For the sake of anonymity, this employee will be referred to as Billie. When Billie reached out to me, they expressed that they harbored the same feelings of failure that we as retailers have experienced. I expressed my empathy with them, because at times, I have felt those feelings as well . I remind myself that I am NOT the one that failed. LuLaRoe failed ME, as they have thousands of other people. Here’s Billie’s story. Billie was a LuLaRoe Retailer Services employee from February 2016 until September 2017, in the email department. This was written by the source with some editing to protect identity.
During that time, Billie held two positions; one was to resolve the over-abundance of payment issues that occurred with Old Bless and see that those people got the funds to which they entitled. That position lasted about 3 weeks. Then Billie transferred to the E-Mail team, which was how Billie spent the remainder of their time at LuLaRoe. What Billie saw at their last position was especially appalling.
In their time working for retailer services, seemingly every launch of a new product was a disaster. It took the entire department to clean up which was nothing new to them. Billie came to dread any time the word “launch” was spoken from anyone’s mouth. Billie had a bad feeling in the pit of their stomach when LuLaRoe told the Home Office staff that the Disney Collection was rolling out on a Friday after everyone left. Sure enough, it was the worst launch in Billie’s employment and it was because of the technological glitches that affected the entire ordering system. Billie’s department cleaned up the mess like a mom cleaning after their infant and they never received any “thank you” from the developers or the accounting department. To use Billie’s favorite phrase from Babylon 5, (imagine a 29-year-old Southern California guy trying to impersonate Peter Jurasik) a perfect way to describe LuLaRoe is “total and complete madness”.
What eventually forced Billie to breaking point and to leave the company was the change to the 100% Buy Back policy. Prior to the change, it seemed as if 2 or 3 out of 5 phone calls had to be escalated to supervisors regarding the Make Good and Happiness Policies, or technical difficulties with Build and/or Bless. That was still draining, but manageable.
After the revocation/expiration of the 100% Buy Back, Make Good and Happiness Policies, every single call they got was from an angry retailer or consumer. People were having nervous breakdowns on calls. Billie was able to manage this for a bit but one customer that called in pushed Billie over the edge. Billie was not able to get her an update on her return. She kept insisting on a supervisor, but at that point, the retailer services team was told to have callers email Michael Brady for assistance (and we all know how often he answers emails).
The caller’s voice kept getting louder and louder and once Billie got her off the line, they logged out and went to the restroom where they broke down in a stall, curled up in a ball and crying incessantly. Billie did not think Mark, DeAnne or any of the people higher up in the company realize just how demoralizing it is to be yelled at for 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 calls in a row, regarding procedures and policies for which they had no control. Never mind the fact that the retailer services staff could never get any answers to many of the questions posed by the callers, even after consulting with Michael or anyone else.
Billie was one of the first representatives to deal with Hurricane Irma/Harvey refund calls. Supervisors would handle the calls first, and then escalated the calls to Michael Brady. Michael was supposed to determine what resolution they could give the hurricane victims. When Billie left, LuLaRoe had made no determination on how to handle the hurricane victims and their plight.
At this point, Billie had requested removal from consumer/retailers calls because they had experienced yet another caller’s breakdown within that position. When Billie went to the restroom this time, Billie knew that they could not come back because they would be of no use to anyone. If you could not take calls, your services were not required in retailer services. When Billie brought to LuLaRoe’s attention that Michael Brady and accounting incompetence had caused this mess, LuLaRoe brushed it off and did not address the situation. LuLaRoe actually told Billie that Michael came back and apologized to Retailer Services that day, although conveniently after Billie left for the day.
Michael probably never actually apologized for the mess he created or to anyone in retailer services. The retailer services team were all a bunch of minions to LuLaRoe and were only there to execute their every whim. If Michael had apologized while the team was all in the building, would Billie have been happy to do remain at his position and stay at LuLaRoe? Definitely not – however Billie would have respected Michael more had he apologized. Billie has no respect for Mark, DeAnne, or any of the family because of the incompetence and grief that the employees in retailer services had to handle.
It has stated in some of the lawsuits that LuLaRoe increased their security at the Home Office location. What also led Billie to leave LuLaRoe were the extra security measures enacted because of the revocation and subsequent backlash against LuLaRoe regarding the 100% Buyback policy termination.
One day (Billie seems to remember that it was a Friday), the husband of a retailer came into the offices demanding their refund or at least a status update. Corona police ended up coming out to assist. Due to a retailer’s husband wanting a status on their refund, LuLaRoe Home Office had to put in additional security measures and video equipment. I called the Corona Police department and they were called to LuLaRoe on September 15, 2017 at 14:09 PM. No report was taken or filed.
No one should ever be afraid to come to work at any time of day, but after that incident, Billie was afraid. When this was all going on, Billie could see teams gossiping amongst themselves and laughing; to Billie this was no laughing matter. We have all heard the phrase “going postal” and LuLaRoe had increased the risk of things like that occurring with the revocation of all the policies meant to compensate both customers and retailers. Billie’s blood absolutely boiled. At the time when Billie left, there was a Ring-type entry camera and possible keycard access to the building: all because of Michael Brady’s incompetence as well as Mark and DeAnne’s greed.
Would you expect Retailer Services Representatives to be well compensated for a company like this? Think again – their pay is a joke. When hired in February 2016, Billie made $11 an hour; minimum wage at that time was $10. When Billie left in September of 2017, they were at $13 an hour and that increase was a direct result of the 90-day review, which was a month late. Billie had no other raises to their hourly rate during their time of employment; just a Christmas Bonus and extra pay for assisting in the enrollment process for one week. No one else in that building who was entitled to a yearly review and/or raise got one after a year, as far as Billie was aware. Wages were frozen.
LuLaRoe also did not tolerate staff having outside ventures during working hours. One of the supervisors took time off to go to their daughter’s softball tournaments. They also worked on the board of their softball league. Billie was a local high school volleyball official when they were hired and were able to work a boy’s season (Spring 2016) and girls season (Fall 2016) and even participated with the teams when they reached the finals in November 2016.
Instead of being happy that Billie was able to live out their dream, LuLaRoe made it a nightmare when Billie asked for a day off. When the boy’s team schedules came out in Spring 2017, Billie was told by LuLaRoe that they had to give up officiating. This was the only release from LuLaRoe and the toxic environment, but LuLaRoe was trying to force Billie to make a choice.
In previous seasons, Billie had been allowed come in and leave early as needed to get to matches or training. All of a sudden, that changed without notice. For a department that had two sports mom’s (one softball and another wrestling) as their superiors, it was rather disappointing to have this sudden situation change. Billie also spent the last 10 years as a score keeper for high school basketball, but because of their edict about officiating, Billie had to give up their scorekeeper position for the Junior Varsity games and just work Varsity. Other employees had permission to take time off to officiate their children’s activities. Why not extend that same opportunity to Billie, in order for Billie to serve their community? LuLaRoe always touts that they are “strengthening families and blessing lives”. If officiating had paid enough to sustain them, would Billie solely officiate? Definitely. Even though California sports officials (especially volleyball) have the top pay rates nationally it is still necessary to have a full time position which offers medical benefits and that second income source because of the cost of living.
Mark, DeAnne and their direct subordinates believe that they are strengthening lives and blessing families, but that edict told Billie everything they needed to know. It takes pools of qualified adults to officiate sports all across our great nation and there is a shortage of officials. Those officials provide a valuable service to their communities and LuLaRoe showed their true colors, by the way they treated Billie. If LuLaRoe was all about community (strengthening families, blessing lives) and they allowed others to take time off to pursue those interests, why not Billie? Hypocritical, much?
Companies with policies like this are the reason we have a national shortage of sports officials. LuLaRoe will get what is coming to them, eventually. Billie has faith that justice will prevail against them. Instead of leaving with a good impression of LuLaRoe, Billie left with a deep anger in their heart; one that will take a very long time to subside.