Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
It’s no secret that LuLaRoe leggings are having a moment right now. The direct-sales company has a huge salesforce of women promoting and selling their leggings, skirts, dresses, and other pieces of brightly colored modest clothing. After I spotted a blogger Instagramming at Disney, I noticed her floral leggings were getting a ton of anxious “Where-did-you-find-those?!”-type comments. The leggings were worn as an homage to Beauty and the Beast, and before I knew it, I’d stumbled into the black hole of Disney-inspired LuLaRoe.
“I'm a Disney nerd through and through. Anything Disney-related and you can pretty much take all my money. Especially when that includes super-comfortable clothes,” says Meghann Anderson-Russell, the blogger behind Meals and Miles.
Anderson-Russell is a Florida native and has been visiting the parks regularly since she was a kid. After seeing someone wearing a red-and-white polka-dot top reminiscent of Minnie Mouse at a RunDisney race expo, she learned about the holy matrimony that is LuLaRoe and Disney. It was all downhill from there.
LuLaRoe and Disney have no formal agreement, licensing, or anything of the sort. What they do have is a rabid fan base willing to search the digital globe for something they want to get their hands on.
“What we love to do is take LuLaRoe prints and patterns and gear them toward a specific princess or design that reminds us of a Disney movie,” explains Kellie Redmond, a LuLaRoe sales consultant based out of Simi Valley, California. “We try to stay away from the stretches, but apples? Snow White. Ocean waves? Moana. Lions on leggings? The Lion King.”
Six months ago, Redmond wanted a way to bring her love of LuLaRoe and her love of Disney together. She decided to create a Facebook group that would make it easier to match shoppers with the Disney-inspired clothing items they were seeking. The group, LuLaRoe Loving and Disney Obsessed, has almost 7,000 members and is growing daily. It’s one of many online outlets dedicated to pairing the direct-marketing clothing brand with all things Walt. Others include the groups LuLaRoe Everything Disney, LuLaRoe Disney Unicorn Hunters, and The Magical World of Disney LuLaRoe. A quick search on Pinterest for “LuLaRoe Disney” leads to thousands of leggings photoshopped next to princesses, and Instagrammers use #lularoedisney to show off their Disney-esque outfits.
But LuLaRoe Loving and Disney Obsessed is definitely the hub of Disney and legging lovers. The group gets about 10 posts an hour from consultants offering leggings with snowflakes (like Frozen!) or pocket watches (Alice in Wonderland, anyone?). Shoppers also post what they’re hunting for, be it specific leopard-print leggings in a certain size for their upcoming trip to the Animal Kingdom or a broad call for “anything Mary Poppins inspired!!!”
LuLaRoe has strict rules for their consultants about where they can sell and for how much. Consultants can only sell in person, on Facebook, or on Instagram, meaning they can’t utilize auction sites like Craigslist or eBay to drive up the prices for desperately desired items. That means finding a print you’re dying for can be quite competitive. They also provide consultants with Minimum Advertised Prices (MAPs) so they can’t lowball one another.
Consultants and shoppers sometimes go to desperate measures to secure their most-wanted Disney pieces.
“I watched a Facebook live sale at work trying to nab a pair of Beauty and the Beast rose leggings that weren't even my size, but I wanted them so badly,” Anderson-Russell says. “Unfortunately, I didn't get them, but I did nab another pair of Beauty and the Beast rose leggings that were my size via a Facebook sale.”
It sure was a happy day in ᗪIᔕᑎEYᒪᗩᑎᗪ these past two days! Taking my 2 year old for his first trip was nothing short of priceless! The BIGGEST smiles I have ever seen on his face and the happiest he's ever been visiting with all the characters! Seriously a dream come true #becauseoflularoe! And nothing is better trying to stay comfy than a #lularoecarly and #lularoeleggings, am I right? #lularoe #lularoedisney
Anderson-Russell found herself waiting online, counting down the minutes until the sale opened. When it did, she was one of five shoppers who tried to buy the leggings at the same time.
“But according to the time stamp, I was the first one to say “sold,” she explains, “so I won the pair.”
Most of the chatter in the Facebook groups is dedicated to what shoppers and consultants call unicorns. Unicorns are “rare,” high-demand pieces that are hunted down by dedicated LuLaRoe fans. LuLaRoe recently bumped their run from 2,500 to 5,000 of each print, making them slightly easier to get your hands on — but not by much, when you consider that there are tens of thousands of consultants. The race for consultants to buy prints can be just as stressful as the race for customers to buy them from consultants.
“People enjoy the thrill of the chase,” says Sabrina Craig, a consultant out of Virginia Beach. “Finding Disney-inspired LuLaRoe is definitely a challenge.”
Melissa Bremberger is a consultant in Glen Carbon, Illinois. According to her, some LuLaRoe consultants do things like “flipping,” where they hunt down Disney unicorns, multiply the price by three or five, and sell them on eBay, which is against company rules. Melissa’s LuLaRoe mission is focused on “saving” these unicorns. She buys rare Disney-inspired prints, including from flippers, and then sells them at their MAP on Facebook.
“I’m kind of like the Robin Hood of LuLaRoe,” Bremberger explains. “The most sought-after pair right now are the Beauty and the Beast leggings, due to the recent release of the movie. They were definitely one of my most expensive purchases.”
Owners of the rare Disneyfied prints then up the ante in the only way they’re allowed — they host giveaways where a non-monetary entrance fee, like adding friends to their LuLaRoe group or buying other outfits, is required.
Why do Disney and LuLaRoe pair so nicely? The brightly colored clothes in whimsical patterns definitely have a bit of childlike wonder to them. They’re also ideal attire for the parks — comfortable, breathable, and lighthearted.
“I love the nostalgia,” Craig says. “You see a print and all you think of is watching that movie as a kid or the songs that you still know by heart. Probably my favorite part is that on the search for the Disney-inspired prints, you meet tons of people who share the same memories.” Her favorite prints include a black and white crocodile print for Peter Pan and brown and burgundy feathers on a navy background for Pocahontas.
You might not feel like a Disney princess when you’re running to Starbucks or waiting in line at Target — but that doesn’t mean you can’t add a little magic through your wardrobe.