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

A Letter to My National Sales Director

Written by Raisinberry

My Dear NSD,

The letter you are about to read is coming from the heart of every Director in your National Area, who has had a breath of fresh air long enough, to evaluate the reality of their business. Parts of this letter will be painful to us both, and parts will offer healing. When I review my career in Mary Kay, I am left asking myself some very hard questions and these questions I am asking of you as well.

You have come to my city on many occasions to fire up the troops and do guest nights where you offer your “I story” and create a belief in the potential of this business. But it occurs to me you omit a whole lot of information.

Do you recall how you told us that women make executive level income in Mary Kay for part time hours? Do you remember the example, “What were your sales?… And how many hours did you work?… And so that’s XX average per hour?” The whole idea was to create the illusion that the hourly wage provided a great weekly wage. The same thing happens when you have us Directors stand up and give our “high check.” A check we haven’t seen repeated in some cases, 10 to 15 years. We are “selling” the illusion that that check is a common occurrence, when it isn’t remotely close to being truthful.More…

You sell the potential earnings story even though you yourself know that only the top of the top ever reach executive earnings. You told yourself you couldn’t prejudge me or anyone, you don’t know the future, and it was possible. But what is really happening is you are stocking the lower tier with replacement workers to maintain the cycle of earnings YOU enjoy.

A real business calculates real costs. I am wondering where you thought the money was coming from to attend Seminars, Leadership Conferences, Leadership Summits, Career Conferences, Retreats, Pacesetters, Advances, Jubilees, Grad Schools, including air fares, hotels, transportation, cutesy little “area outfits”, prizes, displays, and additional production comes from, when you were aware that I struggled to maintain $5,000 and up in Unit Production? Where was your counsel to advise me that placing $2,000 worth of wholesale orders myself to “stay afloat” and keep my Unit making production, would bring my destruction? You never tried to talk me out of that. In fact, you rarely had anything to say except “make it happen”… leading me to believe that you expect it! If I can’t pull an inventory order from a new recruit, where will it come from?

It isn’t any secret that for years and years we have been seeing low sales and low appointments held, regardless of how hard we try and get them, so don’t act so incredulous. In fact when I told you I was in debt over this business, you asked, “How did that happen?” Are you serious, or just insulting? I am now wondering if that isn’t a scripted answer from the NSD manual to shift blame off yourselves?

I remember when you were finishing NIQ, and the word went out for all of us Directors to “find a way or make a way.” You knew that consultants were being stuffed into units for the sake of the numbers, not the relationships. You also knew that much of the production was on directors’ credit cards without sales to back it up. I bet you figured we would just eventually sell it. And we might have… over the course of the year, had the formula or packaging stayed the same. Instead we eat our losses. But you still made the money. Does that bother you in any way? Now that many of those NIQ Units don’t exist anymore… collapsing from the dishonest way they were pushed through, does your conscience ever bother you?

In your mind, when you come to do our Guest Events, are you thinking this is how you will pay us back…this is your rationalization? You taught us “there is your DIQ Unit, and then there’s the one you have to rebuild.” That happens for NIQ I guess, too. You say the same thing over and over as if there is no intelligence in you to see the struggling, financial wreckage, and poor self esteem of your National Area.

Since we aren’t allowed to talk about it, you can create any story you wish I suppose. You rely on making us show up for everything knowing the power of that quick snap of motivation. When you see it fall apart in 10 days, you don’t question why. We just need another “hit”. We are running on an endless wheel in which you skim off your commission and invest yourself in the pretense of being “positive and supportive”. But even that is measured because you really do not work with the small units or the low volume units. You seem to tack on to the Race Horses and or bypass your Sales Directors altogether by “programs” designed to reach past us to whatever fresh meat is coming up in our Units.

Is that because you believe you can continue to do what we can no longer? Lie?

You may have figured out that because we are talking to each other, and expressing the problems and struggles of building Units, that we are becoming aware of the manipulation we have been under. Mary Kay trained to keep the positive mental attitude blinders on, and while being effective also keeps us in the dark. “Real businesses” discusses where their shortfalls are. Real businesswomen talk about problems and look for solutions. Every solution in your bag of tricks is attached to a new credit card. That is really all you have to offer, isn’t it? Go hold another class, Go get another recruit.

We actually would love to! We would love to have consistent sales and recruiting, if what we were recruiting them INTO was a viable business. But you know and the company knows that the establishment of new customers is strained and difficult. That reorders are low except to family members and that large volume consultants aren’t recruiting. They aren’t stupid enough to give up 50% for 4%. “Signing up” a new consultants customer base by recruiting her friends and clients before she has ever gotten her feet squarely on the ground is one of the most self serving deceptions of all! Yet, 1,3,5,8 is the mantra! You want the new ones on the career path ASAP!

My question to you is, when did you start rationalizing your behavior? When did you start looking away? And when did getting the goal done anyway possible, overshadow your conscience? I am curious how you can have known for years and heard for years about the financial ruin your people are in and pretend it doesn’t matter, or worse, blame them for it. We can see what our people order, can’t we? And we can observe weekly what they sell. And when a contest to pull a $600 wholesale is concocted by you to give preferential treatment for recognition… and you know they didn’t hold enough appointments to sell $1200… what do you do? Your “don’t ask don’t tell” policy allows you to lie to yourself.

You taught us, by subtle messages (speed of the leader) to place the order and make it up next month. I believe you call it “Stretch”. And we have been doing that for years. Only it never gets made up – but you ALWAYS get the commission.

You are either in denial or worse, a rationalizing self-deluded woman, basking in your own accolades and completely BLIND as to what you have presided over, what you have fostered in our lives. You are using all kinds of manipulation techniques to get us to follow along and hope we can someday earn the big girlfriends club. You create the division, placing us far below you, in order to create the longing in us to be accepted and “arrive” at the top.

You ask us to have personal responsibility for our work ethic as if that were the problem! As long as you can make us feel like we aren’t doing enough, you can blame us for our own failures instead of the fraud of multi-level marketing systems, over priced product, poor reputation of consultants in the marketplace, lack of real business training and ownership, and a client environment that really prefers NOT to have a home party or get their friends involved.

Our customers become the women who wish to say “no” but can’t say no. Our business training amounts to the ridiculous statement, “Book, sell, book, recruit” as if 4 words solve all problems. That’s manipulation of the worst kind because it is delivered with a Godly speech, a spiritual song, a visualization exercise or the lighting of candles in the dark.

We churn through personnel, and their start up inventories like butter. We push them up the career path to lock them in to producing teams so that the never ending supply of replacement personnel is in tact. You told us to get to 50… then to 100…. then to 200. We fill the bathtub with the drain open, hoping to stay ahead of drowning. This is how we get our “executive level income.” This is what you sold us. This is your so called “opportunity.” This is no way to live.

I am no longer in the dark. I can not even guess which day you will emerge from the dark, but I am hoping some portion of my letter will reach in and light the way. You once were a woman who valued the truth. I believe you once were a woman who saw the inconsistencies of what we say and what is truth in Mary Kay, and it bothered you. My guess is it hasn’t bothered you for years. My guess is, you are only now starting to re-evaluate what you say, what you parrot that was told to you, and how false your claims have been. Is it really worth all that money?

Here’s hoping you can’t sleep tonight.


An honest candle in the darkness


    1. raisinberry

      Terri, it is the letter of 95% of the Directors, once they decompress from the Pink Bubble. I have imagined meeting my NSD somewhere and having her face me with her disgust…and just staring into her eyes, speaking ALL THE NAMES of former Director’s and Diq’s in her downline, and the amount of debt they were in when they “stepped down”. That’s all, nothing else.

      It gets pretty bad when they can’t show old photo’s at Seminar area night because too many of the “2%ers” are no longer affiliated…as in GONE.

  1. JanRD

    And I was the customer who wished to say “no,” but couldn’t. Not any more – I’m older and a wee bit wiser. My phone number in a church directory is not there for the purpose of selling me ANYTHING.

    For an NSD to ask “How did this (debt) happen?” is insulting. She knows exactly how it happened and if she doesn’t, this letter provides all the excruciating details.

    Tracy frequently reminds us that 99% of people in MLM’s lose money. Yes, MK denies it’s an MLM, but it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

    Great article!

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