The Illusion of the Good Old Days in Mary Kay

Written by Raisinberry

I can remember when things were much different in Mary Kay. I think that for the most part, that old school mental image was in our minds when we conducted every recruiting interview, every career talk. We were selling an idea of Mary Kay that doesn’t exist anymore. Maybe it never did.

Things are not the way we thought they were, and even if we could be returned to the “good old days”, we would still be riding the back of a MLM pyramid scheme long past its “start up days” and still requiring the consumer to be the consultant. The dirty little secret that none of the NSD’s want you to find out is this: they got in early. Those that got in in the last 10 years, did it by all manner of dubious activity.

I will never forget Phyllis Sammons saying at Emerald Seminar concerning becoming a National, “It don’t have to be pretty, it just has to get did.” I love Phyllis and wish her the best. But she revealed in a twinkle of an eye, that it didn’t matter how it came together. Gettin’ it done was the goal.

She fell to the bottom of the NSD salaries. This can only mean one thing in my mind. She knows she finagled her National Area… it was weak because it was not “waited” for. Only she and Kathy Helou will know the details… but I am guessing that Phyllis regrets her meteoric rise, done by hook or by crook. Sometimes you can have a reasonable goal, but not a reasonable time frame. Mary Kay doesn’t teach reasonableness anymore. Maybe Phyllis is reaping that… or maybe she has a conscience and isn’t teaching frontloading anymore.

Could be that all those Directors and NSD’s who show low commissions are actually the most ethical? Getting it done quickly can often mean a whole lot of people who believed in Mary Kay got scalded by the goals of somebody else! No matter. We march on. If “she who was scalded” isn’t around today, we rationalize she never would have been. “Church Lady” would say, “How convenient!”

Back in the day, you worked your business by learning everything in your kit and watching 3 classes of your Director or recruiter or both before you would ever hold one yourself. That was the rule. You took your recruit with you on your appointments to assist, and sometimes before you even signed her. Everybody did a perfect start. There were no exceptions – You did a perfect start, only there was not a Director there to recruit your customers before they ever held a class for you. The advent of the “business debut” made recruiting happen fast. Unfortunately it also killed the new consultant’s show lines.

When you wanted to move up you started with earning your car. You held 3 to 5 classes a week for that because you had to show you were a master consultant. You went on target for your car with 5 women and $4,000 in production in my day and you finished with 12 and 16,000. Meaning NOW you went into DIQ… with hopefully 12 real consultants. Momentum was huge because all the ladies could see your CAR.

Only you couldn’t just sign a card to get into DIQ. You had to be recommended by your Director with a written evaluation of your skills! That evaluation had to be approved. You HAD to know how and prove you could both sell and lead. Most of your 30 consultants were called and verified legitimate! Even with this tighter system than today, there were cheats and breakdowns. Why would could MKcorporate loosen the demands of the job by lowering DIQ to 8 and requiring less documentation on the skill of the applicant? Didn’t they know they were setting the consultant up to fail?

Cheating to finish qualifications has always existed… all the way up. You simply are not going to do 4 months of work and find yourself on the last day, short people or production. You aren’t. In fact you are encouraged not to start over. To start completely all over again because you needed one or two more people is out of the question. If you have any means at all of finishing yourself, you will most likely do it.

In “Car”, if you don’t make it you can drop off the first month and use one more to finish as long as you maintained $4,500. If you are at $3,300 at 10:55 pm, on the last day, what will you do? Lose one month perhaps? Or lose it all? You will cough up the $1200 and rationalize that you will sell it next month. “How convenient.”

What this does along with other Mary Kay accepted deceptions, is slowly erode your ethics for the sake of the goal. From the very beginning, consultants are slowly being “trained” to “find a way or make a way.” And this is praised as “leadership.” But this is really boot camp for greater goal-reaching atrocities.

There is only one reason requirements would be reduced and cheating ignored. Mary Kay needs more Directors, and especially now that so many are returning product and stepping down. That Director “position” they are always trying to sell you, which now a hamster can fill, is actually the engine of production for MK. That’s why they can look the other way. That’s why they “allow” curious relatives and strange ordering habits.

They need Hamsters to facilitate incoming revenue and monitor it under certain requirements, topping off production with their own money as needed to hold that $4,000 minimum. They send you $1750 on the 15th of the month for Unit Commission, and you kick back 800.00 at month end, to stay afloat. Then it becomes the National’s job to sell how great that position is and where it leads, to keep the Hamsters from running off the wheel.

There is no other way to perceive an easing of requirements. And chances are, with the loss of many Directors in the last 12 months, Mary Kay will need to come up with a “Contest” that allows for a Quick path to Directorship or has a creative “double point” component in order to fill these vacant posts. Watch for some added incentive in the 2007-08 year of reduced qualifications

There are surely veteran Nationals, right this minute, fighting for a return to old ways. And likewise there will be ones who are panicking at the loss of income, who are furiously moving people up by massive recruiting and frontloading. What they fail to realize is that no matter what they do… either one is a house of cards!

As long as Mary Kay does not care about the sale to the RETAIL CUSTOMER, but relies on the wholesale sale to the consultant, and continues to operate with inflated prices that cover the commissions of the Top of the Pyramid, Mary Kay will be an old, aging pyramid scheme, coming to a slow, total collapse in the US. You can see why overseas markets are so important. Mary Kay will show dead even sales this year… and never tell you that they took a loss in the USA that China and Russia will cover.

Back in the day, of 5 step customized skin care, consultants knew something. “Consulting” meant they could talk intelligently on products and were not scaring customers off with non-stop recruiting attempts. We didn’t stalk. We didn’t warm chatter other than what came out of friendly natural conversation. We didn’t have bogus model searches and bait and switch guest nights. We didn’t try and get every dime from our customer on the first sale with a roll up bag, or convince her that a roll up bag was not as good, as a starter kit! We never took someone else’s customer because reputation was important to us. And even with all that, the slow erosion of ethics begins anyway as pressure and manipulation to reach the top is placed upon you. Find a way or make one!

Consultant training is not Director training. Real Director training in earnest-happens with the searing of your conscience.

Maybe it is a sign of our times. Or maybe Mary Kay is a training ground for deceit by its current practices. The erosion of rules of conduct in Mary Kay are symptomatic of the greater breakdown of ethics in our world today. But the hypocrisy of Mary Kay is that they tell us they are the Better world. The whole system of praise and recognition depends on women who will seek out that recognition while slowly being trained in deceptive practices.

From the first deception, praising new recruits for retail they have never sold, through earning cars and units by less than honest means, Mary Kay models the teaching that RESULTS are the only thing that matters and any way you get there will be your little secret. While holding up high ideals to our faces, calling ourselves “women of excellence” and parading the notion that this company is being blessed by the Almighty, they are corrupt in secret.

Maybe the “good old days”, were perceived as “good”, only because we never knew what was really going on. If left unchecked, this new breed of consultants and NSDs who create National Areas in record time will reveal how corrupt and ill-equipped consultants truly are. Since Corporate clearly prefers this method of building National Areas because they are exciting and draw big bucks..I think it is safe to assume you can kiss the “good old days” goodbye…even if they were only a figment of our imaginations.


  1. BestDecision

    It was always hard to take team members to classes with me because I never had enough on my datebook! And then no one wanted to be pulled away from their families or down time to “assist” me when they’d earn nothing from it.

    And as for finishing production for goals or maintenance, EVERYONE does it. I’ve had NSDs tell me to do it, and I’ve had many chats backstage or in Director meetings and classes and hear how somebody ordered dozens of boxes of product to finish things up. There are extra credit cards and second mortgages propping up MK businesses right now, and I believe there always will be.

  2. TRACY

    There is literally no one in MK who hasn’t placed an order to finish production for a car, level up, minimum monthly production, “stay active,” etc. It’s so gross.

  3. Char

    With this article, I am once again reminded of the act of cigarette smoking – back in the day. You all know what I’m talking about: the glamour, sexiness, buzz, independence, etc. portrayed, when in fact, it was addictive poison!

    We must remember that the brand is insignificant when smoking. This is important for those of you who do not yet understand that MLMing is something you do. Think: Are you an MLMer like a smoker? Whether you smoke Camels or Marlboro, do Mary Kay or Juenesse, doesn’t matter. You are an MLMer.

    We are so much more knowledgeable and aware now, as secrets and tactics used by these devious manufacturers have been revealed – by force. See if you can draw any comparison to the act of MLMing to smoking from snippets below. It was too long to copy the whole thing.

    Chapter 2 Nicotine and addiction Until recently the industry has denied its product is addictive. Most recently it has used a definition of addictiveness so broad that it encompasses shopping and the Internet. Internally, it has known since the 1960s that the crucial selling point of its product is the chemical dependence of its customers. Without nicotine addiction there would be no tobacco industry. Nicotine addiction destroys the industry’s PR and legal stance that smoking is a matter of choice.

    Chapter 4 Advertising The industry maintains that advertising is used only to fight for brand share and that it does not increase total consumption – academic research shows otherwise. The documents show that advertising is crucial in nurturing the motivation to smoke by creating or projecting the positive values, such as independence, machismo, glamour or intelligence, erroneously associated with the product.

    Chapter 7 “Emerging markets” Faced with reducing levels of smoking in the West and an insatiable need for money, the companies have moved aggressively into developing countries and Eastern Europe. The documents reveal an arrogance and fanaticism that has imperialist echoes.

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