I grew up as a Tupperware kid. My mom Joanne Petrangelo and my best friend's mom Linda Novak sold Tupperware when we were kids. I will never forget when my mom sold enough Tupperware to get the station wagon. I had a love and hate relationship with that station wagon. I liked it because we could sit in the way back backwards (yes, with no seat belts), but I also hated the wood panelling on the side of it. I was fortunate enough to have a stay at home mom most of my elementary school years. My mom's only job outside of the home at that time was selling Tupperware. I remember seeing her drive away in that station wagon packed full of Tupperware merchandise. She would go as far away as Cook on some school nights (I remember thinking this was REALLY far away for a school night). It was a school night for my mom of course too because she got up every morning with my brother and I. So, when I went to my first Lularoe party I imagined all of those moms pulling away from their houses with their cars packed with clothing as their kids watched out the living room window.
As I entered the home of Christi Estey, I wondered, is this the Tupperware equivalent of our time? Christi is a local elementary school teacher who had opened up her home to five Lularoe Clothing consultants to bring all of their clothing to sell. It was 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon in Hibbing in the middle of winter. I pull up to the house on Hematite Street to see a street full of cars lined up on both sides of the street. Just the previous Sunday it was the Super Bowl. This was apparently the Lularoe equivalent of Super Bowl Sunday. Melinda Ruzich, Cassie Belak, Sara Rock, Adrian Martire, and Tammy Mastakoski were all there to sell their Lularoe clothing stock.
I had a lot of curiosity about the incentive and drive for all of these women and the many more who have come to be Lularoe Clothing Consultants to sell this product. I had a lot of questions and thoughts. Is this a fad? Is this going to be around a long time? Is this the Tupperware or Mary Kay of our time? You can still find Tupperware and Mary Kay consultants by the way.
A few fun facts I learned at the Lularoe party
Husbands - SKIP this paragraph and go to the next one
They all also had stories about how their clients have enacted many different strategies to hide their purchases from their husbands. They all had stories to share in this regard. Here are a few they shared:
Christi Estey - the host
My first questions were for Christi. I had assumed that she was a consultant also. However, she was just a very kind friend who agreed to open her home like it was a store. When I asked her why she does this, she replied, "I wanted to help my friend Melinda. I love this brand so much I told her I would love to have people at my house to buy this clothing." In addition, she talked about how as a teacher she uses the many patterns of her many, many pairs of Lularoe leggings in her teaching curricula and methods. She wore the "popsicle" leggings the day her class was learning about the letter "P" and her beach themed leggings the day they learned about the ocean, beach, and water. She also said that she really strives to shop local at Moxie, Nina Brooke and Lularoe consultants. She also joked at how if I looked in her laundry I would probably mostly see two name brands - Under Armor and Lularoe and that her jeans are lonely because it has been so long since she has worn them.
Melinda is the first person I bought Lularoe from and was my teacher about the brand. She has been selling since November of 2016. She described herself as always being crazy about clothes and a need to being social. Therefore, Lularoe was perfect for her. She said, "I live in a home full of all boys. This is my fun and girly thing to do. I also love moving people off of black clothing and moving them into patterns. For myself, it is the first time in my life that I do not change out of my work clothes when I get home because I am so comfortable."
Sara is a stay at home mom and describes herself as a "social seller." She said, "This is my social time and I am selling something I love to wear. I literally wear Lularoe every single day. And I am not joking, every single day since November of 2016." She talked about how she became addicted to the "buttery soft" leggings and that is what got her hooked. It is also Sara's social time and a way for her to meet people. Sara is new to the Iron Range having recently moved here after her husband got a job in law enforcement.
Cassie talked it being a fun way to supplement her income. She also liked that it was flexible. This means that for her when she is busy with her boys during basketball season she sells less and does more Lularoe on the off season of basketball. As a mom of young children she also stated that it provided a great way for her to stay social in her life with other women. She said, "I already have a full-time job. This is a very fun way to spend time with other women and make a little extra money on the side."
Adriana Martire and Tammy Mastakoski
Adriana and Tammy are related by marriage and enjoy selling Lularoe because they both love clothes. Adriana sells Lualaroe in part to help pay for her college. This is something that they do together and also call it their "girl time." They have been involved only for a few months but can both see themselves doing it for a long time. They described getting their boxes in the mail like "Christmas morning."