Mary Kay may not technically be a cult, but it has many characteristics of cults. My brother’s wife has been involved with Mary Kay, moving up into the ranks of a car driving sales director. They have four small children, and it is sad how little she sees of them, even as Mary Kay promotes itself as a way to be at home with the children. I provided the following advice to him.
If my wife was involved with Mary Kay, this is the strategy I would use:
I would tell her “Honey, your involvement with MK is putting financial stress on our family (see note at the end/bottom about MK ‘success’) and I would like you to stop using the family credit card for MK functions. May I suggest that you find a part-time job (as a pharmacy assistant, coach, department store clerk, etc.) in order to pay for the expenses you incur as a result of MK ?”
[This is because there are so many different expenses that erode/eat-into the 50% mark-down/discount they get on the their product purchases; the high price of the products one one would have sell them for; and not to mention the ever increasing product inventory.]
If this plan does not help her to re-prioritize her life (how she allocates time and money), then follow…
I would tell her “Dear, I am very concerned about your finances around the MK consulting business. I would like to ask you to hire a bookkeeper/accountant to help you keep track of your positive cash-flow and expenses for the following 3/6/9/12 months. And then, at the end of the 3/6/9/12 I would like us two to sit down and look at the financial picture of your MK consulting business.”
[Here you decide on a definitive time span for this professional accounting/accountability, so you have a goal of when the reviewing of the books will happen. You should also have her track ALL of her time spent on MK so that you will be able to figure how much she is making per hour. You may also want to agree that if she is not turning a profit at that time (or isn’t making at least $x per hour), she agrees in advance to leave Mary Kay. ]
If this hard facts analysis does not help her realize that she is working as a slave for MK (earning less then minimum hourly wages and netting annually less then the poverty line), then go for…
I would sit down with her and say “[Wife], I have been doing some reading about MK business practices and made a list here of some very dubious practices. I would like to ask you up-front if you OR your upline have ever used these tactics/techniques ?”
THIS plan requires some research and time reading online on your part, about all the complaints from current and former MK consultants about how impossible it is to continue in this business (climbing the ladder) without taking shortcuts and compromising oneself morally/ethically.
If the answer is YES, then I would say “This is highly unethical if not immoral, and it is very unbecoming of a Christian. I would like you to repent of this, and stop your involvement in MK now!”
If the answer is NO, then proceed to….
PLAN D (last resort):
I would find a quiet place for the two of us to sit and tell her “Honey, I love you very much and want the best for our kids and family. I have something very important and serious to tell you: Your involvement in MK is causing our kids, myself and our family great emotional/financial/time-management distress. I would like you to make a decision today between your family (4 kids and I) and your MK family (business plans and associates).”
If her answer to this plan (Plan D) is “I choose MK family,” I would recommend that you take the kids and leave the house ASAP and give her space and time to think things through. You can easily afford a short-term rental (motel, hotel, apartments for commuters, etc.). As a Christian, I also recommend that you NEVER consider divorce (or use that word), no matter how painful the emotional or financial loss of her involvement in MK business is to the family.
And in all things Pray for Wisdom from above, to know how to talk to her and approach her.
Financial success in MK IS possible (not probably, but still possible)… but the question is “At what price?”
How many hours dedicated away from family, and how many hours even when one is physically present at home is one’s mind on the MK business or MK affairs (emotionally absent from family)? About the ‘success’ of the MK business here are some numbers found on Pink Truth which seem to be well documented in other places/sources also:
As for the “many many” women who are “incredibly successful” in Mary Kay…. In the United States there are about 300 to 500 women making “executive” income in Mary Kay. There are a couple thousand making middle management income. There are another 5,000 to 8,000 making minimum wage. Almost everyone else is losing money. This is out of 600,000 to 700,000 consultants in the United States. So the “many many” women being “incredibly successful” are about 400 out of 600,000 are 0.06% (that’s six one-hundredths of one percent). Wow. Impressive.