Yes, you read the title correctly……on Monday, May 14th, I went Lula Diving!!! And, oh so much more!!!
So, as a LulaRoe Retailer, we typically order our stock through the warehouse and it is shipped to us via UPS. We order by style and size, but usually have no control over colors and patterns and fabrics! In May, the company turned five years old, so they offered an opportunity for retailers across the country to Shop The Warehouse…..meaning we could travel to either the East Coast or West Coast Distribution Centers (warehouses) and pull our own orders!!! WOW!!! The first round of registrations came and I didn’t sign up…..didn’t think I wanted to spend the money to go to South Caroline (where the East Coast DC is located). But, I was soon sorry I didn’t do it……I started seeing photos and videos of other retailers and local friends who went and they had such a good time and amazing experiences!!! So…..when I got an invitation to the second round, I jumped on it!!! I got my invitation on Wednesday and made all the arrangements and was set to go!!! I flew out Sunday morning, shopped on Monday morning, and flew back later that same day……a drop and run, quickie trip, but I did it!!! And, I am sooooooo glad I did!!! I had a BLAST and it was an experience I’ll never forget and would love to do again, if they ever offer the opportunities again! So……here is how it all went down!
I arrived in Columbia, SC about noon-ish on Sunday. I had a few hours to kill before I could check in at my hotel in Blythewood, SC – about 15 minutes away. So, I decided to go to the zoo! It was HOT – 92 degrees – a huge shock to my Western NY system, so I didn’t stay too long, but loved what I saw! If you ever get a chance to go to the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden in Columbia, SC, DO IT!!! It is a lovely zoo – not huge, but a nice size and wonderful exhibits and activities!
One of the exhibits is a Kangaroo Walk-about where you get to walk through the Kangaroo enclosure and see then up close and personal! Cool!
I loved the Koala Bears!!!
I have a “thing” for pink flamingos – I just LOVE them!!! I was so excited that I finally got to see some in person!!! They are gorgeous birds – so regal and graceful and the colors are just amazing!!!
So……I left the zoo and checked into my hotel. I cooled off and freshened up and went out to be sure I could find the warehouse – I was going early in the morning and didn’t want to get lost. The warehouse is in Blythewood, SC and a little less than 10 minutes from the hotel. I found it easily and was so excited to see the signs! Of course, it was Sunday evening, so no one was around and I couldn’t get past the signs at the front gate, but it was still a thrill to finally be there!
I found a nice BBQ place right by the hotel for dinner and then settled in for the night. I got up in the morning and got myself ready for my shopping adventure!!!
I was told by others to dress comfortably and be prepared to get dirty! The gloves didn’t last long — I found that I wanted to touch the Lula and that hands are washable……so, they didn’t get used, but the apron was a good choice!!!
The previous round of events had about 50 retailers per hour each day…….the day I went, there were about 66 ALL DAY…….thinking that not many were able to drop and run to make it to the first day of the second round! So, I lucked out! Also – my time slot was 7:00 am, so it was still only about 65 degrees (forecast for that day was 98 degrees), so it was still cool in the tents!!! Since there were so few of us, they let us start a little early and stay longer into the next hour……I think I was in there about an hour and 45 minutes!
Because of safety reasons and because the warehouse couldn’t stop operations for our shopping, they brought the Lula out to a huge tent and replenished it throughout the day. We were told there was about 1/2 million pieces to shop from in gaylords (bins) labeled by style and size! It was an overwhelming experience…..so much to dig through to find what I thought my customers would love!!! I went for quality vs quantity — I had a budget in mind and the plan was to not pick any duplicates and avoid any patterns that I’ve had in my inventory before…..so, I was looking for new, fresh, and different!!! And, it was a success!!! Then, when done shopping, we could choose to either take our bounty with us or have it shipped — I had it shipped because I was flying back! I had a tracking # that night and it was in-transit the next morning and was delivered to my house on Thursday!!!
Some had their pictures taken actually diving in the bins with their legs in the air or sitting in the bins! This 61 year old body was happy just leaning in and hugging an armload of Lula! hahaha
THEN — then we were all done shopping and checked out, we went to a refreshments tent to wait for the next tour of the actual warehouse! WOW — that was so awesome!!! What a thrill…..that place is HUGE!!! And, very efficient — the people were so friendly and happy to see us and the operation was extremely impressive – the technology was amazing!!!
This was our tour guide, Harry……he explained the process from start to finish and was very entertaining!!!
Where the magic happens!!!
The packing and shipping process is incredible……the boxes all have a bar code that includes everything that should be picked and added to that box…..for instance, say a retailer put in an order for 2 large Carly’s, 4 medium Classics, and 10 one size leggings…..the bar code contains that detail. So, then the box is put on these conveyor belts and starts its journey through the stations. Each station is dedicated to a style and size. The box stops at every station and the bar code reader scans it, if there is no product on the bar code that matches that station, the box moves on……when it gets to the station for large Carly’s, it stops and a light comes on that station and a digital display reads “2” – the worker manning that station will pick 2 large Carly’s and hit the button so the box is released to the next station…..the box then, goes on and until it reaches the station for medium Classics…..and so on!!! Amazing!!! This line is the length of a football field and there are (I believe he said) 12 or so of them!!! Very impressive!!!
As I was leaving to head back to the airport, I found this street sign for a back truck entrance!
It was a wonderful trip……so much fun……both days…….amazing experience!!! So glad I did it!!! My return flights were plagued with delays and missed connections – I was supposed to get home about 5:30 and didn’t get here till after 11:30, but I made the best of it and didn’t let it spoil the trip!
Looking forward to my next adventure!!!