Written by DupedByPinkFriend
If you are here at Pink Truth today for the first time, and you are reading this because you want to know all the facts before you sign up, you are already ahead of the game! You are doing exactly what an astute businessperson must do before beginning a new venture: you are researching the product, the market, and your competition. You are attempting to gather information to help you make an informed decision.
However, as you are attempting to reduce your risk by researching the Mary Kay “opportunity”, you are going to hit a brick wall, and here’s why: Mary Kay Cosmetics is a privately held company. It has no public investors who require the reporting of real numbers with legitimate proof.
MK does not track retail sales, so the numbers that are published are skewed. When you read that MK does billions of dollars per year in retail sales, understand that these numbers refer to the amount of sales in products to their own sales force! They really have no idea how much is actually sold to real customers, nor do they care. In order for MK to make money, they must continue to attract new recruits and pressure them to buy.
So, what does all of this mean to you? It simply means that what you are told about this company is very likely not the whole truth, and if you are starting a business based on falsehoods or partial truths, you are dooming yourself to failure at the onset.
What’s worse, because recruiting fresh meat is vital to their own prosperity, MK allows their sales force to “stretch” the truth, imply benefits that don’t materialize, use manipulation tactics that encourage you to make emotional decisions, and do everything in their power to keep you from seeing the reality of their flawed business plan.
Whether it is a really “sharp” woman who looks to be successful, or an excited friend or relative who is telling you how wonderful the Mary Kay opportunity is, just know that they may be either lying, or unknowingly repeating the lies that they were told. Here are a few “selling points” that you may hear, and the realities behind them.
“Be the boss and CEO of your own business!”
No, you will not “own a business”. You will merely be a representative of MK with many restrictions on who you may sell to, and how and where you may conduct your “business”. You will be told how you may advertise, also with many restrictions. You can be terminated at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all.
If you decide to quit working, you can’t “sell your business”. You will give up all of your customers, and lose all of the time and effort it took to build your customer base. There is only one thing that you will get to keep: the debt that you likely will have incurred in building your “business”!
“We are a sisterhood – we don’t compete against each other.”
Unfortunately, there is huge competition. First of all, you will be pushing products in an already saturated skin care and cosmetics market flooded with other good brands at more reasonable prices. Secondly, another thing that MK is not required to publish is the number of MK consultants that are in your area. It is not until you start trying to get customers that you will hear, “My mom is a MK consultant,” or “My sister in law just signed up, and I’m buying from her,” or “My neighbor is a personal use consultant and everyone in our neighborhood gets together a couple times a year to put in an order,” or ” I buy my products super cheap at Touch of Pink Cosmetics.com or eBay or Craiglist.”
The truth is, MK consultants are everywhere, and they are going to be going after those same few women who haven’t yet been accosted by a desperate MK consultant, with a sour taste in their mouths for the whole MK agenda.
So, yeah, it sounds good on paper, but it does not represent the huge obstacles you will face.
“The products just fly off the shelf!”
Uh, three words: no, they don’t. When compared to other products, MK falls short. The quality is not as good as many other, cheaper products. Women enjoy trying many different brands, and they appreciate the fact that they can walk into a store and buy whatever they want without being hounded to buy more, or listen to recruiting scripts. More and more women just buy online from a company that, again, doesn’t pressure them to join their salesforce. And many women have serious reactions to the ingredients in MK products.
“Our products are on trend.”
Wrong again. MK seems to come out with their versions of the latest must-haves much later than other companies. When they finally introduce their version, women have already found another brand that they love. If you have loaded up on the new products just knowing your customers will adore them, they will likely sit on your shelves, gathering dust, while your cash is tied up in those products just sitting there, not flying anywhere. If you used your credit card to buy those products, your credit is tied up, and you are paying interest on that gathering dust.
“Work when you want to.”
Nope. You will be working when your customers want you to. When you sign up, you may have visions of being able to stay at home to raise your kids, with customers dropping by to buy products, and you being there to welcome your husband when he comes home, in a clean house with a great dinner prepared. The fact is, daytime usually involves hours and hours of phone work, trying to get bookings for skin care classes and facials. You will be hearing lots and lots of, “No, I’m sorry, I’m just too busy,” or “My friends are too busy,” or “I just don’t have the money – don’t call me, I’ll call you.” Or you’ll be leaving messages, because most women are at work. You’ll hear yourself pleading with them to return your phone call, many times over.
And when, oh joy! You finally get a booking, guess when it will typically be? During working hours? No, it will be on a school night, or the weekend. So when you are told that this is a perfect opportunity for women who want to stay home with their kids, don’t believe it! This party plan worked “back when”, but today, when so many families must rely on two incomes, it is plainly outdated.
“You can earn a little or a lot – YOU make the choice! And Mary Kay is all about choices!”
Not true. It doesn’t happen just because you choose it to be. If you want to make a little money on the side, here is what you will face. Products are overpriced. The use up rate is different for each product, so if you sell the whole skin care line the first time, as she runs out of each product your customer will probably just make do with what she has, your products and others, until she finally uses up that last drop. By then, she will have realized that she doesn’t see much difference in her skin without those specialty products. IF she reorders, she’ll just get the basics next go around.
You are going to have to carry samples of every product that Mary Kay has to offer. Get out your Look Book, and just see how many products there are! Now multiply that vast number of products times about ten samples of everything. Wow! That’s a lot of samples. And wait till you see how much those samples cost!
Oops, sorry, you won’t get to lay eyes on those exorbitant prices until AFTER you become a consultant. Oh, and by the way, you’ll be buying those Look Books too. And take a look at all of the supplies that your consultant used when she did your facial. And the cosmetic carriers. And the free gifts she gave you. And the pretty plastic bags that it all came in. And how about the sales slips she wrote your order on? The delicate tissue paper that made you feel so special? The thank you notes that meant you were getting personalized service? Those are just the some of the expenses that you can see.
There are so many more that you can’t see, but they all add up to VERY little profit. So yeah, you might be able to earn a “little” extra spending cash, but it will take a long time until any of that “profit” is yours. And in the mean time, you are spinning your wheels, losing valuable family time, and becoming stressed out to the max. So, yes, you make the choice.
Today we looked at some of the aspects of the “Mary Kay Opportunity hype” as it pertains to women who want a small business, and intend to make some extra cash while having some fun girl time. If you are interested in knowing what a recruiter might tell you if you let her know that you really want to be wildly successful, like those fabulous women in the recruiting brochures and CDs that she gave you, stay tuned for Part 2.