Monday, December 7

A "LILL" Multi-Level Marketing Please?

So it's no surprise to anyone who knows me and reads this blog that I. LOVE. PURSES.

And this past weekend, after many requests from my friends who liked a particular purse of mine, I decided to host an 1154 LILL Studio Custom Handbag Party.

 Have you heard of LILL?   If you haven't, follow the link and don't blame me for the HOURS you are about to spend on the website designing your own purses, travel bags, diaper bags,  clutches, etc.

If you are familiar with LILL, you'll probably understand the frenzy of purse samples and fabric swatches that were flying about in my dining room on Saturday afternoon---despite the 4 inches of snow that gushed out of the Baltimore sky that day. That's right. My girls are not fair-weather purse fans either. Rain, snow, sleet, or hail they were ready to design their bags and with the help of a generous pitcher of sangria, we had a blast. I only wish I had taken before and after pictures of my dining room table.

At any rate, ever since I was introduced to LILL, about 3 years ago by my friend Denise, I have been a big fan. The quality of fabrics, the functional,versatile, yet chic bag styles, the excellent workmanship of the bags, and the thrill of making an exclusively yours custom piece right down to the pocket lining. (breathe!)

The company and it's founder, Jen Valarde, have a great story (and blog) and are a B-school case study in building a creative but focused, consumer/employee-driven company. In my humble opinion, companies like Thirty-One do not compare in any way, in selection, quality, or experience.

So here's my only issue with LILL (and I know I'm not alone in this because I talked to my local sales rep ad nauseum about this)....why can't LILL be a multi-level-marketing setup? Seriously, I've NEVER been enticed to sell soap, nasty juices, make-up, knives, plastic ware, jewelry, baskets, legal services, candles, home goods, wrapping paper, or even Girl Scout cookies (although I did get the badge for it), but this LILL company is calling to me (albeit in a part-time, weekends only fashion--but hey they are calling!)

As a business-minded person, I can probably anticipate LILL's (or Jen V.'s ) response to the MLM question, which I'm sure she gets all the time. I'm sure it has something to do with the founding principles of the company, preserving quality, the personal experience, its handmade/Chicago-based production, not diluting the brand, etc. I not only respect that response, I appreciate it particularly after having experienced a Thirty-One party. Many things (including quality) is certainly lost in their MLM. Again, just my humble opinion--and I did by their very nice utility bag and had it embroidered--a nice little extra that Thirty One has.

With all that said, this doesn't solve my problem. For the first time in my life since pageants, I'm open to the idea of a "side-hustle" (yes, I just called the Miss America and Miss USA pageants I competed in a side-hustle--paid for college!) but LILL on Location reps aren't necessarily needed in my area. Further, I'm unsure if being a part-time representive would give me the flexibility I need to keep my day job and be a mom.

Nonetheless, This is something I have been thinking about for a long time, and have talked to Charm City Daddy about how I would approach the business. I told myself I would just get through the party this weekend to see if I still felt as strongly and it "seams" that I do. (heh) In fact, I can't wait to plan the next LILL party for the spring fabrics when they come in! I guess it is something I will need to continue to pray on and work through. Perhaps create a MLM empire of my own?! (muhahahaaaa) Not likley.

What would you do? Should I call up the company and find out the time commitment? Should I apply to the company regardless of where they need reps?


  1. Who was your LILL rep? Gotta have LILL BAGS!!!

  2. haha! Courtney T (the Richmond Rep on the website). It's addictive!

  3. Well, if you do in fact reside in Baltimore I am the local Baltimore rep. I hope you picked out some great bags!

  4. Ah ha! Okay, I thought you were a friend of mine, Jess--hence the addictive comment. Oh well you are one lucky girl, Miss Lill Baltimore rep. My hat is off to you.