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

Should I Order Inventory?

Well what a silly question! If you’ve just joined Mary Kay, of course you should order inventory. In case you didn’t know, your recruiter doesn’t make any money unless you order inventory! You don’t actually need to sell anything. If you order, the recruiter profits, period.

Get ready for the “inventory talk.” Most importantly, you’ll be told that inventory is “optional” and that “it’s completely your decision.” Those things are said so that if you later regret ordering that inventory, the recruiter or director has an “out.” It was your choice, remember?

But of course, even though they say it’s your choice, the squeeze is on as soon as they start talking about inventory. And it goes like this… you won’t be successful in Mary Kay unless you have inventory. Are you a loser who is planning to fail? Then don’t get inventory. Do you want to be a winner? Then get inventory. They’ll tell you that an inventory order shows you’re “serious” about your business.

Here is one such example of a document that lets you know you’re only a winner if you place an inventory order:

One of the first decisions a new consultant must make is to decide if she wants to stock inventory for on-the-spot delivery or take orders, collect the money, and then place an order, delivering when the product comes in.

I figure most women are like me. When I want something, I want it now! I don’t want to have to wait. Customers have often commented to me that they appreciate the fact that I have a full inventory and can deliver anything to them at any time. So, my suggestion to any new consultant is to begin building your inventory immediately.

Should I Order Inventory?

Consider the following when making your decision:

You have the choice in Mary Kay to service your customers in one of two manners:

Deliver product to your customers as soon as they place their order. You carry product in your home which you have purchased in advance to sell to your customer, or ..

Customers place their product orders to you, and you accumulate their orders and then place an order to the company to service your customers for the products they need.

A decision to purchase inventory depends on two factors:

Resources – Do you have the capability to make the purchase?

Goals – What level you choose should depend on your business goals.

The single most important issue involved with inventory is that you make a decision that you are happy with, so that you are able to focus on succeeding in your Mary Kay business. Either choose to carry inventory or place orders to the company to service customers, but either way, make a decision and be happy with your decision.

Benefits of stocking inventory in your home:

  • Higher Sales – Women want their products as soon as they try them. Your sales will be 50% higher if you carry inventory to give immediately to your customers.
  • Less Returns – Women do not usually change their mind once they have the product in their hands. If they have to wait for product they can change their mind about their order due to money stress, or husband.
  • Confidence – You are more likely to actively work your business if you have product on your shelf. You will feel like a professional and have more confidence in your sales ability.
  • Motivation – Your inventory will motivate you to do your business when you lack self-motivation. Product sitting on your shelf will get you out there selling! It’s instant cash!
  • Profit – You will see a profit quicker from carrying inventory. If you have to place orders, it takes longer to see profit. Also you can see a higher commission level from your sales, since you will need to order less often.
  • Higher Reorders and Less Customer Drop-off – If you are able to immediately service your customers once they run out, they will learn to depend on you. If you have to place an order to the company, they may look for another consultant who carries inventory.
  • Less Frustration – The consultants who do not carry products tend to get frustrated with their business.

Continuing To Build Your Inventory

Your goal is to build to a level of inventory suitable for the size of business you intend to have. I am assuming you have joined Mary Kay to make money. If that is the case, then you will want to build to a full inventory, which is at least at $3600 or more. I personally maintain an inventory of about $6,000 wholesale.

But, whether you begin with no inventory, a small inventory, or a complete inventory, your goal is to maintain enough product on hand so that you can deliver to your customer on the spot.

If you are not at Full Inventory Level: Until you are at that inventory level, I suggest you reinvest all your profits back into more inventory, so you can grow to the inventory level to meet your needs. You have been living without Mary Kay money until now. The wisest money management practice to assure a successful business is to forego profit while you build your inventory.

How does that look? Take a look at this example.

  • You begin with $600 wholesale.
  • You sell $500 retail for the week.
  • Your cost of the product sold is $250, your profitis $250 (at 50%)
  • Rather than paying yourself $250, you would take the entire $500 and order $500 wholesale of more product.
  • $250 wholesale would be replacing the products you just sold, and the other $250 wholesale would be buying enough more to now have $850 wholesale on your shelf.

Continue to reinvest profits until you have an inventory that will maintain your sales level.


  1. Mickey2942

    A Kaybot I knew had an entire room in her home filled with MK inventory. My Mom bought a lipstick and a bottle of liquid makeup. It smelled rank, and looked gloppy, old and gross. She couldn’t “return” it, because she really only bought it because she felt sorry for this gal.


  2. ihatemk

    I am still laughing about selling the $500.00 a week. Guess that happens in an alternative universe. Oh, wait, in the Mary Kay universe. Who in the world has $3600.00 dollars to buy inventory. That is a LOT of $$$$. And the disappointment is most of it WILL NOT sell. Yes, MK offers the buyback at a 10% loss. Hmmm, a 360 dollar hit. They make $ either way, your director front loads it on you, they make $, you decide to take advantage of the buy back, but they don’t buy at what you paid for, and you are still out $. Better to stay far away from this scam of a company. Continue to order inventory to maintain your sales level?! Ummmm, what sales level? Most people run when they are approached about selling MK, being recruited for MK, or buying MK. And when you try to be polite to the MK consultant, such as I don’t have time to sell, not interested, etc, they are trained to come up w/some platitude answer about WHY you NEED to do it. No thank you, I have my own things in life and MK ain’t one of them.

  3. PeachyNotPink

    When I was recruited last year by a “friend”, I knew it was to help her meet her quota for SD and Cadillac. I was very clear that I was going to be a PUC only, and that I would have only one party that my BFF offered to host so I can make back my $100 starter kit fee. I wasn’t trying to “scam the scammer”, but I was being very clear on my intentions and level of involvement.

    Right after signing away my soul to MK, my friend called to say, “Can you spare 15 minutes for a phone call tomorrow? I really wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t give you more information about being a consultant.” That phone conversation was the inventory pitch. It hadn’t been 48 hours since I told her that I was NOT going to be an IBC, but I guess she latched on to my comment about having one party with my BFF. This friend started waxing poetic about how my “business” could bloom just from this one party – and I didn’t want to be caught behind the eight ball with no inventory. She then tried to sell me the $1800 inventory package. Her argument was that our friends were going to bring other friends to this one party, and I would get bookings from all these new people outside my “friend circle” – lather, rinse, repeat and I would be a smashing MK success.

    Honestly, at this point I wasn’t especially annoyed. I looked at it from the angle of “she’s just trying to do her job”, which is sales. (no, I hadn’t quite figured out that the job was recruiting and front loading. That came after I found PT) What really got my goat was how, during this inventory talk, she told me that if I did choose to order inventory it would be in my best interest if she placed that inventory order for me. She didn’t know my BFF or our friends, so how could she possibly know what to order that would appeal to them?

    I don’t know why, out of all the other BS I put up with, that this would be the thing that ticked me off the most. But within days of that phone call I found PT. It was eye opening (and made me cringe inside) to see that she had used all the scripts on me – including the one about having her order my inventory then sticking me with a bunch of limited edition and other products I couldn’t possibly sell. PT also opened my eyes to what a menace MLM’s really are. For years I just thought of them as an annoyance. A friend gets involved, you go to the party and purchase something. Sometimes I’d join as a PUC, place a few orders, then deactivate. This was usually around the time the friend who sucked you in stopped talking/posting about the MLM. Then a few years later someone else would go through the same cycle with a different MLM.

    I wish I had known last year what I know now – especially about MK. While the years of various MLM parties with other friends was a minor irritation, they had nothing on MK. My entire experience with MK has been a relentless barrage of emails, texts, and social media posts. I am being bombarded by my SD and corporate, and they are constantly urging me to “buy, buy, buy”. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced this level of intensity from the other MLM’s.

    I am so glad I found PT. I’ve been invited to three different MLM parties in the last year and have declined each one. I no longer want to support an industry that takes advantage of people.

  4. Fiona64

    Wow. It’s been a long time, but I’ve never forgotten how my recruiter pushed me to order a bunch of stuff that I wound up returning. Honestly, I had more male friends than female (I worked on a military base), and sold more perfume, candles, etc., from the “special order” packages that came a few times a year when the guys realized that they had forgotten some special occasion and wanted to know what I had in my car than I *ever* did of skin care, makeup, etc.

    When I sent everything back, my director told me I couldn’t return any of the Category 2 samples, etc. (which was a lie); I donated them to the local women’s shelter.

    Such a scam.

  5. cbbgreat

    “Your sales will be 50% higher if you carry inventory to give immediately to your customers.”
    this “fact” cannot be proven by anyone so MK should stop allowing IBCs to present this to their victims – in other words, another lie. 🙁

  6. Mountaineer95

    Here’s the thing that bothers me most about MK inventory: when you order the inventory, your upline is paid their commission on it. They’re not paid when this product is actually sold, but merely when it’s ordered and shipped to the IBC. There’s so much talk about directors hating chargebacks in their paid commissions when someone in her downline returns product. BUT, if retail sales to an end consumer are truly the MK goal, then the director (and MK) would acknowledge that, while the commission has already been paid, it’s not legitimately their commission until the product is sold at retail. IF retail sales are the goal, then either MK or the director would set aside that commission until the director or MK verified that the product had been sold. Such as, say a new recruit buys $2000 in inventory, I don’t know what the commission rates are, but as we know, the upline who benefit from her wholesale order are paid commission upon the order itself and not any actual sales. The upline should then recognize that this is ONLY inventory for this recruit and will take time to sell, so that commission they’ve received is NOT THEIRS TO SPEND until the recruit has sold it (or given it away or personally used it…whatever renders the product as no longer in inventory). Once the product has moved to its final spot, THEN the upline can safely spend that commission.

    **If MK Corp tracked this and WITHHELD commissions until the product has actually been sold, you’d never see chargebacks. Also, funny thing, they’d be able to measure actual retail sales via this tracking. So we will never see MKC doing anything like this. But that DOES NOT let directors off the hook here…they can indeed set aside those commissions they’re paid and only use this money when they’ve verified that the product was sold to an end consumer.

    A challenge to lurking directors: try this. When you’re paid commission on any wholesale order, SET ASIDE that commission until you’ve verified the product was actually sold and is thus not applicable for returns and chargebacks. And if you can’t afford to do that? Then something is very very wrong with your MK career and you should really sit down and think about it. And read some more here.

    1. Mountaineer95

      Wow Tracy I’m sorry for all of my tangents this evening, I guess catching up on the Pink Truth posts has me pretty riled up about all of the BS that MK spews. The following is something I typed up in a reply post box intending to copy and paste the text to email you directly rather than make such a long post, but I’m not able to copy the text in the box, so here it is:

      I have a request (and it’s somewhat labor intensive but will give us terrific info) which is that you (with the help of the MK veterans on here) put together some type of spreadsheet (or otherwise functional system) for all level MK directors to anonymously track their commissions paid versus actual product sold by their downlines, therefore figuring out what dollar amount of their paid commisssions need to be set aside until the product is sold AND a way to track WHEN those wholesale purchases are actually sold. I know this idea is huge and difficult in trying to apply it to every MK person, but when we narrow it down to directors only to start with, I think it could be manageable.

      So in creating this program, our goal is:

      To help directors track their unit wholesale purchases AND their unit retail sales, with compensation they’re paid ONLY being spent by them when this product that’s been bought by their downlines is sold at retail (or given away, used personally, etc…basically any reason that removes the item from the IBC’s inventory).

      We can provide tools and suggestions for the director to track sales of product from her commissionable downline. Figure the estimated profit from such sales based on the figures provided. Now, whether you do it as gross or Net is a tough call (as Kaybots don’t like to recognize any actual costs of their business so you’ll likely get a lowball number on costs even if you welcome such info). I’d suggest you leave it be and allow it to be just another factor proving that our results are even more dismal when these other factors are included.)

      Taking it a step further, create a downloadable program or sheet for all MK directors, on which they can track their numbers and can scrutinize their numbers personally and privately. There are a few documents available for MK people to use to figure their taxes and their hours worked, but I haven’t seen one that is targeted to help them really gauge the actual success of their unit AS BASED ON FINAL RETAIL SALES TO END CONSUMERS. Based on what I read here, this info is not only brushed off as worthless, but actually intentionally hidden from the downline. Key here, to get firm buy in or this proposed service from multiple directors, is to make sure we assure them that they are NOT at fault; that they really believed their downline was selling most of what they bought. The final numbers will likely show that this was not happening, but we need them as team players for the best data.

      So, the challenge is, create a database that allows directors to enter their own data of: any sales made by their downline; the estimated commissions that will be paid on those orders; when those products are sold by the IBC to end consumer (or other excused uses ie personal, sample, giveaway etc) and a way for this info to be entered; and how the director can sort the columns to see when any product has been sold and thus can be removed from the spreadsheet AND the commissions freed up for spending. Or, if this is too involved for anyone to want to actually track their true success, they can just write down what wholesale orders were placed, for how much and when, and keep calling that rep until they’ve VERIFIED that the product has been sold. Easy Peasy.

      You know what’s easier? MK Corp paying a reasonable fee to a tech guru to create such a spreadsheet/program. It’s not rocket science; just following a wholesale purchase thru to its end (the “end sale” that MK touts as its most important sale). There is NO legit reason to NOT try something like this if MK Corp’s focus, as publicized, is the success of their IBCs period and recruitment means nothing.

      I know it sounds like a lot, and I’m no techie nor do I have any idea of what it costs Tracy to run this site. But I do believe that when we create and support something that helps prove to many directors that they’ve been had, we will directly reduce the number of ladies being cheated by MK. If any PT supporters have the requisite tech skills to set up such a thing, I know they’ll donate their time to bring it to fruition. Some crowd funding, if needed, wouldn’t hurt either. Just think of the possibilities of current MK directors using an anonymous database to do something they’ve likely wanted to do (and that MK will NEVER make possible unless the government forces them to), which is to track their recruits’ actual sales versus their wholesale orders. So many eyes can be opened, so many women will see how they’re deceiving their downlines. Can we do it, is it plausible even as a crazy stretch goal?

      1. Lazy Gardens

        “for all level MK directors to anonymously track their commissions paid versus actual product sold by their downlines,”

        There is no way to do that – unless MK somehow manages to get ALL the IBCs to report sales. And they DO NOT WANT that because the difference between what IBCs ordered and what they actually sold would be big and scare them out of Mary Kay.

        It would be possible for Mary Kay to escrow the commissions until that order has aged out of the return period (one full year) … but the screams of rage and anguish would be deafening.

        The SDs depend on the IBC just quietly giving up and letting it all expire on the shelf … if they actually start to return, the SD goes into damage control mode to prevent it if at all possible.

        1. Weekended

          Are receipts from actual sales sent from the IBC to MK? We had to do that with the MLM I was with. All sales receipts went to Head Office, along with the weekly work sheet. Whether they were actually looked at or were dumped when the envelope was opened is another matter entirely. 😉

          1. MLM Radar

            The reason some MK Directors collect weekly activity sheets is to find out who they can pressure into buying more inventory.

            Got sales? Perfect time to reinvest those profits! Gotta meet that car quota!

          2. Char

            I recall Amway/Quixtar had some rule. Can’t remember exactly, but something like you had to ‘say’ you sold to six customers and maybe provide names. Any name that is! It’s very easy to get around.

      2. Char

        With genuine respect for your thoughts, here’s the problem with a simple fix:

        Mary Kay uses MLM. Period. Due to its inherent flaw, the only way to fix it is to not use the method!

        Legitimate product sales companies don’t use MLM. The reason none of your ideas are already in practice is because people who know the system know it would kill the corporate money machine.

        You can’t fix drowning, suffocating, lying, etc., and you can’t fix MLMing.

  7. Cindylu

    You can’t sell from an empty Wagon. lol No you can’t sell MK in 2019 period (Especially not after this 50 year scam has hurt hundreds of families). Place an order and watch how in a mere few weeks those products become obsolete. The company thrives on having the IBC’s etc. purchase glamor products, non sellable men’s products and seasonal Christmas products they urge us to buy. New IBC’s are excited by those sweet smelling MK cheap perfumes and lotions. We rush out and find ways to decorate and present these products. Our Open Houses etc fail miserably. An entire day of decorating, preparing and waiting. So pathetically sad.

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