Luxury bike wear company Kit and Ace is steering itself in a new direction without its famed co-founders.
The Vancouver-based brand said that Shannon and J.J. Wilson — the wife and son of Lululemon Athletica Inc. founder Chip Wilson — are no longer involved in the company that they created in 2014.
The duo has been replaced by members of the Kit and Ace management team that acquired the company for an undisclosed amount and will now be led by chief executive officer George Tsogas.
Tsogas told The Canadian Press that the changes to the brand have been in the works for several months and that the Wilsons’ departure was amiable.
“They are moving on. They are doing philanthropy and just enjoying their time now,” Tsogas said.
Tsogas noted that he remains close with Chip Wilson, who he called a “mentor.” The two have known each other for 17 years, since Tsogas joined Lululemon in 2002 when the brand only had four stores.
“Having him by my side and developing me and mentoring me has enabled me to get this opportunity to get Kit and Ace to this point where it is profitable and to be able to buy it,” he said.
“They have known about (my vision) since the beginning and that I wanted to buy the company. It has been my goal.”
Since Tsogas took the company’s helm in April 2017, he has been trying to transition the company away from its luxury roots and turn it into a brand that is more focused on giving modern commuters high-tech gear.
The shift has been driven by consumer demand and feelings that the products Kit and Ace sell were too expensive, Tsogas said.
He has since dramatically dropped prices on some products.
Kit and Ace has a handful of stores in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta and runs an e-commerce offering.
Companies in this story: (TSX:LULU)
Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press