2021, TV

LuLaRich (2021)

This is a pretty good overview of the history of the “multi-level marketing” clothing company LuLaRoe, and a summary of why MLMs are bad in general. Unlike most Netflix documentaries (this one is on Prime), it’s an appropriate length for the material.

I knew nothing bout LuLaRoe. Apparently they were mentioned in a podcast I listened to but I have no memory. I’m not sure I was even aware that a clothing MLM existed. But they’re a pretty typical MLM; they claim they’re not a pyramid scheme but the people made the most money did so through signing up other people. Unlike some MLMs (but like many) they do appear to have once sold products that some people actually wanted to buy. (In this case, leggings. Notably leggings that many people seem to believe are very ugly.) So the one thing to the company’s credit is that they did actually have a product.

The series does a good job of showing how LuLaRoe is a pyramid scheme before it ever says it, which is definitely the way to go about doing it. And it does a good job of humanizing the people who got involved early on. Perhaps the most impressive feat is the sheer number of interviewees who were high up in the organization, whether it’s the President and CEO, or whether it’s some of the star, um, “retailers.” The ability to get those people on camera – as many of them as they could – is a bit of a coup. And the President and CEO don’t really do themselves any favours. (There’s one moment in particular that is pretty fantastic.)

I would have liked a few more people at the other end. In fact, I’m not sure there’s a single person interviewed who was a “retailer” who didn’t make at least some money. It would have been nice to hear from the people who were near the bottom of the pyramid, and who never even experienced the temporary success of those near the top.

But, on the whole, it’s a good examination of what this company did wrong and yet another example of why all MLMs should be illegal. (People just cannot help themselves.) And it’s quite an easy watch.


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