operations at Apparelmark. With daily crisis management of 10+ brands at any given time has given Andrew an invaluable insight into the apparel industry and what it takes to succeed in the harsh world of fashion.