Mary Kay Secrets of the Rah-Rah Sisterhood

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Written by Raisinberry

Having been a Senior Director, working towards NSD, and completely enamored of those in Mary Kay leadership, I gave myself over to believing everything that I was told. But, if you are around long enough, sooner or later things just don’t seem to add up.

The Rah-Rah sisterhood, however, can not allow “negativity”.

I learned that united in identical speech, parroting the same information, regurgitating the same objection covering devices, and always talking “upward” to the one that has the position you want, were some of the ways that National leadership prevents the premature crumbling of their empires. Evaluating results is equal to negativity and negativity unchecked can be a very seductive draw, that causes the skid into consultant heaven.

And all the while I believed this, it never occurred to me to evaluate that concept. We Directors were a united wall of truth, saying the same things, believing the same things, avoiding poor performers who might complain, and silencing our own doubts with constant tapes and affirmations. By only allowing the “positive” in, we kept the RAH RAH strong and thwarted any attempts by objective voices to crush our belief. Mary Kay Cosmetics was the best opportunity for women, period. And nothing you can say can pop that pink bubble.

As long as no one knew what was happening in each other’s business, we could pretend that while we were drowning in inventory and credit card debt, we would find a way out, because “So and so” just won her caddy… or “so and so” just had her best month ever. Success was possible, even if nobody ever told you how. Believe and achieve!

Now being out of Mary Kay for quite a while, I can look back objectively, sufficiently detoxed from the pink madness. Prohibiting what is labeled “negativity” is exactly how the company and its sales leadership keeps the game going. As long as you are unaware that the Director spouting her “highest check” has not repeated that number in 13 years, you will assume all by yourself that that number is pretty common for her and she (as Mary Kay’s ambassador) will not be guilty of lying. It isn’t really lying you know. It was true once. The fact that you assume something that isn’t said is really your problem, isn’t it? This is the number one secret of the RAH RAH sisterhood. Only give enough facts to allow the best interpretation, and never supply the details.

You’ll see evidence of this at Seminar. The top Directors will stand on stage sharing the “details” of their great year and never tell you exactly how $40,000 in orders came in on the last day in the last 3 hours. Same with DIQ, Car, Unit Clubs, National Areas. After 46 years, wouldn’t you think that a precise method for achieving huge goals would be outlined as case studies from the number one Units? Wouldn’t real businesses share and outline the steps taken to reach productive outcomes? But Mary Kay can not. And everyone in Mary Kay leadership knows it (but perhaps you do not). It’s a RAH RAH secret. The minute you find out that Miss Number One Director put $10,000 on multiple credit cards in multiple names to “finish” the million… you might not be so enamored of her status.

The real con here though, is the lengths that Mary Kay Corporate will go to make sure that the secret is kept secret. The Rah Rah Sisterhood does their best work at Seminar, retelling the tales of their banner years. Corporate knows exactly how year ends come together, and gives the top three and most of the teachers, added recognition for being the best at extracting large amounts of wholesale orders that get doubled and called “retail sales” at Seminar. It is amazing that this simple con, tricking the newest beauty consultants who fill the audience, is routinely tolerated.

The Rah Rah sisterhood would never bring up the fact that the $600,000 Unit club being recognized for “selling”, is actually a $300,000 wholesale ordering club that sometimes gets “double credit” for no other reason that to make the year look better. Everybody plays the game. Imagine if IBM just decided to double a month of sales figures for the hell of it. Only in the pretend land of Mary Kay is such a scenario celebrated! The number two secret of the Rah Rah Sisterhood is: Be grateful for being in a pretend delusional business. Real facts and real accounting are such a bore!

The engine for this elaborate con is the single biggest defect in womankind. Comparisons. Women are always falling victim to comparing themselves to others, and some pyramid schemes like Mary Kay are expert at identifying this big motivator of blind compliance. You might not be ready for this simple, subtle con. It is so deliciously encouraging that its subtleties can be completely overlooked. The Rah Rah sisterhood can keep you dangling indefinitely, trying to “make it” and striving repeatedly long past objective thought by the simple words, “you can too.”

“You can too” is something you will believe without wavering. If someone did make it, then it is possible, and all you have to do is work harder, course correct, stop “shoulding” on yourself, empty that stinkin’ thinkin’, get out of your own way, raise your deserve level, stop your analysis paralysis, and find a way or make a way. By comparing yourself to others, even while being told not to, you will always be left hungering for what another has achieved.

The problem is, because you never know how the one who “made it” pulled it off, you will be caught up in a endless striving knowing full well you didn’t do all you could have, or you would have made it. And because Mary Kay plays the “golden rule” card, you will never even entertain the notion that the results are bogus…even with evidence all around you.

After attending my 10th Director debut where only 8 to 10 new members bothered to show up, and the obligatory rationale for low turnout was given, (no territories-the rest live in other states) it dawned on me that we all, “found a way or made a way”. Once you get inside the Rah Rah sisterhood, you discover all the tricks of the trade that everyone pretends to be fine about. You see first hand the manipulative methods to get orders. You see for the first time the lists of scripts designed to motivate an order, even when you are fully aware that your people have more than enough merchandise. You are trained the proper way to do orientation, and “sell” a Star order.

You discover that your Unit is a fragile assemblage of women who will eventually settle into personal use with the exception of one or two who see themselves as competent to become Directors or who are starving for attention. Both types can be milked for massive amounts of production, till they finally make it, to perpetuate the same abuse on others, or fade out, unwilling to face what is really required to hit 30 active members and 16K.

But as long as the Rah Rah sisterhood, never reveals the truth, and stays in the land of pretend pink bubble business, the consultant will always believe she could have done more, and carry on her own shoulders, her personal failure, while her Director is off to find another race horse to ride. We all knew this and we all looked away.

Because we were never allowed to evaluate the workings and methods of this business, we never realized that at its core, Mary Kay’s marketing scheme is at cross purposes to the success of consultants. To do what may be best for your consultant could mean you forego production. That hurts the Director. To allow your consultant to grow in salesmanship and NOT recruit her showline hostesses out from under her, will hurt the Director. The required activity to maintain a unit work contrary to the best interests of consultants and serve ONLY to benefit the company and the Nationals. The Rah Rah sisterhood, unknowingly chew up the Unit membership because consumer sales never support the ordering required…and each new member gets her potential customer base recruited as competitors within her same market. Can you smell a serious flaw in the multi-level product based pyramid model?

The Rah Rah sisterhood can never objectively evaluate, (this would be “negative”), never reveal career path details (this would prohibit others from following) and never face that they were manipulated into achieving by any way possible because they were told they must be a “speed of the leader” gal. To fail to achieve sets a bad example to her consultants. Lastly, she must always, always spread the message that “You can too!”. And remember, only women kept in the dark, would want to.

9 Comments

  1. cindylu

    It really is scary when we begin to see the bubble bursting. The one time check of years ago praised over and over again. Women with basements filled with yellowed unsold products. Women in debt. Directors and NSD’s that constantly build units and lose units. Earn cars and lose cars. That moment when you realize those slogans are a sham. The golden rule, faith, family, career, etc. All bogus. When you read the book by Jackie Brown and find out that MK herself didn’t even own the rights to the products. Finding out that Claudine Woolf sales director was terminated while being treated for cancer while pregnant by Mk, went to court and won 11.2 million. I once remember a director discussing the possibility of purchasing a $1300.00 pair of designer shoes. I guess if you dream it eventually you will be just like MK herself. Once I heard that story at seminar, I came crashing back down to earth. What a mlm pyramid, cultish farce. As to the rah rah…we wanted that sisterhood to be real but the shunning proved that it was just a cult.

    1. Done Girl

      It’s funny…..there were like 6 to 8 directors that had to finish our National Area. I was a director at the time. I kept hearing, “If this happens and these directors finish, it will be by the grace of God….God’s hand at work! ” Kind of interesting that I am no longer a director and all those 6 to 8 who DID finish ( Last second of course, by the grace of God) are no longer directors either. Not ONE of them remain and this has come to pass less than 2 years later!!! I believe it wasn’t God’s hand who helped them finish. It was most likely Citibank, American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover…… all paid for by the soon to be National herself. Rumor has it…..The fact of the matter is none of them remained directors. It’s all about the Upline ladies. Wake up and get through the pink fog!

  2. enorth

    “Rah-rah sisterhood” and “momentum” are mentioned here often, and I’m seeing them in action.

    I know a young consultant who got her not-so-free car just last week, with the requisite hoopla and gushing on social media. She’s already announcing that she’s “close to” becoming a SD (no DIQ?) and she’s begging for help, offering free products and a cash rebate if you join her team.

    Women she barely knows, wearing ill-fitting suits and rhinestone pins, are publicly praising her …they are so “proud” of her. The rah-rah sisterhood.

    Please, people, don’t fall for this nonsense. Get a real job, save your money, and spend wisely.

  3. Vicki Durden

    You can publish my story. I’m on SSDI for Bipolar disorder. In a manic mood I signed up. 2 years later 25,000$ in credit card debt and I can’t send the products back. I only held 2 parties and 0 in sales. I begged for sales by giving 50% discount to my family. I only had 1 real customer and she purchased her products at 50% off. Burned in Georgia. 58 yrs old.

  4. raisinberry

    Sadly Vicki, I wish I had not seen so many examples of women in challenging situations being used and abused for the sake of wholesale production. Even in my own case, I would “help” when the Unit needed “help” whenever I could. Even to my own detriment. That was considered “team” thinking. It was applauded and encouraged. It felt good to “help”. This is the kind of exploitation that is interwoven into these mlm cult constructs.

    I have seen women who clearly would have a very difficult chance to make a profitable “business” being recruited by Nationals and bragged on, for being coerced into coming in “as an Emerald”.
    SO many of the IBC’s in my parent Unit, thousands and thousands of dollars in product on their shelves, encouraged to be a “never miss star” when they never stood at sales meeting for any sales over $50. But because be are sold the notion that “Mary Kay works when you do”, the idea that product sales were solely the choice of the IBC and her effort became the ANESTHETIC to really digging in and evaluating whether this business model was even REMOTELY profitable.

    NO ONE should order product to “be a star”, win a prize, “help” the Unit, qualify for a luncheon, retreat or car, much less “win” a place to sleep on the floor of your NSD’s house! NO ONE should order product for the “team”, for Seminar recognition, or to put your SD in a Cadillac. And the idea that women are brainwashed into this type of thinking is despicable.

    ACTUAL RETAIL SELLING IS NOT EVEN TRACKED IN MARY KAY! But if your M.O. is to IGNORE retail sales, then you do not care a whit if your area ibc’s are over ordering trying to qualify and keep up appearances BECAUSE IT MAKES YOUR PAYCHECK!

    The elephant in the living room is that your Upline NEEDS you to order to your OWN DETRIMENT, so they can profit and live in the style to which they are accustomed.

    As a woman with Bipolar disorder, you are a Sales Director’s Dream come true. Oh yes, and ALL HOARDERS are welcome! There are not enough ways to describe the complete depraved indifference and hypocrisy in which this company operates. Because the Corporate Culture of MK clearly KNOWS this is happening, pretends that it is not, does absolutely NOTHING to curtail it, and PROFITS by it, they are among the most vile of human kind.

        1. enorth

          With thousands of dirt-cheap MK products on eBay, there’s no reason for anyone to buy from a consultant. And there’s no reason to sign up as a consultant to get the “50% discount.” Way better to buy from eBay. It’s cheaper, and there’s no commitment.

          And for anyone thinking about signing up in any Direct Sales / Network Marketing / Dual Marketing company, check eBay. If the products are already there, there’s nothing
          “special” about you being a distributor. You’re sunk.

  5. diane

    ENorth..Your post made me check 3 companies I’ve considered enrolling with! Two had a bunch of items on both Ebay and Amazon and one had none on either. Who would of thought of checking them first? Most women wouldn’t look at those sites but I’m sooo glad I did today! Thanks very much!

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