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

Who’s Making Money in Mary Kay? Not Debi Moore’s Area!

Every so often we like to take a look at the money women are making (or not) in Mary Kay. Today we are looking at national sales director Debi Moore. According to her unitnet website, she has 37 directors in her area. She posted the year-to-date retail of the top 15 directors through June 29, 2012. Of course, there was one more day left in the seminar area to convince women to order products they didn’t need, but for all intents and purposes the annual totals were in.

And here’s how the numbers shook out. I’ll explain more below.

So Debi published the year-to-date retail of the top 15 directors in her area, and I took the liberty of doing the math for you to see how much those directors are actually making in Mary Kay. Go all the way to the column on the far right, and what do we see?

Of 37 directors in the Debi Moore area we have (using estimates based on substantial research):

  • 0 making executive income of $100,000 or above per year
  • 1 making $79,000 per year
  • 2 making $41,000 per year
  • 2 making $35,000 per year
  • 1 making $17,000 per year
  • 1 making $15,000 per year
  • 8 making $10,000-$14,000 per year
  • 22 making less than $10,000 per year

Now let me get this straight… Mary Kay sales directors are in the top 2% of the company. They can make executive income (for part time hours!) and they can promote themselves whenever they want. They can give themselves a raise whenever they want. And yet 30 of the directors in the Debi Moore area – – or 81% of the 37 directors – – are making $14,000 or less per year.

Oh wait. I forgot. They  can make money on product sales, can’t they? Well I can tell you from experience that little money is made from product sales. It’s difficult to sell the products, and even more difficult to turn a decent profit from selling them.

Sure, these ladies are probably making a little bit of extra money from selling products. But directorship is where they make the real money (if you can call it that), which is why Mary Kay is always pushing recruiting and moving up.

And what about the prizes that these women get? Prizes don’t pay the bills. Sure, a Mary Kay car is nice, but even with the “free” part of it, the amount that a director spends on gas and upkeep for business purposes wipes out the car income showing on the 1099 from Mary Kay. And the low quality diamond rings and dollar store quarterly prizes? Those are worth little and they don’t feed your family.

So I prefer to focus on actual money in hand that sales directors have with which to support a family. As you can see, of the 37 sales directors in the super-duper-successful Debi Moore area, only 5 of them would be able to feed, clothe, and put a roof over the heads of a family. The other 32 are out of luck.

Don’t be fooled when a Mary Kay sales director tells you she is supporting her family on her Mary Kay earnings. The reality is that almost none of them make enough to support a family.

 UPDATE: Note that the top 5 directors are Cadillac directors, but only Linda Bradley is making production to support the Cadillac. That means Taylor, Debbie, Marla, and Sandy are all making co-pays. Directors 6 through 13 are all “premier club” directors, but only Jeannie and Maureen are making production to support that car. So Corine, Jennifer, Amanda, Geri, Melina and Jean are making co-pays on their cars too!


  1. KSW1960

    My wife was recruited into Marla Beddick’s unit a couple of years ago. The big talk was of course inventory, inventory, inventory. Marla takes the new recruits into her office to see her inventory. She claims she makes 75K per year. This is in Willoughby Ohio. We went to high school with Debbie Barnes. There have been a few articles on her on cleveland.com.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      Marla’s main source of income is commissions from inventory ordered by people like your wife … she gets paid whether those women sell anything or not.

      And piles of inventory means a poor businesswoman! That stuff costs money just sitting there.

  2. TRACY

    Well there you have it. Marla Beddick is making a whopping $35k, and I’m being generous in overestimating her income. Sounds like she orders a lot of products, but doesn’t sell much. That money being poured into unsellable inventory further decreases her earnings. So much for the executive income, huh?

  3. Lazy Gardens

    And how many hours a week, and days a week, did they have to work to get that income?

    When I was working as a technical writer, I could easily make $50-60,000 a year in SPENDABLE income with a 40-hour work week. No evenings, no nights, no weekends, no holidays unless they wanted to pay me 150% of my base pay for those hours.

    That meant weekends for me! Long holiday weekends for ME! 2 weeks paid vacation for ME! Health benefits, 401K plans, stock options … all for greedy little me. I didn’t have to “share the opportunity” with anyone.

    1. TRACY

      Based on all the former sales directors that I have talked to, even the ones making $10,000 to $14,000 per year are working 50+ hours per week at Mary Kay. That’s a whopping $4 to $5.60 per hour, assuming 2 weeks off per year for good behavior.

  4. MLM Radar Detector

    Director income “estimates.” These are pitiful. Taking a closer look, it’s easy to see that even these pitiful numbers are obviously inflated.

    Make no mistake… These Year To Date figures ARE for 12 full months; a fiscal year running from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. They’re NOT for January to June. The Monthly Wholesale figures are exactly 1/24th the YTD Retail figures.

    The top 5 women are “estimated” to be receiving a flat 30% commission on their wholesale production. The remaining next 10 are “estimated” to be receiving a flat 20% commission on their wholesale production.

    Why the estimates? And why does the math work out so perfectly? Is NSD Debi Moore unaware of the REAL commissions paid to her top 15 producers? Or does she merely not want us to see the truth?

    Yes, yes, she has to estimate because the final June tallies are not in. That still doesn’t explain how the SDs receive EXACTLY 30% or 20% commissions, as if their monthly wholesale volume never ever fluctuated.

    Finally, take a look at that last column – Estimated Net Income. Each of these SDs is “estimated” to take home – after all expenses – EXACTLY 75% of her “estimated” commissions. What a crock of dung!

    I don’t know about you, but around here none of MY creditors raises or lowers their monthly bill based on my monthly income. If the Estimated Net Income was even close to being realistic, you’d expect to see the women at the top of the netting a much higher percentage than the women at the bottom of the list.

    But let’s play along anyway. After all, these ARE estimates. OK, so how much an hour does she “estimate” that each of her TOP 15 Sales Directors takes home? If they are dedicated Sales Directors, of course they’re not going to be working outside J.O.B.s, so we can assume that they’re working a full 40 hours a week for Mary Kay. (Yes, we all know it’s more).

    40 x 52 is 2080. SD #1 on the list is “estimated” to net $79,218. That’s $38.09 an hour; being at the top of the heap there’s no way this lady is working just part time. What happened to all the talk about “executive” income and $50 or $75 or $100 an hour? She doesn’t come close even under the best scenario.

    SD #5 on the list is “estimated” to net $33,912. That’s $16.30 an hour. Clerical employees in business offices earn more than that, plus they get benefits which SDs don’t get, and they don’t have to pay self-employment taxes on their net income like Mary Kay Sales Directors do.

    SD #6 on the list is “estimated” to net $17,724. That’s $8.52 an hour. Most college students earn more than that per hour working as unskilled laborers.

    SD #15 on the list is “estimated” to net $10,493. That’s $5.04 an hour, without benefits, and BEFORE paying self employment tax. The US federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

    And these are NSD Debi Moore’s TOP 15 Sales Directors of the 37 in her region. I’d hate to “estimate” what her other 22 Sales Directors are earning. And there’s no way even imagine the pitiful earnings of the IBCs underneath those pitiful SDs.

    1. TRACY

      Debi only provided YTD retail. I did all the other calculations based on my experience with sales directors and the commission payouts. I had to estimate the numbers because no one will give us the actual numbers.

      Yes, I calculated that these women spend 25% of their commission income on business expenses. It’s probably higher than that, but I was erring in their favor so I couldn’t be accused of purposely lowballing anyone’s income.

      1. MLM Radar Detector

        Ah. I see. I was overly fixated on the graphic.

        You estimate generously in favor of the SDs and kaybots. And even with your generous estimates the net income results for her top 15 are dismal.

        The results for her other 22 lower-earning SDs must be horrifying.

  5. NoMoMK

    I remember you couldn’t walk 2 steps without tripping over one of these morons and their fake “excuse me, excuse me I love your jacket!” dumb MK Kows! I think more people are realizing what a big lie it all is but it’s not enough! MK needs to be wiped out…

  6. raisinberry

    And remember, many would have co-pays on the cars since they are under 16K a month or 8K a month. The only other mitigating income might be commissions on offspring …4% or 5%. Either way, cars were listed on our income statement as income…I guess someone could “s t r e t c h ” their income out based on the cadillac’s worth??

  7. Unfortunately, I’ve known people who have fallen for Mary Kay’s line, as well as Amway and Avon, and they’ve never lasted long, or made any money at it. These are “legal” pyramid schemes which rely on their continued existence a never-ending batch of new “lambs to the slaughter” who’ll pay the upfront fees. These new “sales associates” make only a tiny percent of their income on actual product sales, and have to rely on being able to bring in more and more new “associates” to get their cut of the initial fees. And the people they bring in have to do the same, etc etc etc. Everyone I’ve know who’s gotten involved in this type scam ends up running out of family and friends to put the “touch” on fast, and ultimately gives up on the whole mess. (And that doesn’t even count the alienating of friends and family they incur, who resent being used!). Mary Kay is a pyramid scheme by any rational definition of the term.

  8. Jenny

    :O thats incredible, i was on mk’s facebook page and i found 10 ladies (atleast) that posted complaints on there and how dissapointed with the company and whatcomments did she get? She got sugar coated comments like ” ive been making thousands…ive been in mk for years with a free car…” XD check it out! Itshilarious

  9. charlie

    In this diagram one of them is my ex wife and I can tell you that according to court documents that I just recieved yesterday that she says she made ,,,2009-$6185,,,,,2010$10972,,,::,,2011-$7148 ,,,courts said she didn’t even make enough to figure child support so they figured it at minimum wage ,,so my child support doubled wish it showed she made more ,,,just for my case

  10. Mi Ki

    Maybe the best thing for your child(ren) would be to be fully supported by and staying with a parent who isn’t using all of their resources to pump up a ghoulish scam. If the lady is still in MK you might consider talking to your attorney about custody…

  11. don diz

    Feel I should direct your attention to yesterday’s (tuesday) edition of either the WSJ or the NYT (read both, can’t remember which one).
    It contained a story about Amway in China, highlighting some of the same issues that concern both the gov’t as well as the distributors that you write about here.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      This … Amway and others Former Amway distributors have organised online to warn others of the company’s model. Amway’s name in Chinese, ‘an li’, has entered the vernacular to mean to ‘promote heavily’ or to ‘be brainwashed.’

      Avon, once the top direct seller here. In 2014, it admitted to providing $8 million in cash and gifts like Gucci purses to Chinese officials.


  12. Priscilla Miller

    It is sad that women sell their souls for cheap jewelry trinkets (Mary Kay prizes). A smart woman knows the real money is in a salary, health insurance, paid vacations and 401K matching programs. None of which are offered by MLMs.

    And those stick pins and scarves are so outdated and old fashioned.

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