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

What You Heard at a Mary Kay Recruiting Event

mary-kay-eventWritten by Raisinberry

One of our big problems is that when we were introduced to Mary Kay the information we were told was grossly overstated. Mary Kay Corp has attempted to clean up some of the outrageous statements, designed to sell you on the opportunity, but not with too much fervor. If you had the facts, you might decide to pass. So, in an effort to balance the hype with the truth, here you go:

1. When the Directors walked upfront and introduced themselves, the “high check” or “number of cars won” figure they shared was not an average monthly check and did not include chargebacks or expenses. In many cases, we have heard that top check from the same director for over 10 years. You, dear guest, don’t know that. They are hoping you will assume it’s an average and jump to the conclusion that all those ladies in suits are just neck deep in cash. They aren’t. The “premier” level directors average about $20,000 per year; Cadillac Directors average about $45,000 before expenses and depending on offspring. Expenses are easily $10,000 to $15,000 per year or more. New people don’t know that Directors buy all their own prizes, pay for their meeting rooms, newsletters, suit, shoes, training events, and even get their so called “free” car payment deducted from their commission check when their Unit isn’t ordering enough.

You were told that weekly meetings are not mandatory. They aren’t, but the minute you get there you will be told that you won’t make any money if you don’t “plug in” every week. The pressure to attend and the attention you will get will draw you in.

You were told that you don’t need inventory. When you go to orientation you will be told that you do. You will be told that “successful” women have a full store around $3,000 wholesale. You will be told you cannot take a profit until you get to “profit level,” which of course is $3,000 worth. This is FICTION.

You are not dependent on foot traffic (and you don’t even have access to it), therefore you do not need full shelves. Having inventory based on a product line of over 200 products means you are taking a crap shoot as to whether the stuff you have is the stuff they might want.

And having more than one of anything is even more ridiculous, since you will never have volume selling (legally). Its strictly convenience to give it to the buyer at the point of purchase. Back in the day when consultants held 10 classes a week, it may have made sense. It has been DECADES since anything close to that level of selling occurred. Back when I was a director, they told us that the national average of skin care classes held per month was ONE. I doubt that has changed.

You were told you would have three avenues of income: sales, reorders, dovetail commissions from classes you booked but gave away. You were told you could have a website presence, and sell “on the go, on the face or on the web.” This makes selling look easy and income from sales look awesome! You were given sheets that show different earning scenarios depending on how many classes you held a week, with the resultant reorder profit amounts. ALL FICTION.

You will sell friends and family who want to help you, and those first weeks in business will be about your best. From there you will have a few re-booked parties, and they will begin to dwindle until you can’t reach them after they have rescheduled a number of times. Women will avoid you. You will then be encouraged to put out fishbowls and give free facials and try to turn them into classes. all with strangers. You will have to overcome your fear of talking with strangers and learn to give sincere compliments to anyone who will give you eye contact and smile, so that you can book them. Your entire waking life will become an ulterior motive of who can you talk to, who can you book, who can you recruit… because if you ordered inventory, on the advice of your director, it is now rotting on your shelves.

You have to advertise your MK business, but there are all sorts of rules about what you can post on social media. They’ll tell you that you can have a Facebook page, but again you can only post “approved” messages. The idea that Mary Kay Inc. will help you advertise with the internet is FICTION. Reorders will not be anything like you expect. Certain customers will be loyal and stay with you, however many will attend the class that their friend may have and switch allegiances. Because the market is so saturated, discounted products abound and you’ll have a hard time getting customers to pay full price. (Bye bye to the 50% profit they told you about!)

If you join anyway and your director tells you to have a business debut, which seems like a good idea, it is actually a mini guest event for your sales director to find new recruits. She will recruit your friends and family before you even get a chance to have them hold a party or order or introduce you to more customers. You will be told this is for your good (to move you up) but moving you up is for the director’s benefit, not yours. You will not know this, of course.

You will look around and wonder if the area is saturated with consultants. It is. Only they aren’t actively pursuing the “dream.” The vast majority of consultants make up a sea of personal use consultants who tried it, figured it out, got out, but kept their discount. They are called the “base unit.” Then there is 2% who got suckered up the career path and ended up doing star, car production or unit production on their own credit cards, and now HAVE to continue to try and dig out. You will not be told ANY of this.

These are only the INITIAL facts that are hidden from you as you consider the Pink Bubble. This is why Pink Truth clamors for full disclosure. Because directors are trapped in a predatory system that needs new recruit production to survive, your best interests will be hidden from you, and hers will be encouraged. This, sadly, is only a tiny portion of what you need to know about the real facts you didn’t hear at that POSITIVE and UPLIFTING Mary Kay Guest event.


  1. Pinkiu

    THIS, “Your entire waking life will become an ulterior motive of who can you talk to, who can you book, who can you recruit… because if you ordered inventory, on the advice of your director, it is now rotting on your shelves.”

    This is the part I hated about my MK life. I was constantly thinking about who could I convince to meet with me, have a party, recruit, sell to, etc. ALWAYS.

    Family gathering: Who might buy a little something from my trunk? Can I get away with a skin care class with my female relatives at Aunt Pity’s Thanksgiving dinner?
    Church: Who could hold a class for me?
    Target: Who could I warm chat (stalk)
    Hair salon: Would they let me put up a box?
    Work: Is it ethical to use my work directory to cold call people to facial?

    AND THEN…every day, I felt guilty because I wasn’t cold calling people to book a class or calling former customers to see if they needed anything. 9 times out of 10 past customers told me they were using a new product from another line, or their sister became a MK consultant, or they wanted to return the product they bought because they really don’t use it, or… It was so discouraging. And for the few who did need something, inevitably it was one small item that cost me more in gas to drive it to their house than the profit I made from it.

    It’s an awful business to get sucked into. They freedom I felt inside when I decided to be done – done mentally, done physically, done emotionally, DONE was indescribable. I felt like I didn’t have that mental ball and chain every day weighing me down.

  2. BestDecision

    So many memories from your words! We always came away from Seminar being told a diamond bee was the cure for whatever ailed us, but then we’d see countless bees on the shoulders of people not moving anywhere. For years! For example, my Senior is in the exact same spot she was in 18 years ago. Think of how many others wore the suit with us that had done so for DECADES and weren’t any closer to MSD and all the so-called guarantees that came with it!

    Chargebacks, developing offspring, losing offspring, getting into Cadillacs, going out of Cadillacs…they don’t tell you ANY of it is the norm. It sickens me that I wasted so much time on HOPE, lies, betrayals, and fruitless work.

      1. EyesWideShutNoMore

        I was at an RJU last year and one of the directors spoke about party tips. One of her suggestions was to bring the piddly items to the party (the pity purchases) like eye liners and glosses so you can give it to them right there instead of having to deliver it. “And, they’re easy to pack!” Uh yeah, not if you’re bringing 1 of every item.

        It probably helped her as a director if her unit was ordering those items but really, to deliver it or even mail it is so not worth it. I didn’t see how it helped a consultant to take a guess on which smaller items to not only order, but bring with her to the party. Pre profiling be damned!

  3. Mountaineer95

    Most companies will NOT intentionally and severely exaggerate the earning potential and downplay the experience level needed fo the positions for which they’re hiring. Why? Because for any legit company, there are HR costs involved with every new hire. It’s not cheap to advertise, interview, hire, on-board, and train any new employee. So many companies will NOT create a false picture of the position, because hiring the wrong person is costly. But in MK, bringing on a new consultant costs VERY LITTLE to MK Corporate. They didn’t spend the hours warm chatting, they didn’t pay rent for the room used for the recruiting event, they didn’t take the hit on profit that the recruiter suffers by offering freebies to gain recruits, and on goes the list. In other words, MKC takes on very little cost in adding new IBCs. So they don’t lose ANYTHING by directors using false promises to add recruits. Corp loses little and can potentially make a lot from every income lie the directors and recruiters use.

  4. Ruby Slippers

    This is spot on! Yes most people will fizzle out eventually. I’ve been in since the late 90’s made it to the top 2% and once I did my rose colored glasses came off. I rarely gave discounts and have a decent customer base that is dwindling thru natural attrition .
    However, unless (as a Director) you QUICKLY build your unit to 50 to support @$5000 production per month you will find yourself doing parties, trying to recruit, and YES finally selling things at discount in order to make production because the base unit (ex 30 …. Only 3 are working and one is YOU) is stagnant. You find the joy sucked out of a business you once enjoyed. You find yourself scrambling to make production! Hoping the one last recruit you signed up does a STAR order… Knowing in your heart that most likely she will let it rot on her shelves or worst case return it later but at least you made your month! Phew!! That was close again, lol…. Or NOT close and you order to fill in the differnce knowing that you will sell it eventually. UNTIL, once again the company changes out all Miracle Sets, Skinvigorate Brushes, eyeshadows, etc. and again you are stuck with OBSOLETE product that nobody wants. .
    I finally came to my senses and got a regular JOB. Now I know what I’m making for the time I put in and also enjoy shopping at Target and going to a restaurant without thinking about who I will warm chat. And not to mention going there looking like a normal person and not miss fancy pants all dolled up! So much less stress and loving life now!

  5. shay

    See I know if someone who is having the exact opposite of a time.
    My boyfriends buddy girlfriend joined MK in a small town in PA.. The person who recruited her and her upline don’t even keep contact just every couple months to “check in” aka make sure she orders and gets the “you don’t wanna burn bridges and get deactivated for not participating shebang.
    Well, he asked me what she could do to sell her products and I was oblivious because anyone who knows me knows I’m very anti-MLM. I sarcastically said “aren’t the products selling themselves” and he said no. I just said go to the Pinterest website they’ll tell you all about it and what to do.
    can’t believe after hearing me *itch and complain he didn’t warn her.

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