Story: DeAnne Stidham found some success with her start up clothing business, crafting dresses made from wild, over the top fabric designs. She and her husband Mark were able to build on that success by branching out into leggings, a decision that would lead them to immense wealth and allow them to harness the power of multi-level marketing. LuLaRoe would become a juggernaut, with an army of salespeople building their sales teams, recruiting new people to recruit new people, while racking up piles and piles of inventory to peddle. While the Stidhams would rake in the lion’s share of the cash, the high tier sellers were able to make a lot of money too and in a short period of time, leading to more and more sellers buying in, looking to get rich quick. But would this MLM prove to be the exception and stay stable, or would the system buckle under all the financial pressure?
Entertainment Value: LuLaRich is a wild, always captivating four episode docuseries that offers one hell of a ride, which makes the fact that this is a true story even more insane. DeAnne Stidham is such a wacky person, it can be hard to be believe she is real and capable of unbridled greed, but once we see her in serious situations, the veneer starts to crack. I love that the filmmakers were able to document an in depth interview with the Stidhams, as having them address the concerns directly and offer their side is intriguing, especially since neither has a drop of sincerity evident. Their interview serves as the bedrock for LuLaRich, the central piece that is then surrounded by interviews with a wealth of salespeople, retailers, and others. You can’t really ask for a more inside take on the LuLaRoe saga, between the Stidhams’ delusions and the various experiences of those who were in the system, as this all provides first hand experiences. You can learn a lot from experts or researchers, but hearing from those who were there is such more more interesting to watch. And believe me, the DeAnne interview segments alone make this well worth a look.
As you’d expect from the filmmakers behind Fyre Fraud, LuLaRich is a slick, well produced docuseries that doesn’t just have the substance on its side, but also a lot of style. The narrative unfolds over crisp, well edited segments that flow so well and I was impressed by how perfectly arranged it all is, just the visuals and kinetic energy work wonders here. The series pulls back the curtain on the LuLaRoe machine, warts and all, pulling no punches and allowing the participants to speak their truth, even when it is painfully clear they’re either lying or just too entrenched to be honest with themselves. The tone can be serious, we are dealing with some big financial losses and personal spirals in some cases, with those moments given the weight they deserve. But that is also an absurd element to this series, which is not forced in the least, instead it flows from some of the interviews being delusional or just out and out deceptive, with DeAnne as the main source of the wackiest moments. I couldn’t take my eyes off of LuLaRoe and I wish there were twice as many episodes, but in any event, it is highly recommended.
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