Lia Sophia Closed Doors Leaving Reps Lost – Next Steps
If you have been reading online over the past day or so, you will see a lot of uproar over a popular home party company
called Lia Sophia who suddenly closed it’s doors December 1st, 2014.
So yes, Lia Sophia is no longer in business after 28 years.
Lia Sophia announced abruptly to the world that they will be closing their doors February, a shock to most, if not all representatives across the country. The company has put out statements and notifications via social media on Twitter, Facebook etc to spread the word
about their goodbyes, while offering a 50% special on Fall 2014 rates and 70% off their “Timeless” jewelry collection.
The family company said when asked why they are shutting down, a “challenging business environment” is driving its decision to end operations in the U.S. and Canada. The company website is still active at this time (as article date).
Lia Sophia is a family owned business launched in 1986 out of Chicago as a jewelry brand, founded by Victor Kiam under the name Lady Remington several decades ago.
The company is currently run by Elena and Tory Kiam.T of Remington Products Company, a personal-care product empire. Tory Kiam has led the jewelry business since the death of his father, Remington owner Victor Kiam, in 2001. He and his wife, Elena, relaunched the company in 2004 under the Lia Sophia brand, named after their two daughters, Lia and Sophia.
What Lia Sophia Sources Are Saying:
“We are so proud of building lia sophia over the past 28 years into an outstanding company that has empowered women, and whose jewelry has been a favorite of so many,” Elena Kiam, the creative director behind lia sophia’s designs, wrote Monday on her company blog. “However, given the challenging business environment, we made the painful decision to wind down lia sophia in the United States and Canada by December 31, and cease operations by the end of February.”
“We are extremely grateful to our customers and employees for their loyalty and support throughout these 28 wonderful years, but it is with a heavy heart that we must announce that the #LiaSophia era has come to a close.” – Source Lia Sophia Facebook
“Given the challenging business environment, we made the painful decision to wind down Lia Sophia in the United States and Canada by December 31, and cease operations by the end of February.” – Source Liasophiablog.com
“We are so proud of building Lia Sophia over the past 28 years into an outstanding company that has empowered women, and whose jewelry has been a favorite of so many,” creative director Elena Kiam wrote in a lisasophia.com blog post.
Here is how the company is described on their website.
Lia Sophia jewelry is special, but it’s just the beginning of a remarkable experience. We’re a sisterhood of women combining style with personal success. As a brand, we stand behind our beautifully designed jewelry with the strongest guarantee in the business, and we support our Advisors with the finest programs. But Lia Sophia has known for more than 40 years that it takes the best …to be the best.
As an Advisor, you’ll earn profit of 30% of your sales. With an average $650 party, you’ll earn $195.
The average annual income for all Advisors and Leaders in 2013 was $3,330 per year.
Here is how the business opportunity was presented. (Youtube video)
Complaint Against Lia Sophia
Here is a complaint that was filed about the company. The warning in the complaint has come true today.
Lia Sophia is a MLM scheme. The gov’t should do something about these pyramid schemes. The jewelry is nothing but bling. Worst of all, you have to BUY the jewelry to make money. The trips you win depend how much you sell: trip for one or two. Say you won a trip for one and want to take your husband. You have to spend your money (or your husband’s money) to buy the extra ticket! How is that making money? You’re only making the people who OWN the company rich, really rich! Jewelry isn’t replenishable. There’s only so much jewelry you can buy. And if you don’t know that honey, you have one BIG SPENDING PROBLEM! You have to be really desperate and up to your neck in bills to even THINK you’ll get rich! The parties are BORING. Oh wow, playing parlor games! It’s like school dress up parties and the clicks you used to have at school. Oh, what fun! HO-Hum. Girls, be careful your pyramid doesn’t come crashing down! – Source Complaintsboard.com
Lia Sophia Story
Kiam’s husband, Lia Sophia CEO Tory Kiam, acquired the business from his father Victor Kiam. Victor Kiam, former owner of the New England Patriots, made a name for himself in the 1980s as president and CEO of Remington Products, famously appearing in commercials coining the slogan, “I liked the shavers so much, I bought the company.”
Victor Kiam purchased the retailer in 1986 under its original name Act II Jewelry before renaming it to Lady Remington. Following the entrepreneur’s death in 2001, the brand was acquired by his son Tory Kiam and his wife Elena. In 2004 the couple relaunched the brand under the name Lia Sophia.
Kiam and her husband, Tory Kiam, the company’s CEO, were not immediately available to comment.
The couple took over the fashion jewelry business from Tory Kiam’s father, Victor Kiam, onetime owner of the New England Patriots and president of Remington Products. Victor Kiam was famous in the 1980s for featuring himself in Remington commercials in which he said he liked the shavers so much, he bought the company.
Victor Kiam bought direct-sales jewelry company Act II in 1986 and renamed it Lady Remington. His son renamed it Lia Sophia, after the names of two of his daughters, in 2004.
“Most of all, we’re proud to be a family company, and to see the names of our daughters, Lia and Sophia, on every box of our jewelry,” the company’s website states.
Lia Sophia sold its jewelry through a network of local independent sales representatives, relying on in-home demonstrations and a direct-selling approach similar to the practices of Avon and Tupperware.
An outpouring of messages to the company’s Facebook page from customers and employees expressed a mixture of shock, disappointment and appreciation for the products and jobs the company created during its operation.
Lia Sophia, a direct-sales jewelry business that enlisted thousands of women as independent sales reps in the tradition of Avon and Tupperware, is going out of business after 28 years, the Wood Dale-based company has announced.
Creative director Elena Kiam wrote in a blog post on liasophia.com Monday that “given the challenging business environment, we made the painful decision to wind down Lia Sophia in the United States and Canada by December 31, and cease operations by the end of February.”
Lia Sophia Statistics
A 2008 Chicago Tribune story said Lia Sophia had 27,000 independent sales representatives nationwide who collectively sold more than $100 million worth of costume jewelry a year.
According to the Lia Sophia website, entry-level “advisers,” who take home 30 percent of their sales, on average made $7,420 annually in 2012. Earnings rose as they climbed the ranks, to an average of $357,872 annual income for a “zone leader.”
Representatives of Lia Sophia Moving Forward
Sales representatives took to the company’s Facebook page Monday to express surprise about the announcement, gratitude to the business and frustration about recently ordered starter kits that would go unused. They also decried the “vultures” from other direct-sales companies that swarmed the page to recruit Lia Sophia reps.
The company is selling thousands of pieces of jewelry at up to 50 percent off when purchased through its representatives through December.
Dawn Grelyak, of Schaumburg, who has been selling Lia Sophia jewelry for six years, said she was surprised to learn that the company is shuttering just as she is closing out on her best sales year. Grelyak, who said she is one of about 800 Lia Sophia sales representatives in Illinois, said they were told the news during a conference call Monday morning.
Grelyak, 45, said she signed on with the company because she was a stay-at-home mom accustomed to working and needed to get out of the house. But as it became more lucrative, her family came to depend on the additional income for “fun money.”
“It has been a wonderful company to work for, and it has been generous all the way to the end,” said Grelyak, a team leader with 12 women on her team. She expects to continue direct jewelry sales with another company.
“I had my first recruiting call within two hours” of the announcement, she said.
Were you affected by the Lia Sophia closing? Tell us below what your thoughts are on the business or the closing.