Business Basics

What Did the $50 Starter Kit Really Get You?

Written by Raisinberry

RECORD NEWS! 160,000 new consultants signed up for Mary Kay’s $50 starter kit in April!

I have to admit, it is getting kind of funny now. Year after year, we here at Pink Truth give MK Corporation the inside scoop as to how to legitimize their operation and weed out  the unproductive and self destructive actions of their sales force, and they just do not care. Shocking. We aren’t even charging a management consulting fee or anything. Since they read here everyday and someone reports to Darryl, you would have thought that all our good suggestions would have been put to good use. But no.

Seems as if any suggestion we make that allows the Independent Beauty consultant a fighting chance at a real (small) business gets dropped in the pink dumpster. No matter what we say, they still want the beauty consultant to decimate her customer base on a pretty routine schedule. And as we all here at PT know, there is a very good reason for this. So you courageous lurkers who just took a peek at and your eyes haven’t melted, let’s review the $50 starter kit strategy and see how this is going to pay off for you.

The Bait
Truth be told (and boy they hate that), the $50 kit was actually designed to get consultants believing they could recruit. The big obstacle is getting the newest sales force members to just ask. At fifty bucks, you really can’t lose, and so the big buzz of the half price starter kit is getting your keester moving to fill up the seats at the next Unit meeting.

Got news. Won’t happen. It is the rarest of rare scenario that a customer buying the cheap kit is actually going to attend, much less buy star level. The company wants newly recruited women to replace themselves as soon as possible, because of two time tested realities. One, you are going to wise up.  Two, inching you up the career path is the only way to maximize your…uh…contribution to Mary Kay’s bottom line.

The Reason

Massive recruiting (regardless of aptitude or ability of the candidates) stirs the illusion that all is well in Mary Kay Land. Those Units that offered additional free product for signing on probably got the most recruits. Miss Director doesn’t care if she shells out another $25 in free products to sign on the half pricers…she just needs the POP of momentum. (Plus she’s got thousands of dollars of products she’ll never sell collecting dust on her shelves… Why not put that junk to use!)

After months of low checks, low production and low cashflow, the work horses, the hamsters of Mary Kay start to poop out. Miss Director needs somebody to train! Somebody to DEBUT! Somebody to sell the dream to, so she can resell herself! This is SOOOoo worth it to Mary Kay Corp because it buys time.

The combination of events and programs like these are stretched across the year to keep a firm control on the attitude of the Pink hopefuls. These programs are strategic. The half pricers, because of sheer volume, will produce one or two curious recruits who might just give the career path a try. BINGO. That’s what we’re looking for. But what just happened to the beauty consultant?

The Result
Because they don’t know anything yet, the newest recruits who fell for the opportunity line, and went out and recruited with the half price kit are now facing a decimated customer list. The half pricers will order one $200 order from MK a year. Maybe. They won’t be ordering from Miss Beauty Consultant. Miss Beauty Consultant will get 4% of a $200 order…$8, instead of $200 from $400 worth of retail skin care.

What’s worse? All the people she would have met from her recruit just hostessing for her from time to time are dead in the water. And of course, so are their friends, and their friends. A fifty dollar showcase kit obliterated the independent beauty consultant’s showlines and meager profit for the sake of blowing wind up the skirt of the Director. And on top of that, the consultant will be made to be glad for it! She shared the opportunity! She’s not “mean and nasty” like those selfish consultants who don’t recruit!

Now the million dollar question is why would Mary Kay Inc do this to its nice new recruits? How can it possibly be a good thing for new consultants to recruit their hostesses and customers, signing them on for $50 (no commission) to lose 50% of everything they would have bought, in favor of a 4% commission on personal use?

There’s a very simple answer: it’s not a good thing for the new consultant. Only she doesn’t know it. She doesn’t know that there’s a great chance that even SHE won’t be around in 6 months, and by getting her to recruit, they boost the chances of her staying “active” because she has a recruit for which she is responsible. Only she has all this product, and few women to sell to. She struggles to meet new women, and does all she’s told to do to find new prospects, but  all those women she would have met are now buying wholesale from the half price recruit. In a word; she’s screwed. But at least she’s not mean and nasty. This is the time where the Sales Director will share with her how to make the real money! How to fast track it to Directorship.

This is the Mary Kay house of cards. This is how it’s done. Today there will be bragging and celebrating all those Units that pulled out mega recruiting for the promotion, and a month from now when beauty consultants still haven’t been able to book a class that holds, they will be faced with ordering for Consistency Club, or some Unit Goal, or being on target, or the Directors Unit Club, or securing their “star” because their new recruits are watching….and the speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.

And mostly, they won’t even notice that it was Mary Kay Inc that baited them to ruin their booking prospects. They won’t notice that Miss Half Price hasn’t even ordered yet. The Director will see her numbers swell and convince herself that she’ll now have “someone to run with”. She might. At least until that someone  figures it out. And that will be just in time for reduced qualifications on a new car, or a brand new restyled starter kit, or…you get the picture.

A corporation that wants you to recruit, is after their money. If they wanted a real live qualified recruit they would UP the price of the kit, instead of throwing the wide net with the cheapest sign up available. They know that the fall out rate will remain as it is because they do nothing to change it. They do not want to expend the energy to advance the selling career of the consultant, independent of recruiting, because simply stated, that’s not where the money is. That’s NOT where the money is.

So, the next time you get to hear a guest event in Mary Kay, where they are talking about making 50% and building a cosmetics business, and all the “avenues of income” like dove tailing and reorders, all the “free” cars and all the prizes awards and recognition, just remember that about the time they mention “personal growth”, they aren’t talking about integrity, maturity, wisdom, or courage. They are talking about learning how to lie and deceive in ways one has  never dreamed, while appearing completely credible and noble. It still hasn’t dawned on Corp. yet, that the reason women quit, by far, is not that they have no drive or ambition to stick to it, it is that they are tired of being a professionally trained con woman.


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