A Husband’s Struggle With His Wife’s Mary Kay “Career”

A note submitted by a Mary Kay husband:

I am the husband of a gorgeous, loving, capable, intelligent lady who is trying to gain this same exclusivity by emulating these Icons who parade their illusion of success and Mary Kay inner circle Utopia.

Unfortunately, my comments to “go slow – be careful” fall on deaf ears. Ears that have been closed by the subtle mantras of a sales director who is mining my wife’s need for glamour and recognition. (“no, she is our friend ! she wouldn’t do anything to lead me astray”)

I am a business admin. graduate, and I have studied management, marketing and sales. My research concludes that much of the data stated to the prospect is not true, but glitter with a hook in it (a business marketing principle in and of itself).

When this all started for us (without a prior family discussion that we and our budget were going on a MK ride), I heard how this opportunity would include less-than-full-time hours, working a business in spare times so not to disturb the family life, and dreams quick directorship, substantial income from that 50% markup, and paid cars and vacations. Nothing said about the obvious: A multi million dollar company that pays no health coverage, 401K, attainable retirement pension, or tax withholding.More…

The Director promised that she could go at her own pace, no stress involved (due to medical condition, stress induced physical problems forced her to resign from a former nursing career that she loved dearly.) So why then, do national sales directors that she barely knows call her at the end of qualification periods to “encourage’ her to redouble her efforts to get the needed number of recruits? Do they think that doesn’t result in stress when there are three days left and 6 recruits to sign? C’mon!

4 years after the “fast start”, there is an almost constant focus on recruiting prospects at every function, event or dinner out we have together. I don’t mind some of this, but there should be times when we both turn off our capitalistic instincts and just enjoy each other’s company with full attention to our marriage. There are also director phone call interruptions when we want to go to dinner (“this will just take a minute… €“it must be important if she’s calling this late… yeah right… “Are you bringing a guest to unit meeting?”) . Luckily, my missus does move product in sales, but there are still boxes of stuff that are dusty on the display shelf.

It’s the Time, too. Tuesday night unit meetings involve makeup and uniform fitting for 1/2 hour, then husband and kids left looking at each other in an empty kitchen, and typically 5 hours of mother/wife’s absence, all done without selling one bottle/tube of cream. Excluding paperwork, it is the largest block of time spend in the MK model all week – €“with zero profit for time spent.

The home office is full of ribbons, self-motivational mantra notes and a substantially equipped desk, display and support stuff (all subsidized by family funds because the net annual profit has never exceeded $2500/yr). But, Doggone it, we are “excited” to be “on track” for the next cheap trinket and plastic applause from our team at the next “can’t miss” event.

As a husband handcuffed to this, I feel cheated out of my wife’s time and attention. I am no beer drinking, self centered jerk… €”I enjoy my wife’s company, but I miss it very much. Mary Kay Ash should be ashamed of herself (Richard Rogers, too) for suggesting that my interest in keeping family balance is scoffed at as being “controlling” or being “negative”. She can spend ions in Purgatory for the wedges that her company places in otherwise functional families, all in the pursuit of individual recognition (given before it is earned). Oh, there I go again—-said something negative and/or precautionary, so the statement must be squelched and dismissed as untrue. All of this plastic positive excitement is indoctrination, and it leaves the rest of the family at the bus stop. What about the “We” story?

I don’t know where this’ll take our family, but my prayers are that she will begin to “see” the truth. Don’t want her to quit, but do want her to figure it out. Hopefully in time, it will move us (husband/kids) into second place alongside the “real” God.

Thanks for a place to vent my frustrations.


  1. Iescaped

    My heart aches.

    This message could have been written by my husband. He tried to be supportive, but every week I got deeper into MK. Spending more time with “them” and not my husband.

    Conference call on Sunday night, another conference call Tuesday night, meeting on Wednesday night, mixed with at least 2-3 “guest” events throughout the week.

    Like this husband, mine wanted me to see the Truth for myself. Luckily I did.

    I look back at the 8 months I spent in MK with sadness and regret. How could I have put the people I love through this? How could I have been so nieve to Bee-lieve that my MK “friends” would be by me thick or thin? I was dropped like a hot potato the minute I was no longer producing.

    I am one of the lucky ones that I didn’t spend more time or money in MK. My family is still struggling financially from the damage MK caused. Even though my husband has let it go, I still am ashamed of the damage this caused. I do believe it would have been easier if my debt was caused by a drug or gambling addiction. Although my husband has pointed out to me that my decisions were altered by cult like indoctrinations.

    Hopefully this husband’s spouse will see the Truth about MK and get out soon!!

    1. D

      My hear bleeds for this husband, my husband cared too, but let me tell you …before she spends too much time be aware: I spent 23 yrs in Mary Kay only to be given 30 days notice I was being terminated for some stupid reason….I was a Director 21 yrs. deeply in debt and committed! iT did not matter to the company my loyalty, my calls to corporate, letters to MK president, MK’s grandson, my Nationals it was taken away in 30 days with a direct quote from the consultant agreement! Mary Kay can terminate your agreement at Any time with 30 days notice! I spent 23yrs of building 1800 clients, 200 unit member and my retirement I had worked for this 23 yrs. We had to file bankruptcy, loose are entire savings sell our home and move on!

      1. TRACY

        Reality check time. You had NO retirement. You were a director and you admit you were “deeply in debt.” MK wasn’t giving you any retirement, and from the sound of it, you hadn’t saved anything. Mary Kay actually did you a favor. Had you stayed in longer, you only would have gone deeper into debt.

      2. TiredOldMan

        $24k in debt and when I asked how much of this could be sold back to MK, $0 as they will only buy back what was purchased in the last year. The tall stack of black sales cases sit in the corner of the room why we struggle to pay bills. – Frustrated Florida Husband

  2. BestDecision

    If she’s not driving a Cadillac, she’s not making money. Period. A base Cadillac Director would get about a $4,000 commission check, but then you do have to take out taxes and then all her expenses (like Leadership Conference going on now). Even if she netted $4K, which is impossible, that’s only $48,000/year income. For the upper tier of all Directors. That’s about $24/hour pay, which is definitely not “executive” income as she’s been duped into thinking. Nurses and teachers make more than that, for example.

    My advice is to have her do what helped me to see the light. I went through our taxes every year with my husband and then watched them get filed. When I saw the bottom line of my income and how little it was, all the frustrations and heartache I was experiencing became unworthy of that little revenue. I was actually one of those Cadillac Directors doing well with production, but I’d had many bad years and much more frustration than any job or career I’d ever had. Working retail was more fun and rewarding, and that says a lot! Unfortunately, I think we all had to see it for ourselves and not hear it from anyone.

    Feel free to have her read my response. I, too, had an NSD tell me how to cheat the system and win contests, but it’ll catch up to people doing so. So, I know the pull, the pressure, and the financial hope she has. Resignation was the BestDecision I could’ve ever made!

  3. Amanda

    I’m glad that my husband and I found this site together after I got my starters kit. I couldn’t imagine putting my husband through these horror stories I’ve read from other husbands.

    1. Princesse

      Kudos to Pink Truth for laying out all the facts and figures, and exposing the ugly truths about the Mary Kay cult; Pink Truth saved me from ever being lied to, or manipulated by these horrible MK followers.

  4. Stephanie

    Random Thoughts before my question:
    I always wanted to try MK products, A neighbor of mine (When I moved to this neighborhood) brought me over a huge bag of make up, of course I felt obligated to offer her some money but she wouldn’t take it..
    Now I see why she had all that make up.
    I must say there’s a couple products that I did like but if I were ever to buy again I would definitely buy off of somebody who was not within the company, like a pink truther.

    MK reminds me of Scientology, they tell you not to look at this blog Scientology tells you to not look at criticism.

    MK has a buyback 90% right?
    If you use that program you can never be a consultant, correct?
    You order online Mary Kay representative will deliver it to you right?

    1. Amanda

      As far as I can recall-

      Yes there is a 90% buy back but I believe The products have to be within a certain time frame, like a year.

      Sales directors try to make you believe that but let’s face it, they are a business of wanting money. I highly doubt that they won’t take you back.

      Skip buying it on line with a representative- check craigslist or ebay. It’ll be cheaper and less likely will be harassed to hold a party or anything.

  5. MLM Radar

    Question 1: The 90% applies to consultants. Dissatisfied customers can get a full refund.

    But a consultant who uses the 90% buyback will find she gets 0% back for website, propay, Section 2 products, starter kit over 30 days old, meeting fees, and will get charged full price for all the “free gift” products she received. PLUS she has to pay for return shipping and shipping insurance.

    Still, she gets more back that way than trying to actually sell the stuff.

    Question 2: A lot of consultants will override and cancel your on line order, then replace it with stuff from their inventory closet.

  6. New Visitor

    Mary Kay is going after ebay.
    Here is the google archive link for law360- the law360 page is not behind a paypal.

    p.s. my room mate comments here- I don’t kinow what email addy she uses, just don’t want you to think one person is commenting under a bunch of different names.

  7. cindlylu

    My husband tried to tactfully let me know that MK was not truthful. Once I got sick and not one single IBC nor my SD even tried to help or show sympathy, I finally came out of the pink fog. Back then there was no internet. It is awesome that Pink Truth exists and we support those husbands and consultants/directors trying to face the truth. That is why we need to keep this site going. Every day another Director, Consultant or husband awakens to the realization that their NSD and this company are talking about the past. Most recruits won’t have access to recruiting in China, India or another country till those countries shut MK out. It is humiliating for the IBC or director to admit that this sales career isn’t working. Keeping track if the many hours the family seldom sees their children or husbands might eventually break through all those MK repetitive meetings.

  8. Poor husband. If I was in his place, I would be looking for something drastic to do so that my spouse would at least start getting a clue about what is going on with MK.

    Going over the taxes might be a good start in helping her see the light about the financial/marital hole she’s digging herself into. Ask her if the measly income is worth the stress and time spent away from family.

  9. Lazy Gardens

    One way to make things clear is to set up a totally separate “business account” with a debit card.

    ALL sales revenues go in there, all MK expenses come out of there – orders, meeting fees, conferences, etc.

    Mileage on the family car gets tracked, and billed to the MK account, all cash spent on the MK business gets paid back to the household from that account.

    It should quickly become apparent that the business can’t support itself without constant cash transfusions from the household money … and the “business expenses are just another cash transfusion, because you NEVER make more back than you paid out.


    1. MLM Radar

      We keep hearing that some Mary Kay consultants are doing Mary Kay “debt free.” What is most often unsaid is that “debt free” in Mary Kay doesn’t mean what it seems to mean. What they really mean is that they’re not using credit cards or bank loans. They overlook that they bought their inventory and supplies using seed money taken from the savings account, or household cash, or given by their mothers.

      You are not “debt free” in Mary Kay unless – and until – you return your seed money to where it came from. If you took $5,000 from savings to pay for Mary Kay expenses, then your Mary Kay “business” owes your savings account $5,000. If mom gave you money to buy the inventory she may insist that you not return it, but that doesn’t change the fact that your Mary Kay business is not self-funding.

      Have you ever heard Mary Kay Corporate brag about how they’re “debt free”? They say this as if it’s a good thing, and as if their being “debt free” is somehow an indication that their outside sales force should be proud of being Mary Kay representatives. But is the company, as a whole, really debt free, when its sales force is in debt up to their eyeballs? What goes unsaid is that when Mary Kay Corporate was a publicly held company they used to carry debt – a lot of debt.

      After Mary Kay Corporate went private two things happened to that corporate debt. First, Corporate did everything possible to transfer their debt onto the consultants and directors. They used inventory price increases and inventory changes to force the consultants to buy more and more inventory. Second, Corporate stopped releasing financial statements. Is Mary Kay really debt free? All we have is their claims, echoed ad nauseum by pink-fogged Directors; nothing backs it up.

    1. EbayMaryKay

      This was where he lost me a little bit too. Oh so you have to feed and entertain your kids for 5 hours on a Tuesday while their mom goes out and doesn’t make any money? His wife is a SAHM who can’t work because of a medical condition so that means that she has to be home to cook and entertain every night? Not cool, man.

      I empathize with your situation, obviously it’s terrible what is happening in MK but don’t act like her being gone for 5 hours a week is a huge burden thrust upon you. It makes you look like a deadbeat, and makes me wonder if maybe your poor wife isn’t digging herself deeper and deeper into the pink fog in order to earn some recognition and appreciation that she doesn’t see at home.

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