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Okay, some of ya’ll have been waiting for my LuLaRoe story for years.You want to know why I quit LuLaRoe after being all in at the start. This is all old news, but here we go!
“Part-time work with full-time income!”
In 2016 I started seeing people on social media share photos in outfits they got at exclusive parties. You couldn’t order online or go to a store. You had to get invited to one of the parties – or offer to host one yourself. The clothes had fun bright patterns and were weirdly described as “buttery soft.” Promises all over social media said I could make “full time income while working part time hours” as a Lularoe “consultant.”
This certainly appealed to me. I’d been freelance writing for years in an effort to have time and flexibility for my daughter. We adopted her in 2010 when she was 9-years-old. Working full-time as program director for a nonprofit organization while being a new mom to a traumatized tween was impossible. I could only do it for a year and then jumped into freelance writing from home.
Freelancing is tough. So much harder than I was prepared for. It’s still hard a decade later.
Clients come and go. Most of my time is spent finding the next paying gig. It is often challenging and stressful. And working from home while parenting a child with heavy emotional needs was almost impossible at times.
So “full-time income with part-time hours” sounded amazing.
I drank the kool-aid
I went to an open house at a Lularoe consultant’s home, spent a small fortune on an assortment of dresses, tops, and leggings, then signed up to be a LuLaRoe consultant myself. There was a six-month waiting list to “onboard” with Lularoe because so many people were signing up.
I spent those six months drinking the kool-aid hardcore. I spent hours upon hours each week researching best practices, studying the “coaches” and “mentors (many of whom were claiming to make as much as 100K a month!), buying supplies, attending weekly “training” calls with the owners, creating marketing materials, building a Facebook group, joining a million other consultant Facebook groups, and telling everyone about my new “business.”
I spent hundreds of dollars on LuLaRoe clothes because the owners preached the importance of wearing the product at all times. In fact, I got rid of most of my old clothes. I wore leggings, Irma, perfect tee, Amelia, Cassie, etc. no matter the event.
When it was finally my turn to “onboard,” I charged seven thousand dollars of inventory to a high limit credit card I’d secured just for this purpose at the suggestion of the LuLaRoe collective.
Yes. SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.
The push was to purchase as much as possible because “the more you have, the more you can sell.”
I anxiously awaited the tower of boxes to show up at my door and got busy finalizing the details for my big launch. My then-husband, daughter, and a friend helped me open all the boxes, take inventory, sort through everything, and hang everything up on the clothing racks I’d purchased months before. It took days.
Oh, yeah, that 7K didn’t include racks, hangers, promotional materials, shipping supplies, the $300 label printing all the big sellers insisted was necessary, etc.
3K in sales week 1
I’d been hyping these clothes up for months and the first week was huge! Between live sales in my Facebook group, and a multi-day open house that filled every common area of my home, I sold around three thousand dollars in my first week.
And that was without leggings. They were on backorder at the time. The 7K didn’t even include leggings.
The people at the top said it was crucial to continue building your inventory, so put everything I earned right back into buying more.
Rinse and repeat. I did this every week because “they” said the key to success was a huge inventory.
I was so excited in the beginning that the hours upon hours I put into it didn’t even seem like work. This was way more labor-intensive than writing. But “they” promised once you grew your inventory enough, you’d start marking more money with less effort.
Way more money. They promised so much money.
I hauled those racks and hundreds of pounds worth of clothes all over the place doing “parties.” People were in and out of my house “shopping” at all hours. I did live Facebook sales several times a week.
My husband and daughter put in hours and hours of work every week helping me.
I told them the stories of the hundreds of consultants who had been successful and assured them we were on the way to life-changing money.
Recruiting a team
I started building a “team,” which was pushed as absolutely necessary for being able to work less while earning more. Three women signed on because they saw the success I was having in sales. I got paid commission months later when they were finally able to order. The owners urged us on the weekly calls to recruit new consultants heavily and push them to place frequent large orders. I still feel awful I recruited these ladies. Things started nosediving soon after they joined. I wish I’d quit LuLaRoe without bringing other people into it.
The quality of the leggings became a huge issue. They started arriving damaged. Or they’d get holes and tears the first time customers wore them. So many people had the butts totally rip out of their leggings while wearing them.
I distinctly remember putting on a pair of hot pink leggings before leaving the house. Solid-colored leggings were hard to get by the way, especially black. In case you didn’t know, LuLaRoe consultants don’t get to choose the colors or patterns they’re given. It’s you get what you get and you don’t get a fit.
Anyways, I put on these brand new pink leggings straight out of the package and drove to the post office to ship out a bunch of orders from the last live sale. I looked down as I was getting out of the car and the leggings were shredded. Just completely destroyed. All I’d been doing was sitting there.
Brainwashing and gaslighting
Consultants started voicing their concerns in the weekly calls. The owners and higher-ups were unapologetic and unsympathetic.
They continued pushing consultants to work hard and sell more while dancing around the huge issues.
When you put so much time, energy, money, and hope into something, it’s really easy to ignore the red flags and hold on to the promises. To quit LuLaRoe was admitting you fell for a scam and most of us weren’t ready for that yet.
There were huge conferences in which the owners and their family members were cheered for like they were A-list celebrities. Lots of people were rushed to the hospital in ambulances during these events because they spent so much time outside waiting in lines in blazing temperatures they got heatstroke.
In addition to the huge bonus checks for those at the top who had built big teams, there were cruises, watches, and fame. These people were celebrities amongst the lower-level consultants. We were told over and over that we could be where they were if we just worked hard enough.
LuLaRoe Fat Shaming
I was in several LuLaRoe consultant groups on Facebook. Screenshots and photos started circulating that the owners were encouraging consultants to book trips to Mexico with them for group weight loss surgery. Girls as young as 13 were said to have been taking to Mexico for the surgery.
The owners repeatedly talked about the importance of making sure the clothes looked good on you. There was a big push for losing weight, as well as spending lots of time (and money) on hair and makeup. (They also pushed new cars, designer bags, and upgrading your home in an effort to sell the story of success to new recruits even if you went into debt “temporarily.”)
One of the things I initially really liked about LuLaRoe was the range of sizes. However, it was very clear the owners preferred thin bodies.
“Feed them cereal and spaghettios”
Sales started slowing way down, mostly due to the quality issues, as well as the abundance of just hideous patterns. The owners told everyone they just weren’t working hard enough at the weekly meetings, that we just didn’t want success badly enough.
They preached making sacrifices. On one call, they suggested feeding your kids cereal and spaghettios at every meal so you had more time to recruit and sell.
Time to quit LuLaRoe
I joined a Facebook group of disgruntled consultants. It became much easier to see the HUGE issues without all of the coaches and mentors moderating every conversation and deleting any criticism of the company.
When I looked at the numbers about a year into selling I realized I had zero profit. I’d put everything back into more inventory as instructed. Now I was left with hundreds and hundreds of pieces of prints no one wanted and boxes of damaged items I’d had to refund to my customers.
I couldn’t stand behind a company I didn’t believe in. The lies, fat-shaming, empty promises, and gaslighting from the LuLaRoe powers-that-be became blaring.
The ladies who joined my “team” weren’t making any money. I felt so guilty. Instead of following the lead of those above me and pushing them to just work harder, I announced I was quitting. They quickly followed suit. It wasn’t just us. Thousands of consultants started liquidating their inventory, mostly at a loss.
So, yeah, I sold tens of thousands of dollars of LuLaRoe in a year. You might have even bought from me (I appreciated the support then and still appreciate it now!). But I made zero profit.
I was fortunate to pretty much break even after liquidating everything. Most weren’t so lucky. So many people lost homes, cars, retirement, and savings because they put everything into the fantasy the cult of LuLaRoe promised.
So that’s the story of why I quit LuLaRoe. I know the company is somehow still in business today and new consultants are still joining. There have been many documentaries, articles, and lawsuits exposing the lies and shady practices of LuLaRoe, so I’m not sure how they still exist, let alone get new people to join.
To those of you who have been waiting for this story, sorry it took so long. It really took quite a bit of time for me to process it. LuLaRoe basically brainwashed tens of thousands of consultants (not to mention the customers we got to buy into the crazy).
In summary, I quit LuLaRoe because it is owned and operated by horrible people and the “business plan” they promote only helps those at the top.
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Posts from before I quit LuLaRoe:
Here are some of the many blog posts I wrote before I quit LuLaRoe. I didn’t realize there were so many. I’m going to work on going through them this week and editing to add a disclaimer and link to this post at the top of each one!