Written by Raisinberry
Contrary to popular belief, the abusive state of affairs in Mary Kay didn’t start with the record breakers in the last 10t to 15 years. These were ladies who figured out where to concentrate their time, and selling skin care wasn’t it. Women like Dacia Weigandt and Jamie Taylor and other “do it fast” directors and NSDs simply exposed a long term problem.
If you want to be enlightened, stop attending unit meetings for 3 weeks. Women who are away from events long enough to lose some of the hype have a better chance at being restored to sanity. Then take a look at what I have to say here.
Let me prove my case that Mary Kay has always been a bad company:
1. Mary Kay Ash knew and accepted large turnover. She is the one who said, “If you don’t recruit 10 monthly, you are going backwards.” What does that say? If the opportunity was so great, wouldn’t every new recruit add to your numbers? No? So less than 10 means you are losing recruits. So, from now on, you are in a never ending churn of personnel who you get very excited about, but who will quit because success in MK is not as “easy” as they make it appear. Mary Kay knew this from the beginning.
2. You must get an average $1,000 per recruit on start-up inventory. Since so many will not activate at all, and most will come in with something and be gone in 6 to 8 months, you MUST get star orders IMMEDIATELY with whomever has the means or credit. So this business of starting smaller at $600 or multiples of $200 isn’t really going to get you the overall result, is it? Frontloading is a NECESSITY, to make the turnover numbers work. Wonder why you are spinning your wheels? You are probably a more ethical Director who doesn’t take advantage of women outright.
3. Now bringing this up to your NSD will get a great “overcome the objection” response that will sound like, “Every retail company has turnover…” But what is the reality of Mary Kay? What do you think would happen if every company in America lost 50% of its retail sales force every month, as Mary Kay does? How much “skill” would be flushed and wasted? They quit because the promises are not real, and so that is why there is no real reason to train anyone…in anything other than “book, sell, book, recruit” and how to warm stalk new potential leads. UNITS are built on a continuous flushing in and out of personnel, racing ahead of attrition with hopes that you can snag one or two to commit to the car or DIQ, where you can extract another year out of them before they wise up and save their financial picture.
The ones like me, who didn’t wise up but were naive enough to believe what my NSD was selling, keep pressing on to MAKE IT to directorship in order to hopefully make enough money to pay down their credit card debt. Since no one knows that this is the hidden reality behind the stage, with probably 90% of all directors, we suffered in silence and ignorance.
4. Since 50% leave, 50% must be recruited to stay dead even. Your National NEEDS you to “move on up” to keep the replacement drones rolling in. A typical newbie will give 3 months to 2 years. It is expected that she will wash out, so nobody is that concerned with attrition. It’s a numbers game, ladies! We need the numbers! (Also a Mary Kayism).
5. Every year at Seminar, a number of women wise up and come home more aware than ever that Mary Kay is a legal pyramid scheme. They sent their product back for 90% repurchase. It was their right, but every director with advance warning tries to head that off at the pass. This also was taught by Mary Kay Ash. “Don’t close the door forever!”
Back in the day, I am sure Mary Kay Ash expected women to be more ethical, with abuses at a minimum, but she also expected that you would average 2 recruits a month and hold 5 to 10 classes a week. With all that activity, she STILL knew about attrition! Imagine the financial wreckage of holding only 5 classes a MONTH, and still losing personnel at the same rate!
More than 55 years later, the grim reality is that customers are scarcer than ever before, the reputation of consultants is that of chasing recruits, the product is seen as an average product with high cost, and few women overall think that a Mary Kay party is a new and fresh idea when compared to other ways to spend their time.
Will Mary Kay change or accommodate the perceptions of the consumer today? It doesn’t appear so. The company can pretend to the media that they are so on-trend with recruiting the younger generation, but they are still doing things the same way. The sales leadership force still trudges on with the same tired scripts and relies on the tried and true ability of the NSD’s “I-story”, told by a savvy National, to snare and trap their prey. Why change what works? They aren’t interested in consultant sales to consumers.