Story: Who knew that leggings made with outlandish patterns and loud colors would not only become an empire, but leave a trail of broken dreams and empty bank accounts? LuLaRoe promised its potential sellers a world of cruises, conventions, and wealth, with lures of full time pay for part time work, hawking the leggings on social media and to friends and family members. The company itself would earn a windfall of epic proportions, turning founder DeAnne Stidham into a social media star and allowing her to model the kind of lifestyle her viewers dreamed of. But while some made money, countless stories of lies, poor quality products, unreasonable order demands, and poor management would surface, not to mention a slew of lawsuits. So what really happened to the militia of sellers who were promised the world, only to be left out in the cold?
Entertainment Value: Although I was aware of LuLaRoe as a brand, until the recent slate of expose documentaries, I had no idea how wild the culture around the company was or how much legal drama was involved. The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe chronicles the company’s successes and woes, via archival interviews and footage, including some of the enigmatic DeAnne Stidham, as well as a wealth of testimonials from various LuLaRoe sellers. I know some will be let down that there isn’t newly created footage of Stidham, as she is hilarious to watch as she weaves her deceptions, but Amazon’s limited series is anchored by an in depth interview with Stidham and her husband, so the shift to focusing on sellers make sense here. This is a feature as well, as opposed to a limited series, so the pace is more brisk and the filmmakers manage to shoehorn in a lot of material, though it never feels rushed or like it skims over important information. The production values are solid, though it does use a lot of Facebook and other social media footage, which doesn’t look as polished, obviously. But you need those Facebook Lives to grasp the madness, so no cause for concern.
The Amazon series offered the perspectives of some of the company’s sellers, but I was left wanting to hear more about the personal stories involved. The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe places the focus firmly on those folks who took up the cause and in many cases, drank the Kool-Aid, for better or worse going all in DeAnne Stidham’s vision. There is no doubt that some of these retailers made some good money in those early days, but this documentary shows us the total scope of experiences, from the success stories to those who suffered immense losses because of their involvement in LuLaRoe. While Stidham’s over the top, cult like persona garners all the attention in much of the media’s coverage, these ground level, personal experiences put a darker spin on LuLaRoe and some of the stories were tough to listen to, as lives were wrecked in the process. I was glued to the screen the entire time here, so even if you know the story already, The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe is recommended.