Inventory & Selling

What Mary Kay Inc. Didn’t Tell the Media About Lipstick Sales

Today an article was published on the idea of lipstick sales being strong during a tough economy. It’s long been said that lipstick sales survive even the hardest economic times.

And Mary Kay Inc. seems to support this notion:

Rhonda Shasteen, senior vice president of corporate brand strategy for Mary Kay, said lipstick sales for the first six months of 2008 compared with the first six months of 2007 were 60 percent higher.

“That tells me that more women are buying lipstick during these tough economic times,” Shasteen said.

“A woman needs something positive to brighten her day, and a $10 or $15 lipstick will do that,” she said.

Rhonda forgot to tell the media two key things:

  • This sales increase was not to end users of the products. It was to consultants, and probably has little correlation to actual retail sales.
  • The increase was almost certainly completely the result of the company changing the lipstick formula and packaging. Consultants were encouraged to stock up on inventory of the new formula.

I love it when corporate shows the type of dishonesty it claims only occurs occasionally within its independent sales force.



  1. Hi Tracy! I think that, whenever Mary Kay Corpse releases misleading information like this one about lipstick sales, or those famous “MK is the solution for this tough economy” reports in different channels, you should send your response and all your data to those channels/newspapers. That way, the media will start to see the other side of the story, and each time it’ll be harder for them to release PR (public relations) crap.

  2. …..sales up 60%? New packaging/formula is often the cause for the ‘increase’ in sales, but don’t forget the lipstick challenge: sell 13, or 26, or 39! C’mon, Ladies,do it for the Gipper!

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