As is usually the case, mainstream media completely ignores the reality of multi-level marketing. Stories are regularly run about how MLM “businesses” offer consumers an opportunity to make money, especially during times of high unemployment. What these stories ignore is the reality that 99% of people involved in MLM actually lose money.
Last week, Rebecca Rose of the Killeen Daily Herald wrote a glowing piece about women making money with Mary Kay. She cited no hard facts about Mary Kay, only anecdotal evidence (read: lies) from women involved in MLMs and with a vested interest in inflating their supposed success.
One woman featured in the story was Darlene Beckett, a Mary Kay sales director who claims her income from Mary Kay equals that of her 2007 salary as an Army captain:
Beckett said her Mary Kay income is comparable to what she earned in the Army. “I got out as a captain,” she said. “In order to maintain my lifestyle, I knew I had to be a director.”
So far, she’s earned three cars, but not the most famous one. “People only think about the pink Cadillac,” she said. “But consultants earn Chevy Malibus. Directors can choose from Equinox and Toyota Camry.”
Rebecca Rose didn’t research this claim about Beckett’s income. If she had, she would know it cannot possibly be true. The story indicates that Beckett served in the Army for 9 years, in which case her salary as a Captain would have been more than $60,000 per year at 2012 rates. Dialing back that salary to 2007 rates (when Darlene left the Army), she was still making more than $54,000 per year, at the very least.
There’s no way Beckett is making anything close to $54,000 in Mary Kay. Women driving pink Cadillacs make about $40,000 per year if they’re lucky. But Beckett isn’t even in the Cadillac. She is driving the Chevrolet Equinox, which is a current “Premier Club” car. To get that car, unit production needs to average $9,000 wholesale per month. That equals a commission check of about $2,700 per month, or $32,400 per year.
Another way we know Beckett’s earnings aren’t close to her military pay: She says her highest check (ever!) was $5,000. That would need to be a normal check in order for her to make her military pay. It’s not. This was a one-time deal.
Maybe Darlene makes a ton of product sales that boost her income? Not likely. In the last three months, Darlene has ordered less than $2,000 wholesale from Mary Kay. If she’s selling everything she orders (not likely!), she could have a gross profit of $650 to $700 per month.
And of course, Beckett has all of her business expenses that must come out of her commission checks and gross profit from product sales. Best case scenario, she is probably making $25,000 to $30,000 per year. (And don’t let anyone tell you that’s for part-time work. You can bet your bottom dollar that Darlene is working 40 to 60 hours per week.)
So why didn’t Rebecca Rose look for any facts or solid proof when reporting about Mary Kay? Who knows. She emailed me for comment:
Hi, I’m Rebecca Rose, the business reporter for the Killeen Daily Herald. I’m working on a story about local make up sales consultants, like Avon and Mary Kay. I found your website and was wondering if you or a spokesperson for the site would be available for a quick phone interview today? I’m particularly interested in what advice you would offer to someone who might be interested in joining the company? What specifically do you think the public should know about what being a sales rep is all about?
It seems she didn’t take the time to read anything on the site, even when I pointed her to this article on some of the real facts new Mary Kay consultants should consider. Most notably, that story stated that directors’ incomes are inflated. Yet Rebecca didn’t include anything on the “other side” of Mary Kay.
Other very informative pages that are easy to find with the handy dandy links in the navigation bar include:
- Frequently asked questions about Mary Kay and Pink Truth
- Truths about Mary Kay that potential recruits (and reporters?) need to know
- Information about Pink Truth and why we’re publishing the “other side” of Mary Kay
- Top ten reasons to NOT be involved with Mary Kay
I’m not suggesting that Rebecca Rose had to believe all the facts and opinions we present. I’m not saying that she had to parrot anything found on Pink Truth. I am suggesting, however, that with just a few minutes of her day and a little bit of critical thinking, she could have realized there is more to the Mary Kay story. It was too easy to believe a sales director who wants some press, but who is blatantly lying about her earnings.
It’s sad that yet another news outlet reported false earnings claims by a director. Apparently they are only interested in the feel-good story, and fail to use any critical thinking skills in the process of “reporting.”