Buying Recognition in Mary Kay

Written by The Scribbler

Don’t buy more inventory to finish your “star.” You can buy yourself a prize for much less money. In fact, it’s almost embarrassing how cheap the Mary Kay prizes are.

Today let’s take a peek into the world of Mary Kay! Holy cow, did your face ever turn white when I said that. Hey, wait – come back! Sweet Jesus, that’s a four-lane highway you’re running across – HEY!!!

You have nothing to fear, friend. I’m not a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant (an “IBC”), nor do I play one on TV. I’m just a “repeat offender”, or what one would call oneself if they’ve been solicited more than once to join the ranks of the Pink.

I love to, as Paul Harvey would say, find out “the rest of the story.” As of late, I’m doing research on how Mary Kay runs their company. In a very, very small nutshell, IBCs (or, “Mary Kay Ladies” as you may call them) purchase their makeup stock from Mary Kay Inc. In turn, IBCs sell to customers. This is the selling facet. There is a recruiting facet as well, however, that’s not what today’s fascinating read is all about. Sit down and finish yer Froot Loops; the park’s not going anywhere.

IBCs purchase their makeup stock in loads of inventory which vary in price from $200 all the way up to a $4800 amount. It is a common practice within the company to “encourage” new recruits to purchase the highest amount of inventory they can, even if it means taking out a bank loan or borrowing the money from others. Credit cards are highly recommended. The catchphrase circulated among IBCs regarding the reason one would purchase a truckload of makeup is, “You can’t sell from an empty wagon!”

Why all the push for large inventories, anyway? Well, IBCs who order large inventories are “helping” their upline meet production requirements for pink Cadillacs and other reward cars (which, incidentally, are not given to the “winner.” These cars are merely leased from month to month. As soon as an IBC’s production requirements aren’t met, BAM! Off goes the car to the repo man.)

Large inventory orders are also rewarded via the Star Consultant Program. This program awards increasingly “better” prizes the higher the order placed.

Did you catch that? Prizes are awarded for ordering inventory. Doesn’t that strike you as strange? That would be like a new mom getting a prize for going to Target and buying a sack of diapers. Anybody can do that – the prizeworthy behavior is in actually changing the diapers; can I get an “Amen” up in here?

I’d recently acquired a copy of the April 2005 issue of Applause Magazine (the monthly mag distributed amongst IBCs). In the middle of the magazine was a small guide entitled the “Star Consultant Planner.” Prizes galore spilled forth from its pages, and all an IBC had to do was order inventory to get it! Nothing says “recognition” like buying your own prize!

So, dear friends, I’ve listed a few of the prizes offered, the “retail” amount (meaning the amount of inventory ordered) needed to acquire each, and then the ACTUAL price of the item (based on Google searches that used the name of the item) Hold on to your britches as well as your Mastercards:

Girlfriends Dessert Plate Set – $3,600 est. retail – Actual price: $18.95

Sports Cooler Bag and Blanket – $6,000 est. retail – Actual price: about $80.00

Two-Way Wristwatch Communicator – $7,200 est. retail – Actual price: $109.89

Masterbuilt Electric grill – $9,600 est. retail – Actual price: $177.50

Panasonic cordless phones – $12,000 est. retail – Actual price: about $110.00

Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo Seven Comfort Bike – $15,600 est retail – Actual price: $279.99

In an article entitled, “She’s Pinned her Goals on the Highest Star” in the October 2004 Applause, Independent Senior Sales Director Beth Poole gushes,

“I was so excited to earn the Pawley’s Island Hammock one quarter. I had seen one in a store and refused to buy it because the pillow and stand cost so much. Then Mary Kay awarded me the hammock, stand, and pillow as a quartely prize! I love this company!”

Okay, let’s do some critical thinking, here. Since we don’t know which hammock ensemble was offered as the prize, let’s give Mary Kay Inc. the benefit of the doubt and use the most expensive stuff Pawley’s Island has to offer.

One cypresswood hammock stand: $369.95.

One pillow: $35.00.

Presidential model hammock: $139.95.

Ms. Poole has achieved the highest star consultant status, which is “Emerald Star.” In order to do that, she would have had to purchase $3600 in inventory in a given quarter.

Ms. Poole should have just went and bought her hammock ensemble outright – she would have only paid $544.90 for it when all was said and done!

$3600 versus $544.90? You make the call!

The moral of our tale stands: if you have to buy your own prize, it’s not worth working for. If you or a friend is thinking about signing up with Mary Kay, I implore you to gather as much information as you can from outside sources and take your darned sweet time about it before putting your name to the scroll.

I highly recommend; it’s a very comprehensive website with more testimonies of real women who were in Mary Kay and got out than you can shake a tube of foundation at. There’s also many, many source articles posted there that will enable you to truly get “the other side of the story!”

Paul Harvey would be proud.