Eyes on the Prize, Ears on the Cheers

pinkduckedit1Written by PinkPeace

In the wonderful world of Mary Kay, we certainly see our share of crazy prizes in offered in different units. There’s ugly jewelry, the oh-so-special opportunity to have coffee with a director, or the ride she could give you in her pink Cadillac. Why, you might even get the opportunity for a sleepover with a director – just make sure you take your own sleeping bag! It makes you shake your head and think, “What the . . . ??”

But, what you have to remember with all the goofy contests and prizes in Mary Kay, is that the prize itself isn’t the point. It’s the recognition.

These consultants may or may not actually want the physical prize or to spend time with the director. What’s really important is that their names will be in the unit newsletter, the director will single them out in her Facebook posts, and other unit members will look to them as being special. They’ll feel important – and they’ll want to feel that way again.

Mary Kay has an extremely powerful system of recognition that shamelessly preys on a woman’s desire to be recognized and celebrated. It doesn’t matter what the prize is. Mary Kay herself talked about the importance of “dollar recognition for a 10-cent ribbon.” With the proper presentation, those seemingly insignificant little ribbons can be treasured by consultants for years. “I am so excited for Lauren! She had her first $100 day, and we are so proud of what she has accomplished!! We all want to know how you did it, Lauren. Come up to the front and get your ribbon and tell us all about your success.”

If Lauren doesn’t get much individual recognition at home or at her regular job, this is like giving water to someone in the desert dying of thirst. She craves this appreciation, and will work to keep getting it. The ribbon itself is just a strip of cloth, but it symbolizes someone noticing her and giving her praise for her efforts.

We can elevate this to the Star Consultant program. Those of us who say, “Oh for Pete’s sake! I can’t believe a consultant would spend $1800 for a decorative bowl that I could get from Amazon for $15!” But that’s not the point – it’s what that bowl signifies. Mary Kay glorifies Star Consultants in every Applause Magazine and at every corporate event. Directors are specifically taught to spend a lot of time pumping up the Star consultant program at every unit meeting, in every newsletter/online post, and even to plan special parties for Star Consultants only. The emphasis is always on the recognition, not the prize.

Over and over, we singled out Star Consultants for their ladders of success that showed how many quarters they had been Stars. “At every Mary Kay function, everyone will know that you’ve been working your business when they look at your ladder. It’s like a report card that you wear – and you’re showing the world that you earned an A!” It was always about being recognized, not getting the item from the Star Consultant catalog. When the quarter ended and the consultants made their stars, we directors went crazy honoring them, and they all wanted MORE.

The pinnacle of recognition was going across stage at Career Conference, Leadership or Seminar. Lights, music, thousands of women cheering and applauding for me? Yes, please! I had walked across the Seminar stage many times during my Mary Kay career, and there is nothing like it.

I remember once having a simply terrible year as a director, and I qualified for NOTHING that would have let me walk across the Seminar stage. I was so depressed . . . and then MK issued a 20/20 challenge for June! Anyone who held 20 qualified classes in June would get a name badge ribbon, a special 20/20 pin and get to walk across stage. I threw myself into this challenge and booked, coached and held 20 classes, something I had sworn in the past I would never do. (To this day, I don’t know how I pulled it off). I marched triumphantly across that Seminar stage and received the crappy little pin which I wore with pride. It wasn’t getting the pin – it was letting everyone know that I did a 20/20.

I am convinced that Mary Kay could offer dog poop as a prize for some accomplishment, and there would be thousands of women who would be working to get it. Can you imagine the contest? “Be the first in our unit to scoop the poop and show everyone in Mary Kay that you’re feeling the excre-citement!”

No, it’s all about the recognition, and Mary Kay knows it.


  1. MLM Radar

    If you want to see what that recognition is really worth, try using your ribbon to convince the gas station attendant to let you fill your gas tank on the way home from seminar.

    Outside of the Mary Kay seminar hall, no one cares.

  2. Former MK Girl

    I totally agree with this. I had really low self-esteem and the praise I got as MK Consultant was really good. When I made the decision to leave, my self-esteem fell because the people I thought were my friends, did not call (in fact, they were told not to associate with me as I found out from another former MK girl).
    I got professional help (and my support from my Husband) and now I have real self-worth/Esteem. We are digging ourselves out of the MK debt slowly.

  3. enorth

    Recognition doesn’t pay the bills. It makes me ill to hear the bleating about “recognition.” Smart women are giving up careers, pensions, and college degrees to pursue this nonsense. Handbags, earrings and bangle-bracelets don’t pay the bills. Neither do those “diamond rings”, unless you sell them for cash. And you won’t get much. The real purpose is that you wear them, and talk about them, all the time to attract new women into the business. You’re a walking advertisement. It’s free advertising for Mary Kay Inc.

    And there’s the verbal recognition. The NSDs and SDs must have a handbook of laudatory comments that they use over and over on social media:

    “You are a leader of leaders and bringing in rock-solid women who have a passion for serving others! I’m so proud of you girlfriend! You are going to rock this business! What a fine example of excellence you are! You are a champion! You make things happen! Your enthusiasm is electric and I know I will see your name in lights many, many times. You have only just begun. Your confidence is oozing from every pore in your body and you are on a mission to change your life! The sky’s the limit to what you can do! I’m so proud of you and your strong work ethic and determination! I’m so proud of the personal growth and realizations you had! You have elevated your thinking which in return has elevated your life! You are the most elegant, graceful, God-filled woman I have ever met! I love you and I am so very proud of you and all you have accomplished in your short MK career ! I am so very proud of you and your amazing future. ”

    Thanks, but where’s the MONEY?

    1. BestDecision

      But didn’t the 20/20 interview tell us it’s “not about the money” but “about people and love”? Try telling that to a mortgage officer, a company’s CEO/manager, or your utility company. If it’s all about rainbows and singing “Kumbyah” (sp?), no one would ever have a bill to pay. Utopia does not exist! Money/income is a necessity, and it’s sick how MKI throws a bone to people with low self-esteem and value.

      After awhile, it gets old. You’re never off the hamster wheel, even as a Director with multiple Offspring.

      I find it interesting how many new Consultants have come on here that just ordered their Starter Kits and inventory in June. We all know someone somewhere was using those orders to get to her next level of recognition/healthy mental health. Maybe it was a walk onstage in Dallas or keeping the car they’re currently driving, but it’s abuse only second to the abuse and misuse of God. Sick people!

      1. Shay

        LOL not one consultant could tell Rebecca how much they made–they studdered and said, “I am gonna have to look” when asked how much money they made. And both of them suckers had cars which means they had to buy a sh!t load of MK.

  4. juliegalstar

    I was certainly “in” MK for the recognition! (early 1980’s era). Started with a Star Consultant Order simply because director told me to. I earned Red Jacket (had to have 5 qualified back then) just so’s I could sit at the head table at unit meetings; wanted that so badly. Got to a total of 8 recruits; and no surprise–they all fell out before I did!

    1. Enorth

      I watched a video where the NSD said that two out of every three consultants will quit, and the SSD said she was tired of answering the same questions over and over.

      Yup. It’s a hamster wheel.

      1. pinkpeace

        Absolutely, this! I was on some director’s website recently, looking over all her training materials, contests, etc. Essentially nothing has changed in 15 years. It’s the same page after page of set sheets, tracking sheets, booking scripts, holiday sales ideas, “Race to Red” promotions, quasi-religious inspirations, tacky rhinestone jewelry contests, etc. I was both bored and exhausted looking at it all.

        Thank God I 1) don’t have to do that anymore, and 2) don’t have to pretend to #lovemymklife.

          1. BestDecision

            Pam Shaw now has only 26 Directors in her area. I think some of her superstardom has worn off over time, and GenX is one of those things people just can hit anymore.

    1. Enorth

      As I type this, I’m listening to a NSD raving about NSD’s – yes, NSDs – getting CUPCAKES for the number of unit members going to seminar.

      This isn’t funny. It’s tragic.

    1. BestDecision

      The Cadillac Directors aired on Oct. 2, 2015, and it also had MKI’s Laura Beitler interviewed. Her former position and educational background is in law. Who better to stick up there to defend the obvious abuse of buying their way to the top?!

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