Editor’s note: This story was originally published on Nov. 8. It was updated at 4 p.m. on Nov. 15.
The multilevel marketing juggernaut that is LuLaRoe launched its much-hyped “Noir” capsule clothing collection yesterday.
And within hours there were numerous reports on social media of irate consultants claiming the company handled the distribution process of the clothing unfairly.
On Facebook and Twitter, consultant after consultant called the all-black clothing release a “bust.” One said that “80 percent of consultants got nothing.” Others blasted the company, saying it allowed some buyers to purchase thousands of pieces of clothing without ensuring it had the inventory to match.
The company announced last week that it would give its consultants (and their customer/friends) the opportunity to purchase their favorite clothing items in black beginning next week, according to teaser posts released on the company’s social-media websites.
Initially, it seemed the move would tamp down the anger some disgruntled consultants and customers had against the company.
The “Noir,” collection promised all-black versions of LuLaRoe’s wildly popular, “buttery soft” leggings, skirts, shirts and dresses.
You can get a glimpse of some of the offerings in this stylistically gorgeous video (shot in black and white, naturally.)
The clothing retailer, which has gained particular traction with Millennial and Gen X moms, is known for its bold and sometimes crazy prints.
As a result, buyers hunt for key pieces called “unicorns” to round out their wardrobes. Solids (particularly black clothing items) are coveted for their versatility.
But according to numerous social media posts, consultants were forced to queue in line, based on a pre-assigned number. Those consultants with low numbers bought up all the inventory before those with higher numbers could select theirs.
Complaints range from hours-long waits to crashing websites during the purchasing process to out of stock inventory.
And the bad press gets worse: Reports are circulating on social media that the black clothing items are old prints that were returned, recycled and re-dyed.
There’s now even an online petition demanding that LuLaRoe re-do the Noir distribution system. More than 6,000 have signed it.
In a statement to Buzzfeed News, LuLaRoe said it took an “equitable approach” to distributing to the collection, and noted that thousands of consultants got hundreds of items.
LulaRoe was already facing significant business challenges, even before this latest debacle.
The company was recently in the news (again) for allegations of deceptive business practices. It is facing two new class-action lawsuits alleging its business model is essentially a pyramid scheme.
AlltheMoms was the first media outlet to report back in September that the company abruptly ended its popular 100 percent buyback program, and disgruntled consultants were quick to blast the organization’s “Noir” announcement as a desperate attempt to stem the bad publicity.
There were hints that something was awry last week when the company first announced the collection. Many on social media questioned how some consultants already appeared to have pieces from the “Noir” collection in their inventory, given that it hadn’t yet been released.
Love LuLaRoe? Hate LuLaRoe? Stay tuned. We’ll update this story as we get more information.