One of our members was so intent on getting the word out about Mary Kay in her community, that she contacted the newspaper of a college campus, and they printed her opinion piece. You have to see the actual article here (large file) because it just looks so cool in print.
Here's the text of the story. I'm just so impressed by this display of courage, especially in light of how vicious the women in Mary Kay can be to anyone who dares say anything negative about their beloved company.
It all began in July of 2004, a year after I graduated college. I signed up for Mary Kay during a restaurant promotion and “won” a drawing for a complimentary makeover. She left me with a recruiting video to watch and said that she’d give me a free lipstick to watch her video and give her my honest opinion.
I heard a self-made millionaire talk about the Mary Kay Career Opportunity and what it’s done for her family and herself. Confident, rich and proud, she talked about how flexible it was. I thought, I can do this! I’m going to be a beauty consultant, make some extra money, pay off my $2000 credit card debt and be my own boss!
I excitedly purchased my $100 starter kit and then scheduled a Business Planning Session with my director. At the session, she told me that if I was serious about this business, I’d need to invest at least $600 and highly encouraged me to start with much more than that to help me succeed. “It’s so much easier to sell something you have on hand rather than having to go back and place your order with Mary Kay Corporate after you’ve made the sale with your customers,” she said.
I truly believed you’ve got to spend money to make money. I didn’t think of my initial investment as “debt.” I thought of it as an investment in my future! This woman had earned a "free" car in MK, so she was proof that this company worked. She offered to do my first show to help “train” me. Within my first week as an Independent Beauty Consultant with MK Cosmetics, I had already spent over $2200 for inventory and start up costs.
I was excited but very scared. I had invested into an inventory of product that I had no experience selling. I didn’t know much about skin care or makeup artistry. And, my biggest fear was that I didn’t know where I was going to get the customers or how I was going to sell it all.
No matter what I did, I was barely making any income. My sales were low, expenses were high and I didn’t even seem to notice the debt on my credit card doubling and quadrupling. Yet my business skills were improving and my sales were getting much higher! I was even starting to recruit some team members! For the next two years, going to Mary Kay meetings was encouraging, and I started to believe the saying “Fake it ‘til you make it.”
I continued to learn everything I could, working as hard and fast as possible. I put together a huge “Training Manual” that covered what I was using and learning in my own business. No one else in Mary Kay that I had run across offered something like this as a resource and I thought it would solve every problem that I had run into.
About this time that I started realizing how out-of-control my debt had become. Each month I consistently found myself borrowing more from the credit cards, sort of doing a balancing act. I don’t know how many times I crunched the numbers and looked at how many selling appointments it would take for me to hold each week, realistically, to allow me to stop going further into debt. I decided to file bankruptcy.
At that point, my credit card debt was above $50,000. At that time, my minimum payment was $1000. I struggled with the decision to file bankruptcy. I wanted so desperately to be successful and knew that a bankruptcy would certainly give people the wrong impression about my success in Mary Kay if they knew about it. My debt was “discharged” in November 2007 and I was more determined than ever that I’d finally be able to make it work!
I was always taught that 60 percent of the money I collected was supposed to go back into the business to replace the products sold and to allow extra room for business supplies and sales tax and the other 40 percent was treated as “profit.” I eventually had to admit to myself that my business expenses were eating up almost all of my profits! So, I wrestled with this challenge, and I couldn’t come up with any expenses that I’d be able to cut if I still wanted to offer something I was proud of and something that was appealing to my customers.
Mary Kay claims that we have no quotas to meet. As a brand new Beauty Consultant, there is an immediate quota enforced. She cannot get the consultant discount unless she orders $200 or more. In order to earn a car or become or remain a director, there is a $4,000 per month wholesale quota to maintain!
I went to my Mary Kay Monday night meeting on Feb. 25. I brought a guest who seemed excited about the "Career Opportunity.” I knew she wouldn’t have the resources to afford anything other than her starter kit. I also knew that she had very little chance of success without the additional supplies that she would need that didn't come in her starter kit.
Then I was invited to come out in front to sit at the “head table” to be recognized for my weekly sales. I moved $543 in retail product. Sheryl Peterson says something along the lines of, “So once you put money back to replace the products you sold for the week, you made about $271.50! And you worked how many hours at your selling appointments, Karen?”
I looked at my sheet and told her “six hours.” So, $271.50 divided by six hours, equals about $45 per hour! “How many of you here could get excited about $45 per hour!”
At our meetings, we are recognized for our hours put into “selling appointments” only. Time on the phone booking appointments, coaching hostesses, training with team-members, meeting with potential recruits… all of those hours do not count toward our weekly “hours.”
Here I was, in REALITY, struggling, post-bankruptcy… without making a profit myself… What a lie! I felt slimy. And now, Mary Kay Corporate has told me that even though I’ve decided to quit Mary Kay, I cannot stop advertising to my customers for another month! Oh well, I’ve already invested over $41,000.
What’s another hundred or so to send a letter to each of my customers thanking them for their support and kindness in my blind and misguided Mary Kay adventure and encourage them to choose another brand of cosmetics that does not support deception and greed in the future? It’s an expense I’ll be happy to pay to spread the word about Mary Kay Cosmetics!
To get information about selling your inventory back to Mary Kay Corporate, please call (972) 687-6300. Don't make the same mistake I did.
What a great story to share with all the college students who could potentially get sucked into the pink vortex. Thank you for sharing it with us too!