Building Mary Kay Sand Castles

Written by SadNPink

When I joined Mary Kay, it was to purchase the products at half price and maybe… MAYBE dabble in the business a little to make extra money. I never intended to really go full force into this business.

In fact, my husband told me two things before I plunged in: 1. Have fun. If you cannot have fun, then don’t do it. 2. This is a multi-level marketing business like the other two I had been in.

Now, if I had only thought about it more, I would have heeded number 2. However, I was told that Mary Kay was not an MLM but dual marketing. My husband insisted they were the same and HE WAS RIGHT. So contrary to the old marketing film “Consider the Possibilities,” this company is no different than any other MLM out there.

I came in with a small inventory but I quickly borrowed money to build it up to business level as I had good success in selling in my area. That was because others had been very active here some years back and then quit. I inherited ready made customers who did not know any other consultant.

With my success, I decided to really dig in and see how far I could go. I dreamed of being an NSD one day, and I hoped to be able to help other women develop their own businesses. DIQ was hell, but I managed to make it in the four month time frame to become a director after just 14 months in MK. I also had the car.

During my first year, I won all of the director awards and managed to win the Queen’s Court of Sharing. I focused on winning challenges all the way along. My unit was growing and the next year I won the Queen’s Court of Sharing again. However, MK was taking a toll on my home life and my spiritual life as well.

I ate, slept and breathed MK 24/7. Those who knew me worried about me. I did not have lack of work ethic…I worked too much. However, I could see that if I let up my unit would start to crumble. In my second year, I got to Premier Club status. Things were really kicking and I was off to earn that Caddy.

Following Seminar though, my unit suddenly crashed. Several key people decided MK was not for them. They returned products and took many team members with them. Our area economy was not good so bookings were getting harder to get. I worked harder and harder, being out six nights a week.

When I began to question my involvement in MK, I had NO ONE I could talk with. As a director, we are not to talk with our consultants about our hard times. We are seen as negative if we question, so I began to question God. Is this really where you want me to spend my time Lord? I asked that question for months. Of course, my NSD and others told me this is where I should be to minister to women. What an emotional battle as I saw consultants fall off. I replaced them as fast as I could, but it was getting harder to do the “talk”.

One night, I decided to visit Pink Truth. A consultant of mine had stumbled across the site and asked me about it. I came and read the site. My first reaction was anger. I told myself that these were just angry women. However, something deep inside told me to keep reading. Over several nights, I read more and more. I finally read a director’s story that could have been mine. That did it. Something clicked inside and I knew I had my answer.

I shocked my husband the next day with my announcement that I was leaving MK. I had seen him sit home alone too many nights. I was burned out emotionally and physically. I had been a hands on director for a long time helping my team members to the loss of time with my family and my faith.

I left MK for these reasons:

  1. It is an MLM and you have to continuously recruit forever in order to keep your position or reach a higher one. I had seen consultants leave as fast as they could be replaced. I now see directors lasting about one to two years then burning out and quickly being replaced by NSDs eager to hold their big checks in place. It is a never ending run on a wheel going nowhere.
  2. I was burned out working 60 hours a week. I never enjoyed a vacation because I was always concerned about production etc. I saw most other directors in the same boat. No peace, no joy. Just lots of work. The joy and peace were fake! They were faking it and I thought they were making it!!!
  3. I could not in good conscience ask another woman to put her money into something that would never pay her well. I had amassed a huge inventory as a result of buying up to make production on a few months when the unit did not quite get there. Yes, I could sell it, .but it would take a long time to do so.
  4. I wanted to go to church and the grocery store and see women as my friends not as potential customers. You can NEVER relax in MK if you want to move up.
  5. I never saw a six figure income. I worked till I nearly dropped in DIQ. Then I worked like that as a director. But with all the director expenses and meetings to attend and suit to buy etc. any extra money went out as fast as it came in. Did I work hard? Ask my family. I was no slacker so those who come here and lurk – we did give MK our best, but it did not return it’s best to us.
  6. I was tired of seeing spiritual manipulation and lies being used to get women to move up in MK or join. As a Christian, I was offended to see God’s name tacked on to everything as though this was the only thing which could draw you closer to Him.
  7. The last reason I left was simply that this was no longer fun at all. It was total burn-out. I was becoming someone I no longer liked in my quest. I could not live with that. Mary Kay was like trying to build a beautiful sand castle on the seashore only to have it washed away over and over again by the waves. There is nothing more frustrating and heartbreaking.

When I stepped down, I was making production and had even medaled. My NSD told me I could just do a few classes on weekends and only work 15 hours a week and still be successful. REALITY CHECK: You cannot do that and maintain a unit unless you are the daughter of an NSD and can inherit units from other failed directors. I was also told that if I left MK I would lose my opportunity to have a ministry to women. Funny, I thought to myself, I thought God called a person to a ministry not MK. That comment really hurt.

There have been any number of times I cried after I stepped down. Not because MK was being left behind, but because I truly loved my consultants. They were my friends. I have told them the truth about Mary Kay since I have left and I am now breathing free air once again

I have no regrets at leaving and I will NEVER again have anything to do with an MLM. My prayer for each of you reading is that you will get free from this sandcastle/dream-destroying scam. Do not be afraid to take a stand. Don’t let the waves continue to wash over you and break down all your work. My favorite quote is from Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” We can make a difference and truly enrich women’s lives by exposing the lies of MLM’s and leave these organizations.


  1. nomoremlm4me

    That was incredibly painful to read – I’m sure it was MUCH more painful to live through. Thank you for taking the time to write about the reality of MK. You are awesome!

  2. ThinkPinkThinkAgain

    Thank you for sharing your story, not just here anonymously but with your former unit members. I’m hoping that one day my best friends in MK (currently a director and DIQ) will come forward with their own stories of seeing the light.

  3. Shay

    Jam berry is closing and leaving consultants in the dust and won’t even communicate with them. Search Twitter for the video of the announcement from the “elite” I would post it but can’t remember the persons name who posted it. I think it’s Amia says or something.

    1. Char

      Multi-level marketing is not a sustainable business model. You cannot recruit your own customers and create your own infinite competition. The founders know this.

      An MLMing company’s success is directly related to how well the deception is executed.

      The product is irrelevant. People MUST grasp that concept. MLM-ing is something you “do”. Avoid being an MLMer just like you avoid being a robber, killer, drunk driver, etc.. Being an MLMer is bad, embarrassing, greedy, deceptive, shady, and disgusting. You are not helping your fellow human. You are taking advantage of them. Realize this,
      or you are no better than your average con man.

      That, my friends, is the tough love truth!

      1. Char

        Agreed. That’s because they are MLMers, con women, and it has nothing to do with the product they choose to facilitate the scamming.

        Whether you steal a car, money, or diamonds of different quality, if you are “steal-ing” them, you are a thief. An MLMer is a form of thieving with a definition of its own.

        You either are one, or you aren’t. Again, the product is irrelevant.

      2. Coffee-Queen

        Here come the Kaybots… saying, why not join MK now that Jamberry is closing! I thought that was so disrespectful when they did it when Stella and Dot closed

    1. Lazy Gardens

      Why is MK different that any other experience or company?

      You know … a cooler full of ice and a grill can do that, with no pressure, except to recruit the neighbors to come over an toss on their own burgers or hot dogs and shove their 6-pack of whatever in the ice.

    2. MLM Radar

      If I was a kaybot I’d actually like the Dacia plan… once you get past the spelling errors… because it looks like a way to sell to end user customers.

      There are only a few problems with it:
      1. The gorilla is still in the room, and it’s bigger than before. Almost no one wants to book or attend a home sales party. So good luck with that.

      2. The plan goes straight to recruiting before the party guests place their first order. There’s a reason for that. Once they leave the room there’s little or no chance they’ll listen to the recruiting pitch.

      3. The plan shows you a way to sell, but you still know next to nothing about cosmetology. Even worse, your guests are also aware that you know next to nothing about cosmetology. Furthermore, even when the guests don’t know you, Mary Kay still has a very bad reputation for its consultants knowing next to nothing about cosmetology. All of these are reasons you have so much trouble booking the party in the first place.

      4. What’s with the “$10 per person” treatment menu? Notice the fine print at the bottom of the 4-to-a-page cards. Gee, it’s hard enough to get people to show up in the first place. I wonder when the guests get told they have to pay for the party.

      Of course, the well-indoctrinated kaybot who’s already used to paying for “free” training probably won’t blink at asking her guests to pay. Most of them will just make pity purchases, if they buy anything at all, so making enough sales to break even is tough. Collecting $10 per person will at least cover some of the consultant’s cost.

      No thanks. If I want a spa treatment I’ll just call my friend with the hot tub and see if we can organize a hen party. Bring something to share, but no $10 admission will be collected.

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