Backstage Reality of a Mary Kay Director

ImageWritten by SuzyQ

The backstage reality is what the audience does not see.

When the actors are on the stage and the play has begun, you are seeing what you paid to see – a great performance that is designed to touch you emotionally in some way. There is a backstage reality to directorship in Mary Kay too, the part that consultants usually do not see.

In Mary Kay Cosmetics it begins the moment DIQ (director-in-qualification) ends. The verification phone call from the Company with your very own unit number, and the realization that you have made it to the TOP 2% of the company!

Like most, you didn’t get caught bringing in “mirror foggers” as the last few people to make the 30. You have been told that if being a director was easy, everybody would do it, so the elitist thinking begins. You have proved yourself to be “a find a way make a way kind of woman!” Kudos and high fives all around. There are a couple of days allowed for simply breathing.

So then you get about two weeks into your first month. The production clock starts and the expenses are starting too.

First is the purchase of The Suit (ranging from $350-500 depending on accessories), a trip to Dallas for director training (DIT), the search for a training center for meetings, your director debut, a subscription order, desktop office manager (set-up fee plus a monthly charge), supplies ranging from postcards to consultant prizes to stamps for newsletters.

Your printer generally goes on the fritz at this point, or at the very least you will run out of ink. If you had contests to help you finish directorship, those prizes for Queen of Recruiting and Queen of Sales need to be purchased too.

And don’t forget a gift for your senior sales director. And you did remember to order new consultant pins and enhancers didn’t you? And the roses, don’t forget the roses and the red jacket candles. And you’ll dump a bundle on MK Connections too. You need new business cards (yeah!!!) so you might as well get some postcards and note cards from there too. While you’re at it return address labels and checks with your new title couldn’t hurt. And a UnitNet website? Of course!

It gets worse. But the backstage reality is that very few new directors make production their first month. That’s okay, the company understand. New directors sucked their units dry trying to finish DIQ. But, did you pay attention to the new director’s expenses that first month?

Moving on. Many (but not YOU, of course) seasoned directors understand the following regarding back stage realities:

  • It is easier to give birth than raise the dead. Consultants who are not working (ordering) are to be left alone. They don’t get it, and new blood will turn a non-working (ordering) unit around.
  • Production requirements to keep the free car are not discussed.
  • Production requirements to keep your unit may not be addressed.
  • Team Leaders are generally shocked to learn that in order to get the 13% commission check, they must personally order $600 and all five team members must order. (Can you say product-based pyramid scheme?)
  • Director’s meetings. You now belong to the big girl club. It can get nasty. Questions are not welcome. Opinions are not welcome. This is a sorority, and you’re not in charge.
  • Unit members are never ever to discuss inventory with potential recruits.
  • Frontloading inventory is known as an innocent-sounding phrase like “having a full store” or “profit level”.
  • Practice interviews are anything but
  • Directors are taught to keep new recruits in their hip pockets for at least 2 weeks to ensure they are not bothered by negative people.
  • Meetings are designed for recruiting first. Anything else that may be accomplished is secondary.
  • She with the most unit members at an event wins.
  • She with the most name badge ribbons wins more.
  • Instructors at events are to be fawned over. They are the ones with the most name badge ribbons.
  • If a consultant misses one meeting, she is sick or in the hospital. Two meetings in a row is cause for a note and a call, and after three in a row, the consultant is out.
  • There is to be no negativity in front of consultants EVER. Everything is great. You are to say “I love everything!”
  • Chicken is cheap, it will be served nearly always, sauce adds extra money to the tab. “Nobody is there for the food anyway.”
  • Never tell the consultant you are, in fact, cannibalizing the new consultant’s customer base when you are helping her with her Pearls of Sharing.
  • One should stand when a national is introduced. We will be the next nationals.
  • I stories get better and better with time and audience reaction.
  • This is a numbers game. You will need to run through the numbers.
  • Never distrust the nationals, after all, they have walked in your shoes.
  • Always trust the company, they have our best interests at heart. (Order, order, order!)
  • If you MUST discuss your low month, and your concerns about your ability to pay your bills, this is NEVER to be discussed in front of a consultant. You will be told to hold a skin care class or two.
  • You must sell the sizzle. Your subconscious does not know the difference between reality and dreams, so speak your dreams. Technically, this way it’s not lying.
  • Do what the company does: reward sales (ordering).
  • Do what the company does: reward sharing (recruiting).
  • If asked, you always say your highest check is what you made on your highest check whether it was this month or 10 years ago, it needs to be at least $4,000 or it’s embarassing.
  • Same thing with your highest skin care class.
  • What we ask of consultants, we rarely do ourselves. Of course, we lie about our results to inspire consultants.
  • 4 sheets of a paper back and front makes a newsletter that can be mailed with one stamp.
  • Dialing for dollars (or for those with a weak stomach, emailing for dollars) at the end of the month is common practice.
  • More often than not, directors skip leadership classes and shop at the vendors or tour the host cities. Drinking is common.
  • Great= OK
  • Awesome = great
  • Unbelievable= suckier than can be imagined
  • The only part of OUR car YOU get when we finally earn one is the free look.
  • Before and after pictures in our Spring portfolios? Yeah, right. But we do want to see yours along with that person’s phone number.
  • The vendors available to directors sell stuff their at an incredibly cheap price and we buy heavily at Leadership and Seminar to avoid shipping charges.
  • We don’t have many people at our open houses, either.
  • We hate doing newsletters, and frequently wish we could skip our own meetings.
  • Our highest check (or any income statement shown by us) does not include chargebacks, gifts or any other expenses.
  • We call and wish you happy birthday when we are pretty certain you will be gone, so we can just leave a message.
  • We compare ourselves to others constantly and tell you not to.
  • We don’t tell you what product is going to be discontinued because we don’t want you to “hold” your order. We almost always know 3 months in advance when things are changing.
  • We encourage your attendance at events because we want you to be safely in the fog at all times. Any longer than 3 months, the real world might just sneak in.
  • We charge for meetings because we were charged for meetings and we thought that was just the way it was.

The more production we have in and the more stars we bring in means higher bonuses and more money for us.

We are taught to follow the money, work the numbers, and attain fame and fortune that is there for anyone who works her business. Faster is better, slow is hard.

We didn’t mean to hurt you, we were just doing as we were taught. And for those of you who did nothing wrong and followed all the rules, this obviously doesn’t apply to you.

Having made a resolution to do this Mary Kay thing the right way, we look forward to reading your posts when you finally figure out it can’t be done.

22 Comments

  1. Cindylu

    Get recruited. It only costs $100.00 for the kit. No risk. Everything is free including training. Then the nightmare begins. Trying to set up that perfect start. Just a few pity sales and no one foolish enough to be a recruit. An SD that knows little about glamor or training. No where to actually advertise. That queasy feeling when you purchase inventory (especially the pitiful amount when it arrives). Then the company immediately changed some items. Now you must race or reduce price to sell the now obsolete products. Any open house and anywhere you try to sell, women avoid your company. Any women I tried to recruit trusted me but their radar warning went up when my SD gave the recruiting briefing. I always had doubts that this was real. I was told by my new supervisor at work that MK was a cult. I soon began to doubt the dual marketing nonsense and deep down knew MK was mlm. Nothing is free: Products are expensive, wearing the skin care and products costs, dressing the part costs, training costs, meetings cost, seminar is expensive, packaging costs. The best part of MK is when I returned the product and got some money back. The next best part was finally coming out of the pink fog and getting my life back. Time back with family, no more creepy stalking and no more wasting time at any useless MK sales class, pitiful training event or listening to a NSD story that simply does not ring true. Anyone lurking take the stories of those who got taken in and realize that this 50 + company is not a way to make a bit extra. It is not a real job. The vast majority of us who get sucked in, wish we would have trusted our instincts and left immediately.

    1. Shay

      Is it a must that Dirextors have to buy the suits? (The blue one abc/2020 was ugly!!!!)
      By the way, the crap that Mary Kay sells, you can get better drug store make up. 🙂

      1. BestDecision

        Yes, we had to buy the suits in order to get our awards onstage at company events. The most hideous one was from around 2005. It was royal blue and had snap-in lapels in shades of coral, lime, baby blue, or lavender depending on how many offspring Directors we had. It was like being a Smurf! So unprofessional. They recently had a black one with gold accents and gold running through the fabric. Disastrous. Just ugly!

          1. BestDecision

            You weren’t allowed onstage if you weren’t dressed appropriately. If someone wore pants, for example, they could refuse to let you in line to go onstage.

            As for the career apparel, though, it actually was the dangled carrot for everybody. More prestigious to be in your Red Jacket, then more if you wore the scarf, then more with the black blouse, then even more with the Director suit, all of its symbolic accessories, and then the most with the NSD suit. It was a reward system, yet we had to pay for each and every one of them after we earned them!

  2. diane

    Inventory: Who has a crystal ball to look through in advance to know what clients are going to buy anyway? And why are Consultants forced to purchase from Sister Consultants like clients when they can simply barter/trade/exchange products of equal retail value? To place another $180. wholesale order? Yikes! Why should you do that for one tube of lipstick or one moisturizer? Nuts!
    Negativity In Front Of Consultants: It’s done! It happened to me when I had a part on a meeting one night. It was a bitter cold night and I wore tights with my pumps vs hose. Why did I do that? Brrr…Well while on stage speaking my Nat’l said “Are you going to Career Conference”? I said “Yes”. She said “Don’t wear tights”! What did I do? I came off the stage, walked over to her, and “read” her like War and Peace in the presence of my Director. She gave me much respect from that meeting forward!

  3. diane

    Directors/DIQs Selling “Oldies But Goodies”: Some must really hold onto old products! (smile) One Director on FB sold me a bottle of Acapella LONG after the scent was discontinued! A DIQ on FB sold me a bottle of Angelfire in a box that looked like it fought WW3! I’ll never do that again! I couldn’t do that with a clear conscience! Why not just use the product yourself? Better than SELLING it, right? Right?

  4. Still Breaking The Basic

    “If asked, you always say your highest check is what you made on your highest check whether it was this month or 10 years ago, it needs to be at least $4,000 or it’s embarassing.”

    Don’t forget to obscure or blur the date so it’s unreadable. Holding a copy of it with your left fingers covering it completely is best because it looks honest and genuine.

  5. pinkpeace

    Suzy, I can always trust you to bring back the golden memories . . . !

    This whole piece is great, and the one line that made me laugh out loud was:

    Unbelievable = suckier than you can imagine

    And we were INSTRUCTED to use that word at DIT week! “Ladies, no one wants to hear about your 12th skin care class that postponed, your open house where you didn’t sell anything or your new recruit who backed out at the last minute. Other women want to be associated with a winner, so if someone asks about your Mary Kay business, you just tell them, it’s UNBELIEVABLE! It’s not technically a lie, and you’re upholding that all-important successful image.”

    1. BestDecision

      Now THAT is a memory! Completely forgot they did teach us that at DIT Week! The also taught us how to sell a rock to a group like we’d be selling the Red Jacket to our unit meeting. Very telling because, by that far in the career path, we should’ve known how to sell anything! We also had live skin care classes to watch while we were there. New Directors needing to know how to do a close? Really??!

  6. Denise

    Today, I met a lovely woman. In the past I would have thought, “how can I get her to book or better yet, recruit?” Today, can you believe it? I met her, struck up a lovely “warm chatter” with no intention to leave either of us with anything other than a smile. I walked away, and was indeed smiling. Hooda thunkit? 🙂

    1. MLM Radar

      In your shoes I would report her to the supervisor for (1) abusing the company’s contact list for personal gain, and (2) conducting business for personal profit on the company’s time and on the company’s property.

      If she’s upsetting the customers the company has a right to know. Most companies won’t fire a good employee for first time offenses. More likely she’ll be counseled to stop soliciting their customers, and you’ll be thanked for helping them serve all their customers better.

      But if you’re really uncomfortable about approaching someone, I’d suggest finding a new insurance agent or new company.

  7. Minty Bliss

    My SD and recruiter keep trying to get me to go to the Target and Rite Aid to “recruit” customers out of the aisles! I said I didn’t want to get arrested for soliciting. DOH! I’m still trying to get out. I love this site. It brings me comfort that while yes I was taken advantage of, I can feel the solitude of others before me. Thank you!!!

  8. Disillusioned

    I just bought my starter kit a few days ago and have been regretting it, leading me to this site and now I regret it even more. Am I required to return the bag? Can I just keep it and not engage with company any more? Thanks, ladies. 🙁

    1. CD

      The longer you stay, the more you can be persuaded to stay. You can of course do whatever you want, but you will have to stand your ground. They are trained to keep you not politely agree that you know what’s best. Good luck!

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