Bankrupt After Mary Kay

This young woman was a Mary Kay director who bought into all the hype and into appearing successful. Bought into it… literally.  Does that sound crazy? Only if you’ve never actually been in Mary Kay or if you’re in Mary Kay and in serious denial.

Buying your way up the “career ladder” and into recognition is the norm in Mary Kay, it’s just that it’s not supposed to be discussed. And that makes sense… don’t discuss it because it’s wrong and silly and we all know it, but the upline depends on it for their commission checks to keep rolling in. Buying your way in Mary Kay is probably the most destructive thing about the company, and the dirtiest secret of all.

Julie was a family member of someone I dated about five years ago.  She had been doing Mary Kay for about 15 years or so.  She repeatedly called me to “be a model” for an event that she hosted at her home every Saturday called “Models, Muffins, and Makeovers.”

After about the 3rd time of her asking I finally agreed to go so she would quit bugging me.  When I went, I was totally sold.  She lived in a million dollar home, drove a “free” car, was dripping in diamonds, had been on numerous free trips, and seemed to be living the dream.  She showed copies of her paystubs that showed ten thousand dollar paychecks … and all she did was “play with makeup” — in her words.  She even bribed people on the spot to sign up w with beautiful fake costume jewelry.

Even though I really wanted to sign up on the spot, I was scared and told her I wanted to think about it.  She sent me home with an Applause magazine and all I could see was these young superstars earning huge monthly paychecks. Julie kept telling me that I was the same age as them, and I could do it, too.

I totally believed and trusted her, because she was a family member of someone of whom I was in a serious relationship with.  She invited us to go to church with her (nice touch), and then after church she would answer any questions we had over lunch — her treat of course.

She got me.  Hook, line, and sinker.  I was sold.  I wanted into this pink bubble, and I wanted to do it 100%.  She convinced me to quit my job (a very well paying job that I had just landed straight out of college) and do Mary Kay full time. O f course that meant working as her assistant very cheap to “learn the business.”

I was brought in with FULL $3,600 inventory … is there any other way — if you are going to be “serious” about this business?

Julie failed to mention to me all of the product changes that were coming the next month. Tons of products that I just purchased were not longer going to be in the Look Book because they were being replaced by new formulas and new color.  I was too new at the time to fully realize what was going on — I knew nothing about makeup or skincare.

With everything said and done, samples, organizers, recruiting packets, class supplies, and more products… I probably spent close to $10,000 over the next few months.  I was not the least bit scared or worried though, because this stuff would “fly off my shelves” she told me.

She told me my first step was to hold my debut — she graciously offered to hold it at her house — which I later learned only because it was in her best interest to do this so that she could recruit everyone.  I was to invite everyone I knew with skin.  I must have invited 50 people.  I had 10 people confirmed, and NOT ONE PERSON showed up … not even my mother.  I remember how crushed I was. That should have been a RED LIGHT and huge signal to me … but the brainwashing began … this would now become a huge part of my “I” story which I would tell at my director’s debut.  I would overcome the odds, and not give up.  Julie gave me a huge pep talk, and I kept going.

I became the pest that Julie was and began to bug my friends to come to Julie’s house for these events that she held twice a week.  I even lost a really good friend over it.  Julie had converted part of her house in to her training center, and then another additional room for the model make up room.

I realized that holding skincare classes was not the “trick” to this business — it was just getting people to her so that she could sell them like she did me.  That worked all up until I was in DIQ, and then through DIQ.  She got credit for all the production while I was in DIQ. Then after that we were on our own, because of course she wanted us to fail, so if we lost our directorship, she would get all of those people back.

My journey through MK was about two years.  Once you see everything one time through you realize what is going on.

Julie lost 6 directors over the course of my journey … one director whom I became very good friends with must have had at least $50-$60K worth of MK sitting a room in her house.  Julie knew this — and just kept encouraging us to order every month to make production — as if losing directorship was the worst thing on earth.

I sold the dream to one of my friends — who followed in my footsteps 100% — she also filed for bankruptcy about 6 months after I did. We were spending money on Career Conference, Seminar, prizes for our unit, taking our units to mystery days … everything said and done, we both were about $60K in debt.

Smoke and Mirrors — that’s all it was.  Everyone thought we were both successful.

Anyway, I am so glad I got out of the pink cult and got my life back.  There are so many lies … I could go on.

I feel bad, because am actually really good friends with a very “successful” director who started the exact same time I did.  I hesitate to post anything, because I don’t want to smear or in anyway affect her business.  When she started her training center, I helped open it with her and held my meetings with her.  She is a very hard worker, and did things the right way … she had business sense … I didn’t.  I am glad she succeeded.

Oh, by the way … Julie ended up moving too because they couldn’t afford to make their house payments on their home.  Also, working in her office I learned A LOT of the dirty secrets of MK … but I was “in the club” at that point … so I chose to look the other way.


  1. PinkyTuskMascara

    Thank you for sharing. For a ‘Godly’ company, it seems they sure encourage people to sell their souls to the devil by ‘looking the other way’ so often. Glad you found peace and hope you are on your way to financial recovery.

  2. Jacirene

    Fico feliz por você estar liberta do culto rosa e todas aquelas coisas demoníacas. Elogios e sorrisos falsos, casos de sucesso mentirosos e pessoas insanas. Não é fácil pegar o caminho de volta mas o resultado é compensador. Temos nossa vida de volta! E isto é maravilhoso! Adeus Entrevistas, Festas, Reuniões de Unidade, Seminários, Conferência de Carreira e aquela música “Eu tenho o entusiasmo Mary em minha cabeça, minha cabeça…” Ugh!
    I’m glad you’re off the pink cult and all those demonic things. Praise and false smiles, liar success stories and insane people. It is not easy to take the way back but the result is rewarding. We got our life back! And this is wonderful! Goodbye Interviews, Parties, Unit Meetings, Seminars, Career Conference and that song “I have Mary’s enthusiasm in my head, my head …” Ugh!

  3. raisinberry

    All that would have to be done for Mary Kay to put an end to this is to require actual sales tickets, actual proof of product sold, attached to weekly summaries, on which to base all awards, stars, Unit Clubs, Year end courts. That’s it. That’s all. Just like every other retail sales accounting system from every other legitimate retail seller. Now since I am not a genius, do you think they might be intentionally profiting, is a big way, from all the pretense?

    1. Char

      MKC is the genius. No offense raisin. lol

      Requiring retails sales in a multi-level marketing system, where recruiting your own customers is encouraged by the company, doesn’t jive. They’d need to ditch the MLM component, become competitive with the real world, and give up the herd of milking cows that have multiple births. Why would they do that?

      Genius, what was I thinking? More like the mad scientist Victor Frankenstein creating mini monsters slathered with makeup.

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