Friday, March 3, 2017

Missing in Action, Stretchy Pants, and Moving Forward

Hello! Hello!

It's been awhile.

There was a time I checked my blog and dozens of others multiple times a day. When I first started up this blog in 2011, I had just started my Etsy shop and was looking for ways to interact with and reach people. I loved reading other mommy blogs and was enamored by the whole blogging community.

Then things changed.

Life got busy, the Etsy shop kept me hustling, my full time job evolved and became more demanding, and I kind of just stepped away. And now, as I'm writing the first blog post back, I wonder. Is blogging really even a thing anymore? I'd like to hope so. Reading and writing used to be my release. I'll be honest when I tell you I haven't read a book cover to cover in over 7 years. (Coincidentally, my daughter will be 7 in April.) I was the kid who loved writing stories, keeping journals, and reading into the early hours of the morning. And that carried into adulthood. My little blog gave me the opportunity to write again and I'm sorry I've neglected it for so long.

So where have I been and what have I been up to?

Traveling abroad in Asia and taking in the amazing sights of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Singapore? (Nope, but my baby sister has been for the past 4 months and I'm totally living vicariously through her social media posts.)

For the past year, I was sucked into the world of LuLaRoe. Yes, the cult-like world of stretchy pants (I say this somewhat fondly). Let me preface by saying, I never in a million years thought I was a leggings person. In January 2016, I purchased my very first pair. When they came and I tried them on, I told my husband, "I'm not sure I'll ever feel comfortable wearing these in public." But I did and... by the end of March I was in the "queue" to onboard as a Consultant. And now, 1 year later, I'm officially ending my time as a legging saleswoman. Where'd it all go wrong? Is it not all unicorns, sunshine, and rainbows? I'll break down my top few pros / cons of the experience. These are my opinion and are from my personal experience only.

*First dibs on items you get in your orders (Helloooo, keeping this gorgeous dress for myself, thank you very much.)
*Opening a new box of inventory is like a present - you never know what you're going to get.
*I met some very neat ladies through my time with LuLaRoe and will continue to shop from them when I need a LuLa fix.

* Big initial investment. $6000+ just for inventory and then all supplies needed (hangers, racks, dress form, shipping supplies, etc.)
LuLaRoe had around 5000 or so consultants when I signed up. By the end of 2016, I believe that # was 65,000+. The company is new and going through growing pains, but the rapid growth has caused backorders, quality issues, lack of consultant support, oversaturation in online sales, etc.
* Be prepared to carry credit card debt if you don't have the cash for initial order (and subsequent minimum monthly orders for $500+). Consultants are often encouraged by up-line to order multiple times per week, which at minimums would equate to another $4,000 - $8,000 PER MONTH. The idea is, the more inventory you have, the more you'll sell.
* LuLaRoe is a Multi-Level Marketing company (a.k.a Pyramind Business Model). No way around it. It is what it is. The saving grace is LuLaRoe actually sells a decent product.
* Be prepared to work 24/7 and hustle hustle hustle to try to sell all the merchandise you've now got sitting around your home. If you're ok carrying a ton of credit debt, sure you could keep it as a hobby, but ultimately, the majority of consultants are not making the profits they hoped for. And they are made to feel like they are not trying hard enough when they aren't successful. If you have time to frequently do local events and in home pop ups, your chances of success will be immensely greater, but working full time, my main source of sales was online.

I will stop to say now, I had an AMAZING sponsor who never pressured me, pushed me, or told me stories of fluffy unicorns whisking me away from my day job to be earning millions. I am so thankful for her! I do hope that LuLaRoe gets their stuff together before they ruin a good thing. People love their clothes. They have fun and unique things you can't find elsewhere and in a variety of sizes that fit women in a flattering way. There has been a lot of bad press as of late with the company, most of which I honestly haven't read into, because, well I'm terminating my affiliation soon and who needs more drama?

After this long winded rant.. my two cents.. if you are thinking of becoming a LuLaRoe consultant -- please, please, please do your research and make sure this is the right financial decision for you and your family. Find the RIGHT sponsor (Message me if you'd like to get the contact info for mine.)

Ok, enough about leggings that many claim feel like a dairy product. (BTW, who decided they wanted something that felt like buttah' on their legs? Sueded. Super soft. Cozy. All words I'd use. Butter? I think butter and I think greasy... but I digress.)

During my LuLa coma, I not only neglected this little piece of my world. The Blog. But also the shop -- The Rogue Baby. Which is still around and on Etsy. I've been blessed with nearly 8500 Etsy sales over the past 6 years. I've decided it's time to refocus on doing what I enjoy. And that's being creative. I miss the brainstorming and piecing together new designs and the whole creative process. Be prepared for more to come. Maybe a relaunch is in order?

I've also taken a slight step back in my career. 100% by choice. I decided I was done with traveling for work and wanted a position where I'd be near home. In Fall 2016, I took a position that most days keeps me within 30 minutes of home, and no overnight travel. It's immensely helped with stress, mommy guilt, and the mileage on my car. I have an amazing employer who created a position for me with no change in compensation. So grateful for this!

So, I think that's about it.

Oh, but wait, there's more. I've recently began the "Keto" journey. No, I'm not eating bacon and butter for every meal. My husband and I did extensive research before beginning the lifestyle change. Really digging in to how ketosis works, what are the most nutritious and healthy foods to eat (grass fed, lots of greens, healthy fats, etc.) Previously we had been vegetarian for over a year -- so reintroducing some meat has taken some adapting. I may or may not post some keto friendly recipes from time to time, and my personal progress to becoming a healthier me. (I'd be lying if shedding a few pounds wasn't part of the incentive either).

Ok, so for real this time. You hang up. No. You!

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