The Truth About Roberta Blevins, The Former LuLaRoe Retailer From LuLaRich

There was a time when suburban women couldn't go anywhere on social media or even in their communities and without someone trying to sell them magic leggings — leggings so buttery soft, colorful, and unique that your friends thought you couldn't turn them down. 

If you showed any interest in these leggings, which seemed to fit any size and shape, you were told about how much money you could make in so little time by selling these leggings yourself. The more the merrier, right? At one time, that was Roberta Blevins' life — the LuLaRoe retailer whose story is told in the new Amazon Prime docuseries, "LulaRich."

Blevins' story starts out like many others. She found a way to pay the initial — and steep — startup cost of about $5,000 (via Showbiz CheatSheet) and couldn't wait for her first shipment of leggings to arrive so she could start her own business, bring money in for her household, and also spend time with her family — because this was going to be a full-time living while only working part-time hours, she was told. What could be better than that? Not much — if only it were true.

Roberts Blevins explains how 'love bombing' helped her join LuLaRoe

LuLaRoe wasn't the first multi-level marketing company Roberta Blevins worked for. According to USC Story Space, Blevins was at one of the lowest points in her life after her father died, which made her an easy MLM target. After her loss, she signed up to sell for It Works, an MLM promising to make you skinny if you drink their special coffee. The wellness company also offers fitness wear, skincare, and energy supplements. 

When It Works didn't work out, Blevins was introduced to LuLaRoe through a method described as "love bombing." This is a technique that occurs in MLM social media communities. Women are told that they were born to run a business, even with no business background, and how they are exceptional salespeople, even if they are not selling much. That praise draws you in.

"[They tell you anything] that you would want to hear when you're in the lowest part of your life," Blevins told USC Story Space. "Everything that you genuinely believe about yourself on a very deep level [and] ... hope that someone else sees it too."

Blevins admitted that love bombing has an endpoint. If you aren't successful, then you believe it must be your own fault. "I can't pay my bills this month, I'm a loser. It's not, hey thanks LuLaRoe, I can't pay my bills this month," she said. "You had two parties and you didn't make enough. Well, you should have had four parties then."

Roberta Blevins knew she had to get out of LuLaRoe

Eventually, Roberta Blevins realized there was something amiss with LuLaRoe, so she decided to see if other women selling the often-damaged products that would arrive were having the same experience. As she explained in "LulaRich," she had invested everything she had in her inventory but was barely selling anything. However, she was making large monthly bonus checks by recruiting people. When that's where the majority of your income is coming from — instead of selling product — it means the MLM has crossed the line into pyramid scheme territory. 

Blevins was so far down the LuLaRoe rabbit hole that she would attend their elaborate events and one day realized that everyone looked alike (white women with mostly blond hair) and was dressed alike, in LuLaRoe's colorful and comfortable clothes. It hit her then that she was not in a business — she was in a cult.

That's when she found social media communities of women who had been wronged by LuLaRoe. As she told the "LulaRich" producers, she found more genuine support in those communities than she ever did in the selling communities. When she expressed her interest in getting out, her formerly loving circle of fellow retailers harassed her, according to USC Story Space

Blevins eventually did leave LuLaRoe. As of this writing, her Instagram is filled with proud posts that she was able to leave LuLaRoe with her sanity intact and help expose the company's practices as part of "LuLaRich."