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

More Proof of the Tiny Retail Market For Mary Kay

 While in and out of Mary Kay, you undoubtedly were told over and over how easy it is to sell Mary Kay Cosmetics. You were probably told that the products fly right off the shelf. And you sold some products at first, and you were encouraged. Until you realized they were mostly pity purchases by family and firends.

Other than that, you found it very difficult to sell products. Sure, you had a good week here or there. But you found you were discounting and giving hostess credit which ate into your profits. Every time you had a little money in hand, there was a new product or a packaging redesign, and you found yourself no further ahead.

But it was really all your fault, right? Your director said how easy it was to sell these products, yet she had the big closet full of products. Your recruiter assured you the extra order would be easy to sell, yet she had a basement filled with products.

Were you the only one having a hard time selling? No. Of course not. The Mary Kay business model is outdated and you’re doomed for failure.  Between the zillions of brands available on the internet and wonderful stores like Ulta and Sephora, it’s next to impossible for you to build a substantial, profitable retail selling base.

It’s time to examine (again) who is selling Mary Kay Cosmetics. For all of the hype about selling lots of products, the actual numbers don’t bear that out. Below are the numbers for one of the top units in the United States as of the end of February last year.  253 consultants had placed orders for the seminar year, with 163 of them ordering less than $1,500 retail value of products. (Clearly, those 163 have not built a retail customer base.)

Below are the top 40 consultants in this unit. Now remember, we’re talking the “best of the best”… the top orderers of one of the top units. I’ve taken their retail orders for the year (July 1 to February 28, or 8 months), and I’m pretending that the consultants sell all that they order. (They don’t… we know most stockpile it, but for the sake of argument, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.)

I then assume a 40% gross profit on the sales of the products. That would represent the maximum amount a consultant could profit on the products, assuming she’s selling most at full retail price and keeping expenses extremely low.

With these parameters in mind, we find that the very top consultant in this unit could profit just over $10,000 a year from her sales of products.  That’s it, and that’s not a living. And that’s being overly optimistic when assuming all products are sold, and at full retail.

And the numbers drop pretty dramatically. Only seven consultants could make $8,000 or more from a year of selling Mary Kay.  That’s seven out of 253 consultants.  You can look at the rest of the numbers… At the bottom of our top 40, we have someone who might make almost $2,500 a year selling products. Not impressive.

And I know all the pro-Mary Kay arguments. Some didn’t want to sell. Some are choosing not to sell. Some really don’t want to make any money. Some are newer recruits. Blah blah blah… You can give me all of these fantasies over and over. And they don’t change the fact that every time I do this, we are unable to find even one person who could make a real living off selling products, and we find that almost everyone is only able to make pocket change (if even that).





One comment

  1. PinkSmoke

    This article got me thinking about the time I brought a guest to a meeting.

    I introduced her to my NSD. During the introduction I mentioned (I was very new and very dumb) that the NSD had earned over 1 million dollars during her 20 year MK career. I finished off with “and thats not even including what she has sold in MK product”.
    The NSD said “yeah! Iv probably retailed at least 50 grand in product”!!!

    (sinking feeling)

    50 000 divided by 20 = $2500 a year!!!!!!!!!!!!! And this lady would tell you herself that she is the best sales person you would ever meet.

    I know SD’s and NSD’s dont spend as much time “selling product”, but this NSD was a lower man on this pyramid pole for a good portion of her MK career.

    What was upsetting to me was the relization that it must be very hard to sell MK product to “real” customers, and that I am a huge sucker!!!

    Its very hard to live on $6.85 a day!!!!!

Comments are closed.