A Mary Kay Husband on His Wife’s Failure in Mary Kay

Perhaps my story will help other ladies out there. This is a true story in which I am still living but trying to put closure to a situation that has been absolutely terrible because of my hopefully soon ex-wife’s addiction to Mary Kay.

After our first child was born, my wife decided that doing nails was not good enough so she wanted to start a business. She had me listen to an Amway presentation and I told her immediately that if the focus is on recruiting and not selling products to make money- this is a pyramid scheme and no way would I get involved in this. Then came Mary Kay Cosmetics.

I didn’t listen to this sales pitch by her Director but my soon ex-wife stated you make money by selling the product and recruiting was just a small part of the business. She signed up as a consultant and off she went. She was receiving all of these accolades. I remember when she would come home from her Director’s meeting and say Oh Look! I did so great this week that I won this Mary Kay pencil! I thought, What!? You are excited over a pencil? Pencils don’t pay bills. Show me the money.

Then it was the race to become a director. I’d see unopened boxes of product in the house and knew something was immediately wrong and knew she is buying her way to this position. If a woman has low self esteem- that is the prime target for a Mary Kay recruiter. My soon to be ex fell for their trap. The sun rose and set on her. They made such a big deal out of her at awards ceremonies. She was the example to live by.

But it was all lies.

Now the home phone is ringing off the hook because the credit card companies are calling looking for their money. I remember saying, who keeps calling? Her reply was oh, telemarketers and I’d say “we are on the do not call list, they shouldn’t be calling here.” I never used to answer the phone because it was never for me. Now I started answering and now I knew there were debt problems. I now saw more credit card statements in the mail. I would take them and open them up to see what was going on. My best estimate was over $35,000.

But to her and her friends, she was a successful Mary Kay consultant. She was and currently is living the life of lies. I would hear her deceive people. She even stole thousands of dollars from the children’s bank accounts in order to try and pay these bills off. When confronted on this, I was the jerk. I was not a supportive husband.

Well to make a very long story short, I did offer to get her out of debt and here was the deal. You get out of Mary Kay and I help pay the debt off. You don’t quit Mary Kay and you do it on your own. Guess what she picked? Yep- Mary Kay. She picked Mary Kay because now she has to save face. She recruited all of her friends to be consultants and now how would that look if she recruited them and then quit herself? She had everyone believing how successful she was and how much money she made. All lies.

So what happened next. I stuck around because I had small children but once they became a bit older, I had to get out. Thank goodness I have been very smart with my job and my finances. I am in the process of a divorce and am willing to pay child support because my kids deserve it. I can’t believe the very successful Mary Kay consultant (not a director anymore but the phone message still says she is and her business cards also)wants me to pay her maintenance. Why? She has this wonderful business where she is just making money hand over fist.

I remember when a family friend lost her job due to the failing economy. She was a professional woman who had a good job but my future ex said “I’m going to have to call XXXX. I need to give her the Mary Kay opportunity.” What a joke, I said. I said she wants a job making a salary, with health insurance benefits, and a pension plan or 401k plan. She is in her own world and there is no hope for her.

SO yes all, you are getting a very abridged version of my life with a Mary Kay business that failed miserably from the word go. Do not put your family through this hell. I’ve lived this and would not wish it upon my worst enemy. The major debt was accrued over 10 years ago and believe me, it is still there. I have closets full of Mary Kay product. Some have expiration dates on them and are expired for years. Mary Kay is an addiction for many.


  1. raisinberry

    The big debt comes from attempting the career path. Consultants who become Stars can probably keep it under a couple thousand, but never quite pay it down by sales. Good money management is not taught in MK….the hilarious 60/40 rule is…and NO ONE lives by it because the size of the order needed is directly correlated to what is needed for a goal/qualifying scenario. Never in 15 years of sitting under the feet (not “at”) of the NSD masters did I EVER hear “only order each month the product that replaces what you sold.” HA! That’s hysterical!!

    And the lies are told because the only way out is to coerce others to follow you up the career path. We needed 10 in cars to make our dreams come true! If you told the truth about where the so called money comes from, who would follow?

    So each woman thinking about joining the MK world is completely unaware that she is just about to put her foot into a pink bear trap.
    This is the trap…the one your wife fell into and all of us here…when you tell untruths or allow positive assumptions, and you are told that “negativity” is not allowed, and positivity brings all the solutions, the whole truth can never be exposed. Soon, you can’t tell the difference. Each untruth gets easier…and we all know Truth gets you shunned. They’ve got a helluva self replicating racket going on.

    1. Raisinberry, I love how you call things out! I recall way back in 1986 when I signed on with MK for all of 3 months with my neighbor who was preparing to move thinking that it would be ‘no problem’ to sell to the 200 or so existing customers she’d acquired over a 9 year period plus the prospecting I did on weekends at the local mall and 2 evenings per week how slow it really was to move/flip the $2000 worth of inventory I’d ordered. I figured I’d be able to sell it well within 2-3 weeks! Boy was I wrong!
      I gave it the proverbial ‘college try’ within what I felt was a generous 90 business day period and sent it all back because I was only able to sell 45% of it! This sort of expenditure of time, expense and energy for a low $ result would be OK for ‘big ticket’ items with 4 and 5 digit commissions. Also, at that time yes, there was encouragement to start off with an inventory order but had my neighbor recruited me under different circumstances without providing the 200 or so existing customers I would not have placed an inventory order because to me it would have been the equivalent of placing ‘the cart before the horse’ I would first need to develop customers by taking their orders, set aside the commissions from the orders, repeat the process until a certain number were reordering/ (seek recruits from those) and base the inventory orders/what was stocked based on that and move forward without taking a profit for several months to a year or 2 but thankfully, the trial period of selling to existing customers and doing my own prospecting just didn’t make economic sense based on ‘real world’ experience up to that time selling different things ranging from Kirby vacuums one summer as a teen to Jewelry and shoes on salary plus bonus, and subdivision home sales. Plus, I had used half of the available credit on my credit card-a big ‘no-no’ because I was always taught to use only a third of what was available and to pay it off where I am able to make 2 monthly payments and then pay it all off or pay the whole balance off before the billing so I was pretty mad at myself when the product wasn’t selling! Uggh!
      The following from this site under the Welcome tab here at Pink Truth is well worth repeating exponentially:

      For New Mary Kay Consultants

      Written by SuzyQ

      If you’ve just joined Mary Kay, please start here. This will give you a bit of information on what to expect in Mary Kay, and how Pink Truth may fit into that.

      Dear New Mary Kay Beauty Consultant

      Welcome to the world of Mary Kay Cosmetics. I have been a consultant with Mary Kay for 9 years and a director for over 8 years. I was one of those consultants who moved up fast. There are some things I want to share with you that your director or recruit may not.

      My guess is that your spouse, parent or significant other isn’t sharing your excitement about making your dreams come true with Mary Kay. Your director will tell you that this person doesn’t really understand how Mary Kay works and that this person (or people) doesn’t want you to get hurt. That this negative response is totally understandable, and you can have a little fun showing them that you can make money with this business.

      The truth is that you can’t. By this time you are probably dreaming of being a Star consultant, having a full store and racing up the career path. (And that probably includes visions of driving a free car!!) You were told many things during your interview (marketing plan, Fun Fast Facts). For example:

      1. We are looking for women who aren’t the “sales type”. You will be expected to sell cosmetics, and you will be expected to recruit. If those two activities don’t require selling, nothing requires selling. Selling is the heart of this business, no matter how anyone glosses over it.

      2. We are looking for busy women. Busy women are good at delegating. This means that you will have to add at least one Mary Kay activity into your life each week. This can be in the form of a success meeting, a class, a facial or phone calls to book guests for meetings, customer orders, and appointments with you. In reality, you should plan on at least 5 hours per week. You are told you will have flexibility with your hours, that you are your own boss, that you are in business for yourself but not by yourself. There is flexibility, but if you don’t put the hours in, you will not make any money. Something has to give. There is no balance.

      3. You have more month than money. This is when you are told that the products fly off the shelves and practically sell themselves. You are told that you will make 50% profit on every product you sell. You were reminded that you loved the product and bought some. So will all of your friends, family and customers. This is patently not true. You do not make a 50% profit, because some of your “profit” will be used to buy supplies, samples, mailing accessories. You will be encouraged to enroll in the Preferred Customer Program, buy business accessories including a website, to discount products or to give products away or heavily discount the products as a booking tool. You were probably told the worst thing that could happen is that you would get your products at 50% off for the rest of your life. Your 50% discount lasts only 3 months – the month you order and the next two months. You will be required to order at least $200 wholesale at the end of that 3 month period to earn you discount again. It will take a long time for you to show a profit if you ever do.

      4. You don’t know anybody. You were told that this wouldn’t be a problem, and to reassure you that once your natural market is gone (your circle of friends and coworkers) you will develop real customers (women who will pay full price for their products). If you asked where these customers are, you were told this topic will be covered in your “free” training. The bottom line is that once you run out of family and friends, you will be turned loose on strangers and told to “give them a sincere compliment” in order to start a conversation, and hopefully talk them into holding a Mary Kay class. When you’re out of friends, you will haveto scrape and scrounge to find new people to (hopefully) buy products from you.

      5. You will get free training. You will more than likely be asked to pay a weekly meeting fee to your director ranging from $2-$5 per week. You will also be encouraged to attend company and area events as part of your free training. Career Conference is in March and costs $75. This cost does not include travel, hotel, or meals. You will be told the free product we receive from the company will more than cover these costs. It will not come close. Seminar is in Dallas in July and August. You will be told the only reason to miss Seminar is that you are dead or dialating (about to give birth) You will be told that this is where you get the big picture of the huge dreams you can build and make come true with your Mary Kay business. The cost is $175. There will be additional costs that vary wildly for your area banquet, hotel, some meals, transportation, evening dresses and accessories, and other expenses. There is no “free” training. You will be told these are business expenses and can be deducted for tax purposes. Some are, some aren’t, you will not be told the difference.

      6. We are looking for decision makers. This is said to empower you. We would prefer that your agreement be signed as soon as possible so that no one will talk you out of signing your agreement. If the deal is that good, it will still be good a week or month from now. There will be, or there was, extra pressure to have your agreement submitted to the company if you had your interview towards the end of the month, or before the 15th in March, June, September or December. This in when the quarter ends, and your recruiter will earn extra money and prizes and move up the career path if you sign before the quarter ends. Your director will earn a bonus if you come in before the end of the month.

      7. We are looking for women who value their families. You will be told your children are your reason, not your excuse. You will learn that children are not welcome at 99% of Mary Kay events, and that if your child becomes sick, you will still be expected to attend events and meetings. Mary Kay comes before all family events, children’s birthdays included. You may, indeed, be physically present in your home, but more than likely you will be on the phone or packing for a class or a facial or a delivery. You will need to pay for a sitter, and they do not like to be paid with Mary Kay products. They want money to buy their own (non-Mary Kay) makeup.

      Some random thoughts:
      •Mary Kay does not know what you sell, only what you order. You – the consultant – are the end consumer in eyes of the comapnyh. Mary Kay is not and has not been #1 in skin care and color cosmetics for the last 13 out of 14 years. This statistic has been skewed in the surveys. Mary Kay sells ONLY to consultants, and THIS IS HOW THEY MAKE THEIR MONEY. THEY SELLTHE PRODUCT TO CONSULTANTS.
      •The “Star Consultant” program is a way to help directors talk new recruits and other unit members into ordering more product. The prizes at the $1,800 level are really worth about $15 to $20, at the $2,400 level the prizes are worth about $25 to $30, and so on. Every additional $600 wholesale level adds about $5 to $10 in value to the prizes. The “value” that Mary Kay shows consultants is the retail value. The company actually purchases them for far less.
      •The focus of success meetings is recruiting. Your director may even offer a prize when you bring a recruitable guest. You will see women receive recognition for “sales” and for “recruiting.” Your director might offer to help you earn your “Pearls of Sharing.” You may be asked to give her the names of 6 women you know who would be willing to do a “practice interview” for your training. Keep in mind your director’s goal is to recruit these women (for you) and you will lose these people as customers if they decide to join Mary Kay, too. Your friends become your competitors.
      •Your director’s income is inflated. She tells you the largest commission check she’s ever gotten, and she does not deduct her expenses. The time she says she spends working in her business is inaccurate, she works more and earns less than she admits. She does not earn an executive income. If she has a “free” car, she may be making payments if her unit is small.
      •Your director may offer a prize for placing a minimum order by the 15th of each month. This is to ensure that her production is at least at $1000 by then so she can get a commission check from your orders on the first of the month.

      I wish I could tell you that Mary Kay will work for you. It is unlikely you will make any money. It is very likely you will be manipulated into ordering more than you sold at any given time. Mary Kay is NOT a dual marketing plan, it is a multi-level marketing company that makes money for those at the top of the pyramid on the backs of women just like you. You will not go up if you show up. You will eat into your limited profit margin. You cannot control the amount of money you make, or move up, give yourself a raise or promote yourself whenever you want. Your business is built on people and people cannot be counted on to come through for you.

      Those negative people in your life are the ones who speak about reality. Your director and recruiter are lying to themselves and to you about this “opportunity.” They are not your friends and they do not have your best interests at heart. They are trying to earn some money from your belief in this dream. You need to protect yourself. Spend some time reading on http://www.PinkTruth.com. It is known as a negative site to those in Mary Kay. It is known as a lifeline for those of us who walked the path you are now on. Get out now, and get to know us on Pink Truth.


      Another Mary Kay Sales Director

      1. raisinberry

        LOL Debbie, NONE, ZERO, NADA of your sound financial strategy would be allowed in Mary Kay…
        “You gave up too soon”
        ” You need to give it one full year and THEN decide if it’s for you”
        “Keep your blinders on!”
        “Listen to your Director-she is where you want to be!”
        “You can’t sell from an empty wagon!”
        “You need a full store!”
        Shall I go on?

        1. LOL! She tried the ‘You need to give it a year before deciding’ but I told her that I appreciated her input but the fact was that I was pretty happy with my position as a (then) real estate licensee and already could see that the MK opportunity as a ‘moonlighting activity’ required a bit more involvement than what I was doing for my main source of income. What I wanted differed from what I was getting from MK and selling the product required the same sales techniques modified for cosmetics and skincare but still ‘low numbers’ and earnings results and I didn’t have much of a marketing budget to work with beyond what I was doing for the MK opportunity. I’d rather focus on what I’m doing now. I also said something in response to further pressuring statements like ‘Could you maybe give it another couple of months?’ and, ‘Don’t you know that once you return everything, you likely can’t join MK again for 10 years or maybe never? I said something like ‘Well, that’s OK. I really hoped to have sold the products within a 2-3 week period to a good portion of the customers on file from my neighbor and my own customers, but it didn’t happen and I NEED my money back to take care of some other personal financial matters (I did not let her know what they were(they were fictitious for the purposes of creating a condition that no amount of closing could ever overcome!) but when she asked I told her they were personal and I really did not want to discuss it.) I also told here something like ‘While I like and enjoy the products, the truth of the matter is that my preference is more for the type of work I’m doing now. As an independent contractor of MK it’s a decision that I’m making after giving similar effort to any other sales work that I’ve done and I really feel my future lies in real estate.’ The meeting concluded fairly nicely but I could tell she was stressing out. Note, at that time I was around 21 or 22 (single, and renting the bottom half of a friend’s condo-how time flies!) and she had to have been in her 50’s

  2. Jamming Berry

    So I’m still trying to get out and in an effort to not place an over-sized order of stuff I didn’t need/couldn’t sell/pay astronomical shipping, I turned to another consultant in my group who just happened to be ordering that day to see if I could get my one item in on her order and then pay her back etc… She flat out told me she had already placed her order, but oh wait, she hadn’t placed her order that was under her husband’s InTouch yet, so she could do it for me.

    Ummm– OK.

    1. TRACY

      There is no commission or bonus paid on the spouse, and it doesn’t count toward any sales director stuff or car stuff. But I bet the spouse DOES count toward the numbers needed for red jacket.

  3. A. G

    Sounds like Mary Kay is a symptom of a bigger problem. A lot of women with young children struggle with low self esteem especially those whom have put school or career on hold to raise a family. That season of life can be severely damaging especially with an emotionally unsupportive husband. Those struggling become totally depressed and may eat constantly, others look to feel better through excessive shopping, affairs and “small businesses” in order to validate themselves.

    It’s probably too late for your marriage and it makes me sad for you.

  4. Juliet

    My intention is not to be nosy, but I am hoping that Jamming Berry is out of MK, and I do pray that this gentleman’s family is moving on in a healthy, healing fashion. I do pray for Mrs. Kaybot, for sure – I pray for all the scammed to have the scales fall from their eyes, preferably all at once across the world. Hey I can pray for anything i want lololol. But truly i do hope things are better.

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