How Much Do Mary Kay Sales Directors Make?

We at Pink Truth are very familiar with the often-uttered phrase “My director makes six figures!!!!” Women believe the hype that Mary Kay Sales Directors are making big money. So how much money is “big money” and how many sales directors are making it?

Here are the numbers, straight from the horse’s mouth. From a randomly selected Applause Magazine, we have the top 100 sales director incomes in each of the 5 divisions for April. These 500 sales directors represent the top 3.5% of all sales directors, and the top 0.07% (yes, way less than 1%) of all consultants in the United States. 

The top 10 monthly checks of those top 500 sales directors were:

$22,945
$18,385
$17,060
$17,053
$16,488
$15,727
$15,642
$15,111
$15,110
$14,672

So if you’re in the top 10 of all sales directors in Mary Kay, you’re grossing about $176,000 or more per year (multiplying these commissions by 12, even though we know they vary a lot from month to month). This is prior to the deduction of any business expenses.

But what about the bottom of the upper echelon of Mary Kay?  The bottom 10 monthly checks of these top 500 sales directors were:

$5,486
$5,507
$5,534
$5,587
$5,620
$5,628
$5,629
$5,638
$5,672
$5,681

The bottom 10 of the top 500 Mary Kay sales directors are grossing about $5,600 a month, prior to business expenses. That’s about $67,200 per year gross income. (BEFORE subtracting business expenses, which can be substantial.)

And 13,500 sales directors are making less than that. This is certainly not the “executive income” that is so often bragged about in Mary Kay.

So the next time you hear someone talking about the woman in Mar Kay who makes six figures, chances are it’s a lie. 13,500 Mary Kay sales directors (96.4% of directors) are making less than $67,000 per year in gross commissions. In fact, a tremendous number of sales directors are barely making minimum production each month (the amount required to keep the sales director status), which gives them monthly commissions of $800 to $1,000.

Remember that those who get to the position of sales directors in Mary Kay are deemed to be the hard workers and the successful ones. Yet the vast majority of sales directors – 96.4% are making less that $67,000 per year before the deduction of any business expenses.

And also remember, the fantasy about the big money is not limited to Mary Kay. Every multi-level marketing company promotes the idea that they have lots of big money makers. And that, my friends, is a lie.

30 Comments

  1. mstar1125

    This just goes to show how little most of the women who are entering this “business” know about actual business. I know a few people who are small business owners, and while their businesses bring in 6 figures, at the end of the year when all expenses and taxes are paid, most of them are paying themselves very low 5-figure salaries per year (and even 4-figure salaries). I’d imagine its the same for most MK sales directors, because that’s the true nature of business, at least when you are in the growing stage. The problem with an MK business is that you are always in the “growing” stage.

        1. MLM Radar

          The real trick is to put together about six consecutive months of The Clap magazine and see how many Directors appear in at least four of the six. You’re more likely to find that Directors appear every other month, and at least half of those appearances have Just Barely enough production to meet minimum quotas.

          1. Lazy Gardens

            Doing a “month on month” comparison over a series of years can be revealing too. Are they holding steady from last April to this April (which actually means they are losing ground to inflation) … or are commissions slowly sliding?

  2. Still Breaking The Basic

    “Yet the vast majority of sales directors – 96.4% are making less that $67,000 per year before the deduction of any business expenses.”

    For those of you who are active directors in the 96.4%, this is what the other 3.6% are saying about you:

    1. You’re lazy loosers who make it difficult for us to sell the opportunity to new consultants and push current ones into directorship.
    2. Your abundance mentality and deserve levels are too low.
    3. You aren’t praying for success hard enough.
    4. Mary Kay works when you do so it’s apparent that you’re not working it the way we do.
    5. Your family doesn’t support you.
    6. Your husband doesn’t make enough money for you to have multiple credit cards with high credit limits so he’s a loser.

    Do you really think you’re earning executive pay for part-time work?

    Is you life as enriched as they claim?

    1. BestDecision

      Standing ovation for 1-5! If current Directors read these, they’d feel a kick in the gut and realize they are laughed at, ignored, and shunned by the tiny percentage that get all the attention. I’m all for earning your rewards and don’t want anything handed to me, but so, so few are clearing even $50K/year. Even Cadillac Directors!

  3. Iescaped

    I finally realized that in my former Area, the SDs that I thought were “successful” were living off their husband’s salary!

    They just had a very expensive hobby and all the pretty, shiny new things they had were not purchased with MK earnings, but with hubby’s paycheck.

    Although they always would say how wildly successful they were in MK.

    All smoke and mirrors!

  4. BestDecision

    Here’s a month-to-month comparison of May commissions:
    Lisa Madson $54,620 (2016). $60,780 (2015)
    Auri Hatheway $15,247 (2016). $19,768 (2015)
    Tammy Crayk $14,977 (2016). $15,823 (2015

    Note: It’s harder to compare Directors’ commissions because the numbers are now only published to that division’s sales force. Only the NSDs are seen by everyone.

    It’s interesting that someone that was Queen of Recruiting and Queen of her division, more than once I think, has made it to NSD but has checks dropping. Auri Hatheway made $154,877 gross commissions through May 2015, but she only made $130,021 YTD in monthly comparison. A $24,000 drop in income isn’t a small amount!

    Remember that May is always one of the bigger months of the year for production and checks. You can definitely see a dropping trend, Lazy Gardens.

  5. cindylu

    I knew my SD had her poor husband brow beat while she barely kept her unit going. He was definitely the bread winner. How sad that MK supposedly wrote out the concept for her company based on what was wrong in the sales world. All she did was teach women to hurt each other. She transferred the exact treatment that bothered her in her previous sales jobs into MK. All the deceit, bullying, dog eat dog schemes have been taught for the past 40 years. Once the (party/phoney skin care class) fizzled, then the narcissists were free to use women and deceive them in anyway they can imagine. I think MK wanted to make up for lost time. Having a company that was profitable was her priority. It took precedence over husbands, children or following her so called Christian philosophies. All that gaudy pink. The over the top beauty pageant dresses, sashes, ribbons, sequins, pink cars, her ornate pink mansion, wigs etc. certainly weren’t signs of modesty. She and her NSD’s screamed selfishness, narcissism and vanity.

  6. HAPPY EX-DIRECTOR

    Those that speak about not making money are speaking truth. I was a sales director for 3 years and made the decision to step down to a consultant. The perks of being in the TOP 2% of the company is VERY COSTLY. Not only are you giving customers samples, catalogs, and gifts with purchases, you are NOW gifting your unit for every little accomplishment. AND if your unit does make production every other month you are left FINISHING it up on your own credit card.

    I LOVE the products and the interaction with customers, but after accumulating over $10,000 in debt, I came out of the PINK CLOUD, and chose to only SELL and service my customers. NO more meetings, seminars, retreats, etc that SUCK $$$$ in the 1,000s each year. I will never stop selling, but the push from my director to re-enter DIQ will always be ignored.

    1. BestDecision

      Just looking at the March Applause confirms what we were feeling. Commissions are dropping. Only 17 NSDs are on target to net an “executive income” after taxes (>$175k).

      Then, subtract their expenses.

      Out of the entire sales force, Applause shows the real numbers of how many ACTUALLY make that boasted “executive income”. Counting NSDs among the 10,000 or so Directors, that’s 0.0017 of them.

      So glad I’m no longer counting out what my check would be at month-end!

      1. Formykids

        Hey Pink Truthers. First let me say that I love this site and I hate MK and what it has done to my family. I just want to raise a point that always bothers me in many of the financial arguements made here regarding taxes. Often I see posts like above referring to after taxes or that is before taxes. All jobs at every hourly rate pay taxes on whatever their net taxable income is. When salaries are posted or someone has an executive income, they are always referring to their pre tax total or gross income or in a business your net taxable income, not gross revenue(remember gross income and gross revenue are very different). So general taxes having to be paid is not a good arguement against any job, MLM or otherwise. Only tax arguements specific to that job are worth bringing up, or valid points of arguements. So with regards to MK or Any MLM the pertinent fact regarding taxes is not that they have to pay them……we all do….is that whatever net taxable income they have after expenses, is taxed at a higher rate since they must pay the employer portions of fica and SS. You could also presume that since most in MK are in debt that they haven’t paid quarterly taxes, so unless they show a loss, they will owe money that they likely don’t have at year end. Let’s please stick to only the most valid arguements and there are plenty.

        1. TRACY

          The issue about taxes is not that taxes have to be paid. It’s that the taxes are higher for a self-employed person because of the self-employment taxes. So it’s still an important issue.

          An additional issue is the taxes paid on the value of prizes. The taxes will be paid on whatever value MK assigns to the prizes, which is is often inflated. That means the “free” prize is not really so free, and the taxes are inflated in accordance with the inflated “value.”

          So maybe people are looking at it a little wrong because income taxes are paid no mater what kind of job you work. But MLM participation does still have special issues related to taxes.

        2. MLM Radar

          There is also the problem with taxes paid on product purchase.

          The way that taxes work in a real business is this: You collect sales tax from your customer based on your actual sales price. Then you file a sales tax return and turn that tax over to the government, after subtracting any sales taxes you already paid when you purchased the products.

          But in an MLM sales taxes are calculated differently, and you wind up paying much higher sales tax. In an MLM it works like this: When you purchase the products at “wholesale” price the company collects sales tax from you based on the full “suggested retail” price. But whether you sell at “full retail” or less, or not at all, whether you collect tax from your customer or not, the government get gets paid sales tax based on the maximum possible sales price instead of the actual sales price.

          The MLM company (including MK) doesn’t want you thinking about your actual sales price; they’ve already congratulated you for selling at “full retail” the day your purchased your products.

          MK does have tax refund forms you can use to claim a refund for overpaid taxes, but few people know about this, and fewer use them. Furthermore, when you purchase personal use products at “wholesale” (50% off!), MK still collects sales tax on “full retail” price and refuses to refund the difference. They claim you sold the products to yourself at “full retail.”

          So yes, taxes DO matter in MK. They matter a lot.

          1. Formykids

            Tracy and MLM Radar. I fully agree with all of the specific tax implications you laid out and they are pertinent and strong arguements. My beef is only with the general comments that make it seem like paying taxes of any kind are somehow a specific problem for MLM. Those generalizations, in my view, weaken the arguements laid out here, in many cases. Thanks for your clarity.

            1. BestDecision

              It’s a problem of people boasting about how much money they “made”, yet they don’t subtract taxes or expenses before using that amount in their story. You can gross $4,000/month as a Cadillac Director, but you’ll take home < $3,000 after taxes and then STILL have to subtract out expenses. At best and with zero expenses, which isn't ever going to happen as a business owner, a Cadillac Director doing base maintenance production will make $36,000/year. Yet, they LIE all day long!

            2. pinkvictim

              I don’t see it as PT’ers saying paying taxes is the problem. I think the problem lies in that Kaybots always cite gross profits and fail to cite net profit after expenses, including taxes as one of the expenses. Kaybots tend to let certain expenses slip…

              Additionally, as Tracy pointed out, taxes on IC’s are higher than taxes on employee wages from a J-O-B, so there’s even less leftover.

    2. Pamela

      Who are You, and why are you spending soooo much of your quality time researching the Mary Kay world if you’ve checked out. You know we’re reminded to check out the individual that’s bearing the negative reports. Blessings to YOU. Get over yourself.👍👍😄😄🐘🐴😎

  7. Danielle

    It is still good to note that Mary Kay is not an MLM or a Multi Level Marketing group and in all honesty it is semi easy to become a director. You don’t have to be putting in that many hours or caring that much to be a director. Yes it takes work but remember that not all women are rocking it of their own choice. Just because some don’t do it in Mary Kay doesn’t mean that they couldn’t. I don’t know about you but any mother that is making even $50,000 on top of having kids is an amazing woman to me. I don’t care what they make. Also directors often have other jobs and kids and many other things in life. They are not just mary kay.

    1. TRACY

      Danielle – Yes, Mary Kay is an MLM. People are recruited into multiple levels in the heirarchy, and that makes it an MLM.

      It’s not easy to become a director. It takes a ton of time, and putting in a ton of your own money. It is a complete hamster wheel, as month after month, you are trying to get people to order products so you can make your unit production requirements.

      I’m not saying that making $50,000 is terrible. But it is terrible when you consider that these are the TOP women in the whole company, and they are sacrificing their families to do it, probably to the tune of 60 to 80 hours per week. It’s simply not the “executive” income that they claim MK is.

  8. Formykids

    This may be the single biggest bit of fakery in MK, that it is not MLM. Direct sales is when you purchase from the company and turn around and sell it to an end user, which sometimes does happen in MK, so it is Direct Sales. As soon as you recruit someone under you and earn money off of their production, you add a layer, plain and simple, and once you add another layer it is multi layer, by definition . The interesting thing is MK admits that MLM is bad and predatory just by the great lengths they go to to convince people they are not MLM. Really just self condemnation.

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