Mary Kay Ash and the Miracle of the 10 Class Week

Written by Lazy Gardens

You’ve heard legends of old geezers coming back and showing the new generation how it’s really done. John Wayne as the aging gunfighter or grizzled sergeant leads the charge against the bad guys, Lassie comes off her comfy rug to battle a blizzard and save Timmy one more time, or the retired scientist comes back to the lab and defeats the glowing green ooze. How about Mary Kay Ash showing that she still could get ‘er done and hold 10 classes in a week? Uh, yes, even the cosmetics sales brigade needs its heroines.

Here’s what really happened, from the 1984 book, “On People Management”, by Mary Kay Ash. Chapter 9 – The Speed of the Leader is the Speed of the Gang – gives the details.

Some time before the book was written, Mary Kay Corporation planned a campaign, where they would challenge each consultant to hold 10 classes in one week. At a staff meeting, the newest manager (it’s always the new hires who get stuck with this duty) broached the idea that Mary Kay herself should show how it was done, by doing it. “I hadn’t held 10 classes in 10 years“, she thought to herself, but then she agreed to do it.

She continues, “It was later that the panic set in. How was I going to find ten people for ten shows? I didn’t have any friends who hadn’t already hosted several beauty shows. If they hadn’t hosted a show, then they were probably no longer friends.

That’s a sorry state of affairs to be in, with no warm market left. But our heroine suddenly has an inspiration! When you run out of friends, look to the workplace. The really good part is that if you are the boss of Mary Kay Cosmetics, you can’t get fired for doing Mary Kay on company time.

I turned to our young spokesman and said, ‘Phil, you’re new to the company; has your wife, Carol, ever held a Mary Kay Beauty show?’” Phil says “no” and Mary Kay tells him, “You tell Carol that I’m going to be calling her. She’s going to just love this new experience.” And then, she continues, “I looked at the rest of the executives sitting around the table and in a matter of minutes I found several of the sales administrators’ wives who had never held a Mary Kay Beauty show.

What does this prove? It was a command performance, not a true test of the viability of booking 10 classes in a week. When the CEO and founder tells a junior executive that she’ll be calling his wife to book a Mary Kay Beauty show, is that executive going to tell his wife anything except, “Carol, clear your schedule and make it happen, because I need to impress the boss lady.

When Mary Kay Ash looked around the table, would any of the remaining executives risk their career by saying no to the CEO? Mary Kay even booked a Saturday show with her stockbroker … which only shows they’ll do anything to keep a rich client happy.

In an attempt to put a good face on it, Mary Kay claims that she instructed her hostesses not to tell the guests that the cosmetics queen herself would be the presenter. She claims that few guests recognized her. I find this hard to believe – that short woman with the big blonde hair and theatrically heavy makeup was an icon in Dallas. She’d be as likely to go unrecognized in Dallas as Aquanetta would in Phoenix. I can believe that the hostesses told the guests to play along and buy stuff to make the boss lady happy.


  1. BestDecision

    What amazes me still is how people count a 10 class week when it’s not. Getting in front of a unit meeting with 6 guests doesn’t count as 2 classes, yet that’s what my Director friends did. Nor is doing Satin Hands on 3 people in a bathroom.

    This very concept was one of the bragging points of so many people, yet you never saw their business flourish afterwards. I got so sick of the hypocrisy and lies!

    1. enorth

      From some MK “opportunity” videos I heard:

      “All of Mary Kay’s products are FDA-approved. I automatically get a free car every two years. Mary Kay is the number one skin-care and cosmetics company in the country. Seventy-percent of women millionaires are in Mary Kay. Don’t worry about bothering people; if she doesn’t call you back right away, it’s because her phone is in the shop. Most of Mary Kay’s products have the Good Housekeeping Seal. Mary Kay is the only company that tests its products altogether.”

      Always good for a laugh.

      1. JanRD

        “…if she doesn’t call you back right away, it’s because her phone is in the shop.”

        More likely, she has already blocked your number. These claims are hilarious.

  2. NJK

    The total phoniness of those ten classes reminds me of a hypothetical situation that keeps popping up in my brain:

    If Oprah or Melinda Gates wanted a pink car, how much would it cost them to hire a sufficiently large downline? Figure they pay a bunch of retirees and college kids minimum wage for 8 hrs/week (for time to attend a meeting and complete paperwork) and 100% reimburse all of their purchases from MK.

    Or would it be cheaper and less hassle to buyout the paint company, and perform real-time quality control of the paint on her Lexus? (Lexus so that she can claim the paint is only “nearly” identical, and anyway, it’s not even a caddie.)

  3. pinkvictim

    If they hadn’t hosted a show, then they were probably no longer friends.

    So, MKA’s “friendships” were conditionally based on whether they helped her get customers. I suspect MKA had very few friends, if any at all.

    Hey Kaybots, think about that for a moment… is that the woman you aspire to be?

  4. raisinberry

    Gloria’s version was book 4 time slots at your home and have 8 hostesses with 2 friends each. You could creatively count outside orders or reorders from calls that day to cobble together two more, and do 10 “classes” in one day FROM YOUR HOME!

    Silly YOU! Don’t you see how easy it all is?

    You know the real tragedy of all of these fake scenario’s? New people actually think their upline did it-or does it, and they compare their own lazy loserness to these fake stories, ultimately shaming themselves and dimishing their own self esteem. Over a complete fabricated scenario, that even Mary Kay Ash would have to admit, could not have been reproduced by a lowly consultant.

    1. BestDecision

      Gloria is the same one who bullies people into “600s” when she’s trying to beat Kathy Helou for the year. She expects $600 and will only converse with those that do.

  5. morningstar

    I remember reading this and thought this is crazy because MK is commanding them to have their wives available and purchase. Thanks for the additional insight as she did not HAVE any clients to call on….back in those good old days.

    I got into MK because in aerospace the men started getting promoted faster than the women. I joined mary kay for the sole purpose to get the raise money back from my boss’s wife and co workers wives. It worked! In the 1990’s and seriously got the cash from them!

    What I find comical is that MK ash son and grandson wives most likely do not use the product. I bet it is Dior from Neimans or Saks. You would think they would be brand ambassadors, guess they leave that alone because the money is already in their banks, from Ms. Gloria Banks.

      1. BestDecision

        Andrea Scott made less than $114,000 gross commissions last year according to the September Applause. $84,000 after taxes sure isn’t “executive income”, now is it?

        1. enorth

          “Andrea Scott made less than $114,000 gross commissions”

          Andrea Johnson Newman Scott.

          As with other NSDs, it looks like MK is not Andrea’s only stream of income. Andrea is listed as an Author, Consultant, Singer, Leadership Coach, Mentor, Inspirational Leader, Teacher, Speaker, and Business Coach. She is CEO and Founder of Sitting on Dynamite, Inc. She “endorsed” motivational speaker Nate Scott and then married him. He and Andrea appeared together at a MK event near me; MK events must be great venues for them to sell their books and wares.

          According to FB and his website, Nate will help you increase cash flow and develop a financial plan. His advice on how to create wealth:
          “Find a huge expanding industry, with a product that is consumable and that people will continue to use month after month. For example, one industry that is exploding worldwide is the wellness industry.”

      1. enorth

        Heard Auri say she has consultants exchange handbags at meetings and they go through them to search for “contraband” (translation: non-MK products). Those found with “contraband” are asked if they are “serious about their business” and, if they say yes, they are to trash the “contraband” right then.

        1. morningstar

          Sorry about the mouse trap, wasp, bee, scorpion – just forgot to take them out of my bag. Seriously brainwashed to allow another person go through your bag without a good reason is not acting like an adult. And I have no interest in looking in someone’s purse, this should be a red flag- the focus is not on sales, not on operations of MK (how to sell), but to continue the potential shame on you, for who you really are, a lazy loser not bringing in the C$sh for the director/NSD to make production. Thank you for this insight!

  6. Shay

    One of the biggest problems in MK is the products are over priced.
    I am SICK of hearing, “no one complains about MAC products or Estée Lauder prices”

    My rebuttal;
    1. Mary Kay products come no where close to MAC or Estes Lauder
    2. MAC & Estée Lauder spend MILLIONS a year advertising– MK does not. Maybe they spend some on Google Ads.
    3. MAC & Estée Lauder pay employees regardless if they sell anything.. The only employees paid in MK is corporate. The consultants are only paid.. well you know how that works- 99% lose money.

    1. SW

      Add to that:
      4. One doesn’t usually have to buy a whole store’s worth of MAC & Estée Lauder products to qualify for anything.
      5. One doesn’t have to resort to trying to sell MAC & Estée Lauder products to those who can’t afford them.
      6. MAC & Estée Lauder product pricing actually takes supply and demand into account, I imagine, and they wouldn’t have charged this much if they didn’t know their products will sell. After all, unlike MK, their customer is the consumer, not the seller.

      1. Heather

        Do any other brands make users buy the compact separately? It shocked me the first time I saw that MK doesn’t include the compact with the product. It also shocked me that they don’t do the free gift thing like Clinique and Estee Lauder.

        1. Blah123456

          People who are really into makeup actually prefer to buy z palettes and put their single shadows in there. So yes it’s common with non drug store brands.

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