Why I Decided to Leave A&D
Back in 2013, my sister asked me to join her on a journey with a fairly new online clothing business. You might have heard of it – LuLaRoe. I was excited for all the possibilities of starting my own business! Growing up, my sisters and I were raised by and around entrepreneurs with many business owners on both sides of our family. One day, when my husband and I were out driving around, I asked for his thoughts on starting up an in-home boutique. When he told me he was on-board, I was completely shocked and excited to get started. We had the money set aside to make an initial investment. Then, tragedy struck our family. Our middle passed away from an accidental drug overdose. Our focus turned to our family, planning and paying for a funeral, and laying one of our sons to rest.
In 2016, I was ready to try again. My sister was doing very well with her business and I really wanted to see if I too could make online sales work too. I wanted to dive into starting a Facebook Group, doing Facebook Lives, and posting pictures. I did some research and wanted to try a new brand. As a plus-sized woman, I noticed that some brands just don’t hang right on my frame. Agnes and Dora had styles I felt would look great on plus-sized women, so I joined their waiting list in November 2016. On April 4, 2017, my online business started with A&D. I loved it. I was having so much fun. I loved the sisterhood with other reps, going to conventions, and enjoying the process of customers becoming friends.
A Change in Business Model
In the summer of 2019, after just over 2 years of selling A&D, the company changed their business model. It went from inventory/wholesale model to more of a catalog model. The new model also meant a change in the pay structure too. A change that benefitted many reps, but not someone who has modest sales. My customers weren’t liking the new model and I wasn’t having as much fun with it.
My husband has always been supportive of my business. I enjoy doing my own thing and being creative with my income. We talked about the pros and cons of A&D, their new business model, and how it was impacting me and my sales. I sold down my inventory so that I could embrace the new model, but I again, was not having any fun. I had many customers sharing their concerns. Many like to see me try things on and the new model made that difficult. I missed my in-home shoppers too!
My referring rep suddenly quit A&D. She is a truly talented businesswoman. I had planned to rely on her guidance and energy to pull me along this new business model. I needed her words of wisdom and positive outlook. So, when she quit it was another hit to me and my enjoyment of the new model.
I Needed a Change Too
Soon after, I was packing up hangers in my boutique. At one time my inventory was a bit over 700 pieces, and I had sold it down to about 400 to prepare for the new business model. As I cleaned and reorganized, tears were flowing. I’m packing up hangers and crying! This is just ridiculous. If I’m this unhappy, something has to change. I went upstairs to where my husband was in the garage.
“What do you think about me quitting A&D and selling other brands? Going independent. Choosing my own products.”
“Give me more information on what that would look like,” Matt answered. “Hey, can we get some menswear too?”
“We can do whatever we want!”
So, I explained how it would work and started my own research which included talking to other friends who were doing the independent boutique thing, to get their take on their new businesses.
I spoke to my LLR sister who voiced concerns about going independent.
I spoke to several customers who were excited about the possibilities of seeing a variety of styles.
I still love and wear A&D. The change has nothing to do with the products or the quality of products. I learned so much and grew as a person in so many different ways.
Making the Announcement
On October 18, 2019, I resigned from A&D officially and made the announcement to my FB Group on October 19 with a Live Video.
I was so nervous.
- What if my group is angry with me?
- What if they hate everything I buy?
- What if the quality of things I find just sucks?
- What if?
- What if?
- What if?
The fact that only 5 people of the 700 in my group commented on that video added to my nerves and fears. I think it’s important to note that replay viewers are included in the 210 views with only 5 comments! Uh. Oh.
I announced the launch date of October 28 and that things would be changing in the group and to keep an eye out for those changes.
Here we go!