Mary Kay Myth: You Can Start Your Own Business For Only $100.

Written by SuzyQ

Almost true. The starter kit is $100, plus tax and shipping, so technically, it’s almost $120. But that’s not a biggie. The biggie comes with the other stuff a smart business woman needs.

Your director wants to set you up for success, and she will tell you that her job is to give you her best advice, so she will talk about business cards, a website & product reorder labels. You can get the business kit, and that saves some money on ordering those items separately, but it still adds up.

She will talk with you about attending her meetings because she is so busy, she can’t really train everyone in her unit individually, and the training at the meetings is fabulous! And she will ask you to bring a couple of friends with you, so you can work smart and not hard. She will talk about you doing a power start, and earning your pearls of sharing. And then she will talk about inventory.

Generally, you will be given a sheet of paper with a little “quiz” on it to determine what you want from your business. Once you add up the numbers for your answers, there will be a suggested inventory package to help you achieve this goal. Dollars will not be mentioned. The smallest package will be a 600, on up to 3600. Depending on your goals.

The largest package will be discussed first, even though that may not be the suggested one for YOUR goals. You will be told about all of the freebies you can earn with each of the higher inventory levels, and the star prizes you will receive. As she goes down the list of inventory packages, you may notice her voice tone going down to match. There will be some sadness as you reach the bottom of the list, maybe even a head-shaking, as she explains that a 600 is essentially a personal use package, with little free stuff.

You will be told that it doesn’t matter to her what package you choose, but her experience has been that her customers do not want to wait, and Mary Kay herself said “You can’t sell from an empty wagon.” While she is saying numbers and you are hearing money, there’s a bit of a disconnect.

She will encourage you to stretch and to believe in your ability. She will discuss financing options, and may even hand you a card with a banker’s name on it for your convenience. She will have more options than you have objections, and will wear you down.

You will learn that personal debt is bad, and business debt is good. Your product is your personal ATM, you make half of what you sell, and you can have this paid off before you know it because the product just flies off the shelf and sells itself. Besides, there is a 90% buy back guarantee, so this is essentially a risk-proof decision.

When you can finally get a word in and explain that you prefer that people pay up front and then you order as needed, she may furrow her brow a bit and tell you, confidentially, that she has never seen anyone have any success doing their business this way, but, if that is what you want to do…

There will be no free product, you know, and she knows lots of people who will buy from someone else if their consultant doesn’t carry an inventory. She just wants to set you up for success. After all, would you buy a dress from a store that just had pictures of the clothes instead of the actual items? Of course not. And you are a business owner!

So, your $100 decision that may not change your financial picture, but just could change your life, is not entirely accurate, or then again, maybe it is.


  1. Janie

    “After all, would you buy a dress from a store that just had pictures of the clothes instead of the actual items?”

    Because no one orders clothes off the internet. This line made me laugh.

  2. Iescaped

    And if the SD/NSD is really smarmy and senses that you are going to go towards a $600 or $1200 vs the preferred success plan of $3600, she will even throw in some of her own freebies!!

    Although when smarmy SD/NSD is talking to you about the “free” “bonuses” that she will put it she now has converted to the “retail” price and not the wholesale price. Of course you won’t catch that for a few months (if you ever do) and what she gives you will be determined by what you are doing for her (you won’t know this either). Like, are you coming to meetings and events with GUESTS? Then you get skin care that might sell or you can use, but if you don’t do anything for her bottom line, then you might end up with some crappy At Play or out dated colors!!

    Saw this way too many times in DIQ, barf!

  3. Post-It

    It reads like the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”. Could call this story “If You Give A Mary Kay Director Some Attention”.

    Ah, I remember my sells pitch and the HUGE mistake she made to drive me to this site.

    1. truthwins

      So true. If you give an IBC attention/eye contact, she’ll offer a free facial. If you accept the free facial, she’ll ask you to invite friends. If you invite friends….

  4. morningstar

    If you get lucky enough to purchase a starter kit, stay above the fray, take the product out of the kit , pitch the rest of the phony junk, use the product if you like and call it a day. Sure wish I did this as the starter kit is the recruiters claws in your back, it is best to remove them immediately. The starter kit is a manipulation purchase allowing you to be subjected to walk down the path of giving your money to up line and corporate.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      “lucky enough” to buy a starter kit?

      Your purchase of the starter kit makes it possible for your recruiter and director to order things in your name (on their credit cards, shipped to them) and prop up their unit with you as a ghost IBC.

      If you want Mary Kay product, buy it from Ebay

  5. cindylu

    All the programming we have to undo during and afterward. Don’t break the basic. Being constantly working, with (Warm chattering, phone calls, parties etc.). Did anyone else feel guilt when you had no choice but to break up the basic just to make a sale? This culture of deceit from NSD’s on down. The false irrational things we are told. We were vulnerable to the pressure of the higher ups and our own peer group. Also did others on Pink Truth feel disoriented and lost when you left MK. Missing those meetings, those women who seemed to be your friend. For quite some time, I could not look at the coffee cup that brought back MK memories, the photos etc. How humiliating it was to finally face the truth that this really was a mlm phony business. How could a company get away with this for 50 years? How could so many women fall prey to this? If we didn’t continue to believe the dream, then that was false and negative thinking. There would be loss of status and we would be shunned. We would be alone and have to start all over. It is hard to face that you have been fooled. Better to “See no evil, Hear no evil” When you have a lot of time invested and seem like a respected director, I can see how it must be very difficult to face that. Who would want to hear that they wasted money on something that put them in credit card debt. Who would want to face that this company has ruined relationships and may even be ruining your marriage, family or even your health. We had to learn not to condemn ourselves, not to self criticize and to realize many others were conned too. Say no to fault finding (Which is what MK taught us). If we weren’t successful, it had nothing to do with this inferior business model. We were in the pink bubble and unable to think clearly. We were being manipulated and controlled by others using our own critical thinking against us. In the end we learned we were not inferior or flawed because we would not use and abuse other women in this pretend business. We had every right to get angry because we were hurt financially, we lost precious time we’ll never get back and we were misled because only a very few who joined 40 years ago succeeded. We wanted so badly to believe all those I stories and the Christian slogans. In the end we were left bewildered, hurt, overwhelmed, financially crippled and felt used.

  6. enorth

    “the “free” “bonuses” that she will put it she now has converted to the “retail” price and not the wholesale price.”

    Like a shell-game. One minute you see it, now you don’t.

    Sliding back and forth between retail and wholesale prices. The Queen of Sales is actually the Queen of Ordering. Only use the word “dollars” when you’re speaking of money coming in, not money going out. Besides, money going out is an investment. Mention that business debt is good, yet proudly state that Mary Kay is a debt-free company. Quote Scripture, but also throw in references to The Secret and The Universe just to cover all bases.

  7. Well said, when I joined Mary Kay over 20 years ago, I put my heart into this Business. When I became a future director my SD persuaded one of my unit member to put her DIQ card into the company after my unit member did my SD called and told me after the fact, I was hurt so I put my DIQ card in. My personal unit member and I debut at the same time. Of course she was not my offspring I didn’t understand it then I felt hurt and portrayed. My SD has stated she will be an National Sales for over 18 years with 2 off springs.
    She has had 4-5 DIQ at the same time they keep falling off, she keep using the same weak consultants so sad they can’t see the pink truth. My director approach my husband stated I should quit my job. He was livid after 20 years, I receive
    2 checks my retirement and Social Security.

  8. Lazy Gardens

    The flip side of this “start for only $100” is that they exaggerate the cost of starting up some real businesses to make Mary Kay better.

    I can now add some “vegetable stand” information … I know people who sell almost everything they grow by putting ads on Facebook in their local town’s sales groups. A permit in NM is $50 for the inspection. A booth at the farmer’s market is $25 a year.

  9. enorth

    Whether it’s $100 or $1,000, it’s not “your” business. You signed an agreement:

    “I understand that display or sale of Mary Kay® products in public, retail or service establishments of any kind is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement.”

    “To purchase the Starter Kit and all Mary Kay® products only from Company.”

    “the Agreement may be terminated by either party effective immediately”

    “The parties further agree that if any dispute or controversy arises between them concerning any matter relating to this Agreement that any issues which either party may elect to submit for legal jurisdiction shall be submitted to the jurisdiction of the courts of the State of Texas and the parties agree that the proper venue shall be Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.”

    “Company may change suggested retail prices, discounts, commissions, transportation charges, contest rules and active status requirements at any time.”

    1. “I understand that display or sale of Mary Kay® products in public, retail or service establishments of any kind is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement.”

      Good heavens, how can any rational individual read this and not shred the agreement? That right there screams SCAM!

      1. MLM Radar

        If the director is slick enough, she can get unsuspecting recruits to sign without reading (“it’s just routine legalize”) or even giving her a copy (you’re in luck, I still have one agreement left. I need to keep the original but I’ll mail you yours”). is my last copy

  10. raisinberry

    The beauty of this approach is that it can appear non pressuring, while still cutting off all rational thought, because it appears to be non-chalant, and in no way self serving, for the Director. I remember going through it with no discernible idea that she was making commission off me. No idea, that my questions and objections had answers already, and all she had to do was pull them up and deliver them…

    It cracks me up to this day, when we are told no one put a gun to our heads…When a script is THIS GOOD, who needs a gun?

    1. Iescaped

      Totally agree!! It took me several “career talks” when I was in DIQ to see what the master manipulator was actually doing!!

      She had a sheet similar to the ones everyone uses, but SD/NSD had a $7200 and $5600 store on top and the $225 and $600 at the bottom.

      After the unknowing new IBC, who had usually purchased her Starter Kit only a day or two earlier, had finished the worksheet. SD/NSD would draw a line through the top two packages ( and say she thought those were too big, not necessary, and looking out for new IBCs best interest), and then also draw lines through the bottom two. Then fold the paper so the person would forget about the lower levels.

      All that was left to “pick” from was $1200, $1800, $2400 and $3600. If she thought that they could come up with more $$, but they were leaning towards $1200 or even sometimes $1800, that is when she would throw in additional bonus product.

      Took a bit to realize that minimum $1800 was the magic number due to the Star Bonuses that SD/NSD received. A $1200 order would just lose her money since you could never count on any re-orders to bump them up to Star.

      I was being taught to look at every new IBC as a “one and done” when it came to inventory!!

  11. JulieGalStar

    . ” by Beth: — I’m not directing this at the author of this piece, but more generally. Where did this idea of “the dream” come from? Believe in the dream, don’t let anyone steal your dream….but who really “dreams” of selling makeup at home parties? . . . ” ———

    THAT IS THE BEST ONE YET!! Whoever heard of one’s dream being selling makeup at home parties?! I HAD a GOOD LAUGH. — I was an IBC, Team Leader & Future Director fr. 1979-Sept. of 1983. Finally realized that “warm chatting” was really “cold turkey!”. – I started with a Star Consultant Order of $1800.00; and when all 5 friends cancelled the first 5 classes I had booked cause they couldn’t get anyone to come, I was left staring at $1800.00 worth of unsold product, which I’d assured hubby I could sell. . I’d have quit right then & there if I hadn’t had that $1800.00 order on my shelvesl. Thus began warm chatting. – Many outofpocket $$ later and a waste of time of 3 1/2 yrs. – ”

    . . “oh once there was a spot, . . . . for one brief shiny moment, . . .for happily-ever-aftering that was known as Cam-e-lot, i.e. MK”. . . . . . OR WAS THERE?!

        1. Lazy Gardens

          Look no farther than Gloria Mayfield Banks … with her Harvard MBA she knows exactly what she’s doing. And with her wealthy contractor husband she can flaunt a lifestyle that owes very little to Mary Kay.

  12. cindlylu

    Yes…the fine print. All the advantage to the company & no real business opportunity for the consultant. No where to advertise or properly sell. I can guarantee that MK herself did not compete against thousands of other MK saleswomen, nor did she have as many restrictions or competition from dozens of better priced products when this pink nightmare. One thing this company has always been good at is exploiting women and blaming them for this flawed mlm model.

  13. Sunshine

    Hello ladies! I have been reading your comments for quite some time and I am so happy I did. I had a friend refer me for a free facial and I thought, “how thoughtful of my friend I’ll take anything free”. So we set up a date and time and she came to “show me” how to do a facial. Didn’t necessarily do it herself, but she was bright and full of positive energy so I let it slide. Then she asks if we can get together to talk about the MK business. I agreed but deep down I’m thinking this sounds like recruitment. She eventually hounded me to set up a lunch date and I had been dodging her for the longest, so I finally meet with the consultant and she did a good job in persuading me to start my very own MK business. So long story short I ended up getting the $100 starter kit and told my husband about my new job as a consultant. He said that’s great but have you done your research on MK. I said no and my husband is like well they aren’t doing so great and if she told you they were and making good money then she got you good. I felt like my bubble had just burst in my face and I was about to be trapped in a scheme. I was very anxious and disgusted at myself because I knew I should have told her straight up NOT INTERESTED! I told the consultant I wanted to return my starter kit and direct sales just wasn’t for me after all. She tried everything to get me to reconsider but I was not falling for her tricks again. Especially when I read about the credit cards and the debt you fall into, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Thank you ladies, thank you pinktruth you have really saved me!

    1. Iescaped

      Congratulations Sunshine!! Make sure that you call Corporate to cancel your Consultant number too.

      You absolutely avoided a huge mistake and I’m glad that reading something Truthful helped.

  14. Bummed

    I went to a party my friend was having for a “free facial”. They made us write down what we would like to do 1-5 such as get information, become a consultant, make friends, and so on. I ended up getting a text a few days later asking to have my own party. I was reluctant and kept putting it off. The thing that got me was 50% off all products for myself. I decided to meet with the girl’s director via phone (it was a 3-way call between us). The next thing I know I’m signed up, being sent a $100 sample kit and I have to pick a date for my launch party. Now I am an adult and made these decisions on my own, but it’s very easy to fall into their trap. They are very convincing. They have probably said everything they tell you to every other naive person out there. DO NOT BUY INTO THE LIES.

    I had to meet in person with the director and she said everything I wanted to hear. She talked me into getting a MK credit card and she was going to have me wait until the first of the month to put in an order for my inventory. (It was about a week away) She made it seem like I had no choice but to purchase inventory. The $600 wasn’t good, just sample stuff and there wasn’t much benefit to it. She wouldn’t try to just sell me stuff, BUT she said it was best if I went with the $1,800 because of all the amazing perks it came with. She said normally she wouldn’t try and sell that to someone, but she just knew that I was special and I could easily sell all that. I just can’t have my launch party without inventory, I won’t sell that way. She even tried to make me a special offer; she never did this in all her years being there, but she believed in me so much that she would personally buy whatever I didn’t sell.

    I was convinced, that is until I went home to my boyfriend. He was like this is a classic pyramid scheme. She is lying and we need to research this. I came up with not one good thing about becoming a consultant. I was hurt that everything she told me was word for word what others were told in the reviews. Not that I thought I was that special or anything, but I have a business degree so I thought she sort of meant some of it lol. I am so thankful I stood my ground and said no (thanks to my boyfriend) because I would have been left with a ton of inventory I couldn’t sell. My friends and family are great, but I don’t want them to pity buy stuff. I also don’t think they will care if I have things on hand or they have to wait a week. I plan on selling the minimum of $200 every three months and getting half off for me. I read somewhere that they mainly make money on new consultants buying inventory not on repeat sales. I thought that was pretty interesting…

    Anyone looking to join, do your research. Think about why you want to join. If it’s for the money, don’t bother. You won’t make any money and you may very well go in debt. If it’s for discounted product, I think that’s the only logical reason to go in. Be careful!

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