In February of 2016, I was sucked down the rabbit hole of LuLaRoe clothing. A friend from out of state came to visit, and she was wearing a pair of their famous “butter leggings”. As soon as I felt how soft they were, I was obsessed.
Within a week I had two pair of leggings on the way, and by the end of February I had pretty much bought myself a new wardrobe, all LuLaRoe. I didn’t feel bad about that, since I was turning thirty in April and I had spent every year of my 20s either pregnant or nursing a baby and having to dress to accommodate that. My newest baby was five months old then, and I was battling some gnarly post partum depression. She was my fourth living child, my fifth altogether and she came only 16 months after her sister.
Two babies back to back, buying our first home, (and moving when the baby was 3 weeks old!) the chaos of the holidays and the inevitable let down when they were over had taken a toll on me, and I was not happy with myself, my life or my body.
Enter LuLaRoe. Comfortable clothing, with gorgeous fun prints, that feel like pajamas but make me look put together? And I can buy them on Facebook without having to drag my kids out of the house and deal with the whining while I frantically try on clothes in dressing rooms? Yes! Sign me up.
After spending a small fortune on my own personal LuLaRoe wardrobe, I submitted my paperwork to become a consultant. The wait time was estimated to be 8 weeks to “onboard.” When you onboard with LuLaRoe, you get a call from an onboarding specialist at home office and, at the time, you choose from a variety of styles which styles you would like to carry in your initial inventory. Every new consultant was promised 25-50 free incentive pieces, depending on the number of pieces ordered in your initial inventory. But, everyone was to receive at least 25. Your free pieces could be any item on a predetermined list and include different styles of tops, skirts and kimonos.
Eight weeks came and went. Nine weeks came and went. When it had been 10 weeks and 3 days since I had signed up, home office announced a major change. New consultants were no longer given a choice in what styles they carried. Everyone got the same package. A “kit” of sorts, just like every other multi level marketing
scam er, company, that has ever existed. Only, it wasn’t a $99 kit to sell makeup, or a $35 kit to sell scented wax. It was a $5,650 kit with 6 styles of clothing totaling about 300 pieces. You got NO leggings, the company’s top seller and what draws everyone in to LuLaRoe to begin with.
And, they completely did away with the free items UNLESS you spent another $1,300 on the “kids add on package” which was comprised of a few kids leggings, a lot of tween leggings (which DO NOT sell) and a lot of the Gracie top (also a slow seller, and with the smallest profit margin of any of the LLR styles). If you chose to drop an addition $1,300 on this kids package, you were then given 25 “Free” Patricks – the men’s shirt LuLaRoe introduced a couple of months ago which was a total flop. Priced at $40 each, and in tissue weight fabric that no man I know is a fan of, its no surprise that they have hundreds of these things sitting in the warehouse.
I was livid. I had spent over ten weeks researching and planning my initial inventory, and crunching numbers and making sure I had exactly the amount of money I needed to purchase my inventory. Now I’m told I have 24 hours to come up with an extra $700, I have to carry styles I know won’t sell in my hot and humid climate, and I get absolute no free/incentive items.
Over the course of that ten weeks, I spent nearly $500 of my own money on shipping supplies, a photography backdrop, a dress form, professional lighting, a tripod, business cards… the list goes on.
I thought about throwing in the towel then. I already had misgivings about the company. They have had many quality control issues, sizing issues, leggings that are supposed to fit sizes 2-10 splitting at the seams when someone who is a size four puts them on, and they have never once taken ownership for any of these issues. Never once has anyone from home office made a statement, to the public or to the consultants, acknowledging the issues and taking responsibility for them.
LuLaRoe “culture” is enough to make you throw up in your mouth a little. You are required to be positive, Positive, POSITIVE all the time. On the private team pages, posts are heavily monitored and no negativity is allowed whatsoever. And by negativity, I mean you aren’t allowed to ask if anyone had heard a timeline for when LuLaRoe will stop charging illegal sales tax on all sales processed through their own payment processing system, called Audrey. Or, asking what to do to help a customer who purchased from them and was triple or quadruple charged by the aforementioned Audrey when LuLaRoe home office won’t reply to the over charged customer’s emails or return their phone calls and its already been a month.
No, no negativity allowed in LuLaRoe-Land. Honesty, transparency, and decency are not part of their culture.
Back to my attempt at becoming a consultant. In spite of my misgivings, and in spite of being royally screwed by the horrible business decision to implement this new “kit” and take away all free items the day it was announced, I made the hard decision to go forth with signing up because I still love the clothes and I still felt like there was decent money to be made after paying back my initial inventory loan.
I waited by the phone all day, anxious, and scared to leave my house and accidentally drive through a dead zone at the moment they called. At 1:30, my phone notified me that I had missed a call at 12:01. I have no idea how or why that happened, as my signal is strong in my house and I have a modern phone that has always been reliable.
At 4:30, my apparently not-so-smart phone notified me that I had a voicemail. The voicemail was from the 12:01 phone call, and it instructed me to call the operator at (951) 737-7875 to let them know if I still wanted to onboard.
I called. The operator was pleasant. I gave her my name and my consultant ID and she confirmed my phone number. Then, she asked if there was an alternate number I would like her to leave in case the onboarding specialist couldn’t get me on my phone. Like a dumb ass, I left my husband’s phone number as an ALTERNATE. I was clear that the specialist should only call that number if she was going to call back that same day, as he would be at work all day the next day.
I stayed up late waiting, watching my phone and hoping. She never called.
I got up at 6am the next morning and spent the day shushing my kids and staring at my phone, willing it to ring. At 2pm, my husband called and told me that they called his phone at 8am. He didn’t hear it, because he was at work and had his ringer off. The voicemail they left that time let me know that because she had already tried to call twice, and wasn’t able to get through, they were taking that to mean I had changed my mind about joining. And, if I wanted to be added to the very bottom of the queue and wait another 2-3 months, I could call back and let them know to put me back on the list.
THEY NEVER CALLED ME. I was CLEAR that they were only to use the alternate number IF I didn’t answer and IF they would be calling back that same day. So they screwed up and called my husband, and now I am screwed yet again.
Maybe it is the universe’s way of telling me to walk away. Walking away is the only option I have left at this point.
For this entire week, I have been a complete basket case. First, thrown for a loop because suddenly I had 24 hours to come up with a significant amount of additional money and then angry because I was screwed out of the free items. Then, told “Sorry! Not sorry! You don’t get to onboard because we dialed the wrong number, and there is absolutely no recourse.” I have wasted so much time on creating a Facebook group, learning about the styles, creating spreadsheets to keep track of invoices, expenses, sales, profit and loss. Hours and hours of time invested in something I thought was going to fill the void in my I-can’t-afford-to-work-anymore-because-I-have-too-many-kids life.
I was so excited to do something for me. Something I knew I would be great at, and help other women feel better in their clothes as a result. My heart is a little broken today. Its hard to walk away from something that you have been looking forward to for so long. But, its probably for the best, because this isn’t a company I want to associate myself with in the long run. I can’t drink the Koolaid. I can’t be a 30 year old cheerleader for a Mormon multi level marketing company. Walking away is the right thing to do. Sometimes, doing the right thing really sucks.