Lu­laRoe Of­fers Mother-Daugh­ter Team A For­mula For Suc­cess

Riverbank News - - WOMEN IN BUSINESS 2017 - By MARG JACK­SON

A firm that started in Corona, Cal­i­for­nia just four years ago has branched out across the coun­try … and lo­cal res­i­dents Mindy Gre­gory and Ash­ley Romo are proud to be a part of the fam­ily.

The mother-daugh­ter team serves as lo­cal con­sul­tants for Lu­laRoe, a cloth­ing line that is sold pri­mar­ily on­line, but also is avail­able through pri­vate in-home par­ties and at ‘pop up’ events around the com­mu­nity.

“We work well as a team,” said mom Mindy.

The firm was founded by DeAnne and Mark Stid­ham in 2013, with DeAnne’s flair for cloth­ing de­sign and pro­duc­tion cou­pled with a back­ground in net­work-based mar­ket­ing lead­ing the way.

Mindy and Ash­ley now find them­selves em­brac­ing the fash­ion con­sult­ing ca­reer, though it came about for them in a very un­usual way.

“I won a pair of leg­gings, I fell in love with them,” daugh­ter Ash­ley said of re­ceiv­ing a pair of Lu­laRoe leg­gings in a draw­ing.

She shared her love of the leg­gings with her mom and from there, they not only be­gan to pur­chase the cloth­ing, they took the leap of faith to join the Lu­laRoe fam­ily.

“When we started, we knew at first that ev­ery cent (we made) in the busi­ness would go back into our in­ven­tory,” Ash­ley ex­plained of build­ing up a sup­ply.

Now, a room in Mindy’s home in Escalon is de­voted to the cloth­ing, with men’s, women’s and chil­dren’s lines all avail­able. The room, which has served as ev­ery­thing from a chil­dren’s bed­room to Mindy’s home real es­tate of­fice to a hobby room over the years, is now filled with racks of cloth­ing and a cou­ple of man­nequins out­fit­ted with new ar­rivals.

Boxes come in al­most daily with new items and both Mindy and Ash­ley said part of the fun is that they never quite know what they will get – un­like a tra­di­tional busi­ness where you make a spe­cific or­der, the Lu­laRoe items just ar­rive in sizes and styles the two re­quest. The cloth­ing is mar­keted as be­ing ‘sim­ply com­fort­able’ and fea­tures vi­brant pat­terns and col­ors. There are also lim­ited items in each de­sign and not ev­ery in­de­pen­dent con­sul­tant gets the same items. So some­thing that Mindy and Ash­ley have avail­able might be the only one of its kind in the area.

“They’re con­stantly chang­ing col­ors and pat­terns,” Ash­ley ex­plained of the dresses, leg­gings, skirts, tops and more.

“We do on­line and in-home par­ties, we had a big party re­cently at D’Boni’s (in Escalon) and we had a pri­vate party in River­bank re­cently,” said Mindy.

At the in-home par­ties, hostesses can earn free cloth­ing items based on sales, which is an­other pop­u­lar perk.

“We got up to 55 items sold,” Mindy ex­plained of the River­bank party. With a free item for ev­ery 10 items sold, the host­ess re­ceived five free cloth­ing items her­self.

The par­ent Lu­laRoe com­pany also re­cently part­nered with Dis­ney so they now have a se­lec­tion of Dis­ney-themed items in their col­lec­tion.

The lo­cal duo packs their items into a van to trans­port them to the pri­vate events and the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar ‘pop up’ par­ties.

Also, the mother-daugh­ter team hosts Face­book Live sales events, show­ing new ar­rivals dur­ing a live show, broad­cast from the cloth­ing room at Mindy’s home, some­times even model­ing the pieces them­selves.

Ash­ley’s two older chil­dren have also joined the fun, model­ing select items dur­ing the pro­grams.

“My nine-year-old daugh­ter loves to try things on,” she said, adding that her five-year-old son has sold a few items through model­ing them.

Her youngest, a one-anda-half year-old son, hasn’t joined the fam­ily ad­ven­ture in model­ing just yet.

You have to be part of the Face­book group to view and shop dur­ing the live shows, and you must be ap­proved to join. You can be re­ferred by a friend who wants you to ‘like’ their page or you can visit Shop Lu­laRoe Ash­ley and Mindy or go to www.ShopAsh­leyMindy.com. Ash­ley can also be reached at 209556-2078 for more in­for­ma­tion about the busi­ness.

“I take pho­tos of ev­ery­thing we have,” Mindy said of also post­ing the lat­est ar­rivals on Face­book.

The busi­ness has been more suc­cess­ful in just the short time Ash­ley and Mindy have been con­sul­tants than they ever an­tic­i­pated. And it fits their busy sched­ules – Mindy is also a lo­cal real es­tate agent, while Ash­ley home schools her chil­dren through the lo­cal Gate­way Academy in Escalon. Along with the flex­i­bil­ity, the two love the fact that they are help­ing cus­tomers feel com­fort­able and con­fi­dent in a cloth­ing line that can be tai­lored to their spe­cific tastes.

“We have our shop­pers, in many cases we know what they like and their styles,” Ash­ley ex­plained of of­fer­ing some sug­ges­tions for cus­tomers. “A lot have also trusted us to choose out­fits for them.”

Cus­tomers can be any­where in the coun­try, since it is pri­mar­ily an on­line based busi­ness.

“We ship all around the U.S., I put all the pack­ages to­gether, take them to the post of­fice and ship them off with love,” Mindy said, smiling.

Of all the as­pects of Lu­laRoe, it is the abil­ity to pro­vide col­or­ful, com­fort­able and fash­ion­able pieces that Mindy and Ash­ley en­joy the most. That, and work­ing to­gether on a daily ba­sis.

“A lot of brick and mor­tar stores are clos­ing down but we’re flour­ish­ing,” Mindy noted of the busi­ness cli­mate for them.

Cloth­ing lines in a spe­cific style are known by a name, many of them from founder DeAnne Stid­ham’s own fam­ily. Skirts in the Cassie style, for in­stance, av­er­age $35 per piece. Dresses in the Ju­lia line are about $45; shirts in the Mark line for men are $32; tween leg­gings are $23; pieces in both the Sloan and Gra­cie chil­dren’s lines are $28 – and those are just a few of the lines fea­tured.

“We’ve only been do­ing this since Jan­uary,” Mindy added of the new busi­ness ven­ture. “We started out with 500 (pieces) and now we have over 1,500.”

The two re­cently re­turned from a Lu­laRoe con­fer­ence in Ana­heim and there were 25,000 re­tail­ers at the event, in­clud­ing the lo­cal duo, giv­ing them the op­por­tu­nity to share their sto­ries of suc­cess and ex­cite­ment about be­ing part of the grow­ing Lu­laRoe ini­tia­tive.

Part of the busi­ness also in­cludes get­ting in­volved in do­ing some fundrais­ing events, and the two re­cently hosted a ‘pop up’ gath­er­ing at the Escalon Youth Cen­ter to ben­e­fit the Jim Davis fam­ily. The Escalon pas­tor con­tin­ues to bat­tle brain can­cer and a por­tion of the pop up event pro­ceeds were do­nated to the fam­ily. It’s part of the firm’s ‘giv­ing back’ ap­proach to life and busi­ness.

“We run it as a busi­ness but what’s fun is help­ing make women beau­ti­ful,” Ash­ley said.

“The de­signs are mod­est and com­fort­able, at­trac­tive to our women cus­tomers,” added Mindy.

An­other key point, Ash­ley noted, is that the price per piece is the same whether you pur­chase the small­est ex­tra ex­tra small to the 3XL size – one price fits all – where typ­i­cally the larger sizes come with an ex­tra charge. The two started the busi­ness out of Ash­ley’s home but quickly de­cided the front room at Mindy’s would al­low for a bet­ter ‘show­room’ dur­ing the Face­book Live ses­sions and to ac­com­mo­date their ex­pand­ing line of items.

“We go live all through­out the week, we of­fer spe­cial styling ses­sions, we can of­fer cap­sule col­lec­tions, which is five pieces of cloth­ing that all mix to­gether,” Ash­ley ex­plained.

A lot of their busi­ness has come from word of mouth, as peo­ple rec­om­mend their friends and oth­ers join the group. With over 30 dif­fer­ent styles in men’s, women’s and chil­dren’s cloth­ing, the two said there is likely some­thing for ev­ery­one to find and en­joy wear­ing.

“Some­times I just stop and think ‘This is our job’,” said Ash­ley of feel­ing blessed to share the ad­ven­ture with her mom. “It’s so fun to hang out to­gether.”

Mindy agreed that a year ago, she couldn’t have imag­ined be­ing in a new busi­ness ven­ture that has al­ready paid huge div­i­dends; and not only in the fi­nan­cial sense.

“It’s amaz­ing,” Mindy said, smiling. “To do it with my daugh­ter, it doesn’t get any bet­ter than that.”

PHOTO BY MARG JACK­SON

Host­ing Face­book Live ses­sions reg­u­larly, Mindy Gre­gory, left, and Ash­ley Romo, dis­play­ing a cloth­ing item for the cam­era, are also busy with in-home par­ties and popup events around the com­mu­nity with their Lu­LaRoe fash­ion busi­ness.

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