This post has been a long time coming. If you are an OG reader than you likely remember the early days when I wore Lularoe and ultimately became a “fashion consultant.” This only lasted 7 months, thankfully, but I never really shared why I quit. With the documentary out, I finally found enough courage to share my story. I know that this is a controversial topic and I’m definitely not trying to “spread negativity” – I’m simply just sharing my story in a honest and open way. Read on to see why I quit selling Lularoe. A video version is also provided at the end of the post <3
The Truth About Why I Quit Lularoe
What is Lularoe?
- MLM for clothing
- MLM = multi level marketing where basically you sell a product but there is also an option for people to “join your team” for extra commission
- Known for their leggings but have a wide variety of items
- They also known for their colorful and interesting patterns, notably on their “buttery soft” leggings
So how did I get into this you ask? I had a passion for fashion…. and that’s it! I went into a lot of detail about this in my video. I talked about where I was at that point in my life and how it influenced my decision to join (a decision that I did not take lightly). I was already working three jobs but I felt that I could gain valuable experience from earning how to run a boutique, save money to start my own line and hopefully, build up a customer base that also loved pretty dresses as much as I did.
How Does Lularoe Work
When I signed up, they had just hit 1,000 consultants. I even got a pair of the birthday balloon leggings! You have to sign up under someone. So I signed up under my friend and she was signed up under someone else and so on.
Basically you buy clothing from the wholesaler which is Lularoe. The big selling points were that a.) it’s your own business and b.) that it’s part time work for full time income. Both of which were untrue in my opinion. Yes you own the product so if it doesn’t sell it’s on you. But you buy from a supplier, Lularoe, and there are still rules to follow and protocols meaning that essentially you’re not an independent owner.
When I started, I got to pick 4 items I wanted to carry in my inventory and they sent me 10-15 of each size. Leggings were not an option for the initial investment. My initial investment was $4,500, which is A LOT. At that time, they had a consignment loan that you could use for a portion. I put half on the loan and half on a credit card. I paid both off within a couple months. I also opted for a package that sent one of each item in my size so I could see what they were like in person and see if I wanted to carry it. I also got 25 free skirts for paying off my loan. After the initial order, you had to purchase at least 33 items at once unless it was a special launch.
Other start up costs included business cards, racks, a mannequin, hangers, table, tablecloth, and display items. Also you DO NOT get to pick the prints. you can pick the item type but whatever print you get, is what you’re stuck with. And this is where it gets a little problematic. Lularoe is known for CRAZY and I mean crazy prints. When I signed up, the prints actually weren’t that bad. There were a lot of cute ones. But as time went on, they got crazier and harder to sell. If you got an ugly one and no one wanted to buy it, you were stuck with it. and that’s that!
Let me add that I am not one to just financially invest in whatever. I am terrible at making decisions and I have to really justify spending money on something. I go into this more in my video but basically, I was driven by my passion for fashion and thought that this was really my last chance to make something of myself in the industry.
Now at this time, Facebook live wasn’t really a thing for this (they started just as I quit). We sold mainly at in home pop ups like a traditional MLM. It was fun but difficult to lug around everything – racks, clothes, displays, etc. And it took up a lot of time so I started selling through a Facebook group I created via photos of the items or photos of myself modeling them. Sometime people would come over and shop from my racks too. Later on, people started creating their own “Lula rooms” or full on boutiques in warehouses but I didn’t have that kind of money.
Things were good! I made $1,500 in sales the first week and $3,500 in the first month. My average sales were $2,500 a month. My style was much more colorful and experimental back then. In fact, if you scroll back far enough on my Instagram or search (Lularoe) on the blog, you can still see all of the Lularoe outfits.
I had an early blog post take off as well as lots of traction on Pinterest from my outfits, so a lot of people found me through those two platforms. I also got reposted on the Lularoe Instagram quite a bit early on. I had random people and friends approaching me to tell me that I was “Lularoe famous” LOL. Apparently this is a thing but I had no idea what was happening lol. Also, I noticed that other consultants were using my images of the items styled to sell their inventory. Back then, I was super flattered that people liked my outfits so I was onboard with it but I know better now.
Price – this was definitely a red flag but I was ignorant and so passionate for fashion.
Sales Calls – We had these weekly (or bi-weekly) meetings on the computer- like a conference call with the owners or other people. I remember them making us feel so bad. Everything was “our fault,” we were “lazy,” “not working hard enough,” etc. It just felt really off.
Sales Tax – They were incorrectly charging sales tax for customers.
Copyright issues – I remember there being an issue with stolen artwork ending up as a print on leggings….
Bonus Qualifications – I remember that the upline bonuses were based off of inventory purchased and not inventory sold. This was also how people qualified for the cruise. I did not qualify for the cruise nor did I have a downline so I don’t have firsthand experience. Regarding the cruise, I believe you had to buy so many items – I think 400 for 4 out of 5 consecutive months to qualify. With a $20 average, that’s $32,000!!
#Because of Lularoe – We were asked to use this hashtag if anything good happened (or if people wanted to brag in hopes to recruit others into joining).
NO Negativity – We weren’t allowed to be negative. If we had an issue with anything or were frustrated, it was seen as “negative” and we weren’t supposed to post it. We couldn’t question anything.
NO B/S/T – We weren’t allowed to be in buy sell trade groups. I understand this from a selling perspective but since people were always looking for certain prints, a lot of people looked in B/S/T groups to find their “unicorn.”
Crazy Prints – The prints got weirder and louder as time went on and as a result, became harder to sell. We were also told to constantly mix prints and layer multiple items to upsell….. which is fine if there were options for solids and prints that didn’t clash.
Quality Control – Once leggings were back in stock for a while, I noticed a few things. First, I received clothing that was wet. It smelled terrible and there was no way I would sell that to someone. When I reached out to the company, it was pretty much like it’s your problem.
Then came the holy leggings. They had tiny holes so you wouldn’t be able to see them until you put them on. Then they would rip and expose body parts you don’t want to expose. This was a really big problem because it happened frequently. These had to be refunded (out of your pocket) or exchanged for a print that the customer may not like.
Price Increase – I remember them comparing the quality of the clothing to Nordstrom and Anthropologie so this apparently justified the high prices. No. These were not on par lol. When I decided to leave, the price increased and customers and consultants were not happy about it.
Special Treatment – I know of several higher tier consultants that got to hand pick inventory at times (meaning that they got better prints while the majority were left with the crazy ones). I also remember new product and holiday launches selling out before people could buy. I don’t know if it’s a similar issue but I do remember seeing a lot of higher tier consultants with the new releases while others were left with nothing.
Reselling Sites – Unicorns were print that were highly sought after and a lot of these somehow ended up on reselling sites for MUCH more than the retail price…. and they sold. It was honestly crazy! I don’t know if these were marked up by customers or consultants.
Convention– I believe this was in July, two months after I signed up. We had to pay for everything ourselves. We had the option to go to the warehouse and directly pick items to be shipped home for our boutique so that was fun. We also took part in a variety of classes. One of them made us do an exercise where we wrote down a list of people and during the class, we had to contact them about setting up a pop up. This made me super uncomfortable! There was also another instance in a styling class that I covered in the video.
I forgot to mention in the video that we also went to some park (with mini golf? and other fun things). I was still new and didn’t know many people. I asked to tag along with some local girls and within a few minutes, was left alone. I basically walked around, rode rides and ate by myself.
Family Business – I noticed that the entire family of the owner’s basically worked for this company. I have no idea what kind of experience they had but it was coincidental…
Recruiting – I did not recruit anyone during my 7 months as a retailer. I did not get into Lularoe to recruit. I solely wanted to sell product. However, the big money was in recruiting and there was a big focus on this. They tried to say there wasn’t but there was. I do feel like I was treated differently because I didn’t put a large focus on recruiting. I feel like some higher up people looked down on me for it. But it felt inauthentic and morally wrong… not to mention that I had NO time to dedicate to that kind of thing and I did NOT want to be responsible for someone else’s “success.”
Lularoe Culture – We felt a lot of pressure to look and act a certain way. I didn’t agree with a lot of their beliefs and tactics. I felt like there was a lot of mean girl behavior as well. I also saw that people that did well in selling were almost like celebrities. Everyone wanted to be in their position. And I knew that it wasn’t attainable for everyone with this model.
Sketchy Practices – I don’t know if this was a widespread thing or not but we were encouraged to buy a re-tag gun so we could wear the clothing to the pop ups and then re-tag and sell. For the record, I did NOT do this as I found it morally wrong and unsanitary.
Re-Investing – We were constantly told to buy buy buy. I had a feeling that we were sent such crazy prints so that we would constantly have to buy more in order to *hopefully* get a cute one. I felt more like a customer of Lularoe than anything else.
Giveaways – We were pressured to “bless lives” by doing giveaways with our own inventory at our own cost (even if you were struggling financially).
Missing Items – I forgot about this until I went back through my emails. I was missing a few items in my starter pack… paid for them and never got them. I remember this happening frequently. If you placed an order, it was highly likely that you’d be short items (that you paid for) and you were encouraged to “count them” to ensure everything was there.
Style Monopoly – I started my blog a few months before becoming a consultant. I was told by a higher up that I could ONLY wear Lularoe on my blog. It’s called Lizzie in Lace, not Lizzie in Lularoe LOL! I went into much more detail about this in my video but in short, there was no way I was going to do that and thank goodness I didn’t!
Why I Quit
- Defective leggings
- Leggings were out of stock for months
- No longer made in the US
- Price increases
- They were disorganized and if you had any issues, it was impossible to get ahold of anyone.
- Crazy prints with questionable placements
- They were growing so much! I started when it was around 1,000. It was at over 10k when I stopped at the end of 2015 and 40k at the end of 2016. I got out when things started to get crazy because I wanted no part of it.
- I did not feel supported by other consultants. There were some really nice gals I met but there were also some not-so-nice ladies.
- I was too busy (already working 3 jobs).
- It was not part time work as they mentioned. It took up WAY too much time. I cancelled trips, neglected my poor husband and stopped hanging out with friends because it was a never-ending job.
- The Lularoe culture as a whole and feeling pressured to keep up with others
- The constant consumption and need to buy buy buy
- The constant pressure to recruit (I am NOT a salesperson)
- It felt inauthentic. These were no longer clothes that I loved. I signed up literally for one dress and then they went off the deep end with the crazy prints and it just felt inauthentic to promote clothing that I would not wear myself, especially on the blog. I felt like my blog was becoming overrun with Lularoe and that’s not what I wanted for my future. Being authentic is very important to me and I just didn’t feel comfortable continuing.
I ended up breaking even after everything. After I made the decision to quit, I heavily discounted my inventory (which we weren’t really allowed to do) and sold to other consultants (which was also looked down on). I ended up with 10 pieces and sent them back for the wholesale price minus a 15% re-stocking fee and the shipping fee. Items had to be returned with original tags and in original packaging as well. I believe they would only take up it for up to a year as well.
I also remember writing a resignation letter to Lularoe, which I felt was strange seeing as it’s supposed to be “your business.” Getting a refund for the product I sent back was a nightmare. After countless phone calls, I received it a month later. Then they tried to tell me that I never paid my initial investment of $4,500. Not sure how this is possible when half of it was on their consignment loan, they sent all of my inventory that I purchased AND they sent the 25 free skirts for paying it off. It took a while to straighten out and luckily, I had the proof but…. yeah. I was not about to pay that again.
After I quit, I noticed that some of the other consultants unfollowed my blog and Instagram accounts. I felt like I had been used….like I was there to give people ideas, help with social media and styling and allow them to use my assets.
A lot of people assume others quit because they lost all of their money and that’s not the case for everyone. I actually was okay financially, thank goodness. But I know many others weren’t. I ended up breaking even – coming out a little bit ahead. And this was with all of the investments – the clothing, the racks, the convention, the business expenses, everything. I got very lucky in that aspect. Was it worth it? Not really. I lost a lot time. I missed out on a lot of things. And I do regret that. I mean, it was my choice to start this and it was my choice to work so much but I also felt pressured because it felt like a 24/7 job.
Quitting was emotional and mentally exhausting in so many ways and for a long time, I did feel like a failure. I do think some good came out of it and I learned a lot of valuable lessons about self-worth, intuition and the importance of being yourself. The simple point is… Lularoe served a purpose in my life at one point but sometimes you have to move on and that doesn’t make you a failure. Ultimately, it was not the right opportunity for me and quitting it allowed me to pursue my dreams in a different way (on a path that was there all along).
For those of you that prefer a video version or want more in-depth explanations, please check out the video below –
Thank you for allowing me to share my story and my honest thoughts about this situation. And of course, thank you for the kindness, encouragement and support always <3