The Truth About the Mary Kay Pink Cadillac

mary-kay-pink-cadillacMary Kay plants fluff pieces with the media to hype the company. Mary Kay’s public relations department sends out press releases and contacts reporters in hopes of getting television and print media coverage. This, of course, fuels the constant push to recruit new consultants.

Mary Kay is one of the most predatory multi-level marketing companies I have seen. I like to call it a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The company pretends that it “empowers women,” when in truth it is nothing but a leach which sucks millions of dollars out of women’s wallets each year. Mary Kay pretends to offer a business opportunity, knowing full well that almost everyone involved will lose money, because it is nothing but a glorified pyramid scheme which our government allows to operate.

The best marketing tool ever created was the Mary Kay Pink Cadillac. Everyone in the U.S. knows that a pearly pink Cadillac is a “sales incentive” for Mary Kay Ladies. What they don’t know is the harsh reality of the Cadillac drivers: They make relatively little money. I estimate that the typical Cadillac driver makes about $30,000 per year after business expenses, which includes the value of the Cadillac.

This estimate assumes that the sales director’s unit does the minimum production required for Cadillac status. If she does not meet the minimum, the picture is even worse. In that case, the Mary Kay director has a “co-pay”… which means she has to pony up some cash for the car. Then you can figure her income each year would be more like $20,000 to $25,000 (again after business expenses and including the value of the Cadillac).

While most of the Cadillac drivers are struggling to maintain the minimum production required to keep the Cadillac, the company reaps the benefits of the rolling billboards. What a great marketing ploy! The general public sees these status symbols, doesn’t know that most driving them are making little money, assume the women are raking in six figure incomes, and Mary Kay looks like a fantastic opportunity.

There are currently about 1,300 pink Cadillacs on the road in the United States. That means of the 600,000 consultants in America, 0.2% (two tenths of one percent) are in Cadillacs.

Watch the video below to see me explain the Cadillac con:


  1. BestDecision

    What struck me as a red flag was when they stopped offering us choices of models to choose from. We used to have 3, and now it’s only 1. It’s obvious that MKI has fewer people earning them, so it didn’t make sense to have an ongoing order with Cadillac and having low numbers spread across multiple models.

    For PR, my family and friends have all seen beautiful Cadillacs perched up on top of a tow truck. And we all know they weren’t broken down or stalled. Only their drivers were.

    1. arlene

      I disagree completely. Mary Kay is a great way to earn income especially if you love sales and working with other people. Even if you aren’t great at sales, I have friends who set goals so that they could buy furniture or whatever they needed and were motivated and determined to reach those goals. Mary Kay makes it possible to attain those goals no matter how big or how small.

      1. TRACY

        What do you disagree with? The fact that fewer people are earning Cadillacs? That’s a fact, so it’s not possible to “disagree” with it.

        MK isn’t a great way to earn income. 99% of people lose money in MLMs.

          1. Formykids

            All you have to do is seek and Ye shall find. You can check income disclosure statements from publicly traded MLMs, and get it right from the horses mouth.

      2. BestDecision

        The Applause is now listing all new and requalified Cadillac drivers. There are many fewer than when I was in. That’s a fact, and you can’t argue that.

  2. Weekended

    I occasionally see a Mary Kay Cadillac when I’m on the highways, but not very often. Maybe twice a year. The ladies driving them “look” like pictures of success; but, as we all know, looks can be deceiving.

  3. PurpleH

    At least the Caddies serve as a warning when you spot them all parked together. I saw the local NSD’s and both of her SD daughters’ cars parked at Starbucks last week and quickly left that lot. Pity the ladies trapped in there for Career Coffees!

    1. BestDecision

      No, and that’s the whole point. Even Directors barely in the lowest car claim to make an executive income as a way to impress and recruit people, but the average one now is $170,000/year. To make that much in MK, you’d have to be an extended trip Director.

      So, if you’re a Consultant reading this, ask your Director what the retail total was for your unit last year. If it was less than $800,000 Circle of Excellence, she didn’t make an executive income. A unit would have to produce about $30,000 wholesale every single month to do $800K retail. Take a look at the Applause. When you look at the commissions of your division’s Directors, all of those making less than $7,000 for that month weren’t making anywhere near an executive income.

      It’s complete lies because they know no one will ask to see their tax returns. We used to get TRAINED on how to overcome objections like that for recruiting and morale purposes. Complete lies and made up stories that might have happened a decade ago. Even I would talk about my highest commission check that was over 5 years old. That’s just how it’s done.

  4. Notateamplayer

    There used to be several pink Cadillacs in the area where I first joined nearly twenty years ago. Now I see only one, with the same director driving it. I saw too many lose those Pontiacs to ever want one. I don’t even think my director drives a MK car anymore, because I never hear about car production.
    I had a hard discussion with my guy the other day when he found out how much I spent to stay active. With taxes and shipping it was approximately $275. He asked I would walk into ULTA and drop nearly $300 in one trip. The answer was no. My personal use days are over. I have enough product to hold me a couple years.

  5. Scarlett

    Sour grapes – that’s all I hear. Apparently you weren’t successful and that’s your own fault. And the rest of you really have not idea what you’re saying.n Your facts and numbers are false and made up. MK is a reputable company that gives back to women, inspires and empowers women, contributes millions to charitable causes and not to mention creates jobs and entrepreneurs in this dismal economy. MK has created/provided this world with more women millionaires than any other company or entity known. So much time wasted on this website. Sad.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      Scarlett … OK, let’s do the numbers (facts from Mary Kay website)
      Mary Kay Inc.’s global wholesale sales are $4 BILLION DOLLARS. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it. But, unfortunately, there are 3.5 million Independent Beauty Consultants in the world.

      $4,000,000,000 / 3,500,000 = $1,143

      That means that each consultant’s share of the sales is $1,143 per year. If any IBC sells more, some IBC is selling less, because that number doesn’t stretch.

      Let’s look at Mary Kay Canada, because Mary Kay USA doesn’t have to reveal earnings, comparing 2009 to 2014 (the last year I have numbers on).

      2009: “Of the 553 of those who were Mary Kay Independent Sales Directors, the top 50% earned commissions during the year of $17,471 to in excess of $100,000. ”

      Average of 53 consultants per director. Half of the directors earned less than $17,471 in commissions

      2014: Of the 491 of those who were Mary Kay Independent Sales Directors, the top 50% earned commissions during the year of $19,832 to in excess of $100,000.

      68 consultants per director. Half of the directors earned less than $19,832.

      If you account for inflation, the news from Canada is even worse. To match the $19,000 that was the middle of the pack in 1999, a 2014 director would have to make $25,555.

    2. Lazy Gardens

      And, Scartlett, you claim “MK has created/provided this world with more women millionaires than any other company or entity known.

      Utter bullfeathers! Only if you count the earnings the “Mary Kay Way” which is to count the total, adding up every year they are getting commissions. Earning 100K a year for 10 years does NOT make you a millionaire. It means you watched a million as it flowed through your bank accounts, going off to bay bills and prop up your units.

      To be a real millionaire, you need ASSETS … stocks, bonds, real estate.

      FWIW, many of the people who joined Intel when it was young and kept working at that horrible Corporate America Corporation’s J.O.B. … even working as production technicians … retired with over a million net worth in their 401Ks and stock portfolios if they just left it alone. And that was after the indignity of working with health care, paid vacations, sick leave, maternity leave and education funding.

    3. BestDecision

      Oh, dear, I’m sorry you’re so confused. I myself am a former Cadillac Director that had Offspring Directors (note: pleural. More than 1, which is intentional and not by accident.). It’s impossible to have the diamond bar pins I have and to be at the level I was before I voluntarily resigned–by pure accident.

      It involved many, many nights and weekends away from my family. It involved sacrificing the benefits I had in my former career like health insurance, dental, vision, 401K, life, and disability. It involved not having paid vacations and PTO, which, unlike we all believed in MK, was NOT the equivalent to reorders coming in when we did take vacations. It involved always being “on”. Ask any other Directors on here, and they’ll know what that means.

      I’m not bitter. I’m better. There lies more confusion you’re facing. I’m so, so glad I stepped away from the disaster of a business model MK flaunts, and I’m VERY thankful I’m not boarding a plane to go to Leadership Conference this week and learn nothing, yet coming home exhausted and scolding myself for not doing enough.

      As to having “more millionaires than any other company”, you’re flat wrong. Percentage-wise, the odds are against you to ever even being a Cadillac Director, let alone make it to NSD and actually clear $1 million for the year. If you add up the lifelong incomes of most business people and even doctors, you’ll find millions made by WAY more people outside of the MK sales force.

      While there are, admittedly, some that never worked diligently and consistently to earn their Red Jacket, car, or Director suit, on this website the majority did. Please read carefully before you insert comments that make you appear very naive and condescending.

    4. Kathie Collins

      I agree. And ending it with “$25,000-30,000 a year income, and thats including the car she is driving”… a Caddy starts off at $34,000. So even if they sell nothing (meaning they wouldnt have gotten the car in the first place), they would still be making more. I have seen the success this company has to offer. Most people’s problem is, the just dont want to work for success.

      1. TRACY

        Kathie – She doesn’t GET the Cadillac. She gets the value of the lease, which is about $450 per month. So yes, the $25,000 to $30,000 income does include the value of that lease.

        You THINK you have seen the success that Mary Kay offers. What you see is a tiny fraction of people making money. Almost everyone LOSES money. Almost all of the sales directors make minimum wage. A very small number make middle manager money (although they falsely call it executive pay and probably work about 80 hours a week to make it). An even smaller number make the big money…. but only because thousands of people below each of them are losing money.

        Again, that’s not a business.

      2. BestDecision

        If a Director isn’t listed in the Top 100 units for retail production of at least $32,000 for the month, she’s not making Cadillac production and is making less than $4,000/month. Period. $4,000 x 12 months is $48,000 gross income. Subtract expenses, and even a base performing Cadillac Director isn’t clearing $50,000 or “executive income”. And she’s not getting healthcare, dental, or vision benefits. Or retirement.

        And if she slips below a quarter’s worth of Cadillac production, MK zaps $900 off each commission check for the next 3 months. $2,700 penalty for a bad quarter.

        Don’t be fooled into thinking people on here were lazy quitters. That’s the current Directors and NSDs telling you to ignore what is behind the curtain in Oz.

  6. als8432

    How can I find out a ballpark idea of how much my director is making? She’s a senior Cadillac director, but I looked at the order listing a few months ago and we definitely did not make enough to meet Cadillac production.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      als8432 … look at the commissions listing in your Applause. If she is NOT listed, she’s making lower commissions than the lowest person on the list. 🙂

      Also, check HER upline’s newsletter – the ESD or NSD who is above her – and see what sort of recognition for ordering she has done.

    2. BestDecision

      Yes, looking at your monthly Applause will list Directors by commission. If she’s not having $14,166 checks, she’s not making an “executive income” as she claims. (The current exec income is averaging $170K/year.) And if she had less than $3,680 in commissions in any of those issues, her unit isn’t producing enough to maintain a Cadillac without her making a car payment for 3 months. (A Cadillac unit must produce an average of $16,000 wholesale/month for her to not have payments.)

      It’s exciting to see more and more people waking up, being brave enough to run the numbers, and to admit things aren’t as they seem in MK.

  7. Als8432

    I added up the orders for everyone in our unit for November and they were less than 16k. She’s not listed in applause, but she doesn’t have a national above her. Her recruiter is no longer with MK (not sure of the reason), and our unit was “adopted” by another national. I just don’t understand how she can be a senior Cadillac director. My recruiter keeps telling me that the director has over 100 people under her, but there aren’t 100 people listed in our unit. There might be if you count her first line offspring director’s unit, but not in our unit. I haven’t been in MK very long, but it just doesn’t add up.

    1. BestDecision

      Even not having an NSD, Directors with decent commissions are listed in the Applause. Listen to your gut. Your instinct is on to something. Smart girl!

    2. Lazy Gardens

      She’s not listed in applause
      If she is not in the commissions listing of the top 100 for the area, she’s making LESS than that in commissions. And that’s before expenses and chargebacks.

      So she’s probably making less than a What-A-Burger cashier per hour.

  8. Bethany Grissom

    I’d like to know what the resale value is on a pink car. Can ya buy used MK car?
    Who would want a used pink car. Well my daughter is in love with the pink camouflage and thing the MK Cadillac suv would be a good start to that tuff girl pink camouflage mobile!!!!

  9. Camille

    You know what? Your site kind sucks because is just tells the most obvious thing. Nothing new! You know what? People will not stop because of your shitty site! Any girl with a minimum of brain knows about all the “trhu that Mary Kay isn’t telling you” but will still join because at least they are making something in their life instead of regretting how bad was her pasts experiences was as your are doing. You’re just a bunch of looser girls that didn’t makes! Just admit that and go on. Go get a life instead of losing your time making this shit . No I have nothing to do with MK. Just fine that really shitty. Let people have their dreams and learn by their own mistakes…

    1. TRACY

      Thanks for your insightful comments, Camille! Unfortunately, 99% of people who participate in MLM will lose money. We’re trying to help people avoid that circumstances. Because the Mary Kay recruiters won’t tell the whole truth about this fake business, I’ve decided to help get the word out. I’m sorry if you’re offended by us telling people the facts and our opinions.

      And thank you for your concern about my life and whether I’m making something of it. I have a very successful business. A REAL business. So I’ve done quite well, and this site is one little way that I can “give back” to others.

  10. Danielle

    I was recently contacted to become a seller of MK. I read through all the comments but I’m afraid I don’t understand all the “lingo”.. why do MK consultants lose money? I was told there is a $100 start up fee and a $225 per year fee.. there is no way they aren’t making that back.. if someone can please explain to me. I am interested in making this a supplemental income on top of my full time career.

    1. TRACY

      There is no way they aren’t making that back? Well then I guess you already know everything about Mary Kay? Almost everyone loses money in MLM. It is difficult to sell the products for a profit. That’s the simple answer.

    2. BestDecision

      We were all taught to say we made an “executive income”, but even while driving pink Cadillacs, I never cleared that much. Because the sales force is “independent”, they are not employees of MK, so taxes are not taken out of their profits for them. It’s widespread that Consultants (and Directors, really) claim they make $x an hour, but they’re not willing to admit their expenses subtract from that.

      Secondly, and here’s a BIG one, there are expenses to having the most basic MK business. A personal website for your customers. Shipping costs. Meeting fees. Event registration fees. Samples. Even just things to assure you have a really good party will cost you more than “just $100” because those things are not included in your Starter Kit. Outfits that fit the dress code policy. Product giveaways for hostesses and purchasing incentives for your customers.

      And please don’t fall for the “all you have to do is $225 a year” ploy. The person trying to recruit you is using that to get somewhere in the company (contest, event invitation, a car, a new title within the company). If they really cared about helping you make good money, they’d talk to you about all the business they have rolling in, how their team members sell thousands a week, etc. Not just the basic minimums to stay in the company. Why would anyone benefit from doing just that??

      I earned diamonds and cars, and I highly advise you to steer clear of the money pit MK is.

  11. April DiBello

    I thin this sight is so very sad…..I am a mother of 6 kids and used my Mary kay income to support and grow my family.. I became a director after my divorce and the father of my children does not pay a dime of child support. mary Kay gave me back my pride and dignity as I became a director and earned a Car. I had to step away from Mary kay due to a custody battle with my ex for my young son although I am coming back this year!!! Best business and group of woman out there! Thank you my MK!! If you post this without harassing me Id be shocked! Please post this….I dare you!

    1. TRACY

      You didn’t “have to step away.” You lost your unit because you failed to make production, yet you still didn’t learn your lesson. It’s funny that you still have a Facebook page where you call yourself a director, but you aren’t even a consultant, according to the “page not found” when I click the link to your MK website. Please tell me how your pride and dignity felt when you lost your unit and MK took away your car?


        Tracy- you seem to not be a happy person.

        I am a Mary Kay Consultant been for 17 years never looked to be a director or red jacket! Truth is I love Mary Kay the product itself. I have six cars I own paid off I don’t need a Cadillac i own one. I sell Mary Kay as a hobby as a pleasure because I’m a people person. I make a profit because I use the products myself. Not everyone is meant to be in this business. Some consultants are wanting the Cadillac some want the friendships the make along the way some do it to just keep them busy and some do it because they believe in the product. I don’t go to meetings I don’t try and recruit people I don’t hassle people to buy. I have my techniques to sell my own way. I don’t lie to anyone and I am extremely honest when it comes to the products, not everything is going to work on everyone’s skin type. I enjoy using and selling Mary Kay products. I can’t say I have become rich off of selling but its never broke me. You have to try the products you sell learn about them enjoy them yourself. All I get from this site is mad previos consultants. You have to love what you do. I don’t care how much my recruiter makes or sells I don’t care what my director makes. You push yourself as much as you want. It’s not in everyone’s blood to sell. Just like any job. Hope the disgruntled people on here choose to let go of the anger they carry and are now doing what they are good at and enjoy:)

        1. TRACY

          Oh, I’m very happy. It is wonderful having a real business which is successful, and being able to help women via Pink Truth in my spare time.

          Mary Kay is not a business and almost everyone loses money in MLM. It doesn’t matter if they’re a people person or if they have sales skills. Almost everyone is doomed to fail because it is so difficult to make actual retail sales to third parties.

        2. Lazy Gardens

          Hope the disgruntled people on here choose to let go of the anger they carry and are now doing what they are good at and enjoy:)

          Oh, we are. Unfortunately for Mary Kay, we seem to be good at analyzing the lies, omissions and half-truths they spew.

          And we enjoy it – would rather not have to do it, but the thanks from people who have been enlightened and empowered by Pink Truth are enjoyable.

  12. Jennifer

    Hear is my thing….there is always a risk in everything you invest in or want to try and there are so many companies out there where you can sell from home so it just comes down to what works for you. I am starting out selling MK but I go into it knowing I can not live off it but maybe just to earn some extra cash as a single mom and also get together with some other women…I love my consultant she takes time with me….so is there negative sure there always is but the question is does the positive outweigh it and also what do you want to get out of it.

    1. BestDecision

      If you want backstabbing, fake, boosting, unethical friends, MK girlfriends are for you. If you quit, be prepared for them to drop you instantaneously.

    2. pinkvictim

      Ask your consultant to show you her last three commission checks, including the entire statement of deductions, expenses etc. Additionally, ask to see her Schedule C from the last two years’ tax filings.

      You have every right to ask – this woman is asking you to sign up for a “business opportunity” with potential to earn money. Does she make any money? If she directly benefits monetarily from your MKult participation (i.e. purchasing product), she should have no problem showing you these documents.

      If she balks, she’s hiding something. You want to join up under someone hiding something from you?

  13. Cindylu

    No matter if it is (MK, Avon, Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Park Lane, Weekender, Tupperware, Amway, Cutco, 5th Ave Jewelry, Aloette, Arbonne, Stella and Dot, Beauticontrol, Discovery Toys, and Melaleuca.) Most of these mlm pyramid schemes prey on women who just want a stay at home job while they care for small children. Instead these many companies sell their inflated products directly to women who then struggle to sell those over priced products. The sales force are stuck with all the companies marketing costs including: web sites, parties, recruiting, gas, uniforms, mail outs, training, samples, training etc. I’ve never seen anyone making executive income long term. Those directors who were mildly successful had husbands earning decent income. Many Directors I know live in sub par houses. Even a local NSD decades later is still in the same ordinary house. They lose IBC, after IBC, Director after director, failed DIQ’s and lost cars.

  14. Yeah, years ago I got sucked into the Mary Kay scam. All
    multi-level sales plans are basically scams. The woman who recruited me told me I had the perfect personality for the job.
    WRONG! I hate selling! She was so slick. Everywhere she went, every new woman she met, she said the same thing. She was hyper-enthusiastic, sure I could reap a great income, and just KNEW I would love the products and be great at selling them.
    If I had known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have been such a sucker. However, it didn’t take me long to realize I DID NOT HAVE THE PERSONALITY for that kind of job. Yes, I am a people person, but I like to make friends, not exploit my friends by trying to sell them something that is over-priced and comes with not only a sales pitch to buy the product but also a sales pitch to become a Mary Kay salesperson and to recruit others to sell the products and for them to recruit more sales personnel. Just not my cup of tea. I want to enjoy my friends, not use them to line my pockets.

  15. Denise Blackwood

    I’ve read enough comments to feel your pain. Your analysis of the Mary Kay business and your disappointing experiences come across as someone hurting. As you know, hurting people hurt others. Although you feel compelled to warn the public, your argument is unbalanced and, therefore, unconvincing. I believe if you had included both the positive and negative aspects of the company, you would have succeeded in deterring customers from becoming consultants. For instance, I’m a Mary Kay customer who recently signed the agreement to market and sell MK’s skin care products. I will keep in mind all of comments. However, your experience might not be mine. So, allow me to write my own story. Understanding the DISC assessment would give you a better perspective on outcomes. Everyone will have a different experience based on seeing the glass half full or half empty. My Mary Kay business so far is half full.

    1. Char

      “I’m a Mary Kay customer who recently signed the agreement to market and sell MK’s skin care products”

      Sucks your consulatant lost you as a good customer.

      Was she charging you full retail all along?

    2. BestDecision

      Oh, the lure of the DISC analysis! So ridiculous to put faith in that. It certainly didn’t further my business. Good luck trying to sell those $70 sheet masks. You’ll soon find how outdated TimeWise is. Well, you will when you venture to Sephora and discover REAL skin care.

    3. Lazy Gardens

      “My Mary Kay business so far is half full.”

      Wait until your inventory is overflowing, your bank account near empty and you have no time for anything but Mary Kay.

  16. pinkpeace

    Oh Denise, all of us started our Mary Kay businesses with the conviction that the glass was half-full. I was 13 years in Mary Kay with the most positive attitude you can imagine – and I still lost money, friends and my moral compass.

    We’re simply warning others, not to be hurtful, but to be honest. Please keep reading, here on the front page and in the discussion board.

    And keep your eyes open.

  17. Christina flern

    I just read all of these comments and I looked at every applause magazine I have since I started. My director is a Cadillac driver and she is always listed in the top 5 in our seminar. I personally know how much her commissions are each month and she makes well above the numbers you post. My NSD also makes a lot more than most. I personally am debuting in December as a director and I make at least 9k a month on my commission already. None of which count any of my sales because as you know those go into your business cost and such. I’m pretty excited about leadership conference. It’s where I get to debut. I always find the people who speak the “ truth “ on these sites are people who never earned cars , never became much and never earned much money. For the ones reading this who still have hope , I promise you can make money. You have to work. It’s not handed to you. I work my butt off as do the other women in my unit. I’m sorry your director didn’t help you more and you hate Mary Kay so badly. For some of us it changed our lives. I also have only been in for 10 months. So yeah , I think it’s oretty fabulous. I don’t know any other job that I could make this much money for the amount of hours I work.

    1. TRACY

      If you’re going to lie, can you at least TRY to make it believable?

      $9,000 a month commission at 13% (the maximum commission if you’re not a director) would be $69,230 wholesale orders per month. LOL

      Even if you were calculating that as if you were a director, you’d still have to be getting about $35,000 wholesale orders per month.

      Funny that you “always find” that people didn’t earn cars or become much in MK on these sites…. yet we have many former directors who had lots of cars (including Cadillacs) and even one who was a breath away from NSD. I’m sure we’ve had more who were clost to NSD, they just didn’t want to participate for fear of the backlash if their identity was found out.

      I don’t believe you’re making all this money, but if you are, remember that it’s only because women below you are losing money in this pyramid scheme. They’re essentially handing you their family’s hard earned money. That’s nothing to be proud of.

    2. BestDecision

      I drove Cadillacs, and my name was in Applause, too, but, the vast majority never will. No one on here denies that there are people making good commissions, but we are adamant that it’s not the norm. We also know that Directors making those commissions are, and they’ve admitted it publically, working 40-60 hours a week. However, everyone touts MK as “executive income” and “part-time hours”.

      Since you claim your commissions are $9,000/month, a calculator trumps your claim. As Tracy detailed, it’s impossible your personal team is pulling almost $70K wholesale every single month. OR YOU’D BE A DIRECTOR AFTER MONTH 1 OF DIQ!

      Please. Please know that women are smart and savvy, that they don’t all follow you around like dazed soldiers, and that the majority of people will never debut as Directors, fewer in the Top 5, and even fewer as NSDs.

      And that, my dear, is who we are.

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