If you read our blog post last week on Anna Delvey, you might sense a trend. Yep, that trend is true crime! Last weekend we had some free time and started watching Amazon’s docuseries LuLaRich. LuLaRich follows the establishment of the company LuLaRoe by owners Mark Stidham and Deanne Stidham.
LuLaRoe is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company headquartered in California that sells a variety of patterned leggings, skirts and tops. We first heard about the show on the podcast Christi’s Couch. Before then, we heard the name LuLaRoe in passing, but didn’t know much about the controversial company.
The docuseries follows the Stidham family and how they got women all over the country to start selling their products. While MLMs are a legal business model, according to Michigan state government, “compensation must primarily be based on the sale of products and services to the ultimate consumer.” Based on LuLaRoe compensating salespeople more for getting other people to sign up, instead of selling the actual products, LuLaRoe is portrayed more like an illegal pyramid scheme.
After watching all four episodes, we found some common trends between the people who LuLaRoe targeted:
- The majority were white women
- They were young (mostly 20s when they started)
- They were stay at home moms
- They got married and had kids right out of college
- Most have never held a typical post-college job
- They were enticed by the #GirlBoss and #BeYourOwnBoss mentality
- They’re the ideal clientele for the products
Most of the women in the docuseries fit the characteristics listed above and were the perfect people to swindle. After all, they bought into the family first model the Stidhams espoused constantly. They were told they could have it all: be great moms/wives, while also contributing to the finances.
It started out as a fun side hustle. Women made money selling clothing and made some extra cash. But then they were encouraged to start signing up more people to be sellers. That’s where most of the money came from. Bonus checks to the most successful could be as high as six figures per month. Everything was going well…until LuLaRoe grew too quickly. Too many sellers and not enough clients, the quality of the products getting worse and the sellers being encouraged to spend all their earnings on flashy objects left a lot of women in trouble.
In recent years, the number of sellers decreased exponentially as many women filed for bankruptcy after realizing they were part of scam. While they were losing their houses, the Stidhams were getting richer and richer.
LuLaRoe promotes a fake image of happy women on social media. Conferences, cruises and concerts try to showcase a culture of togetherness and support. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The docuseries highlighted that LuLaRoe is patriarchal and encourages women to except the man as the decisionmaker of the household. Deanne Stidham also body shamed women and tried to convince them to get sketchy weight loss surgery in Mexico. Apparently, she received a commission.
What started out as a fun part-time job, turned into a cult. One seller remembered being at a conference and Mark Stidham went into a rant about his Mormon views…which felt odd for the sellers to have to listen about.
The more people who joined the company, the worse things got. While many lawsuits have been filed against LuLaRoe and the Stidhams, the company is still operating to this day. While it shrunk to less than 20,000 sellers (down over 70,000 from the peak), women are still signing up for seller positions and buying the products from a corrupt company.
It’s appalling how many people were taken advantage of by the Stidham family. Obviously, we encourage everyone to not purchase from this corrupt company. Also, in our opinion, every piece of clothing they sell is ugly.