A Mary Kay Sales Director Faces Failure After 30 Years

This is the story of a senior director who has been with Mary Kay for almost 30 years. And what does she have to show for it? No retirement savings.

I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and I think it’s time I tell you all my story. I may alter a few dates to protect my identity since I’m still in Mary Kay.  I am a Senior Sales Director and have been in Mary Kay close to 30 years.

When I joined Mary Kay I was a depressed wife of a professional man who didn’t want me to go back to work.  I wasn’t very good at the housework thing but I did enjoy spending the time at home with my two small children.  I decided to join Mary Kay against my husbands advice.  He was worried that people would think he was failing if I had to go peddle cosmetics.

I think it was his doubts that made me want to succeed. I was so desperate for some approval and I think that is what lures a lot of women into this company. Getting all that praise for even small amounts of accomplishment made me feel great. It also made the distance between my husband and I grow larger.  He resented the fact that I loved going to Mary Kay events and I loved my work.  I became a director within my first two years and even though he acted proud of my out in public, he reinforced his doubts about this company at home.

Right from the beginning I started to borrow money and I was not telling my husband how much I was spending.  There were no credit cards for orders back then but I had worked in a bank before so I was able to get money loaned to me.  I wanted to build up my inventory and I was doing 3 classes a week so I was turning over the product really fast.

After I became a director I was really hooked.  I was not ever pushy and never brought in consultants with any more than they could afford.  I worked hard to teach them to sell and actually I still have a few of those ladies with me after all these years.  My unit has never missed production in all these years but I can’t say that I’m making money.

For years I traveled all over our state holding meetings for out of town groups and actually developed up to three offspring (I only have one now)  What I found out was that everyone thought I was a super success because I drove a pink car (they had pink cars that were not Caddys back then)  My unit never got over 90 people so I never really made it to that Caddy level. I attribute that to not frontloading consultants with a ton of product.

I truthfully believe I was a good director.  I gave prizes, didn’t charge for meeting rooms, sent newsletters and worked long hours.  As long as I was married and had someone else paying the mortgage, taxes, utilities, etc., I could spend all that money on my business expenses and it didn’t matter that I didn’t really make much.  I actually have been in the queen’s court of sales for the past 20 years running.  Wow, it sounds like I should be a success.

Well, about 15 years ago I left my husband since we had grown so far apart.  I was a Mary Kay Senior Sales Director so of course I could make it on my own.  Well, that is where I was so very wrong.  No one knows how many expenses there are to being a director.

The checks look good but that is before taxes.  Then you have all your gas, office supplies, postage, phone calls, prizes, insurance, directors suit, seminar, career conference, leadership conference, and on and on.  When you get done paying all the expenses there isn’t much left of that commission check.  The money from my personal sales pays for the mortgage, utilities, health insurance, cloths, food, taxes etc.  Wow, when it’s time to place an order it goes on the credit card.  There isn’t any money left from those sales to order inventory because there are so many bills.

I have slowly gone in debt about $8,000 a year for the first ten years that I was on my own.  These past 5 years I have tried to work part time jobs and even full time jobs to try to get out of this huge hole.  I’m in my late 50’s so I am not at the age to be starting a new career.  I have a good client base so I don’t want to dump Mary Kay but my pink bubble has burst and I see just how so many people go into debt and how so many marriages break up over this business.

I don’t have a lot of choices right now.  I must keep this business going in hopes that I can someday retire but I also have to work other jobs to try to get out of debt.  I was told that I should go bankrupt when I went for financial advice but I don’t want to do that.  With interest rates eating up so much of my payments, it is almost impossible to get out from under this weight.

I currently have around 70 consultants and we average over $8,000 a month in production, but since the company hasn’t given us any substantial raise in many years, my income has not kept up with inflation.  I have cut out the prizes, except for year end. I cut out the newsletter and I don’t travel much any more because I am working all the time.  This is the time of my life when I should be looking forward to retirement like all my friends.  Actually I will probably never be able to retire and I am working more now than I ever have.

So for those of you who want to be a director, my advice is to stay married because no matter how successful this looks, there isn’t much profit.  That’s why the ones making the real money are tricking consultants into frontloading and continuing to order even if they aren’t selling.  I could never feel good about being successful on the losses of others.

It makes me sick when I hear the horror stories and then consultants are also persuaded not to send the product back because they might want to get in again.  Actually directors do that to save themselves from lost commissions and production.  So the director keeps winning while the consultants keep losing.  I am proud to say that it has been so many years since I had anyone send back product that I can’t remember.  It doesn’t happen when you don’t buy production with cheap prizes and just keep rewarding ordering and not caring about selling.

So, in my community I have am looked on as being a success.  I tell everyone I am working another job just for the health insurance, but I am barely making all my payments and I worry every day that I will go under. My children are grown and married and I have a granddaughter now, but I don’t have the money or time to see her very often.  (she’s hours away from me)

My advice to anyone who has gotten out is to send back your product right away and don’t fall for the guilt trips.  Don’t feel that you failed, because failure is staying in and not seeing what it is doing to you and your family.

For anyone reading this who is in the company, be honest about what money you are really making and don’t lie to others in order to line your own pockets with commissions or prizes. It is a fun business but the marketing plan  rewards only a small percentage of people with big money and funds that with the ordering done by the large percentage of people.

Well, that’s my story.  I will keep reading yours and hope no one ever gets in the situation that I have found myself in.  Thank you for letting me get it all out.  I hid these facts for so many years because I didn’t want to believe it and I was in that Pink Bubble.  It feels good to be truthful and let it all out.  I hope it is helpful to someone out there.

Getting old and broke. (but I look great–ha ha)

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72 Responses to A Mary Kay Sales Director Faces Failure After 30 Years

  1. Tigger March 21, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    I’ve got to say, this is probablyy the saddest story I’ve read on PT to date. Those of us in our 50’s can relate to the fear of nearing retirement and the terror of thinking it may never happen. Don’t think you can just work til’ you’re 80 years old. You can’t believe how worn out you can be even in just your fifties.

    I’ve never gone into debt with mlms but that’s only b/c we have a real tangible business that has taught me when to reign it in. I get to a point of spendng, and then it’s ‘Whoa, Nellie.’

    Is this gal going under b/c of the intrest on the backward slide, or the continued spendng? I wasn’t sure.

    My adivce? See a financial counselor. There are some really good ones out there. See where you can cut back to whittle away the debt. Seek God. Title.

  2. Tigger March 21, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    sorry…………..last word should have read ‘tithe.’

    • Worried December 15, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

      Tithe? TITHE??? That’s your advice? Tithe with what? Did you read the article?

      • Tigger December 17, 2013 at 6:16 am #

        Yes, tithe. That’s not my adivce, it’s God’s. He says, “Bring your firstfruits (the very best) to the storehouse (house of God) and see if I will not pour you out a blessing, pressed down, shaken together, full and running over. Test me in this.”

        This is the only time in scripture that God gives us permission to test him. Any other time He was tested, it did not end well for the testers.

        We first heard of tithing when we were married (1977) and it struck a chord in us. Together we brought home less than $270 both working full-time, so we know what it is to barely eke by. But we began tithing on the our gross income. We have no education We have been unduly blessed our whole lives. People always ask how we do it. We have never inherited a dime or won a lottery.

        Lately, I have been very blunt in my response. We have subs and subs’ employees imploring us about what to do in this economy. We give them the very same answer: tithe. They walk away sadfaced. It’s too bad, b/c where your money is, you will find your heart.

        “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. And all these things shall be added unto you.”

        Tithing will change your life. God is waiting to bless your finances, but you have to show faith first. An open had can hold more than a closed fist.

        Anytime someone comes to us for advice (and by this time in our lives and with this economy it’s happening often – sadly) we tell them straight out, tithe. It’s heartbreaking to see them walk away angry. Did they expect a bag of money? Have you seen what happens to people when you just keep giving them money? You end up having to just keep giving them money. Handouts are not the answer.

        Do I worry about my retirement? No. My retirement plan is tithing. I still save what I can, but we never know if what we have saved will be enough. I couldn’t bear the worry of not tithing. Obama can take everything away from us, but he can’t take our faith. God will always bless a tither.

  3. PinkSixTimes March 21, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    Wow…my heart just breaks for you. Your story is so honest and gut-wrenching. It is truly sad to have a company that you put your heart and soul into to turn around and give you the proverbial slap in the face. It is just not right.

    I really applaud you for sharing your story. You have no idea how many others you will help by being so brutally honest.

    I wish I had a million dollars; I’ve give it to you in a heartbeat. I wish you only the best. Thank you again for sharing your story.

  4. Pinkiu March 21, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    I am so sorry to read your story. What’s worse is that so many directors are in your shoes and yet MK created a culture of denial of anything negative so that you can’t talk to one another about this and brainstorm ways to actually save money. I hope your story opens the eyes of others saves them from the same fate.

  5. gettingoutofdebt March 21, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Thank you for being so honest! As I read this, my heart was aching for you. Please keep coming back and reading/posting. No one knows better than us how MK has destroyed so many lives.

    I just want to give you a big HUG and let you know we are here to support you!

  6. raisinberry March 21, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Every Director, scared but bravely peeking in today, has just had her bell rung. It can not be denied. This is the dirty pink secret…and all Directors know it.

    How does it feel to be used by a Corporation to manipulate profits by pretense and guile, to unsuspecting hopeful women you are snaring using the offer of friendship, financial security, recognition and advancement? Knowing of course that exactly the OPPOSITE will happen to them? You are trapping them into the workhouse wheel under you, driving your production while they eventually drown in debt, if they buy in to the “ladder of success”. How’s that feel for you today?

  7. gotheart March 21, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    “For anyone reading this who is in the company, be honest about what money you are really making and don’t lie to others………”

    “So, in my community I have am looked on as being a success. I tell everyone I am working another job just for the health insurance, but I am barely making all my payments and I worry every day that I will go under. My children are grown and married and I have a granddaughter now, but I don’t have the money or time to see her very often. (she’s hours away from me)”

    You are still lying. You are still using others, “I have a good customer base.” You are being used as a customer of MKC. They are using you to deceive others to think they are a successful company.

    Get out now so you can have a life.
    Your kids must hate mk and what it has done to their lives.
    They are seeing a repeat of what you are doing to their child, your grand daughter. I do not blame your husband for going apart from you. You were deceptive, you put the family in financial risk. You chose MK over your children and him.There is a reason they do not come to visit you. Ya think?

    You say the company hasn’t given you a raise in years? Well how come in 30 years you are only now a senior sale director? What about promoting yourself? You should be a NSD by now? So you see it isn’t working for you, never did, so get out! You are deceiving the 70 women in your Unit and all the others that see you as successful.

    You are like the majority of SD in MK it is easier to stay in the mess you have created then have the courage to get out and get a life and tell others why you have gotten in.
    and point them to PT.

    I would like to have compassion for you but I won’t because you know what it is all about and you are still part of the abuse to yourself and others. OMG and your one and only grand daughter. That is who I have compassion for. She is missing out on YOU!

    There is more I would like to say in your behalf but I will stop here.

    Get out now!

    • BMW March 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

      Where did she say her kids don’t visit or don’t want to? That was a cruel and heartless comment.

      And she had a bad marriage before Mary Kay, which is why she was vulnerable and joined. She was lonely.

      Not to mention that there are many women on this site who are STILL in, and you just belittled and alienated all of them with no regard for the fact that maybe they can’t afford to leave yet and that it’s not easy to just drop everything at once.

      Holy wow, what a mean response to a woman who is finally making her way out. =(

    • Amy March 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      If I am reading the article correctly, the author IS actually making money in MK, just such a paltry amount she’s $8k short a year in paying for what she needs to survive and has no retirement. Because she’s over 50 and

      hasn’t had any previous employment history other than MK, it’s difficult for her to find any paying work. She’s trying, but she may truly be stuck with MK as her most profitable option, even if it’s likely less than minimum wage and she can’t make ends meet. It’s a cautionary tale – get out now, while you still can.

      The best of luck to the author; many kind wishes and hope that you do find happiness.

    • Charlotte March 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      How can you dare lecture her on compassion when you have none yourself? It made you feel so good to put her down, didn’t it? Did you enjoy twisting the knife into the heart of this poor woman? Read her story again. She was deceived by Mary Kay, and had a bad marriage long before it came into her life. And it is a huge stretch to claim she is abusive when she continues to sell product to people who ask for it. You owe her an apology for lying about her. Your cruelty has no place here.

      • TRACY March 22, 2013 at 8:05 am #

        I see where GotHeart is coming from. I have developed a similar belief over the years…. No matter that women still in MK think they’re doing the right thing, they are still supporting a predatory company with their involvement. And although she minces no words, the right thing IS to leave MK because she hasn’t had real success all of these years, and it’s not going to get any better for her. Sometimes people need a wake up call.

        • exibc78 March 22, 2013 at 9:01 am #

          I have been reading Gothearts reply for the last day and I agree 100%. I read the story and I had similar emotions as gothearts reply.

          • gotheart March 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

            Ya know it took me a while before I sent my comment. I almost knew I would be thought of as a sorry dog. I evaluated my comment for the good I hoped it would do for for our SD, that wrote this article. So to me it was like who cares if folks here on PT think of me as a sorry dog. This woman needs some serious help! I have given her compassion, no pity from me though.

            I was a MK SD for 27 years.
            My son who was a college senior, majored in business, at the time came home and showed me that MKC was a MLM. He had heard me over 27 years, since his birth, repeat to my prospects over the phone and in person. Oh MK is not a MLM it is a Dual Marketing Plan. The pain that he had to over come to tell me that, the courage. You have no idea. I love him for his bravery. Can ya imagine discovering your MOM has been duped for her entire career.

            Within a week I had sent my products back. I had no debt because I never just ordered product. I sent back @ 4K.
            My Mom that abused me until I moved out of my childhood home, I was 18, passed away the same week.
            I lived in San Diego, Ca. She lived in Lou. Ky.
            During that week my son graduated from college too.
            I went to the graduation. Right choice.
            I visited her grave the week after. I was thought of as horrid back in KY.
            See, they had any idea how mean my Mom was to me. Fooooorever!
            But it was OK, they didn’t know.
            My husband and I separated.

            It took me almost 3 years to recover, to be able to have a conversation with others. I cried all the time. It broke me, broke me.
            I only knew how to speak MK. You may think that is weird but it isn’t.
            It is called mind control, brain washed. Allowing others to think for you.
            I did not know how to talk to people I was so caught up in the gotta make production, gotta get more Unit members, MK Way of life lingo.

            When I did get out is when I discovered how much my adult children hated MK, since they were in middle school. I embarrassed them time after time after time. They hated the Pink Car. There was never ever a time I did not cold book when we went any and every where. Cept church. The anxiousness I caused them to have has caused great heartache in their lives. The anger that had built up in them for years.

            I went through DIQ the MK way and failed 3 times. That is justabout a 3 year period! “What is wrong with me? why can’t I do this like all the other SDs. “Please buy a kit, I only need 4 more recruits, ya can send the kit back.” I had 4 cousins that obliged me. That is why I I disgraced myself to, the guilt. Sheesh! The stress and pressure I put on my family I had no idea. I was just trying to eat and purchase the cool tennis shoes they needed so the guys would not be made fun of at school. Little did I know they were being harassed, bullies, for the pink car they drove in and were told that our family was gay. (That is KY folks, but I love my KY. Go Cards.) Course this didn’t come out until 6 years after I got out of MK. It came out while we were in therapy. To see both of my 30 year old sons, over 6 foot, bawl is beyond humbling. The pain is bout unbearable. They stuffed it for so many years as to protect me. To see me fail time after time after time was unbearable for them. Their young emotions were not able to bear the burden of the pain. They have trouble with relationships because they spent their young lives trying to hide what their mom did for a living. Sheesh!

            There is so much more I noticed in our SD’s article that I could comment on but won’t. She knows of what I speak. She is still lying I will not say where but she knows what she is doing to get the sympathy and it worked.

            it would be cruel of me not to say what I did to her. This SD and a lot of others have a long way to go to recapture their lives. She is 50. She hasn’t a minute to spare. I am 62 and am just not getting a grip.

            The MKC didn’t have to pay in to any of my SS, 27 yeas of no SS ladies. Do you realize how much small my SS check will be because of this very bad decision on my part.

            But ya know what? there are millions of women that are in the world of our SD article writer. It takes a long time to recover from years of MK a lot of hard work.

            “Your cruelty has no place here.”
            “Holy wow, what a mean response to a woman who is finally making her way out. =(”

            I am not cruel.
            I am not mean.
            I do not own anyone an apology.

            You just don’t know of what I speak. Ya just don’t.
            I am sooooooo glad ya won’t.

          • ttp March 22, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

            It seems to me Gotheart, that you see a lot of yourself in the SD who wrote this posting and you’re trying to wake her up, shock her into really seeing what she is doing. Am I on the right track?

            There are times a gentle approach doesn’t work as well as getting smacked between the eyes. At least that’s how it is for me.

          • onelessSD March 23, 2013 at 1:22 am #

            I agree with TTP- with me to get out of directorship- it took a lot of shaking up- to wake me up. A lot of things were floating through my subconscience and would surface now and then, but it too the realization that my child needed expensive therapy (not due to MK, but a learning disabiltiy)- and I had a chunk of it in my bank acct ready to send off to finish my 6th court ring. I had to take a long hard look at what I was really doing- it wasn’t easy as I was very close to finishing. But thank God that he woke me up that day to my reality.

            Gotheart- I applaud your bravery in speaking the truth with tough love. I know you have the intention of helping this SD to get out of the pink muck. Some of us need that tough love spoken to us to see the truth. I’ve admired you for a long time!

          • Punkedbypink March 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

            Gotheart…..you totally ROCK! You call em as you see em, and still have the courage to lay out some very emotional stuff to back your feelings. Hats off my friend. You can talk the talk because you have certainly walked the walk. God Bless.

          • raisinberry March 24, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

            Gotheart….I love you.

          • raisinberry March 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

            Gotheart is enlightening the readership and the outside world of exactly what the payoff is when you stay in the “pink bubble”. This state of mind was applauded my entire career! We didn’t have the corporate world–we had the PINK BUBBLE! The best place in all of the world to be!

            And the way you stay in– IS TO DENY WHAT YOU ARE REALLY DOING!

            This is how they kept us trying and trying and trying…a little win here a big loss there. If you were tenacious, you would NEVER give up!

            And where do you end up? EXACTLY where Gotheart shared! No retirement, too old, nearly exactly where you started, except perhaps more debt, and NO CHANCE IN HELL of reaching the magical “family security program”…..there is No offering for SSD’s and EXEC’s who have given their all, been the company’s backbone, and blindly follow down the never ending swirling toilet of using personal funds to maintain appearances so you can “walk the talk” and MAYBE—MAYBE, find that next sugar sharp lady race horse and pull the lever one more time…

            NO ONE…Not any woman in the world, deserves the abuse that is Mary Kay–and MLM.

          • BITTERSWEET24 March 28, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

            I appluade you for your open honesty. The heartache and the measure of motherhood has open your eyes. Praise the good Lord.

          • Dobbie June 6, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

            I appreciate your testimony and honesty regarding this poor woman’s dilemma, and I agree that tough love is painful and not everyone can see it for what it is. I am a late 50s woman who has just been approached by a friend to sell MK. I tried selling in my 20s but quit due to extenuating circumstances. So to be approached now was, I must admit, enticing until I began to research others experiences. Thank you for sharing your story and for your courage to this woman, and to me, to expose and put forth your own experience with MK. It’s a wonderful dream, an idea that looks great from the outside. But as my dear father told me many times…if it looks too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.

  8. MK Taints the Color Pink March 21, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Wow, this is so very sad.

    I am curious about one thing…were your children still minors when you left your husband? If so, did you receive a hefty child support check? What about alimony? I’m just wondering if money from your ex-husband continued to help you survive along the way (or rack up a little less debt).

  9. Lucy - Brasil March 21, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    I am Brazilian and I stopped being the adviser MK shortly.
    Firstly I would like to thank the owner of the blog, as he was reading it I could see many things. Mary Kay is really a leaky boat. Almost left my job with a great position to stay in business only MK. But thank God I awoke. The MK in Brazil follows the same scheme, with false hopes and you lose more than win, because unlike conventional businesses you have to bear all costs. The only difference is that in Brazil there are few consultants compared to the U.S., then maybe just selling without participating in trips and seminars can earn some money, just as extra income.

    Hugs to all.

  10. enorth March 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    “I must keep this business going”

    Huh? You already told us you’re not making money with MK. You’ve known that for a long, long time. Follow your own advice: send back inventory NOW and get out. You are just wasting even more time and energy by staying in. You could be better positioned to get a real job with real income/benefits and pay off the debt. I think you may have been in so long that you’re addicted to it?

  11. mlank64 March 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    “My advice to anyone who has gotten out is to send back your product right away and don’t fall for the guilt trips. Don’t feel that you failed, because failure is staying in and not seeing what it is doing to you and your family.”

    I say this with kindness….You should heed your on advice. Because it is good advice and if it wil work for someone else why wouldn’t it work for you? Keep in mind you still can get from out of this by finding full time employement with benefits, returning a years worth of product and quitting MK. The longer you stay in the harder your road will be to recovery. Late 50s is not a death sentence. You sound very intelligent and there isn’t any reason you can’t recovery from your situation. Take all the products from the last year and recovery your money. Have a meeting with your downline and tell them pretty much what you illustrated in your article. Tell your upline as well. If you haven’t done so, have a talk with your grown children to let them know your situation and also for support. There’s no shame…things can get better and you are not too old to begin again.

    • kaykay March 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      My thoughts exactly. I don’t understand the logic of sticking with it…

  12. mlank64 March 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    I currently have around 70 consultants and we average over $8,000 a month in production, but since the company hasn’t given us any substantial raise in many years, my income has not kept up with inflation.

    MK does not give raises????…if I’m wrong please someone correct me…but I found this statement a bit odd. If you feel you are under a stremedous weight, then the sensible thing to do is to remove the weight. You are basiclly working part-time to support your MK business. If you got rid of MK your PT or better yet a full time job will help in your current living expenses and bring down your debt. Are we missing something?

    • Stina1115 March 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

      My only guess as to what she meant by “MK hasn’t given us any substantial raise in many years” is maybe she means an increase in commission percentage?? Other than that, I have no idea – that statement confused me as well.

      • pinkpeace March 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

        You’re right – she means that MK hasn’t increased the commission percentage in many years.

      • MLM Radar March 24, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

        I see it clearly. She’s just thinking about the percentages, and not about the total dollars involved.

        Her commission percentage has remained the same because there are only so many pieces in a pie. Increasing her piece of that pie would mean cutting someone else’s piece.

        But the prices HAVE gone up, and with it her income has also gone up. She used to get 13% of a $100 sale for “x” number of items, now she gets 13% of a $150 or $200 sale for that same “x” number of those same items.

        Unfortunately, her costs have also gone up, so her net after all expenses is probably pretty static.

  13. Briansmama March 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    This is just such a sad story.

    You sound like you feel trapped and depressed. Sometimes, when we’re in that state, it’s really hard to see any way out or see that we have the power to change the situation.

    Really if you’re not making profit with your MK business, then there is no sense to continue it. It will never get you out of debt.

  14. unpinkedassistant March 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    What I am going to say is offered in kindness and compassion. After 30 years MK has become a way of life and I’m sure it is hard to imagine life without it.

    Operating a business of any kind, mlm or not, that is not making a profit in return for the time and money expended is not a financially sound idea. Staying in tells me that MK is meeting some other need in your life.

    When you are ready please sit down and search for the reasons you continue in MK. If it is keeping up the appearance of success, just think about what knowing the truth is doing to you. There is still time for you to cut your losses, get a full time job with benefits such as medical and retirement, and start digging yourself out of debt.

    A good debt counselor could be of help. They can recommend things such as contacting your creditors to ask for a reduction in the interest rates on your credit cards based on a hardship. Most companies will accept less money rather than no money at all.

    I wish you courage and strength. Remember that you are not a failure, the mlm business is. Have the courage to tell your downline the truth so they will no longer think that they are a failure compared to you, wondering what they are doing wrong.

    Living a lie in MK will continue to eat us alive. Some of our PT members were in debt up to $75,000. or more and got out of MK and made serious headway in paying off the debt.

  15. Pinkiu March 21, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    One thing I can offer is that you have tremendous experience that Macy’s, Merle Norman, or Nordstrom’s might value. Consider the talent that you do have and using it in a job that might actually pay you. As a freelance artist for a luxury line at these stores, I made 20.00 per hour 7 years ago. It was part-time, but I bet it’s more than you are making after all of your expenses. Not only could you contact the account executive of a line such as Dior or Estee, you could go online and apply at one of the stores if you want full time. You certainly have the skills and experience to do so. Just my two cents in order to look for a job that pays you.

    • Nichole March 22, 2013 at 6:40 am #

      I was thinking this same thing…about going to work for a department store in their cosmetic area, where they actually make a commission and don’t have to pay for their training.
      50 is still young but you are on the fast track to “old” if you stay in. The things that stress will do to you is overwhelming. My mom is 75 and she still works and goes to the gym. I can only imagine how *less* her quality of life would be if she had crazy amounts of stress.
      I, myself, will be hitting my first retirement just before I turn 40–I’m military–and am looking forward to my 40s and beyond for the opportunities that are before me.
      Please save yourself further heartache and cut the cord. Send back the inventory that you have on hand and seek out employment in a better venue.

    • Michelle March 22, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

      My grandmother went to work at Macy’s when she was in her late 50s and was able to save enough from her job to quit working about 10 years later. Retail is tough if you can’t stand for very long, but a lot of older women with sales skills do very well in higher-end retail because they are charming and effective salespeople. My grandma made a base salary plus commissions – she used her salary for living expenses (I will say, my grandpa was still alive then and he had a pension and social security that also helped support them), and banked the commissions. Certain retail jobs are paying well over minimum now because finding people with sales experience, a presentable appearance, and a good work ethic is not as easy as some folks think.

      • Michelle March 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

        Also wanted to say this: there are worse things in the world than filing for bankruptcy. Although bankruptcy is not an “easy” option and you need to check how it works in your state, the writer may be able to keep her primary residence and some other assets. It will wreck her credit, obviously, but if it’s the only way to wipe out some of the debt and allow her some breathing room so she can get some footing, financially, it’s something to consider.

        • PinkHaze March 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

          I agree. I say this with much compassion – but you need to be honest with yourself here. If bankruptcy would allow you to make a fresh start AND get away from MK without years of paying back the debt – it’s a solution worth investigating.

          There’s nothing to be ashamed of. The really sad thing would be to continue down the dead end path that is MK.

  16. Pink Haze March 21, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    I want to acknowledge you for your courage to tell your story. It couldn’t have been easy to do and I’m sure you may have wondered if it was the right thing to do. It also tells me you are stronger than you realize.

    You can still build a great life outside of MK. There is still time. The saddest thing would be to read the updated version of this story in 10 years when you’re in your sixties.

    Ask for help. Friends outside of MK and your family will likely be more supportive than you know. Give them a chance to be there for you.

    You have what it takes to be successful outside of MK. Embrace the idea of new, better possibilities.

  17. drea916 March 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    You still have time to start something new. I had to do a start-over in my life. At first it can be depressing, but each day, brick by brick, things turn around.

  18. Scrib March 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    “The checks look good but that is before taxes. Then you have all your gas, office supplies, postage, phone calls, prizes, insurance, directors suit, seminar, career conference, leadership conference, and on and on. When you get done paying all the expenses there isn’t much left of that commission check.”

    Heh, don’t tell that to MK director Jim Cundiff. A few weeks ago he posted one of his commission checks on his FB page, and I made the comment that the check’s amount was a gross number, not a net one.

    Cundiff flew into a tantrum that would make Sauron look like like a Care Bear and whined that “Hurt people hurt people.”

    Dude, when your bosses at Corporate take money out of your gross commission check because someone returned product, does that mean they’re a bunch of hurting people who are out to hurt other people? It’s a basic business concept.

    Then again, MK isn’t a real business, anyway, so basic business concepts might be quite foreign to MK consultants, directors, and NSDs.

    • MLM Radar April 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      Jim Cundiff avoids ONE expense that all other MK Directors have. He doesn’t have to buy and wear The Suit. He can get HIS suits at a good menswear shop for a fraction of the price – AND he can wear them for more than one year!

      If I’m wrong, please post pictures. I’d love to see them.

  19. DLPSOY April 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Excellent advice from MANY former MK folks! This entire article/thread will hopefully help MANY IBCs over the years…..if they just take the time to read here.

  20. outofpinkforgood April 23, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    I am sending hugs and prayers to this brave SD. The fact that she has at last come out of the pink fog means she is halfway through the healing process! Don’t worry, honey, you’ll be okay!

    • Dlpsoy May 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm #


  21. KAtharine August 23, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    August 23, 2013:
    I am a former MK Consultant who is going nuts trying to find the telephone number of my current supplier, a MK SD who lives in my town. I cannot find her number and she NEVER puts her card in my orders. There is no master list to find on the internet. Looking for her I stumbled into this string of MK stories.

    I got out after 3 years and was never good at sales. But I owed $5K on a credit card for all the stuff I had bought.

    A central fact of the MK Lie that I noticed early on – that I have not seen mentioned anywhere here above (although I have not read every word) is that Mary K awards are about BUYING not about SELLING. THe ‘SALES ‘ award is a LIE – the consultant is being rewarded for what she BOUGHT FROM MK – she did not have to prove to anyone that she actuelly SOLD it. And there are many MK ladies with husbands with big checkbooks who can bankroll the wife’s ‘work’ as the hobby that it really is.

    Do you think in industry the sales awards go to the guys who self -reported their ‘sales’ but did not really sell anything?

    I was shocked to learn the MK does not pay Soc Sec – but then, the consultants are independent. They are required ti pay double – almost 15% – as self-emplyed persons.

  22. CaliforniaGal August 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    Well, gal friend, ya gotta face the facts. When I started reading Pink Truth last year, it only took a few days for me to realize that in all honesty, I could not stay in Mary Kay. It was a journey leaving, but I did it. It took courage to tell my customers and recruits that I was not making any money and was leaving MK. Everyone respected my decision, and I received so much support from everyone.

    Leaving Mary Kay is not the end of anything, but the beginning of the rest of your life. You already have a job! Just quit ordering and return your product. You will be surprised at how well things can turn out for you. You will have stopped the money leak from your finances and that, in itself can be an incredible blessing.

    Leaving is so empowering. To take back your life and begin anew is so freeing. You are not chained to Mary Kay! You own your own business, so liquidate it and pay off your debts as best you can. You are not making any money so quitting is the only logical thing to do. Well gal friend, update us as you journey on.

  23. WDH219 September 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Only one question. Please give me facts, NOT opinions. Why is MK still in business if its such a dishonorable scheme? I had no idea it was so awful. Has the corporate company broken some laws or wronged customers legally? Are they reported to the BBB? I truly need clear, non-sarcastic answers. Thank you. P.S. I’m truly sorry to hear about your situation. I wonder though, if anyone I formed you or if you knew of IRA or special savings programs? Since perhaps you knew retirement may have been something you would be interested in? I’m honestly curious. Thank you.

    • TRACY September 23, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      The U.S. government allows MLMs to operate as legalized pyramid schemes. The schemes are perpetuated through lies to potential recruits.

      This woman doesn’t have retirement savings because she wasn’t making enough money to save anything.

      Thank you for your sarcastic, judgmental participation.

  24. WDH219 September 23, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    I see. If I seemed sarcastic that was not my intention. I am trying to investigate all sides before making an informed decision about my possible future involvement with Mary Kay. I can see I came to the wrong place. Rudeness was not a requirement when I posted my question. I hope honesty was included. If this site is truly wanting to protect and inform, please try to do it more professionally. Thank you.

    • TRACY September 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

      I told you the facts. What could be more professional than that????

    • NeverWasPink September 23, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Hey, good idea, investigate from both sides. So this means you went on the Mary Kay page and posted the exact same questions, right? I’m sure you were greeted so warmly there and given “facts” lol.

      If you had even posted, they would have deleted it. Try and see. You also would have been blocked for your efforts. It should concern you, since you want to become part of Mary Kay, that anything that isn’t pink cotton candy and positive glitter is DELETED and so is there negative person they came from..

    • Tigger September 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm #


      It’s always a dead give-a-way when someone comes on here and claims they just want the facts. This entire (enormous) site is nothing BUT facts. What part of frontloading is not factual? What part of ‘the expenses eat all possible profit’ not factual?

      How can you read (IF you have read) the amazinly sad true-life stories on here, written by sales directors and above, not be factual?

      Many women on here are very highly educated, and they write compelling stories, listing the ‘facts’ of their income and expenses. They have broken it (the MK biz) down to the minutest detail. Is that not factual enough for you? If not, then ‘facts’ is not really what you are looking for. You are just looking to snipe. Bad idea. These women are not doormats for you or any consultant.

      You want a quick look at the facts? Take a hard look at your MK biz-only check book and credit card. No fair mixing your home accounts with your biz accounts, and see if you are in the black – AFTER- expenses and the income tax is paid. You are paying income tax, right?

      • NeverWasPink September 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

        Well said, Tigger!

        The best “facts” are the last line of everyone’s Schedule C. There would be hundreds of people willing to show their “0” or negative numbers, but not a SINGLE current consultant would show theirs.. why not? Why not show off that amazing income?? I think we all know the answer to that one..

  25. WDH219 September 23, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Thank you for the Sales Director who shared her story though, perhaps it will be an eye opener for others.

    • Susan September 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

      So WDH219,

      Was the sales director’s story NOT eye-opening for you?

  26. WDH219 September 23, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    I’m sorry so many women have been offend. I hope you all have a good day. I am not uneducated myself, and was not here to “snipe” anyone. Everything I have asked or said has been met with such negativity. No need to respind, you’ve chased me away. Thank you for your honesty.

    • TRACY September 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      Again I ask you what was unprofessional about me giving you EXACTLY THE FACTS YOU ASKED FOR????

    • Tigger September 24, 2013 at 7:04 am #

      And there you have it, folks. The incredibly tired line of, “Well, I innocently came on here to get the facts, but you girls were just negative and stuff.”

      Yawn. Eye roll.

  27. WDH219 September 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    *Respond. Not Respind.

  28. Susan September 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    And WDH, I will ask what was negative about my question? Did you or did you not find the sales director’s story eye-opening?

  29. confused/hopful October 9, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    wow, im kind of glad I ran into this conversation, I was actually looking for a representative to get under. A few years ago I talked my husband into letting me use his credit card to invest in product so that I could have it handy when people wanted it, I still have the product:( I wanted to sent it back but the person I was under said it was a bad idea to try and sell it, because if I sent it back I could never work for mk again, so I kept it, It was $7000. needless to say I still have it, Can I still send it back if it is expire?? even if I take a loss????. I know I could just kick my self, how could I think that I could handle my house, full time job, husband and child and still push the product, I know stupid I guss I had to make a call, something had to suffer and it just wasent going to be my time with my family, but still It is a lot of $$ and I wish some one had a word of advise, I sure would like to know if I could returned this product.

    • MLM Radar October 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

      About the only thing you can do now is go the route of CraigsList/eBay or try to hook up with a liquidator.

      Here’s the way one enterprising person described her older stuff on CraigsList:


      I have VINTAGE AND DISCONTINUED MARY KAY available. All items are unopened and in MINT condition. I do not represent Mary Kay in any way, all items are authentic, unused and are of great quality. Kept in AC/smoke free home.

    • LC March 4, 2015 at 12:49 am #

      Exactly where I’m at but didn’t buy as much product. Going to try what was suggested below. Good luck to you!

      • LC March 4, 2015 at 12:59 am #

        ^^^above comment was for “confused/hopeful”

  30. BestDecision October 9, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Good news & bad news: Bad news is that, no, you aren’t eligible to return product that was purchased more than 1 year ago. The good news is that you caught yourself before falling into a messy, ugly situation that’s going on with this company right now, so kudos to you!

    I don’t miss a single drop of my 10+ years in business with them. Driving a super cool new CTS was quite fun, but it took a LOT of heartache, sweat, and tears to maintain that level.

  31. Tigger October 10, 2013 at 7:04 am #


    What is the ‘messy, ugly situation that’s going on with this company right now?’ You got my attention.

    Do tell.

    • BestDecision October 10, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

      From America no longer being the #1 market in sales (thereby getting less attention than more profitable, growing markets) to the new NSD qualifications (thereby creating a place where their title can be stripped from them) to international exporting of products by members of the sales force to non-MK based countries (thereby lessening the value and hard work of Court achieves who did it the right way) to the production & marketing of cheaper, less expensive products (thereby lowering the revenue of Consultants & Directors)…

      That’s just the very tip of the iceberg! It’s awful what is happening!

  32. LC March 3, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    My story: I signed up some time ago and unfortunately pretty much flopped from the start. My director seemed more interested in me buying inventory. Other direct sales companies I know won’t sign you up if you don’t have training or parties lined up. I even signed up 2 more people and she dropped us all and moved on! Needless to say I still have MK product which I’m not sure is good or bad now. I never returned it because at the time I was so mad I just didn’t want to think about MK. I’ve read standard is 3 year shelf life; but I’ve also read 5-8 years for unopened products. I’m just so frustrated and also disgusted with the director for doing that to the three of us. We were all out in less than 6 months!!! It still infuriates me thinking about it.
    Seeing Red about Pink

    • MLM Radar March 3, 2015 at 11:18 pm #

      If it is less than a year since you bought the products you can return them for the 90% buy-back.

      SOME beauty products stay fresh for a long time. I wouldn’t take my chances with Mary Kay; Not-quite-fresh Mary Kay tends to get nasty. The ingredients are the cheapest ones MK Corporate can buy, because so much of your “wholesale” cost goes to pay commissions to your upline. There just isn’t enough money left for MK Corp to buy decent ingredients.

      • LC March 4, 2015 at 12:20 am #

        Probably why director was more interested in us buying inventory than actually helping us get our business going! How have they stayed in business so long??? They’re prices aren’t cheap for the ingredients to be!!! So what do you consider not “quite fresh”? There’s many different responses online.

        • MLM Radar March 4, 2015 at 7:04 am #

          Not-quite-fresh is a sample which has an expiration date still months away so you think it’s OK, but when you open it your only thought is ICK!

          Not-quite-fresh is any recently purchased cream, liquid, gel or lipstick that you carried around in your car trunk during winter or summer weather.

          Not-quite-fresh is any unopened packed powder which now has loose powder inside, due to constant jostling, because you were told to always have it with you so your customers would have instant delivery on their impulse purchases.

          Not-quite-fresh is a shelf full of makeup (not your color/type) which has gathered a layer of dust that you can write in, because you can’t find buyers… and you probably never will.

          Not-quite-fresh is any MK product in “old” packaging.

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