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DeAnne Brady and her husband Mark Stidham founded LuLaRoe, one of the largest multi-level marketing firms ever created. It’s also one of the most controversial.
The billion-dollar clothing company is the subject of the upcoming docuseries “LuLaRich” created by the filmmakers of “Fyre Fraud.” The four-episode series — which will drop on Amazon Prime Video on Sept. 10 and Hulu the following day — promises to get to the bottom of a company that has been involved in a number of lawsuits.
And prominently featured are Mark And Deanne Stidham who are interviewed at length in the series.
So, who are they?
DeAnne Brady (also known as DeAnne Stidham) and Mark Stidham founded LuLaRoe in 2013 and claim they created “simple and affordable fashion for women, men and children” while offering consultants the opportunity to become independent business owners.
According to LuLaRoe’s website, the idea for LuLaRoe began after one of DeAnne’s many children asked if she made her custom make her a Maxi skirt.
“Excited with the beautiful piece, DeAnne’s daughter showed all of her friends, and they each instantly needed one for themselves,” the website states. “It was in this moment that DeAnne realized the potential of her skirt. In less than six months, DeAnne sold 20,000 skirts at in-home parties!”
She said she later asked her husband Mark for help getting the business in order.
Both DeAnne, whose maiden name is literally Startup, and Mark come from entrepreneurial families.
DeAnne’s great-grandfather William Startup opened his first candy business in England in the 1800s, according to LuLaRoe. In 1895, he created the first filled candy bar after moving to Utah. The Startup Candy company, based in Utah, is still in operation today.
DeAnne’s dad Elbert Startup was the great-grandson of Hyrum Smith, the older brother of the Mormon church’s founder and prophet Joseph Smith, BuzzFeed News reported last year. Elbert and his wife, DeAnne’s mother, Maurine, founded the American Family and Femininity Institute in 1945, the New York Times reported in 1972. Its goal was to reinforce the idea that women belonged in the home.
Maurine Startup published a book called “The Secret Power of Femininity” in 1969. The following is a passage from that book, as excerpted from the NewYork Times: “Stand before a mirror in the privacy of your room and say to yourself, ‘I am just a helpless woman at the mercy of you big, strong men.’’
DeAnne grew up with ten siblings, including her twin sister Dianne, in Pasadena, California. She and Mark met in 1998 in Corona, California. He was a divorced dad who worked in construction at the time, according to BuzzFeed News. Between the two of them, the couple has at least 15 children. Some are biological and many are adopted.
Mark’s Instagram proudly states that he is the “owner of world record Koenigsegg.” He races Koenigseggs, a Swedish luxury sports car brand. One of his cars set a top speed 277.9 mph record in 2017, Motor Authority reported at the time.
While they have been accused of preying on stay at home mothers by fooling them into thinking they could get rich from home, the couple has vehemently denied defrauding anyone. Earlier this year, they agreed to pay $4.75 million to settle allegations from the Washington state Attorney General’s Office claiming that LuLaRue is a pyramid scheme, the Associated Press reported. LuLaRoe is still in operation today and the couple defends the company, and their business decisions, in the upcoming docuseries "LuLaRich."
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