Mary Kay’s 2% Club

Written by Raisinberry

After I resigned from Mary Kay, I found that I gained greater clarity over time.  Where little white lies once seemed to be no big deal, I started to realize the damage that they caused. Actions that seemed so acceptable in the pink bubble started to feel dirtier and dirtier.

Any great lie always has a bit of truth in it – otherwise it wouldn’t be so easy to sell. One of those lies is the carrot on the stick that is held out to consultants…. being part of Mary Kay’s 2% club as a sales director.

The 2% represents women who are rare and wonderful.  She is Martha Stewart, Lara Kroft, Mother Theresa, Julia Roberts and Oprah all in one. And believe it or not…  this woman wants to be a Mary Kay Sales Director. It’s the only place where all her gifts can be utilized!

One of the ways they convince consultants that they want to be sales directors is by keying in on what they’re unhappy about. Highlight dissatisfaction and pretend to enrich their lives in order to push them toward directorship. It’s sick.

The process starts with creating a “them” and “us” line in the starter kit that shows who is “focused” and “determined” and is a “woman of her word” and who is not.

The 2 percenter is the Mary Kay director. She is the extra mile gal, the woman who never gives up, the woman who has worked herself into the inner ranks of the greats! She is to be admired, respected, listened to, lifted on high, and… dare I say it, pitied.

Over the years I have figured out who a Mary Kay 2 percenter is. She is a woman who has needed recognition and achievement for a long time. She has seen herself as capable, but she is easily influenced. She is unsure of herself, while outwardly appearing very competent. And while it would be impossible to list all the individual characteristics of all the sales directors, there is a common thread. Painful as it is to admit, a Mary Kay sales director is a woman who needs to be important and significant, but also functions comfortably in denial.

A 2 percenter pretends.

She was told that to be a good leader you have to be a good follower. She was given words to say that caused her internal buzzers to go off, but she said them anyway. She was given some rule stretching techniques and tricks of the sales director trade, and while being initially shocked to hear them, adopted them anyway. She responded to the limelight. She deferred to those with more experience. She wanted to be “in” the 2% club because that was where the best of the best lived. That’s where the scoop was.

If she made it there, she was finally validated. If doubts surfaced, she quickly subdued them. She had arrived and surely this was all it was cracked up to be.

Funny how manipulation works. In hindsight, I see how the bait was laid out for the career path. There was the interview in which my life was proven to me to be less than satisfactory. I certainly wasn’t being paid what I was worth, or preparing for the future. I didn’t drive “free” and I certainly wasn’t making $40,000 a month. I must be a very stupid woman to stay working on the life I had.

Once in Mary Kay, the directors taunted us with “insider info” that they got first… and peeks at the new suit that would be unveiled at Seminar! If we got to be red jackets, we would get a corner of the fabric to put in our wallet to fondle and covet. Directors knew everything ahead of time. Peons did not.

Directors stayed with each other in hotels. Peons stayed with peons. Directors had extra matching outfits, matching earrings, and wallets and makeup cases. Everything directors had and showed off signaled that you didn’t have them. Directors had their own vendors, and their own important meetings and everything signaled that they were “in” and you were not.

The goal was to create a “lack” in you… a need, which could only be answered by becoming a 2%er. And the minute you figured out the futility of the striving and thought twice about it, you were abandoned by your sales director to suffer the grand manipulation of being labeled a “dead red.” If that didn’t get you working again toward being in the 2% club, nothing would.

This “create dissatisfaction” and exclusiveness goes all the way up the career path. NSDs are separated between “inner circle” and “outer circle”. If your commissions get to $325,000 a year, you are an “Inner”. How sad for NSDs who line up on stage outside the circle. Everyone can see their humiliation… their “lack.”

Now some would say these are all just goal designations to keep a woman moving forward in her life. “You must have the next goal firmly in your mind before you reach the one you are completing,” we are told. But you can set a goal and work towards it without having been first humiliated, brandished “outer” or denied access in order to make you feel inferior.

Those who are easily manipulated respond rightly to this manufactured humiliation. These women strive because striving means there is hope. These ladies have to prove something… something so deep it gnaws at them. This is where that lie embedded in the truth sounds so good and yet is so wrong. We are told that twenty percent of any organization does 80% of the work. But are the lower 80% humiliated in the process? Do the 20% of church members who do all the volunteering make themselves a “pin” that designates their superiority?

When did going for a goal mean that anyone else who wasn’t going for the same goal, was a loser, or unfocused, or less than? In the alternate universe of Mary Kay, the modus operandi is to first create exclusivity and a huge chasm between the have and the have nots, thereby engaging something very deep that drives the woman to finally “belong.” Secure, mature woman generally wouldn’t respond to it.

The subtle difference between healthy goal setting and ability, contrasted by what MK does, is this: Your pursuit of excellence is not at the expense of any other person. No one has to be left out, made insignificant, because you became a great pianist, or teacher or writer or nurse. Imagine a nursing convention where all of the highest paid RN’s got a separate dining room? Try and imagine a sports team where the top point getters got a different jersey to play in.

What we have accepted as the norm and what goes unnoticed is Mary Kay subtly and overtly creates dissatisfaction and lack in women in order to bait them into striving to quiet inner doubts and fears. Mary Kay uses recognition and awards programs that have no basis in truth to awaken longing for significance in all those who have not achieved and who function well pretending. By appealing to what is lacking emotionally in women (what they will swallow and what can be “hooked”), Mary Kay manipulates them.

Mary Kay trains its sales leadership to use “being left out” as the motivator to achievement. I have witnessed it. The idea is to create the dissatisfaction of being left out and whoever responds to it is your next 2%er. Since sales of the product will not sustain a business, what has to be sustained is the 2%er who will drive that initial and early consultant production before it dries up. And she has to be someone who needs the significance more than a clear conscience.

No National awards are given for being the oldest operating Unit, or for the lowest attrition, or for the highest per consultant retail sales, or for highest number of skin care customers, or for consistently selling every month. No REAL sales activity is recognized or awarded at all. The 2%ers are so involved in making it to the next significant level to not be “left out” they will do just about anything to attain it. That’s where pretending comes in.

And that is where the sales director is to be pitied. The more she strives to reach the carrot, the more the carrot is lifted higher. To reach the higher carrot she must compromise her ethics which further assaults her self esteem. With decreasing self esteem she needs to reach that next level to quiet her growing insecure soul. I am not kidding.

The more you take the wholesale order from a woman you know has almost no chance of selling the products, the worse you feel. But with a Cadillac at stake, you must. After all, the NSD’s goal is Inner Circle so all directors have to reach their “number” and you wouldn’t want to be the only one who didn’t make it, ’cause on Awards Night, they will all get that exclusive pin or trinket and you won’t

Better get it done any way possible… like any good 2%er would. Humiliation is a great motivator. Honest achievement is born in persistence and truth. Mary Kay has no desire to know what’s true and prefers instead what is expedient. Nothing produces faster than an insecure woman, facing humiliation and a deadline.

20 Comments

    1. MLM Radar

      Which math do you want? The net commission after chargebacks, expenses, topping off orders, car co-pays, etc?

      Or the amount of unwanted, unsellable and expired products that end up in her and her “team’s” closets, eBay, charity bins and trash cans? If she as an NSD is getting a 4% cut, that would be over $8 MILLION wholesale in product.

  1. Char

    The worst part of all that manipulation is convincing women that they ‘want’ to be a top liar/scammer. The women don’t even realize what they are striving to be when then want to be directors etc.. That’s a big part of the problem. Let’s simplify it:

    MK=MLM=Pyramid Scheme
    If you are successful in MK, you are a successful, lying, pyramid schemer. Definitely not something to be proud of. It’s much more honorable to have failed at being an MLMer.

  2. Pinkiu

    Oh, this one is going to make a lot of people angry. What a powerful piece. None of us want to admit that we are that woman who saw an inner lack and was looking for a way to fulfill it.

    Rather than pointing us TO God, SDs use MK as the promise of that fulfillment. Let’s not forget to add that extra layer of religious guilt. If we don’t pursue the 2%, then we are not trusting God. Don’t you know that it’s God’s will for us to be in MK?

    1. MLM Radar

      True story:
      Two women (I think they were cousins) came to our church last week begging for help. They didn’t have enough food for their children. We gave them groceries from our food pantry and one said she would pay us back with a gift of Mary Kay cosmetics. She was about to join, and would earn enough to show her gratitude very soon.

      These were women who were relying on God to help them get on their feet. Everyone had let them down. That’s why them came to a church looking for food, and that’s why the first woman was joining a company that put God first.

      My eyes went wide. Absolutely not! Did she know what MK was? A bunch of lying predators trying to squeeze money from desperate women! God has no part in that.

      The second woman poked the first and said, “See? What did I tell you? All they want you to do is buy a lot of inventory.”

      I agreed and explained why: The woman who is trying so hard to recruit you will get about a quarter of whatever you spend on inventory, and you’ll be stuck with a bunch of products you can’t sell. Mary Kay inventory is absolutely the last thing you need when you have to ask for free food for your children.

      As they left I prayed that we had just saved two unfortunate families from the pink predator. There’s a special place in hell reserved for any woman who would take money from starving families just to make her car production quota.

      1. reader

        You teamed up with the second woman (the one who said “See? What did I tell you? All they want you to do is buy a lot of inventory.”) to save the first one and her family. That’s awesome. 🙂

  3. PinkyTuskMascara

    I think Mary Kay Ash was either the original mean girl, or she was so bullied she became Queen of Mean in business to put other women in their place. The tactics in this company of guilt, shame, ‘cliques’ and so forth just show she was not a woman of God at all. You lift women up – not tear them down, not make them envy, not take resources from their family.

    This was an amazing piece. Thank you for sharing such powerful words.

  4. Lazy Gardens

    “This “create dissatisfaction” and exclusiveness goes all the way up the career path.”

    And it started with Mary Kay herself. In one of her books she brags to the interviewer that the levels of clothing create competition.

    1. BestDecision

      That’s actually what happened with the Red Jacket. Consultants were awarded time on a baseball field and given red jackets to wear so they were visible from the crowd. After that, everybody wanted one.

  5. PeachyNotPink

    Wow…just….wow. This has really made me see the evil in a much different light.

    Being an accountant, I’ve always looked at the numbers. When I found the “advancement” pdf on InTouch, I was flabbergasted at what the requirements were to be an NSD (as well as the production needed each quarter to get and keep the Cadillac). I’ve always maintained that if a woman could see how impossible the numbers actually were to achieve, they’d run the other way. I know this is why new recruits are not shown this document before signing up and aren’t even told it exists after the contract is sent off. I had to go looking for it, and they don’t make it easy to find.

    I honestly never thought about how truly insidious the manipulation is within MK. It’s sociopathic to prey on people’s weaknesses like this. Then to gaslight them into believing it’s their fault when the “plan” doesn’t work. It’s sickening.

    As my teens would say, I’m “shook”.

    1. BestDecision

      Most people actually do show the Advance brochure to recruit prospects but LIE and say “it’s easy” to get there. They’re lied to about making an “executive income” at the Director level and lied to that its simple to get classes on your datebook.

      At no time working real jobs in high school through now have I witnessed so much lying.

      1. PeachyNotPink

        @BestDecision Are we talking about the same document? When my “friend” recruited me I was shown the glossy brochure on advancement that did make it seem so easy. But what I’m referring to above is the 28 page document on InTouch that outlines every level in MK with the benefits, rewards, commission, etc. It also lists specifically the number of team members, offspring, production, and more for each level. The last few pages are specifics about the car program.

        There is a ton of detail in this document. And while I’m sure a skilled SD or NSD could manipulate someone into thinking it was “easy”, I would like to think that the document itself is enough to make people think twice….

        1. BestDecision

          Same document. Again, people claiming to be “Godly”, saying they pray about everything, and taking the whole “God first, family second” to a manipulating level is how people order their Starter Kits.

  6. enorth

    “Nothing produces faster than an insecure woman, facing humiliation and a deadline.”

    I’ve come across them begging, shouting, “guilting”, and weeping on their social-media posts and videos.

    That’s not empowerment, it’s degradation.

  7. Juliet

    There is a director’s script or letter to her unit, can’t remember which, where the directions to the consultants literally, repeatedly tell them when they do not know what the answer is to ask “what would Mary Kay do?”, ”imagine Mary Kay is standing beside you!”, ad nauseum. I was and am horrified, shocked, disgusted — these are phrases only applicable to Jesus and it is not ever recognized in the document the horror of those phrases and being directed to believe them.

    I think the document might be in the Documents section of the Scribd website. There are a slew of Mary Kay documents, not sure how I came across them but I sure appreciate all who have posted them.

    And for the articles such as this — TRUTH — about ourselves, it often can be ugly but that’s the only way I have personally found I become a better person. I love being better, I just don’t like the method of getting there!!

    1. navyhawk

      When my director actually said this to me, I told her exactly that! That the phrase is actually What would Jesus do? and that she was being borderline blasphemous. She did not appreciate that.

    1. enorth

      “NSD Jamie Cruse Vrinios”

      There was a thread on the Discussion Board about her. She had been with Monat. I don’t know if she still is, but she’s also with Tomorrow’s Leaf.

      https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tomorrows-leafllc-launches-in-it-city-nashville-tennessee-provides-people-with-a-home-based-business-opportunity-300679996.html
      “We look forward to sharing Tomorrow’s Leaf® with customers and consultants, such as Brand Ambassador and Leadership Coach, Jamie Vrinios, a 25-year pioneer who’s career total team production has raked in over one hundred million in sales.”

      (They mean whose, not who’s.)

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