There was a time when LuLaRoe leggings were all the rage with the "mom" crowd. You'd see the bright and colorful pants described as "soft as butter" all over fitness classes, the supermarket, and after-school activities, with some moms asking you to come on over to their homes and see the varieties of leggings they sell for an affordable price. With their always-unique patterns and perfect fit for almost any woman, LuLaRoe took the world of multi-level marketing (MLM) by storm — and made Mark and DeAnne Stidham, the company's founders, very, very rich.
In fact, LuLaRoe and the concept that made the Stidhams a success became a family affair, with Stidham's daughter founding Dot, Dot, Smile, and his sister founding Honey & Lace (via CBS News), both clothing companies that operated the same way LuLaRoe and other MLMs do: by distributing products to independent retailers to sell to their circle of friends, and have those retailers recruit more people to sell, setting up levels of retailers who all had to pay a start-up fee for products and more fees afterwards, often not making a return. However, LuLaRoe eventually came under fire in two types of courts — a legal court in Washington State, according to The Associated Press, and then the court of public opinion via an Amazon Prime documentary titled "LuLaRich" (the trailer is posted on YouTube).
LuLaRoe was founded in 2013 and grew at an incredibly rapid pace in part due to social media, according to Time Magazine. In the past, many multi-level marketers like Tupperware and Mary Kay would use home parties with retailers recruiting hosts and women getting together to sample products. With social media, all women had to do was post videos of their products and watch the views climb and the orders pour in. By 2015, LuLaRoe was at the height of its success as live stream videos became popular on Facebook. By 2016, LuLaRoe had sold about $1.8 billion in clothing.
But, as "LuLaRich" illustrated, many retailers found they had defective products they couldn't sell as more and more pressure was put on them to be a success in a company that claimed to empower women. By 2019, the state of Washington sued LuLaRoe, claiming the company deceived its retailers about how much they could make, with only a select few making that lucrative full-time living it touted. In February of 2021, Mark and DeAnne Stidham settled with Washington State for $4.75 million (via The Associated Press) and by fall, their names were everywhere as curious Americans started streaming "LuLaRich." What happened to Mark Stidham after becoming a household name for a brief period of time?
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While his company may have come under fire for misleading its retailers about how much they could make, and also had to pay a hefty sum when sued by Washington State, LuLaRoe is still an incorporated company in California. The MLM is still recruiting retailers and creating buttery soft leggings with unusual and unique designs, as well as other comfortable clothing. Mark Stidham remains CEO, living in Corona, California, along with his wife, DeAnne, according to The Cinemaholic.
The LuLaRoe website still touts the company's motto of "Creating Freedom Through Fashion," featuring a large photo of women wearing its products under a prominent button inviting people to click and become a retailer. LuLaRoe's mission statement reads: "Where through fashion we create freedom, serve others, and strengthen families. A community where lives are being blessed and dreams achieved through love, purpose, confidence, trust, and growth."
As for the $4 million settlement the company paid in 2021, State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said it would be distributed among the 3,000 or so who were recruited in Washington State. According to a press release from Ferguson's office (via Associated Press), "Every Washington retailer who lost money under LuLaRoe's pyramid structure will receive restitution."
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