Facts, opinions, and the real story behind Mary Kay Cosmetics.

If You Need a Reminder of How Little Mary Kay Sales Directors Make

Multi-level marketing companies always hang their hats on the “unlimited earnings” gimmick. They make you feel bad about your current job and earnings, and tell you how you are limited only by how hard you’re willing to work in an MLM. The sky’s the limit and you can earn as much as you want.

So it makes sense to take a look at the actual earnings of sales directors in Mary Kay. After all, if the job is so fantastic and the earnings are so huge, why not talk about it?

Every month, Mary Kay prints the top 100 sales director incomes in each of the 5 divisions. So out of the approximately 700,000 Mary Kay consultants in the United States, we’re seeing the incomes of the top .0007 (which is 0.07%, or waaaaaayyyyy less than 1%).

And out of the 14,000 U.S. sales directors in Mary Kay, these 500 women represent about 3.5% of them.

Here’s how the numbers shook out for September 2007 commissions:

The top 10 monthly checks of those top 500 sales directors were:


So if you’re in the very, very upper echelon, you’re grossing about $168,000 or more per year (multiplying these commissions by 12, even though we know they vary a lot from month to month).

And then we get to the bottom of this upper echelon. The bottom 10 monthly checks of these top 500 sales directors were:


So these bottom 10 of the top 500 are making about $6,100 a month, prior to business expenses. For twelve months, that would be a total of $73,200.

Is that a bad income? No. But there are a few key points to be made about these numbers:

  • These figures are gross earnings, and from that, the sales directors must pay all of their expenses. So their actual income is much less. This is an important point, because most recruiters will gloss over this fact and talk about these commission checks as if they are the ACTUAL income that the director takes home.
  • 96.5% of the sales directors in Mary Kay are grossing less than $73,200 per year. Much less.
  • Even in the top 500 earners in the company, most are not making an “executive” income.

This may be a respectable amount of earnings for many women, but the key here is that even at the very top of Mary Kay, almost no one is making that “executive” income that they rave about. Now maybe some sales directors don’t “want” to make a full-time income or an executive income. I accept that. But do you think that over 13,500 sales directors don’t want that and/or aren’t working hard enough? I don’t think so. I’d bet the majority of them DID want to make an executive income or at least a very solid income… which is why they became directors. And they’re not making that decent income.

Check this out: The vast majority of the sales directors are “Grand Achievers” which is the level below Grand Prix (now Saturn?). The Grand Prix level directors are making about $20,000 per year in MK if they’re lucky.

That most of the directors are making less than that. Is that an executive income? Is that even a full-time living?


    1. exIBC78

      If you look this article was originally published in 2008. So on the weekends Tracy will sometimes pull out a good old one and post it for new members to get a refresher course. Now isn’t it interesting that in 2007, which was when more people had jobs, very few woman were making executive income.

  1. Trigger

    Could be wrong here, but I would think current figures would be worse??

    Of all the mlms I track, the #1 point being pushed to stratospheric levels is RECRUITING. No, it’s not ‘sharing’, or ‘not being selfish,’ or ’empowering’ women. It’s RECRUITING, plain and simple.

    Can’t believe the constant and almost manic push to RECRUIT.

    When I got into MK in 1981, all retail sales had to be reported to MK via a copy of the actual sales ticket with the customer’s name, address, and phone so MK could check up on us for legitimacy. It’s called accountability. Amazing concept.

    Now, any pretense of that legitimacy has been thrown out with the bath water in favor of RECRUITING like a house-afire. It’s like that other ‘bubble’ that’s about to burst.

    The dollar bubble is on the verge of collapse. When it goes, these mlms are doomed. They are based on credit card space, and that space is quickly vaporizing.

  2. Wow

    I love how this post is complaining about people making 60-70k per year. You realize that income is incredibly high compared with Lower to median incomes in the US? I know a mother of 4 who works two jobs and neither pay more than 12/hr. She would break an arm to make that. While I agree women need to be compensated fairly… Stop and reflect for a moment. Some women do a lot more degrading things for way less money. Think about it.

    1. TRACY

      Wow – You missed the whole point. The point is that ALMOST NO ONE is making 60-70k (and that’s before business expenses, of course). Even when you get to the “top 2% of the company,” you will most likely lose money or make minimum wage. The 60-70k happens for the top 500 directors. The other 13,500 directors are making far less, and are lucky if they even make minimum wage.

      And no, there aren’t many “jobs” that are less degrading than MK. Mary Kay sales directors lie and cheat to earn their commission checks. That’s awfully degrading.

    2. exibc78

      But when she went into those jobs she wasn’t told she could make executive imcome. Executive income is 6 figures minimum. That is what this is about the lies that so many people in ds and mk are making executive imcome for part time work and the product flies off the shelf. Also that 60k comes at a very steep price, at least for me the lies and the time involved to do it. So I work a job that makes much less and I feel good about the job I did and the integrity of my bosses.

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