From time to time, I like to take a look at who is actually selling Mary Kay products, and what kind of living they’re making from it. Pink Truthers are often told that it’s easy to sell MK products. The products “fly right off the shelf” or “sell themselves.” We’re told that if we were unable to sell the products and make a decent profit from those sales, it was only because we didn’t work hard enough, didn’t work the right way (the “Mary Kay way”), or we’re just lazy losers.
That’s why it’s so helpful to take a look at large units, see who is selling enough products to make a living (or even close to a living) and then compare ourselves accordingly. Today we’re taking a look at Kim Sabourin’s unit (formerly Kim Cowdell).
As of January 2, 2012, Kim’s unit had 298 members. Kim is a “top director” in Mary Kay, doing “million” more than once, driving a pink Cadillac, and going on top director trips. We’re told that directors get to the top and stay at the top in Mary Kay by doing things right!
What is Kim doing right?
She must be teaching her consultants to sell, right? Wrong. Below you will see the numbers for the top 20 consultants in the unit of 298. These figures start with the retail value of orders placed by the consultants to Mary Kay from July to December 2011.
What can we learn from these numbers. The top person out of 298 unit members has ordered $13,175 retail value of products from Mary Kay in six months. If she sold all of that product (I know that’s not the case, but play along with me, and let’s err in her favor) with some minimal discounting and hostess gifts, she would have a gross profit of about 40% of that amount, or $5,270.
Of course, that doesn’t include all of her other business expenses, which would reduce that $5,270. But let’s ignore those for a minute.
Gross profit of $5,270 for six months equals $878 per month. Multiply that by 12 to estimate her full year gross profit, and she’s got $10,540. That doesn’t sound like making a living to me, or even anything close to it. Heck, that’s far less than even a minimum wage worker makes.
And remember, this is the top person in the Sabourin unit! There are 297 other people making even less. What does that mean? No one (not even the director herself) is even coming close to making a living from selling products. Out of almost 300 women, no one can sell enough Mary Kay products to support herself.
It gets better as you look down the list. Go all the way down to the last person, who is number 20 in the unit of 298 people. She ordered $2,323 retail from Mary Kay in six months. With our generous 40% gross profit, that’s $929. Which calculates $155 per month gross profit, before all other business expenses. If she does this for a whole year, she’ll have $1,858 in gross profit.
Now some Mary Kay supporters will say “That woman probably only wanted to make a little extra money, and $155 per month is great!” That’s a typical excuse – – that none of these women want to make a living or want to make substantial money. But again, this woman is number 20 out of 298. That means 278 people are making less than her!
I’d buy the “she only wants to make some pocket change” argument if this woman was number 180 in the unit. Not when she’s in the top 20.
So is Kim Sabourin teaching her million dollar unit to sell? No. Why? Because the market is saturated with too many Mary Kay women selling products, too many potential customers who don’t want to deal with the home party and recruiting aspect, and too many MK items available on eBay.
But maybe Kim’s unit isn’t selling a whole lot because they’re busy recruiting. Kim is recruiting, and is teaching her consultants to recruit, right? Because you only move up when you share this opportunity with other women. But you’d be wrong again.
In six months, this unit of 298 women recruited a whopping 6 qualified recruits. Kim Sabourin herself, who does Mary Kay full-time and claims to want to move up to national sales director, has only recruited 2 qualified women in 6 months. Talk about not working your business! (And for those interested in non-qualified recruits, the unit has recruited 13 women total during the last 6 months. Still not impressive.)
What does all this prove? It supports the notion that multi-level marketing is business model that dooms its participants to failure. You cannot sell enough products to make a living. So you must turn to recruiting women into the pyramid, but even those efforts are doomed to fail for most. Look at Kim. She’s been in Mary Kay for years and years. And even she can’t recruit at a respectable level. (And don’t tell me that’s because she’s busy running her unit. Running what? No one is selling or recruiting, so there isn’t much to run!)
298 women in a “top unit” in Mary Kay with a “top director”, and still no one sells enough products to make minimum wage. And even recruiting commissions won’t be enough to get them to minimum wage. Are all 298 of those women failures?