On Friday, Amazon Prime Video dropped “LuLaRich,” a four-part docuseries that exposes the misdeeds of clothing company/pyramid scheme LuLaRoe. In “LuLaRich,” directors Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason delve into the history of the company, leading up to its implosion when LuLaRoe’s runaway growth caused quality issues and supply chain meltdowns, among myriad other problems.
But stalwart LuLaRoe consultants — and they still do exist — have tried to weaponize Amazon’s five-star ratings system against “LuLaRich.” Using a Facebook group for retailers of LuLaRoe clothing, one LuLaRoe retailer posted, “If anyone wants to give it a one star review to bring down the ratings …” and then pasted a link to the reviews area for “LuLaRich.” (According to screenshots, this retailer had succeeded in doing just that, and trashed “LuLaRich” for being badly made, while also slamming the whistleblowing consultants who participated in the documentary.)
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At the time of this story publishing, “LuLaRich” had gotten 1,699 global ratings, for an average of 4.6 out of five stars. Eighty-eight percent of the reviews are five stars and 9% are one star, with almost nothing in between. Reading through the one-star reviews is certainly instructive, and many of them are anonymous. “Just a bunch of people who can’t manage $ complaining about how their business failed. Laughable, really,” reads one, with others calling it “boring” and “trash.”
In an interview with Variety, Furst and Nason talked about how they made “LuLaRich,” after being approached to take on the project by Cori Shepherd Stern and Blye Pagon Faust of Story Force Entertainment. The filmmakers chronicled the deterioration of LuLaRoe from its 2016 height of $1.8 billion in sales from over 80,000 consultants. Though the story does have a comic side, and the phrase “dead fart leggings” is used at one point to describe the smell of putrid clothes that were sent for retailers to sell, “LuLaRich” largely focuses on how LuLaRoe’s multi-level marketing structure ruined lives.
The centerpiece of the series is an interview with the company’s co-founders DeAnne and Mark Stidham, who have managed to keep LuLaRoe in business despite the defections of consultants over the years. LuLaRoe has also faced multiple lawsuits, as well as a whopper of a consumer protection lawsuit from Washington state that the company settled earlier this year.
Over the weekend, former LuLaRoe retailer Roberta Blevins, who is featured in “LuLaRich” and coined the phrase “dead fart leggings,” read aloud on her Instagrama and TikTok from some of the one-star reviews. She then turned to the company’s 2020 numbers, which show, she says, that “50% of the company made less than $5,000 in the year.”
“Numbers don’t lie, BooBoo,” Blevins said.
This story has been updated to add that Blevins also read the one-star reviews on TikTok, which Variety learned of when Blevins posted a TikTok about this story.
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