Does Mary Kay Work for Everyone?

A Mary Kay consultant named Yesenia tells us how easy it is to make money in Mary Kay. After all, with minimal effort, she sells $400 to $500 in reorders. And if she worked more, she’d make more. She was told there is no quick and easy way to make money in Mary Kay. Huh, that’s funny. I’ve always heard directors say how easy this “business” is. Here you go, ladies. We all just did it wrong.

Does Mary Kay work for everyone? No. There are plenty of reasons why that might be. You may not enjoy the work, you may not have the time to really focus, you may have trouble selling, you may not have access to customers, you may be at a disadvantage you can’t overcome, etc. But this is true of any sales job. And true for any job really. Haven’t we all seen people be hired at our own jobs and they don’t last? Some people are just not cut out for certain types of work and maybe they have extra hurtles that don’t help. But why blame Mary Kay for something that happens with every career? I love my full time dance teaching job. But you know what? Some people hate it and that’s fine. We’re not all built the same.

I’ve been with Mary Kay for two years now. I came in to make a few extra hundred a month and that’s exactly what I do. I make about $400-$500 a month with minimal parties. I essentially built my customer base at the beginning and now the bulk of my income comes from reorders. And during Christmas time, I pull in almost $1000. One thing is for sure, when I spend more time on it, that’s when I make more money. I know that, at least for me, I could make more money if I had the will power to work it more. But I didn’t get in to make it a full time career and that’s okay. My friend did make it her full time career and she’s doing very well for herself.

Can some women be pushy and desperate? Of course. But haven’t we all met sales people like that? Why the focus on this particular company? I’ve been hounded by car salesmen who don’t stop calling me. But I still go back later when I need to shop for a car. I don’t blame the entire Carmax company for a few desperate individuals.

Do they recommend you buy product? Yes. Right now, if you opened up a jewelry store, for example, guess what you have to invest in? Jewelry to sell. I didn’t start off with product right away. I had to learn that a lot of women will cancel or not buy if you don’t have the product on the spot. So by month three, I invested in a good amount of product. No one had to trick me into doing it. I had to learn it for myself. And my director was still nice enough to pretty much lend me her product when she could. Nothing of what they recommend you do is unlike starting any kind of retail business.

I’m sure there are plenty of bad consultants and directors. Just like you can find bad employees and bosses at almost any job. But that’s not the experience that all women have in Mary Kay. I’m happy with the decision I made. I move my products well and I definitely make way more than my mom did when she sold Avon or my friends selling DoTerra. It’s worked out for me for what I was personally chasing. I was a customer long before becoming a consultant and I and my customers stand by this product. So to me, when I spent $100 on a kit worth more than $400, it was a deal. If I decided to quit, I could either return my starter kit or keep it. I knew I would keep it if I quit because I was accustomed to spending $95 on the Miracle Set anyway and at least this way, I was getting the Miracle Set plus mascara, my foundation I adore, makeup remover and there were a few extra things when I signed up. And I could still give away the stuff I wouldn’t use as gifts to people. I have struggled with acne since I was in 5th grade. I have adult onset acne now. I’ve tried everything under the sun. The ONLY thing that has ever actually improved the pH in my skin is Mary Kay. I still have friends who haven’t seen me in a few years who ask me what I’ve done for my skin. So yes. I’ve been genuinely recommending MK since before I was a consultant.

What I’m reading is a lot of people who had bad experiences with their director or unit. My experience has been wonderful. My director was honest with me. She told me I couldn’t make a few hundred just doing catalog sales. That I’d have to do at least some parties. She told me from before that I’d likely lose sales if I didn’t have product on hand but she didn’t push me into it. I learned on my own that she was right. I’ve done pretty well. I didn’t go in expecting to get rich. The day I went to the studio meeting and signed up, all of the directors said, “There’s no easy quick way to make good money. You have to work for it.” They were pretty honest before we were even given the chance to sign up. If you’re going to really invest in your store, then yeah. You’re going to make somewhere closer to 40% so you can keep up with new products coming out and your demos. But to be fair, they strongly recommend you set no more than 10% of your 50% to that kind of stuff. Why new products? For the same reason Sephora and Macy’s are constantly releasing new products as well. To compete with the market. 40% for me has still proven to be good for me and what I wanted and 40% is still high compared to other direct sales companies. For example, I know DoTerra gives a 25% commission.

I write this only so that people can know that these bad experiences are not representative of all units, all consultants and all directors.


  1. BestDecision

    And your Director was violating her agreement when she loaned you product. In any other sales career, you have the time and focus because that’s your only job. Women who work full-time and then also have family obligations–and any life at all, really–don’t want to spend their nights and weekends making phone calls, stalking “sugar sharp” women In stores, or hold parties that last hours and result in fewer profit dollars.

    While you claim you’ve experienced nothing but ethical people in MK, you are the minority, just as you say we are the minority for having our experiences. I went to countless Director meetings. Do you really want to know what your Director says or thinks about you to other Directors?

  2. Barbie

    A lot of legit sales jobs give you leads. More importantly, legit sales jobs strive to hire only as many people as they need for their market, not as many people as they possibly can. I still think sales is a messed up and predatory industry… but nowhere near as predatory as MLM.

  3. JustAFriend

    That’s it? One misspelling? No punctuation gone wild????!!!!! No “lazy loosers”? No “Nobody held a gun to your head”? No “I’m praying for you”?

    A rare sighting in the wild: Kaybotus Coherentius.

  4. raisinberry

    I appreciate her point of view and decent way of providing it. She isn’t really the target of why an anti-mlm website exists. Pin money consultants are never on the radar of the upper sales force. So yes, sell your products, manage your money, get your discount and enjoy maybe 30% profit if you don’t attend anything, don’t get much Section 2, and don’t for the love of god, recruit anyone.

    But if you “Listen to your Director”, you will soon fall victim to the real M.O. of Mary Kay, which is replacement Career Path consultants who drive the largest portion of Unit production. You, sweet woman, are frankly, inconsequential.

    Getting women to recruit and move up the career path, trapping them in production requirements, to earn their Red Jackets, Suits, Cars, and Blouses is where the real money is. Oh yeah, and their “big girl panties”.

    1. MLM Radar

      I think you’re being very nice. But I’m wondering how badly Mary Kay math has tainted her earnings claims.

      Up front she tells us how much she makes… but avoids telling us how much she spends to make it. She says she has “minimal” parties… but never discloses how much time she spends setting up those parties.

      Then she goes right into the “must have inventory” pitch. So I’m thinking that she figures her inventory is a sunk cost. She may have even written it off already on last year’s tax return, and now thinks anything she sells out of her inventory is pure profit.

      She throws another twist at us: women will cancel MK parties if you don’t have inventory. I never heard that one before, and doubt it’s true.

      But I suppose there’s a certain amount of logic to this. You don’t have to worry about “topping off” an order if you only sell from what you have on hand, and never show anyone a catalog. But even if you sell like that, you’ll still wind up with a lot of products on hand you can’t sell because they’re expired, or you guessed wrong. That’s 100% loss, when you stop to think about it.

      I wonder what this pink-fogged Kaybot will say if she ever tracks her expenses and hours using one of the spreadsheets on Pink Truth which you developed. Those are a BIG eye-opener.

  5. coralrose

    Good for you. I’m glad you had a good experience. My goal in MK was modest: to MAKE $250-300 a month, and I wasn’t able to do it. Sure I could sell (a little bit) but the expenses really ate into my profit. I also discovered that if I counted all of my time: phone calls, travel/ driving time, I wasn’t making very little per hour.
    Can ask you about your profit? Are you counting ALL of your losses? I found that when I truly added up everything I spent (on hostess gifts, business cards, ProPay account, demos/ samples, Seminar, etc., etc., etc.) my profit wasn’t that much.

    I also heard my director (and other directors) using very deceptive statements about the “opportunity” and recruiting people who had very little chance of being successful in cosmetic sales and encouraging them to place BIG initial orders. How do you feel about that: recruiting people without actually caring if they have a chance to be successful, or recruiting in areas that already have WAY more consultants than the market can support?

  6. enorth

    According to her FB page, SSD Kellee Valerio (daughter of NSD Sandy Valerio) is having a Spring Closet Clean Out Sale. In addition to her shoes, you can buy Kellee’s lounge-wear, workout clothes and swim-suits. “Everything will be done online, paid by Venmo and items can be picked up or you can pay for shipping.”

    One wonders why Kellee doesn’t donate them to, say, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

    1. Morningstar

      Not sure why directors sell their clothes? Pam Shaw and GMB have done this in the past as well as Gillian Ortega. I think it is because it adds to the psychology of having power over others. In other words, if you as a “lazy loser” would purchase and wear my cast offs, then you will become successful because “I” am successful (and you are not) and this is what I wore in that success role. Maybe I am over thinking this and the lowly MLM person just wants a part of success no matter what the medium is to get it. You are right, clothes are a part of our abundant world and if we cannot use them it is best to pass them on to someone who can use and enjoy them. Compassion escapes NSDs’ and directors’ although they would argue this point.

      1. enorth

        “the psychology of having power over others.”

        My thought was… if she’s making fab executive income, why does she need to sell her clothing? LOL (And who wants to buy a used swim-suit?)

          1. BestDecision

            Be a customer yourself with a different brand. I spent over 10 years doing everything by the book to get ahead, but, like most, I didn’t get anywhere in that time versus my original career. You also don’t want MK customers who always ask for discounts.

    2. Nicole

      Honestly I find these comments to be super offensive, not to this girl, as I know many of you have personal problems with her. But I feel it is very shaming of women buying used clothing… be that out of choice or necessity. Not sure where you all live, but if you open Facebook Marketplace, you will see tons of Women near me selling gently used clothing items. Designer items go especially quick. Why not recoup a fraction of what you paid AND help another woman get designer or high quality items for less? It’s no different than an upscale thrift shop, except Facebook is the middle man and doesn’t take a cut. The result, higher profit for seller, lower cost for buyer. Even if her items aren’t designer, she probably has some nice stuff. What’s wrong with people buying them from her? Maybe she plans to donate whatever doesn’t sell? Some women like to look good but don’t have the extra income and don’t have the hours and hours to spend perusing goodwill in hopes of finding one of the bags of designer clothes that lovely women such as yourselves have dropped off.

      1. TRACY

        Nicole – You’ve completely missed the point. We are not shaming women who buy second hand clothing. We are criticizing the women who sell their clothing not to offer an opportunity for someone, but as a power trip for themselves.

        1. Char

          Is she selling the clothes to Mark Kay consultants to help look the part and perpetuate the scam? Or is she just cleaning out her closet unrelated to MK. The former is a problem.

          I suppose no MLMer ever does anything without recruiting in mind though. Even if she had a stranger buy her clothes, she’d mention the “opportunity” and that MK enabled her to buy them new and that could be you – blah, blah lie.

        2. Morningstar

          Thank you Tracy! Most of my clothes are second hand. I like a particular brand that fits me well whether it is pants, shirts, sweaters or dresses. I have purchased 5 things off ebay in the last 30 days.
          What we are referring to are women who speak and spout of their rich and famous lifestyle and then try to pawn the lifestyle via selling items to MK downline.
          I don’t hang around or know the sellers that I purchase from and am more than happy to use what they don’t need or have come across to assist others.
          What I have seen for sale by MK people are impractical items and usage with heavy perspiration indications.
          Again thanks for your site and your wisdom.

          1. enorth

            “What I have seen for sale by MK people are impractical items”

            She’s also selling accessories, and it’s probably a lot of MK jewelry, handbags, clutch-purses. and key-rings.

      2. Lazy Gardens

        It’s not the women buying and wearing second-hand clothing. Most of us have done it. I buy and donate at the local thrift stores, and used Facebook and Craigslist too.

        It’s the arrogance of presenting your closet cleanout as something other than the need or desire for a change. As if it’s ‘special”.

        At least two NSDs had a “qualify to buy my used stuff” promotion, where the reward for ordering enough Mary Kay was to BUY the used stuff from the NSD’s closet.

      3. BestDecision

        You’re obviously not in MK or you’d get the ego it takes to sell clothes to people who STAND IN LINES and EARN to meet them. Any glance at Pam Shaw, Gloria Mayfield Banks, or Dacia Wiegandt’s social media posts will show you how full of themselves these women are.

  7. Pinkiu

    I was this woman! When I came here, I shared how I needed a few extra hundred a month to buy my husband a truck. I too thought that I was pulling in $300-400 per month. But then the ladies here reminded me that 50% of that was my wholesale cost…plus discounts…plus section 2 and other expenses. In the end, I brought home $100 to $175 per month. It j.u.s.t. covered my truck payment. All in all, I would have been better off with a part-time job working 20 hours per month for $10 per hour.

  8. Data Junkie

    Interesting. I never trust the word “make” when coming from an MLM person. Small business owners don’t use that term. They have cash flow, and the bottom line of their balance sheet says their net revenue for the month or year is either positive (in the black) or negative (in the red). MS Excel even shows negative numbers as red for this reason.

    You can’t even talk about “profit” in the current sense. That’s term is normally only used after the books are finalized for the month or the quarter, after all obligations (taxes, interest, asset depreciation, loss carry-overs etc.) have been taken into account.

    So given a read-out on month-over-month health of a business, don’t believe any numbers other than “net revenue” numbers. Anything else, like “make” is meaningless, as it is only one column of the balance sheet.

    Even the income statements (by level) published by MLMs show gross revenue only…those charts are meaningless. No one is “making” that kind of money. Robert Fitzpatrick’s in-depth research shows that “net revenue” is negative for over 99% for those involved with MLM. Other sources show that the ones making “millions” actually get most of their income from seminar fees, sales/motivational materials and other things like branded t-shirts, not from product sales in their down-line.

    MLMers need to wake up to the reality that the top 1% make most of their bonus money directly off the bottom 99%. Due to inevitable market saturation in MLM, the ones buying the stuff are mostly the ones selling the stuff…and sadly most of the stuff never sells outside the network.

  9. enorth

    “I never trust the word “make” when coming from an MLM person…Even the income statements (by level) published by MLMs show gross revenue only…those charts are meaningless.”

    Love this ^. I read some blogs last night from ex-Senegence reps who only realized they were losing money when they did their taxes! But they thought they were “making” good money up until that time…

    Unfortunately, so many entering the MLM fray have no business experience or training, and they foolishly listen to their equally foolish up-lines. Some are so mesmerized by the “sisterhood” that they don’t realize they are being emotionally manipulated and financially drained.

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