Mary Kay Sales Director Ethics

Written by Raisinberry

One of the common denominators shared by “career path consultants” on Pink Truth is how they know they are responsible for the decisions they made in Mary Kay, yet they still feel as if they were “led” and manipulated, by the “do what your Director says” training they absorbed “sitting at the feet” of their upline.

Some people want you to think that our concerns here at PT are abnormal and do not reflect the “opportunity” that the majority of Mary Kay directors have experienced. This has intrigued me on many levels, since so many want to blame MK directors for what has happened to a great deal of them as if they hadn’t an ethical bone in their bodies.

It wasn’t like we (former directors) did unethical things all throughout our careers. It isn’t that we wanted to succeed without working for it. We certainly didn’t want to become directors to hurt anyone, nor did we want to let anyone down. For the most part we did what we could to have good months, and when it looked like it wasn’t enough, we sucked it up and started over.

We knew our jobs. Hold appointments to present marketing, to present inventory, to present prize programs and move people up using the “big picture” motivation of company events. We supported our NSD’s to do guest events and keep the ball rolling. We were hunting for recruits and the orders to hit goals set by ourselves and those above us. And we soon realized there were all kinds of ways to get things done.

This is the information that the average beauty consultant does NOT have… When many of us came out of the fog, and could no longer press for orders when we knew our people hadn’t sold what they already had, and the “numbers” started dropping, a return to clarity, integrity and truth was manifested. You cannot be a leader over a pseudo-small business that offers only pin money profits from actual sales, and also sell “the Mary Kay opportunity” which has been self described as executive level income part time from home!

Directors who want you to believe they are comfortable with the income they make from Mary Kay have relinquished all responsibility for the 85% of their consultants who ordered and ordered and then fell into attrition. In fact, I would challenge every Director out there to gather up her old reports and COUNT how many consultants have come and gone over your tenure. Count up your production YTD over all your years.

Do you really want to say that all that merchandise was SOLD at retail? No, you know who buys and buys because she likes recognition. You know who has not held a class in months. You know who “stretched” to meet some qualifying contest you dangled in front of her… and now you pretend that we who have admitted it all are “unethical” whereas you are not. Like I have said before, if God opened up all knowledge about the secret deeds done in the dark concerning each director’s journey, each National’s journey, there would be none left standing.

So can we assume you know that thousands of dollars of merchandise purchased by all your past consultants went unsold? And yet YOU still got paid?

There is some “special” training that you get when your NSD or Senior Director has a goal that you are associated with. This is the “secret training,” made up of things you never thought of, that reveal themselves only in the presence of other girls who put on “big girl panties.” Since we have come clean ourselves, and revealed some of these little known atrocities, we are periodically accused of making bad decisions with finances and ethics.

Other directors apparently have convinced their crew that none of what we talk about here has EVER been a part of “their world”. Makes me laugh out loud. We are left holding the bag, shaken out of our denial and facing the very same questions that Miss Ethical consultant wants to ask us. “Why did I order more? Why did I activate those last 5 people for DIQ? Why did I go to Seminar on credit when I had no money? Why did I “qualify” that last recruit just to walk on stage? Who really cares about name badge ribbons? Can I afford to lose all this production to start over again? So what if I don’t qualify for the luncheon? Should I lose my car for the sake of a $1,000 order?”

A million questions. And apparently there are directors and consultants out there who think each of these crises of conscience could all have been answered with a resounding, “Suck up the failure and start again.”

Oh if it were so easy.

In cult systems, members are groomed to conformity (Why do you suppose you have a ridiculous uniform to aspire to?), holding an unshakeable belief in the authorities above them. Every objection has a scripted response that soothes the concerns of the members, and each member is urged to simply trust and obey, (Do what your Director says and all will work out.)

When sophisticated manipulation systems are perfected and used on the “masses”, along with a directive to never be negative, the members find themselves unable to speak of the thing that bothers them, or to get a true answer or feedback as to whether the course they are pursuing is right.

Should they know what’s right? You would think. But in peer dependent situations where you are told to believe in an unseen outcome, in order to “bring it about”, the mind lets go of the practical for the supernatural. “What you think about you bring about” are the words often spoken on the last 3 days of DIQ, along with, Believe and achieve, find a way or make a way, if it is to be its up to me, and “the pain goes away when you win”.

With that “counsel”, would any of us expect that our DIQ would not exhaust herself with every “idea” possible to make it happen? So she calls her Director for help. And what do you know. There IS “special training” available. Back in the day, I was given the phone number to the distribution lobby to call and see if I could get a director out of the waiting line to take down my newest recruit’s information and walk the order in. Yes they were willing to do it. As directors they experienced the terror of the last day of DIQ and were happy to help. Otherwise there was no way to get the recruit’s information in for the month.

After our 7pm cut off, there was also the time that our NSD suggested a west coast director walk the order in. We loved our west coast director who would have to print off orders and forge signatures of course, in our grand goal of gettin’ her done for the month. All of this was applauded. Each Director giving the “wink-wink” for knowing the secret way to make it happen.

Years after becoming a director, I was made aware about re-signing old consultants and getting them new consultant numbers so they counted as brand new. I just didn’t think that way, and kind of went “wow” when told all about it. Others had been doing it for years and I was apparently clueless. There was a time when we had to have 30 to get paid commission, so if we fell short because at the last minute a woman who promised to activate, failed to answer the phone, what could we do, but “find a way or make a way.”?

See the set up? Will you lose hundreds of needed dollars to live on or pay off debt, for the sake of another 200 placed in Betty Busy’s name? Unethical? Or smart business? All the bait to “stretch” is firmly in place from new beauty consultant all the way to National.

It is so easy for people who are not in the position to judge whether we made ethical decisions or not. But it is hard to judge or determine what is ethical when the lines are blurred. Between visualizing your success, believing in what is not seen, faking till you make it, finding a way, helping with the goal, qualifying for the recognition, not letting the area down, not embarrassing yourself, speed of the leader, saving the unit, you’ll sell it next month, product is an asset, you have to be there! And of course, jumping your personal commission from 9 to 13% if you only place another $200 to hit$ 600… the things you do that seem to make sense today, become one stupid decision after another in hindsight.

The problem is all of Mary Kay’s marketing plan, for career path consultants, will place them at some time, in a position to hurt themselves, hurt their area, or pretend that everything is alright. Since we cannot consistently bank on sales from consumers, and the business DEPENDS on what other people do, and if you are at their mercy, will you let the dam burst, or will you find a patch and hope against hope that you can find real cement next month to make it solid again?

That is what a director is trained to do. That is why she makes the decisions that she does. She is always working, always trying, always asking, always interviewing, always holding her meeting and always waiting for her guest to show, or your guest to show, so she has another way this month to stop the bleeding.

The reason is because the direct selling home party model is one that exploits family relationships and friendships, and is for the most part resented. The hit and miss income soon becomes discouraging for the masses and they stay only as long as it takes them to figure out they are losing money. Career Path consultants, who are accustomed to “living on morsels” and are convinced the real money is in Directorship, press on.

And it’s a perfect symbiotic relationship because the Senior Director NEEDS the DIQ and red jackets to drive the production. Periodic classes produce some income and frankly the director is so happy to have a venue to meet others to recruit, she hardly notices that she has a pretty crappy customer base. (After all, if you keep recruiting you keep adding competition within your own market! This fails to pierce the pink fog, however)

When you sift the whole thing together, you have women pretending they do better than they are, chiming platitudes and sayings, pressured into performance and encouraged to do things outside normal ethics to “make it happen”, with a *wink wink* “we all did it” understanding. Anything to keep the director on the Career Path, “STRETCHING” for those dollars, that Caddy, that Unit Club, That trip, that head table, that name badge recognition, that reception and that throne.

Knowing how common this is, I can not say that all the decisions that directors have made, that have gotten them into financial hot water, belong squarely on their shoulders. They got a whole lot of help to go overboard from people who benefited from those financial decisions. They got the emails that listed every Director who ordered or qualified, in a thinly veiled attempt to guilt them into being on the list. They heard the conference call where bottom director did a $2,400 order to make up her own production, and yea for her commitment! Oh the manipulation… polished and perfected aimed at the heart of the director trying to fit in and be a part and a team player…until the coffers go bare.

And when the washed up directors bail, there is nobody who cares. It was, after all, her decision. So yes, I have heard all about being unethical and making decisions that were stupid. And I have also heard Directors share how their NSD turned the blame on them, fully knowing that they were acting on the NSD’s counsel, or subtle manipulation. (“Speed of the leader!”)

It is funny how I have never heard that accusation from a director in the same position. You really don’t know what you are talking about until you walk in another’s shoes. You really won’t know what you’ll do, when all eyes are on you, when your failure will be observed and obvious, when your colleagues promote a secret way to save face, and when your “leader” (and God) expects “your excellence”. (The definition of “excellence” from your NSD speaking for God, is making it happen and working till the final second because that’s when the miracle appears).

As phony as that is, I have also discovered that all those directors who appear so “ethical”, have simply not come clean. I can assure you there are other ways to be unethical… like frontloading a woman who hasn’t a chance in hell to make money at this, encouraged a new recruit to sign up with their consultant rather than their relative in another state, coercing customers from other consultants who appeared to not be “servicing” the customer very well (by any rationale she could think of-ie:Anita Garrett Roe)…and on and on.

The “opportunity” is set up to turn well meaning women into predators, rationalizing all manner of behavior to hit the goals, win the prize, make the name. So when you are criticized here or on other sites, Miss PT Director, for sharing your sordid past, just remember, they are still doing it, and you are no longer, so who really, is the more ethical?


  1. Cindylu

    My recruiter was a decent and honest co-worker that I trusted. I was lead and manipulated with slogans: “Faith, Family, Career”, (lol) No it’s actually MK, Mk and MK 24/7. I also believed that to MK we were like our daughters and she and the company cared for us. lol Other stupid slogans: “We fall forward to succeed” etc. “MK supposedly believed in the Golden Rule” until she, her Directors/NSD’s and company didn’t. With this spiritual misuse then came the over the top Seminar with gaudy dresses, gaudy throne and prizes for those who recruited, “Make the Other Person Feel Important”. If that person pays you with a cheap painting you don’t like, next time either recruit her or make sure you con her into buying product. (Whether she needs that product or can even afford it). The ridiculous Bumblebee story and “The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang”. In my case my SD was adept at lying. Once she sabotaged her DIQ’s and then stole their recruits, then she was good to go for another year. I’m sure she also gloated when they failed to make director thanks to her. In her case an NSD from a different state set her up in a brand new territory in the early 1980’s where my SD had no competition. (An NSD who started and failed and burned through many units and many cars before finally lying her way to the top). After all in MK it’s just a numbers game. Who cares how many families and lives you ruin for that Pink car or title of SD or NSD. I sensed a con from my SD. I knew my NSD was a narcissist when I went to Career Conference. I saw a lot of misleading stuff going on during seminar. When a director in my area quit immediately after seminar, I knew then something was definitely wrong. When Corp did not care one iota about my dishonest SD, I returned my product. I was so indoctrinated with all the Monday Night meetings, Conferences and Seminar (Don’t break the set etc.) that I couldn’t believe that MK and this company were to blame. I was wrong. It was set up initially as an mlm /pyramid scheme so just a few would ever profit on the backs of thousands of abused women.

  2. Lazy Gardens

    You are carefully “groomed” for the position, with each little white lie leading to a slightly darker shade of lie, each “positive affirmation” leading to a bigger lie about your success, sales and the rest.

    They get you invested – financially and emotionally – in the scheme as fast as possible to prevent your bolting.

  3. Char

    There is one particular message I keep trying to convey in my posts, but first read this:

    “It wasn’t like we (former directors) did unethical things all throughout our careers. It isn’t that we wanted to succeed without working for it. We certainly didn’t want to become directors to hurt anyone, nor did we want to let anyone down. For the most part we did what we could to have good months, and when it looked like it wasn’t enough, we sucked it up and started over.”

    Now read it again, only pretend it’s a drug dealer talking…..Go ahead and reread it.

    This person takes their drug dealing “career” very seriously, right? Kind of like Walter White. He was a family man who just wanted to make money to support his family due to cancer.

    So, the point I’m making is that when you are involved in a fraudulent business, whether or not you want to succeed, have a good month, lie or not, not let anyone down, etc., doesn’t really matter for the big picture. You’re, in a sense, a drug dealer/MLMer. This is the context in which you should be thinking. What if a drug dealer said, this product is really great, I had a good month, I worked really hard, and wanted praise and affirmation?

    I know not everyone realizes this and obviously the author didn’t at the time. She thought she was lying for a real business, and that’s my point. I’m not criticizing her. I am posting this for future consultants or those still in.

    To reiterate my point, I’ve recently posted that the term “sales force” seems inappropriate as it has a positive connotation and is misleading. I also think the term “career” sends the wrong message – unless you want to call Walter White’s meth manufacturing a “career” and Jesse, Badger, and Skinny his “sales force”.

    For the challenged, I’m not literally calling MLMers drug dealers. I’m saying MLM and thus MLMers are unethical and inevitably harm people by default. There is no such thing as a reputable meth dealer.

    I do think the article does a good job explaining details because as humans, we do get wrapped up in the fluff. We need the fluff explained, but I’m just cutting to the chase. And once you understand the big picture, it will finally make sense.

    Ask yourself, would you consider a career in drug dealing to make money and receive recognition? Then why are you doing MLM? It’s a fraud!

    1. Eileen

      As someone who watched the entire series of “Breaking Bad,” your analogy is so accurate and it’s a bit haunting!

      I know I cringe whenever I see any type of MLM sales pitch on Facebook or elsewhere. I feel sorry for those duped; especially those who do not have any extra money to waste. I was barely in MK but long enough I know I gave them much more money than I could afford at the time.

  4. suzyq

    Raisin echoes the terms we were taught to use— MK was always and is still always presented as a career. The other points she makes are given to us too.

    And oh, to have all your wisdom to know that it was fraudulent to begin with…

    1. Char

      “And oh, to have all your wisdom to know that it was fraudulent to begin with…”

      I think we all wished that. Some days I am still really angry that my perpetrator/recruiters duped me, and I lash out in my writing. I know I personally can come across blunt and preachy at times and I’m sorry about that, but it is so frustrating that it continues some 20 years on; and it’s the same damn spiel.

      When will it end? I wonder why it hasn’t been stopped? What message hasn’t been effective? Why don’t we learn? I DON’T KNOW!

      I do know I used to be softer when it came to MLM, that didn’t work, so now I’m not. At least my family, friends, and neighbors don’t bug me anymore with their products and “opportunities”. LOL, would you?

  5. cindylu

    No excuses anymore. MK is an exploitive mlm. Mlm’s have market saturation and front load. Dual marketing is not real. MK’s story is not real and there are no free pink cars. Why aren’t these products sold in main stream stores and why are they so over priced? Why mention Faith, family career and then brag about: Pink Cars, Executive Income, trips, jewelry etc.? So I’m not sure why anyone can justify belonging to this cultish pyramid scheme in 2018. I wish I’d been able to google MK when I got conned into a so called opportunity. Look at your unit members. Most (including your director) are not truly successful. Many are struggling with children, husbands and unacceptable debt. Why would you want to compromise your beliefs or ethics when the vast majority fail?

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