Written by The Scribbler
Last school year I completely read through “Room at the Top: The Success Stories of Some of America’s Leading Businesswomen.” Only you won’t find women from real companies listed, just NSDs gushing their personal I-stories. As I read through the book, I noticed more than a few common threads, and I’d like to share the quotes associated with one of those threads today.
Let’s hit the button on the ol’ Wayback Machine and transport ourselves to that first encounter with Mary Kay. It could be any encounter, really; a facial, a skin care class, a 3-way call with Beezelbub. You remember asking “Why does it smell like sulfur in here?” only for the director to shrug and hold up a Yankee Candle with the words, “Hell Fire” scribbled on its label in black magic marker. It looked legit, and the tip of the director’s tail had this cute bow on it, so you didn’t pry.
In all of those examples, chances are quite good that you noticed the MK lady’s physical appearance. Perfect hair, manicured nails, glittering things pasted all over her lapel, and enough perfume to smoke out the regulars down at your local French whorehouse. Boy, was she sharp looking! you might have thought. But even more dangerous than being sold on physical appearance is being sold on an appearance of success, because in Mary Kay, it’s often precisely that: an appearance.
Go below the surface of a Sales Director and you quickly learn of the debt, the manipulation, the hen-house antics, and the shady things being taught as necessary for Mary Kay success. But sharing the negative aspects of the business with anyone below you is taboo in MK, so it’s rarely communicated to the people who need to be warned about the buggery the most. Except on Pink Truth, of course.
The following NSDs were snagged by the same con game you may have been, which makes me wonder if building a business based on lies is truly the “World’s Oldest Profession,” as opposed to the ol’ “Pay-Before-Pumping” concept; wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.
Can you spot the pink “hookers” in these quotes?
NSD Rubye Lee-Mills: “I wanted to be a Sales Director because they possessed an air of confidence that I desperately wanted to have.”
NSD Anne Newbury, who wanted information about MK mailed to her, but the IBC insisted on taking her to a recruiting lunch instead: “It did not take long before I became mesmerized by everything she told me, Everything about her was so successful, and I wanted it all. Now I must tell you…I had not even seen the product. I did not know if it came in boxes, jars, or cans, and I did not care! I wanted to be just like her.”
NSD Marilyn Welle-Villella: “I agreed to attend a Mary Kay meeting with her and I found myself in a room filled with winners. I found myself wanting what they had.”
NSD Judy Newton on Seminar: “I remember sitting in the very back row watching 34 gorgeous Sales Directors march across the stage. They floated – so poised and graceful. I felt they were everything I wasn’t. Right then and there I made a covenant with myself to become one of those elegant ladies…I had a long way to go to improve myself…”
NSD Diane M. Velde: “I was impressed with what the Sales Director had to say. It sounded like I could work a little, make a lot, and still be the kind of wife and mother that was so important to me.”
NSD Sally Rattray (Emeritus), on filling out her IBC agreement: “There was a space for my two goals of ambitions, and the first was easy: “To be a Mary Kay Sales Director,” even though I had no idea what a Sales Director did. I was so impressed by Sue Vickers that I didn’t worry about it.”
NSD Margo Andrews describing an IBC’s arrival at her home: “She looked like a million dollars, and she looked like she enjoyed carrying all the bags and cases she brought in.” Later Andrews would learn that her class was one of this IBC’s first classes.
All of these NSDs were hooked on the appearance and/or appearance of success of Mary Kay Sales Directors. And here’s why:
“Sell your position. Even directorship isn’t perfect. But if you are stressed, odds are that you created the stress…No on will want your position if it seems too difficult, like too much work and not enough reward or fun! “ ~NSD Pam Shaw
True, NSD Shaw joined the game later than these NSDs did, but her quote reveals a truth about MK that cannot be ignored.
You get nothing if you can’t get other women to join the Mary Kay game and wear your uniform.