The biggest contributor to the wage gap is that women want "temporal flexibility." In other words, many women want to put family first and still make a living. Naturally, this draws them toward organizations such as LuLaRoe, a multilevel marketing company that sells clothing. Its motto speaks to this:
LuLaRoe: Where through fashion we create freedom, serve others and strengthen families. A place where lives are being improved and dreams achieved through love, purpose, confidence, trust and growth.
Sounds ideal for a mom that wants temporal flexibility, right? But that's not how it always plays out. Even within LuLaRoe founder DeAnne Stidham's own family.
Recently, Stidham's niece Kristy Benton shared a conversation she had last year with her aunt over a mandatory meeting. It didn't show LuLaRoe's commitment to family:
DeAnne: Do you understand you do not get paid at the rank of coach unless you attend leadership!!!! I just heard you may not be attending Friday and Saturday. Is this true?
Kristy: That's correct. I have a family vacation planned. We attend 90 days after we make rank from my understanding. So that puts me at February training.
DeAnne: You live the closest of anyone, and yet there are coaches coming from MD and MN Ny and FL
no this is leadership not the coaches training which is today.
Kristy: I understand the importance of going. But my family also needs me right now. I have worked my butt off and they need time with me too :(
DeAnne: Leadership is you have read your emails is three times a day.
Well they Don't cash the check.
Kristy: I have gone to all trainings that I can while still running a business and maintaining my home, Aunt DeAnne. I cannot attend every single one. We have had this vacation planned for a while, and I need to be here with my family.
DeAnne: You can go anytime other than when you are needed to lead your team You are the Coach so these are the times you come to learn how to lead your team that YOU get paid for.
You DONT HAVE TO BE A COACH we can buy back your business
I'm more than happy to buy you out! Let's relieve you of the stress OK!
Now, here's the thing: You can't be successful at any business without sacrifice. DeAnne Stidham isn't the first boss to tell someone to cancel her vacation in favor of a business need. Kristy Benton isn't the first person in a family run business to be upset with a family member boss. But the problem here is that LuLaRoe advertises itself to consultants as being a "family first" kind of organization. And in a lot of senses, it is.
Consultants choose how and when they sell. They can choose to work on a particular day or not. But the company has some demands that require you to put your business over your family.
I spoke via messenger with Benton and she verified the conversation. She didn't say whether or not she went on the vacation, but said she is in the process of leaving LuLaRoe and that LuLaRoe still owes her money: "They said the money is coming, but they will not give me a date or time frame."
I asked LuLaRoe for verification and to verify training requirements to see if Benton was correct that she shouldn't be required to attend the training that was scheduled during her vacation. They responded with simply:
We have no comment on what appears to be a private text message shared without authorization or context.
This isn't the first time LuLaRoe's treatment of consultants has been questioned. When the company changed its return policy, numerous consultants became angry and many media outlets covered the change. And LuLaRoe filed a discovery petition to force a blogger, Christina Hinks, to identify her sources for her coverage of the company.
While LuLaRoe consultants are not employees--they purchase inventory and then sell it at a markup--anyone who is interested in joining needs to understand that it is a job. And like most jobs, there will be aspects that are not family friendly. Even though the official literature says it will be.
If you want your business to truly be family friendly, make sure you make your rules clear, and schedule your mandatory meetings well in advance with advanced notice to attendees. But if you want to rocket to the top in any business, you'll have to sacrifice some time with your family.