LuLaRoe, a direct sales women’s clothing line, grows in popularity in Northeastern PA
PITTSTON — What started as curiosity turned into an obsession for Nicole Bradigan.
The Pittston resident was introduced to LuLaRoe, a direct-sales women’s clothing line, last year via a pair of the company’s “buttery soft” leggings. Within a month, she owned more than 20 pairs and signed up to sell the clothing as a consultant.
“I was getting packages delivered every other day, and my husband kept asking me, ‘What is this?’” said Bradigan, laughing.
Bradigan, a 37-year-old professor, said her wardrobe now is solely comprised of LuLaRoe items, including shirts, dresses, skirts, sweaters, vests and, of course, leggings. “I own 80-some pairs of leggings,” she said.
LuLaRoe got its start in 2012 in California by DeAnne Stidham and has spread like wildfire across the country.
Direct sales is nothing new, though. According to 2015 research conducted by the Direct Sales Association, more than 20 million Americans participated in direct sales last year, with estimated sales of $36.12 billion – a 4.8 percent increase from 2014.
LuLaRoe consultants sell clothing and also recruit more salespeople to earn a commission. The more people a seller recruits, the higher he or she climbs in the LuLaRoe company. Bradigan said the more a seller buys wholesale, the more her sponsor will earn in a bonus check.
The company went from having 145 consultants at the end of 2013 to having more than 5,000 at the end of 2015.
Ganella McCracken, of Hughestown, said she signed up to sell the clothing line in June and was put on a waiting list due to high demand. She eventually started selling LuLaRoe in August and hasn’t had much free time since then, she said.
The company has a start-up fee higher than many other direct sales businesses – about $5,000 – but McCracken said the initial investment is well worth it. “I got a 0 percent interest credit card, if you pay it off in 18 months,” she said. “It was easy to pay it off.”
Prices for clothing items range from $25 for the leggings to $70 for the “Sarah,” a long sweater cardigan. Sizes range from XXS to 3X.
Jillian Falkowski, of Pittston, said she initially was unsure about spending $25 on a pair of leggings, but since that first purchase, she’s been buying steadily for the past month. LuLaRoe “looks nice, fits well, and feels great,” she said.
Falkowski browsed in a pop-up shop as part of a larger group hosted recently by McCracken. The women sifted through the clothing racks filled will bright colors, bold patterns and even a little sparkle. Several women were in and out of the dressing rooms more than once.
Bradigan loves wearing LuLaRoe, she said, because she knows that it fits her well, so she can buy many pieces without having to worry about how they will look. “I used to hate going to the mall and trying every single thing on,” she said.
Bradigan said it’s also prevented her from having to buy maternity clothes; she has a 7-month-old, Patrick, with another child on the way.
“I bought this dress when I wasn’t pregnant,” she said, showing off the “Carly” dress she wore during a recent interview.
There is no catalogue for LuLaRoe clothing, nor can buyers shop on the company website. Sellers don’t even know what prints they will have in stock until they open their shipments from the company. Prints and patterns on dresses and leggings come in limited quantities, and once they’re sold out, they’re sold out.
Sellers set up “pop-up shops,” where they host parties in their homes, in customers’ homes, in their own spaces, or at craft shows.
McCracken’s home is too small to host these mini-boutiques, she said, and health issues prevent her from traveling all over the area, so she rents a space on the corner of Rock and Center streets in Hughestown to host her pop-up shops.
“It took off right from the get-go,” she said.
Another way for consultants to sell is through Facebook. Many set up special LuLaRoe-themed pages and use Facebook Live to display their offerings. Bradigan tries to set up about three pop-up shops a week and sells on Facebook in between, she said.
While today there are plenty of LuLaRoe consultants in the area (there’s an interactive map on the LuLaRoe website), McCracken believes the company will only continue to grow. “They are always coming out with new prints and new designs,” she said.
Above all, McCracken said the company is more like a community for both consultants and customers. If she doesn’t have a certain print, she said, she can call on another consultant for help. And the most important part of the company, for her, is that it aims to empower women through its clothing.
“It’s fun — it’s clothes,” she said. “It’s nice to see someone try something on and it makes them feel good. We’re all beautiful.”
Reach Sarah Hite Hando at 570-704-3945.
For more information about LuLaRoe, visit www.lularoe.com.