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

Help the Brother of a Kaybot

This comment was left on a thread this morning. Lets see if we can help a concerned brother.

Hi everyone. First I would like to thank you for producing this site and the stream of posts and comments. I would like to see if all of you can provide some advice for how to lift my sister from the fog.

She has been in Mary Kay for around 3 years. Initially, although I knew the business was essentially a pyramid scheme, I was supportive of her for a number of reasons.

  1. She was making leaps and bounds in her networking skills, presumably as a result of being in MK (she used to be more shy and kept to herself but seems to have gained a lot of confidence meeting people, talking to strangers, being in social situations via MK.
  2. She was dedicating significant hours outside of her normal job (she has a good job in the financial industry) to a somewhat productive endeavor (the “somewhat” is highly debatable since it is possible to learn some business skills in MK but usually the debt and failure outweighs any benefits) while still performing well at her job (and at her age, 26, i consider it better to be interested in something like MK than party/get drunk all the time like most other people here age).
  3. She was “faking it till she made it” and using the MK playbook to keep everyone else in the dark about how profitable she was.

Obviously, had I known about #3, I wouldn’t have given nearly as much weight to #1 and #2. Since I knew how sensitive she was about the validity of MK, I was debating whether or not I should send her a link to the pink truth.

Finally, I decided to send it to her and was in for a shock when she replied that she had already heard of and been to the site! I was in disbelief.

It is unfathomable how one can read the site and still think MK is a good idea. (My guess is that someone had told her about the site but she never actually read/explored the site).

Anyways, at this point, since she has already seen the site (or at least claims to) I have no idea what else to do to try to open her eyes. Any suggestions?

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!


  1. enorth

    Your sister has been told that the women on this site are “a bunch of lazy losers who did not want to work the business.” Your sister has a LOT of expenses associated with MK. You say she has a good job in the financial industry, so she’s likely using those paychecks to subsidize her MK “business.” Sounds like she’s using MK as an expensive hobby. Hopefully, she’ll tire of it.

  2. Lazy Gardens

    You say she’s in the “financial sector”, and apparently serious about the business, try this for an eye-opener.

    It’s a spreadsheet for doing what all businesses do: keep a running balance of the sales income versus the expenses (business expenses and product purchases).


    It can also calculate her hourly “income”, but not the way Mary Kay does They divide party sales (pretending it was full price) by the time the guests were there … ignoring the unbillable time of meetings, phone calls, set up cleanup, etc. I divide the total hours of Mary Kay activity into the NET profit (sales income minus ALL expenses). My reasoning for that it that the unpaid time – at meetings and making phone calls, etc -is tile that could have been used at a job that pays by the hour.

    It’s true many businesspeople would show a pathetic hourly income with that method, including my own freelance writing and landscaping businesses … but I’m not fooling myself about the money I make and most especially I’m not recruiting others with falsely elevated income claims.

  3. brotherOfKaybot

    Hello again! and thank you posters for the current comments. I was so excited to see that my comment had received its own post (thanks Tracy!) that I immediately texted my sister and directed her to the site. Hopefully, she will take the time to read this post that is dedicated to her and all of the comments as well. I will see her tonight so should get some feedback then and make sure she reads the post/comments. Will keep you all updated. Happy holidays to everyone!

    1. Virgilia

      Quite honest brother, tell her TO RUN FROM MARYKAY, I became a director so one of my best friends, now she is near divorce, she owes a lot of money, she even used her husband credit to comply with the MK fantasy, on top of that, she is medicated due of suicide attempts. MK IS NOT A REAL JOB IS AN EVIL WORK OF MK AND UNFORTUNATELY MANY WOMEN ARE GOING FOR IT NOW, I just wuit about 5 months ago, I owne nead 27,000 in products, I decided to return my products and it has been a hassle, TELL HER TO GET IT OUT OF IT BEFORE IS TOO LATE.

  4. finallygone

    It’s possible she did read this site before, and just dismissed it as a bunch of whining ex-consultants. That’s what I did when I was still in the fog. I visited the site only once, but it stuck with me until the fog was finally lifted and I came back. Perhaps by gently showing her the flaws in the MK argument (the spreadsheet above is great) she’ll start to see how she was lied to and come out of it.

    Best of luck!

  5. raisinberry

    Hi Brother. One of the things that we did as Directors, was talk long and hard about attitude and goal setting. We did so to insulate our people from those naysayers who could turn our people away from “the opportunity”. The entire time I was in Mary Kay there was resistance from those outside the pink bubble. Good reason for it, I know now! But that meant that anything that anyone said “outside” the pink bubble was because “they didn’t get it”. By rendering outsiders as near neanderthals, we could keep the input positive, and control the inner dialogue of the new consultant. If she’s reading, she knows what I am saying…she knows that nothing “negative” is allowed. Unfortunately, we came to believe that anything truthful was “negative” also!

    We were all cooked in a positive mental attitude, name it claim it, beelieve and achieve, fake it till you make it soup.

    So, I ‘ll ask some honest questions. Honest questions aren’t negative.

    Three years in, huh? Ok. How many times did you buy your STAR? Just to either look good at the Star event or for your Director, or because you were told “the speed of the leader is the speed of the gang”.

    How much inventory on your shelves won’t be moving out any time soon unless you discount it?

    When was the last time (if ever) that you had over $300 in sales for the week? Got news: if you aren’t consistently pulling $350 a week you are on the “losing money” side of the finances.

    Did you go into debt to be at any regional or national event? Did you go even though you yourself did not want to spend the money you didn’t have? We’re you baited/guilted/manipulated into being there?

    Have you hidden your financial truth about the business from anyone you love?

    Are you more in debt now than when you signed up—and isn’t that supposed to have been the opposite of what happened?

    And if yes answers are appearing, have you been made to believe it is your fault, and you can fix it…next month…next recruit…next class…next year?

    Seeing a pattern?

  6. MLM Radar

    “And if yes answers are appearing, have you been made to believe it is your fault, and you can fix it…next month…next recruit…next class…next year?”

    Blame The Victim starts early, and you have to get her to see past it. The Mary Kay mantra, “If it’s to be it’s up to me”, coupled with the mocking of MK “failures” as lazy losers and quitters, make for a very twisted self-abusive mindset. I had a good friend who bought into one MLM after another. Even though I would tell her MLMs were no-win scenarios my words didn’t sink in. She kept saying, “I just didn’t work my business hard enough.” It took a lot of repetition on my part for her to finally wake up and understand that she was in a no-win scenario.

    MLMs operate by holding the success carrot just out of the victim’s reach. It glitters and beckons, always promising the victim a pot of gold if they’ll just try a little harder, just hand on a little longer, tomorrow may be The Day. “You just have to have faith” was something else my friend kept saying. Unfortunately tomorrow is always one more day away. Tomorrow never comes. The credit card, the tax payments, and the bills are all due today – or yesterday. They’ll never quite reach the carrot anyway; if they could they’d find out it was rotten inside, or even just an illusion. Meanwhile, everyone around them is acting like they are already happily enjoying the carrot, and no one wants to admit they’re still reaching.

    So how to get her out?

    Reality check is one way. Tax time is here. You said this is her third year in Mary Kay. That means she probably deducted Mary Kay losses on her tax returns for the past two years. Guess what? Two years of losses in every five years is all you get, according to the IRS. That makes for a rude awakening.
    “An activity is presumed for profit if it makes a profit in at least three of the last five tax years, including the current year… If an activity is not for profit, losses from that activity may not be used to offset other income.”

    Another way is to see how well MLM does NOT work for other people. Go on youtube and watch Penn and Teller’s episode, Easy Money. (Yes, it was made for cable, so it includes coarse language and worse. Don’t be surprised.) Take note of the fellow selling the nutritional beverages, specifically take note how much furniture is missing from his house. This is a guy who works MLM 24/7, who has no life outside his MLM. The only furniture he has left in the house is a cheap desk and a cheap chair. This fellow is one who DID “work his business hard enough” but you can’t win at a no-win game.

    If she’ll let you, help her codify her Mary Kay goals. She’s been in it long enough to have a good idea where she wants to be and how soon. You can’t keep chasing the carrot forever. So help her write her goals down and schedule them – with one BIG qualifier. If she can catch her carrot within schedule, fine. But if she does NOT catch her carrot, she has to promise to get out.

    Finally, there’s one more important aspect. Women stay in Mary Kay when they’re losing money nonstop because they get lots of attention and emotional support. They want to “help the team.” They want to belong to a group, and make the group successful. She needs another outlet besides a bunch of sweet-smelling powdered piranhas. She might try a church group, volunteering at the nursing home or animal shelter or library. It will help.

    Good luck.

  7. enorth

    “They’ll never quite reach the carrot anyway; if they could they’d find out it was rotten inside, or even just an illusion. Meanwhile, everyone around them is acting like they are already happily enjoying the carrot”

    Love the carrot analogy. To Brother: If you peruse the sites of the MK National Sales Directors and other women “near the top”, you’ll note they flaunt wealth, material possessions, mansions, trips, cruises, etc. They’ll loudly attribute these things to MK, but many of them have wealthy husbands. Many women on PT aspired to become a Director; however, after they did, they found the carrot to be rotten inside, and they realized that the other Directors were – as MLM Radar said – “just acting like they were happily enjoying the carrot.”

  8. gotheart

    Does your sister have a need to feel valued?
    The “carrot” is the tool the sd, nsd use to feed this need.
    They know this technique very well.
    Very cruel.

    She does not realize that she is wanting to feel valued by other.
    However she is the only one that can give herself the value she needs.
    She is expecting from others what she is not willing to give to herself.
    Along with all that has already been said, which is on point, giving her examples of this weakness, which makes her prey to these vultures may help.

    Marry Christmas to you Brother. You are incredible.
    Merry Christmas PTers, I sure love you all.
    I am celebrating in San Francisco at the Hilton with my sons.
    I am so happy. Haven’t we come a long way?

    27 years of mk and 7 years of therapy.

  9. brotherOfKaybot

    Thanks everyone and Merry Christmas day! I appreciate everyones advice. I showed her my post but she refused to read the comments. I think that she thinks as long as she doesn’t see/read anything negative that it won’t affect her. I was talking to my mom today and she said that MK is almost like a mental sickness and I tend to agree. As some of the posts above describe, whether is is emotional support or a sense of belonging to something, the pink fog is a very powerful force. Needless to say, my sister did not take the post very well. She didn’t outwardly lash out or get pissed off but she noticeably changed her demeanor. In hindsight, I think my family’s disposition towards her with regards to MK has actually not helped her out but kept her in longer. I think our stance must be one of criticism, otherwise we are only holding her back from getting out. Now i feel kind of bad for showing her on Xmas but the reality is that MK is a very powerful cult and an extremely difficult cycle to break. I will need some ingenuity to lift her out of the fog. I like everyone’s advice above but the problem is that she won’t listen to any arguments (literally won’t even stand there to hear you out) for obvious reasons: from any rational/logical standpoint MK is a futile venture. Anyways, I will keep trying and look forward to reading all of the future posts! (i have been reading/lurking for the past ~6 months).

    Merry Christmas!

  10. CK

    Listen… You can’t save everyone off a sinking ship… with that in mind… when she is ready she will come out of the fog long enough to ask for help and advice.

    Tell her to send the “year’s worth” of product back to the company to get her 90% buy back refund check.

    Tell her to unload as much unqualified buy back inventory (you know the inventory she has been stocking well over the year mark) through EBay, Craigs List, Yard Sales and gifting as possible to recoup some of her financial loss. Anything is better that nothing!

    Tell her to change her telephone number and email address so that her recruiter and director can never get in touch with her


    Tell here there is no failing in an interprise that can’t win.

  11. Victoria

    It’s sad but true–the numbers don’t add up unless you have a lot of people who have been under you and then their sales are feeding you along with bonuses, etc. you also give all your sales names up if you leave so that you consumer base expands if someone leaves the business. I have stayed in to keep my own makeup sales price at 50%.

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