Making Pink Lemonade Out of Mary Kay Lemons

Written by PinkPeace

As much as we can be very angry and disgusted with Mary Kay for any number of legitimate reasons, if we’re honest with ourselves, our experience in the pink bubble wasn’t 100% bad.

I wanted to highlight some of the positives I got out of my years in the business in the hopes that you’ll be able to look at your own experience and extract some good out of it. Trust me, you’ll feel a lot better about Mary Kay when you can see that it was part of a journey that made you a better person.

I became more outgoing and confident in public. Prior to Mary Kay, I was shy and was terrified to speak in front of others. I never wanted to go anywhere where I had to meet new people, and I was awkward any time I had to give a presentation or speak in front of a group. Mary Kay taught me how to start a conversation with someone else and keep it going by engaging the other person in talking about him or herself. My many years in directorship trained me to think on my feet in front of other women and give presentations that others were excited to hear.

I developed a more positive attitude. When I joined Mary Kay, I was negative, sarcastic and just generally unpleasant to be around. In the beginning, it was extremely difficult for me to project a positive attitude, because it just was not my nature. But as the years went by, I discovered the wisdom that “you attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

My positive and upbeat attitude gradually became natural and got me farther than my previous disposition ever would have. I became a generally much happier person by looking for the positives in any given situation instead of dwelling on the negatives. Without my MK training, I am convinced I would never have been able to turn that part of my personality around.

I learned to better deal with different personality types. Well, I’m pretty much a “D” personality – domineering, take charge and convinced that it should be my way or the highway. I was forced to deal with all different personality types in my unit and see the value in each one. I had to stretch and develop patience and tolerance for women who saw the world completely differently than I do. Eventually I came to appreciate each of their perspectives and value them for who they were.

I developed patience and persistence. I was naturally very impatient when I began Mary Kay, but I quickly learned that impatience did not help me build my business, especially when I was going through DIQ and was in directorship. I know that they always say, “Fast is good and slow is impossible.”

But when it came to pressuring women to become consultants, I found that if I took my time and “layered” them, I had more chance of success. (Of course now I wish I hadn’t brought anyone into this business, but at the time I thought I was doing the right thing.) Now if I don’t get an instant result in whatever I’m doing, I know that it’s not the end of the world, and that if I keep plugging away, I’ll eventually have a better outcome.

I learned how to give a good compliment. I know this sounds a little silly, but I was not in the habit of complimenting others before I received “warm stalking” training with Mary Kay. It taught me to be observant and pick up on little clues from women about what might make them feel special. One of the most fun things about being out of the pink bubble is giving random compliments to people just to be nice. I really love picking out something about someone else and letting her know I notice and appreciate it.

I learned to make others feel important. What a powerful life lesson! There is such value in giving recognition and appreciation to someone else. I also learned that the world does not revolve around me, and that sharing the spotlight with others is much more fulfilling. I’m so glad Mary Kay taught me to find whatever is unique and valuable about others and give it attention and recognition.

I discovered the power of praising someone to success. This has been an especially good lesson for me with my children. There is a world of difference in someone’s reaction and performance when you find something to praise rather than something to criticize. I apply this to other people that I interact with also. I’m always the first with a “good for YOU!” or “that’s fantastic – you’re doing great!” when someone does something right. I’ve been told that people like to work with me because I find things to get excited about instead of dwelling on what might have gone wrong.

I got a lot cuter. Say what you will about wearing makeup and having a dress code, but I really needed it! Before Mary Kay, I had NO clue about how to pull myself together to look appealing. I look so much better with makeup, a good haircut and cute clothes, and outside of Mary Kay, I don’t know how I would have gotten that kind of advice, short of being on a TV makeover show. And because I know I look good, I feel good and have more confidence.

Any of you who have read any of my previous posts know that I am NOT a kaybot, and I do not defend the company. But I believe God had/has you in Mary Kay for a purpose, and can make good come out of bad circumstance. Try to reflect on them as I toast you all with a glass of pink lemonade!


  1. Mickey2942

    I am so glad that you learned how to manipulate people by giving them fake compliments to create a conversation where people felt that you actually cared about them and liked them with your insincerity. Kudos to you for learning an important skill in manipulation of others to meet your goals.

    Mary Kay helped you realize that you should look good and wear makeup? So, externally you looked charming, warm, and cuddly, while internally you were a snake observing others as prey to meet your needs.

    Your entire persona and attitude towards the fact that you improved yourself while selling Mary Kay does nothing but make me ill. You don’t acknowledge the criminal thinking mentality that you coerced women to purchase “stock” knowing fully well, that it would only increase your profit. The fact that you don’t own your fake persona, means that you probably learned how to live callously without a conscience. Kudos to you. Another Mary Kay success story.

    1. TRACY

      Yikes. I realize you don’t have the benefit of knowing PinkPeace personally, but I do. Your comments couldn’t be more off base. She recognizes that while the Mary Kay is damaging to women, there WERE some good skills learned that can be applied to real life. This post by itself does not express how she views MK as a company or (non)opportunity.

    2. MLM Radar

      Mikey, I understand that you’re furious at anything MK and MLMs do. Anger is the first or second stage of grief, and if the person who caused you pain is still actively doing it you’re probably going to stay angry.

      This article is written for the someone else, the person who recently got out of MK or another MLM and feels like crap for having participated. This article is for the person who needs to be reminded that there is nothing so evil that God can’t make good come out of it.

      Our new former consultant is totally blaming herself for her failure, just like she was taught to do. She thinks she’s a loser, a quitter, a nobody who couldn’t cut it. She believes she didn’t try hard enough, that her “achieve level” was too low, and that she didn’t have faith strong enough for God to bless her. She was taught to believe the company is blameless, that the system was easy and anobody could do it, and she still believes that.

      She was taught a pack of lies, and she still thinks they are the reason she failed.

      Now she’s sitting there fully realizing that she wasted a year or more of her life, surrounded by products she’ll never sell and can’t return, and knowing she has credit card bills she can’t pay.

      That’s why PinkPease wrote this column. Our former consultant has to get on with her life. MK taught her some things she didn’t know about how to work better with people, which she’ll be able to use when getting a real job and rebuilding her life. MK used those skills for evil, but they can also be used for good.

      Thank you PinkPeace and Tracy for re-running this column, for reminding us that we need to get the few gems out of the ashes and use those to move on.

  2. Lazy Gardens

    A skill is a skill – it’s how you use it that matters. One of the best project managers I ever worked with learned group management and conflict resolution in a SoCal street gang.

    What if Gloria Mayfield Banks had used her persuasive and managerial skills to really help women start real businesses, not enrich herself by tricking them into Mary Kay?

  3. Mickey2942

    Former Mary Kay Bots should belong to a 12 step group, and focus on Step 5, Asking for Forgiveness to people who they have hurt, when they were deep into their addiction to Mary Kay.

    Are you appalled that I actually told the truth? Isn’t that what this is? “Pink Truth”? Manipulation of other women is a core tenet of being a successful KayBot.

    1. coralrose

      I don’t understand the need to shame people who were in MK, then GOT OUT, and are willing to share their experiences to prevent others from making the same mistake they did. The con is cleverly hidden in MK. I’ve learned so much from the former directors sharing the “behind the scenes” info that’s kept from lowly consultants. Hearing those stories helped me completely get out much more than comments designed to shame.

      I’ve read multiple pieces on here where former directors DO apologize for hurting people while in MK. It would be a very boring blog if that was part of every post.

      This piece is obviously directed at people who made Mary Kay their career, likely other directors, and then got out. I think it’s OK to write a piece saying “yeah, MK sucks, and my time in it was a mistake, but I actually did learn a few things/ gain some new skills. Here’s what I learned.”

  4. SuzyQ

    PP, you nailed it again! There were positives for me too. I can pretty much echo yours. Much/most of the MK culture was/is based on lies, but there were people who came into my life that I would likely not have met (like you and Tracy) and that counts for a lot!

  5. Cindylu

    MK herself was given some kind of picture instead of compensation because she complimented the cheap art work. I guess she also learned to be careful how she used her manipulative philosophy to gain sales. When MK sold books to her neighbors, once again they weren’t too happy with her. In her mind getting ahead meant it was ok to embellish the sales pitch. As to the positives, it is amazing how many genuinely nice IBC’s were in my unit. Like any cult MK seemed to use spiritual philosophies to draw us in. For a while we worked well together. Like peeling back an onion we began to see the exaggerations and illogical aspects of MK. Constant changes in products by the company at our expense, no advertising by the company and no where to properly promote the products. Little by little we learned what were told was inaccurate. As to the positive, I met some nice women, read some positive self help books etc. This company of fifty plus years has reached the end of its pyramid recruiting scheme.

  6. OnelessSD

    Thank you PinkPeace… I too have learned some valuable lessons/ skills while in MK. Many you’ve already listed… public speaking, etc. While in my local networking group, I met my future employer.. a local bookkeeper for small businesses. While giving a 10 minute talk during one of the weeks, I had mentioned that I was a former bookkeeper for a law firm before MK… and that I was so glad to be doing what I was currently doing, etc. She became a customer (only purchasing a few items- she wore no makeup) but we became friends over the next couple years. When I left that group after a couple years- and when I had finally left MK- she approached me and asked if I was interested in some part time (maybe 5 hrs a week) bookkeeping work. I had been out of the field for 12-14 yrs and had never worked with QuickBooks before… but she said that didn’t matter- I had the intangible qualities that she couldn’t train me in… and all the bookkeeping stuff- she could work with me on. Needless to say- she hired me on the spot… got me started and that was 8 years ago. She’s been an incredible mentor to me, and I’ve learned so much. I now handle 14 of her clients exclusively, and I completely run our family’s construction/ maintenance business books along with a couple smaller entities. If I weren’t in that networking group representing MK… I seriously doubt I would have crossed paths with her.

    There are definitely lessons to learn from my MK experience… I’ve cultivated a couple close friendships out of that time spent as well…. not all of it was a waste. I’ve also learned a lot about what not to do / how to treat people, and I’m much more aware of MLM’s and their tactics. All in all, I’m wiser for it.. and the most valuable thing is… I can warn my children from them. They saw it all … and we’ve had very open discussions about everything… so hopefully they will be wiser for my mistakes.

    Thanks PinkPeace for sharing this.. and thank you Tracy for posting this again… I appreciate it!

  7. Char

    My MLM lemonade is that I am no longer a blind faith follower. I don’t think that I will become financially secure because of belief, nor saved because of it.

    My MLM experience taught me to focus on facts, math and science, and to be wary of organizations/companies that preach faith because they don’t have proof.

    MLM started me thinking about how unquestioned worship has proven catastrophic in history. The Crusades, Witch Trials, 9/11, anti-Semitic attacks, slavery and racism come to mind – and to a far, far lesser degree MLM. All these acts are driven by belief. People believed whites were superior to blacks (some still do), and Christianity specifically over other religions saves you in the afterlife (some still do). People believed women were witches. And then there’s Allah extremists. The list goes on. To this day, some cults want us to discriminate against those who are born different even though that person may be good, kind and loving. Not serving cake to someone gay is the same as not serving someone black in the diner. Aren’t we all human?!

    MLM taught me the emphasis should be on how you act first, and not what you believe. That faith should not be viewed as a bragging right.

    My holiday wish is that all humans become more tolerant of others’ beliefs and re-evaluate their own position on the specific principle of belief; because well, it’s just belief. That’s a fact.

    *Today, a black person stabbed five Jewish people. Wonder what the motivation was. Could it be that he believed that what they believed made them unworthy in his mind. Did belief manifest his derangement. But he’s black. His own color are victims of belief.

    Thank you MLM for teaching me belief isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

  8. Coffee Queen

    Pink Peace;
    What you have said, resonated with me. At first, I was angry and hurt about my experience with MK, and now, 2 years out of it, I realize it wasn’t all bad.

    I did learn how to public speak. Something that i was so scared to do before MK.

    I also learned how to deal with difficult people (mostly my director, lol) but I learned some skills that I am grateful for.

    Don’t mind all the hate here. I realize that MK wasn’t a great experience for all of us, but we got out, we are stronger because of our experience, and there was some good that came out of it.

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