Caterina Harris: Another Mary Kay Failure

Written by TRACY on . Posted in Failure in MLM, National Sales Directors, Numbers in Mary Kay

For years, Caterina Harris has been touted as Mary Kay royalty. The best of the best. At the very TOP of the company. Someone who is an example for all women who want to move up in Mary Kay. Part of an elite group of women…. “Mary Kay Millionaire” who is living the good life thanks to the wonderful opportunity that is Mary Kay.

Would you be sad (or surprised) to find out that Caterina Harris isn’t even making an executive income in the upper echelon of Mary Kay? Caterina became a Mary Kay sales director in 1992, and after twenty years as a “top” member of Mary Kay, she’s not even making a six figure income. Let me repeat… twenty years of her life devoted to this amazing opportunity, and she’s not even making $100,000 per year as one of the very top members of the company.

You wouldn’t know it from looking at Caterina’s promotional materials. In this tacky video, you can see all of her accomplishments. She is one of the top 200 women in Mary Kay.

She has gotten numerous Circle of Excellence and Circle of Achievement awards (based on how much was ordered from the company by her consultants):

She is a “Mary Kay Millionaire,” receiving more than $1 million in cumulative commissions from the company in her many years:

And her highest monthly commission check was $17,200:

(You know what to do with this. Mary Kay hopes you’ll do the math of $17,200 x 12 = $206,400 and wrongly assume that Caterina is making more than $200,000 per year with MK.)

All these wonderful “accomplishments,” and still Caterina Harris is not making an executive income in Mary Kay. How can this be?

It all boils down to the PINK TRUTH. Life at the top of Mary Kay isn’t all they pretend it is. Remember Amy Dunlap? She’s a former Mary Kay national sales director who spilled the beans on how low the income of the typical nsd is. She was bringing in just over $100,000 per year gross income (before business expenses) when she left Mary Kay. Former nsd Allison LaMarr was another one who was touted as a huge success, but saw her income plummet in the months before she quit MK.

And here’s the income of the superstar Caterina Harris:

The above figures include all of her commission income, per this explanation in Applause Magazine:   “Listed are NSD commissions above $10,000 earning in _____ by National Sales directors as defined above plus the following which do not count toward NSD ranking: Sales Director commissions, Personal Team commissions and NSD contest bonuses.”

In recent years, Mary Kay stopped printing commission checks for the nsds with checks less than $10,000 per month. You can see that most months for Caterina are below the $10,000 mark, so I’ve used an estimate of $8,000 for her commissions those months (based on the history when MK was still printing the amounts of the lower checks).

How funny is it that her first month as a sales director in Mary Kay – – in 1992 – – Caterina says she made $5,000. And in 2009 and 2010, she had multiple months where she made less than that. So much for promoting yourself and giving yourself a raise in Mary Kay!

What does all of this mean? 2011 was the best of recent years, and in that year, Caterina Harris only received about $110,000 in gross commissions before business expenses. She receives other prizes from Mary Kay including the use of a car and a vacation. Those are valuable, but the “free car” is wiped out by the expenses related to operating it for business purposes. And a car, a trip, and jewelry cannot feed a family. When you deduct estimated business expenses from these commission checks, you can bet Caterina has about  $80,000 (if she’s lucky) cash left to pay her taxes and feed herself.   This is her wonderful career as a Mary Kay superstar.

And that “high check” of $17,200 that Caterina brags about?  It happened prior to 2009. Her income hasn’t even come close to that in any month since.

What’s the moral of the story? Caterina Harris is sitting at the top of the Mary Kay pyramid after spending 20 years of her life devoted to this company. She is still not making an executive income. Her income is pathetic when you think of all the work she has done, and the length of time she has been with the company. And this is a woman others want to emulate?

Caterina said it best: She is in the top 200 out of 1.8 million consultants. And she’s not even making an executive income. That is the reality of multi-level marketing.

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Comments (30)

  • MLM Radar Detector

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    So dear Ms. Harris is in the “Top 200 women out of 1.8 million worldwide”? She’s so high up in Mary Kay that my calculator comes up with an error message when I try to calculate the percentage. Yet she’s only receiving commissions around $100,000 per year (before business expenses). Funny, for a business with Unlimited Earning Potential, I expected a woman in the tippy-tippy-top to be receiving a whole lot more.

    Do you remember when your Mary Kay recruiter showed you The Opportunity? When she pointed out how you had virtually no chance in your present J.O.B. of moving up to where the Real Money is found? That you could throw off your shackles and join an organization with Unlimited Earning Potential? That you had The Dream sitting right in front of you waiting for your “Yes” and your $100?

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.9 percent of US households had incomes of $100,000 or more in 2010. But in Mary Kay the fraction of women at that level is almost too small to calculate.

    If the tippy-tippy-top of 1.8 million Mary Kay women is ONLY able to pull in $100,000 a year, the Unlimited Earning Potential is NOT so unlimited after all. That also means that at the top 20% cutoff in Mary Kay, where typical American households reach the $100,000 mark, women in Mary Kay are pulling in a whole lot less than typical American households.

    Out of sheer curiosity I googled the words “Mary Kay” with “Unlimited Earning Potential.” I found page after page after page of hits, with Pink Truth only turning up once. The real potential of making unlimited income with Mary Kay is nearly non-existent. The number of women who want to make you believe it anyway is the only real unlimited part.

    -Do you have unlimited income potential? Before Mary Kay. I didn’t know there was such a thing.
    -Earn great tax benefits and unlimited earning potential.
    -Flexible hours, unlimited earning potential, and a support system of fabulous women.
    -Mary Kay also offers a phenomenal marketing plan that has unlimited earning potential.
    -The positive influence of the people I work with – coupled with the unlimited earning potential – makes this my favorite job to date
    -Own a Mary Kay business and have unlimited earning potential and be in complete control
    -I can help you create and develop your own flexible Mary Kay business with unlimited earning potential
    -Mary Kay provides us UNLIMITED earning potential, and every tool we need/ want, to succeed.
    -Mary Kay Cosmetics is a wonderful opportunity for everyone, with unlimited earning potential.
    -Be your own boss— freedom from corporate America, no glass ceiling, unlimited earning potential.
    -You have UNLIMITED earning potential! It all up to YOU!
    -I love that my company has an “unlimited earning potential.” Thank you Mary Kay!!
    -I teach skincare and color cosmetics and share the unlimited earning potential available with Mary Kay Cosmetics.
    -I also enrich the lives of women by providing them with information on how Mary Kay impacts the community around us and allows them to have unlimited earning potential and self-development.
    -Enterprising woman achieve unlimited earning potential while enriching the lives of others.
    -Enriching the lives of women through offering the best-selling skincare and color cosmetics in the U.S. and offering a business opportunity with unlimited earning potential.
    -Benefits of joining: 1. Unlimited earning potential
    -With an unlimited income potential….there is no glass ceiling in Mary Kay
    -Flexibility with unlimited earning potential, have the use of a company car and other gifts

    Finally, here’s one that’s even grander than just “unlimited”:

    -Boundless earning potential. … The choices are yours and the potential unlimited.

    It’s enough to make me sick.

    Reply

    • ttp

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      With that boundless earning potential, Catarina’s deserve level must not be high enough. The choice is hers, right?

      Reply

  • raisinberry

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    Unlimited earning potential equals unlimited work hours. If you want to work 24/7…365 days a year, you are STILL limited…even in that.

    The real deal is that pie in the sky scenario’s are the bait that MK uses to hook the target. If you don’t make enough, it will always fall back on you for not being willing to “work 24/7/365″. It will NEVER be, lack of sales support, lack of timely trend products, lack of audience, lack of good reputation, lack of customer appeal, over saturation of consultants, reduced price of product on EBAY, endless recruiting scams and bait and switch guest invitations.

    As long as Sales Directors keep lying about their pay checks, and their results, the average hopeful “guest model” will fall prey to this scam.

    The endless recruiting is BECAUSE the sales force has to be constantly replaced because they GIVE UP. And why would they GIVE UP…. IF they were making money?

    This ain’t rocket science.

    Reply

  • Lazy Gardens

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    Who spawned Caterina?

    Reply

  • Ginger1819

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    Gloria Mayfield Banks spawned Caterina.

    Reply

  • gotheart

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    “Gloria Mayfield Banks spawned Caterina.”

    Caterina is an adopted sd that gmb has mentored.
    But she is not in gmb area nor is she gmb offspring.

    Thanks Tracy for this wonderful article.
    I love it.

    Sincerely.
    gotheart

    Reply

  • Ginger1819

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    Hmmmm…I was not aware, thanks Gotheart!

    Reply

  • Freefrmpink

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    Mary Kay Cosmetics is a joke! The joke is on the fogged directors & NSD. Fogged directors are like I was, in so deep can’t see a way out until a teacher showed up & I the student was ready.

    Reply

  • FogHat

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    @ 3:17 in the video – Does that look like a millionaire’s house to you?..Me neither.
    The end of that video was beyond ridiculous.

    Reply

  • cbbgreat

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    wow. unbelievable (in a tacky sort of way!)

    Reply

  • Lazy Gardens

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    I am pleased to announce that this article shows up #5 and #6 on the Google search results for Caterina Harris and Mary Kay.

    TIP: Using NSD in the title and first paragraph with the name might boost it a bit higher :)

    Reply

  • seeing the truth

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    Can you say “all about me and how much everyone wants to be like me” I bet she watches the video and think “I am so important and everyone would die to have what I have.”
    Definitely not what God wants

    Reply

  • Stephy

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    OMG!!! Quit hatin’!!! How many of you make “good money” doing what you love?

    Reply

    • TRACY

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      Quite a few of us do. And specifically, the author of this article makes amazing money (much better than Caterina) doing what she loves. And, unlike Caterina, I don’t have to lie to anyone to make my living. Yes, I’m saying recruiters in MK must (and do) lie to get ahead.

      Reply

  • Faith

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    Ok, so I totally dig PK for creating a space in which former MK Consultants can come and support one another. However, when it comes to Caterina Harris, I have to step in. Caterina may not be at the top in terms of being a high income earner, however, she is an incredible principled person. Therein lies the problem! Because she is not a frontloader like many of her “MK Sisters”, her checks are not as big as some of them. Even tough she is not hitting 6 figures, the high 5 figures that she is making, is being made honestly. With her solid work ethics and brains, she could easily hit a high 6 figure income, but just like the other NDS’s that are not hitting 6 figures, I believe she is attempting to build her business/ income by doing MK the “right way”. As we all know, doing MK the “right way” yields very low monetary returns. She as well as others but be enjoying some of the others MK “benefits”.

    When I was in MK, she was one of my favorite NSDs and it was mostly b/c I saw her go from consultant, red jacket, director, so on and so forth, all the way to NSD. I’m not saying that she isn’t drinking the “pink lemonade”, I’m just saying that she really is a kind person.

    Reply

    • TRACY

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      There are lots of nice (and allegedly principled) people who are in Mary Kay. And let me tell you this… you do NOT get to NSD without frontloading inventory. Period.

      This flawed thinking runs rampant in Mary Kay. That somehow there is a right or proper or not bad way to do it. But the bottom line is if you “do it right” you do not move up the director path and you do not make anything more than minimum wage.

      And Caterina Harris proves herself a liar with this one quote from her unitnet site: “Caterina began Mary Kay in 1991 and has build a multi-million dollar business.” She does not have what anyone in their right mind would call a “multi-million dollar” business.

      Reply

    • MLM Radar Detector

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      The part which troubles me the most is that she claims to be, in terms of income, “one of the top 200 out of 1.8 million worldwide MK women.” MK has significantly more than 200 NSDs in the US alone, and probably twice or 3x that number worldwide. So it’s not just being an NSD that makes her a “top 200.” Income counts too.

      Now I don’t know if this means she is #199 or #2. But I do know this. If someone can qualify for the “top 200″ year after year after year by pulling in ONLY $100k, that means a whole bunch of the other “top 200″ are ALSO pulling in only $100k.

      If the not-so-nice, not-so-principled others were really earning more, Caterina Harris would be kicked out of the “top 200″ winner’s circle pretty fast.

      Furthermore, if all it takes to be in the “top 200″ of such a massive group is ONLY $100k, principled or not, what chance do the other 99.998% have of making even half that much money?

      As I pointed out earlier, according to the US Census Bureau, in 2010 19.9% of all US households reported earnings of $100k or more. And that was during a recession. So why is it nearly impossible for the “top 200 executive pay” MK women to earn what mainstream America earns?

      Reply

    • Lazy Gardens

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      Faith –
      Look at her actions, not her words. How many of the women she has recruited during the time you saw her go from IBC to NSD went into debt for her success?

      Here’s a script Caterina Harris wrote.

      http://www.pinktruth.com/2008/02/build-your-personal-30/ “Learn to respond in a script comes across as sincerely helpful, not pushy” … in other words, learn to manipulate and act sincere.

      Here’s another bit from http://www.pinktruth.com/2011/05/thou-shalt-not-say-%E2%80%9Cjudge-not%E2%80%9D-until-thou-readest-this/ NSD Caterina Harris’s website features a document which states, “Invite guests to success meetings every week…tell them that on the way over that they will learn everything they need to know about the Mary Kay Career tonight in order for them to make an intelligent decision about coming into the Company.” Oh really? Do they ever disclose the number of IBCs in the potential recruit’s area? Do they fully explain the way the discount works? Of course not – it would scare away the prey.

      Caterina is apparently OK with Dacia Wiegandt’s practice of deliberately leaving product out of an order, lying about not having it in stock, just for another whack at the possibility of recruiting: http://www.pinktruth.com/2011/09/8-out-of-10-mary-kay-nsds-are-okay-with-lying-to-customers/

      Reply

  • IrishLass

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    I am so sad that this whole entire blog is hard to find! If I had seen this before, I wouldn’t be out $1800! Thank goodness I found this before I got in too deep. SHUTTING DOWN my ‘business’ today. I loved the Mary Kay products and used them since I was really young like 16 years old.. I think that is the only reason I was suckered into this. But the bubble of happiness just BURST recently because as a Feminist – I feel it’s sexist for Mary Kay Units to FORCE women to wear skirts and tight shirts with heels in order to attend meetings… That got me searching on the internet for other women who might feel this way and ended up upon this website.

    Reply

    • Briansmama

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      IrishLass – welcome!

      How long since you purchased that $1800 inventory? Chances are good you can get the bulk of it back – and there’s lots of good info on this site to tell you how.

      I chafed at the dress code, too. In my unit, the requirement was skirts or dresses, hose, and closed toe shoes. The shoes got me the most, the hose next.

      Had they also required “tight shirts” – that would have been the end for me.

      I’ve been a professional woman ever since I got out of college. I know how to dress appropriately.

      Anyway, welcome. Please read, read, read and ask questions. The amount of knowledge and information here is phenomenal.

      Reply

      • IrishLass (MetalFae)

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        I just signed up on the message boards under the name MetalFae!

        I have only lasted 2 months. LOL I bought the inventory in July. the thing that I realized quickly though was that even though I made money on my parties – the recruiter and directors made sure I was ‘replenishing my inventory’ thereby leaving with no money myself at the end of it all. I was frustrated about that and THEN the dress code when I had explicity told my director before I joined that I work in Health care on my feet all day, I’m not going to dress in heels and a skirt… and I think it’s just plain sexist so… I’ve yet to pull the plug because I’m unsure how to address it.. I’ll be posting in the forum in a bit about it..

        Reply

  • gotheart

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    Faith, how come Caterina sells knock off purses at all her events?
    How come she sells CDs DVDs of her events, at all of her events?
    How come she sells the CDs and DVDs at 500% over cost?

    Faith were you ever a sd?
    Faith what is your definition of kind?

    Reply

    • Faith

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      Hey Gotheart,
      No, I can not answer to why anyone does what they do. I can only give an answer to my own actions. Although I earned the car and completed my 1st month of DIQ (for the 2nd time), I was never a SD. That I know of, at least 2 of my personal recruits are now a SDs.

      My definition of kind is someone who prays w/ me when I lose a best friend due to domestic violence and donates $ to the surviving children’s trust fund on an annual basis. My definition of kind is when being diagnosed w/ a chronic illness, she sends cards, meals and even a housecleaning service to help me as I’m going through treatments. All of which CH has done for me.

      Trust me when I say, I believe that MK is a shell of what it used to be and a sad excuse for “enriching the lives of women”. However, I do not believe that all the women in MK are all bad all the time. I believe that MK is a borderline cult and as with many cults, people do things that they may not otherwise do w/o being under the influence of the cult. I believe that just like many of us here on PT, who were once in MK hook, line and sinker, the current MK ladies need to have their own personal “light bulb” moment when they realize that MK will not be the vehicle to help them “have it all”.

      Reply

      • Lazy Gardens

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        Faith …
        David Koresh bought me a muffin once.

        Does that change what he did to others?

        Reply

        • Faith

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          No.

          Reply

  • angelkisses911

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    Caterina was a second line to the famous Shirley Hutton. Caterina’s recruiter was Paula Gentry out of San Fran. I believe she in the Go-Give area now. She was just mentored by GMB.

    Reply

  • gotheart

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    Oh! I get it.
    Kind to you is when it benefits YOU.
    Ta hell with the rest.

    *Although I earned the car and completed my 1st month of DIQ (for the 2nd time),
    *That I was never a SD. That I know of, at least 2 of my personal recruits are now a SDs.

    Well Dah! She is gonna pray for you! Ya keep providing her paycheck with production! Bring ya meals. Are ya kidding! If ya were to dump mk ya’d never hear from her again.

    Desperate people do desperate thing. You and Caterina are both in that state of mind.

    And about trusting YOU! Hell no!
    *No, I can not answer to why anyone does what they do. I can only give an answer to my own actions.

    Oh YES you can find out why people do what they do!
    Woman what kind of answer is that! OMG
    This type of thinking is not in your best interest.
    It is called looking the other way!

    You my dear are part of the problem and are perpetuating an evil process.
    Not having good health is not taken lightly here.
    However I can tell you for a fact that my health improved way beyond what we thought it could since dumping mk.
    Whatever the hell my body was producing from the pressures of the evil empire has dried up, gone away.
    Ya may consider that with your health.

    I am so sorry about your friend. So sorry.

    If you email me your address I will send you a wonderful meal. I promise.

    Now ya don’t even know me. I am willing to do that for you.
    I don’t make a cent off of you.

    Your neediness has blinded you. You think it is kindness.

    Oh! She sells the knock off purses and sell her DVD CDs cause she is not making enough money to pay her bills! The West Coast Summit?
    Same. The profit goes three ways. I know for a fact the information I am saying. Caterina does nothing unless there is profit in it.

    Sincerely.
    gotheart.

    P.S. I was serious about sending you a meal.

    Reply

    • Faith

      |

      Obviously, we disagree…You are assuming a lot on my part (I am not now, nor have I ever been needy or desperate and I was not in CH’s unit or her down line). It appears to me that our experiences w/ her have been different. However, I don’t have to discount my experiences with CH in order to acknowledge yours with hers. Thank you for the meal offer. That is so kind of you, but I’m good.

      Reply

      • NeverWasPink

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        Faith, I’d like to contribute only one thought to your quest for truth.. and that is simply that: some of the nicest, sharpest, most well-put-together men ever met are (behind closed doors) doing terrible things.. how can we be okay with that?

        Even if Caterina’s a nice person, she’s part of an ugly pink cult mob that does ugly things to people who deserve better treatment.. she’s either a blinded victim or someone who will stop the madness and say “enough!” and get off the treadmill… and that’s it. Those are the two sides to play for.. she, in her position of power in the pink cult, does NOT have the option of “sitting on the fence”

        Reply

        • Faith

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          Duly noted.

          Reply

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