You Win When Your Downline Fails

Written by Raisinberry

It’s time to share one of the most self serving and diabolical aspects of National Sales Directorship in Mary Kay Cosmetics. While you may have thought you had heard it all, you have not. There’s more.

To highlight the aspect I am about to share, we need to be reminded about what we have been sold in regards to making it to the pinnacle of success in Mary Kay. These women are the crème de la crème. They model all that is good and right and noble about Mary Kay. They are executives, who allow you to sit at their feet, gleaning all that you should know to follow in their footsteps. Such generosity of spirit! They are in your amen corner, praising you to success and rewarding your integrity and work ethic, with the main goal of raising up new leadership in the “Mary Kay way”. That is of course until they figure out they can make more money if they just let you fail.

After more than 50 years, there are a ton of ethical Directors who are sick about what has become of this dream they believed in. Many could never bring themselves to ruthlessly recruit a new consultant’s “perfect start” faces out from under her, as so many of the fast start NSD’s have done. There are veteran Senior Directors and Exec’s out there that by now are starting to grasp that they know too much to press on for the family security program. They have grown a conscience about all the women who have come in and flushed out, doing all that they were told, but still unable to get real results without cheating.

When you know a lot and have seen a lot, it has demoralizing effects and soon these units sputter and wilt on the vine. With so much time in, you would think that the NSD would race to the side of that dedicated veteran Director and help her re-energize her Unit and her dreams.

Not so! Many long term Directors have huge downlines. They may not have had the required 12/8, 11/9, and other variations of the NSD requirements, but they can have large second, third and fourth lines that make up a large commission base, with only one thing standing in the NSD’s way to making more money. Director Connie Conscience.

Imagine being a 20 -year veteran with 15 or 20 or 30 offspring that just don’t fit the NSD lineup. Your existence puts a level between them and the NSD. If you no longer existed, those levels would all move up and double her income! So the NSD who has an offspring Director, who isn’t pushing production, or a recruiting maniac is barring the way to a huge pay increase for zero work. When Connie loses her unit, guess what happens? Connie’s offspring become 1st line to Ms. NSD, and everybody moves up a level.

In tangible terms that means since Connie’s gone, all of Connie’s 1st line become Ms. NSD’s 1st line at 9% commission. When they were second line they only paid her at 4%. All the third lines that paid out at 2% are now moved up to second line and pay out 4% to the NSD.

If Connie Conscience just dries up and dies, Ms. NSD stands to just about double her commissions for doing nothing…. and I mean doing nothing! And with Connie out of the way, maybe Ms. NSD can burrow in and re-manipulate all those 2nd and 3rd lines into greater commitment.

Once again, it is apparent that the Mary Kay marketing plan is at cross purposes to its stated goal. Any time an offspring unit is reabsorbed into the parent unit, it benefits the senior. How hard is she really going to work to help that offspring excel if she can smell blood in the water? How many seniors were happy to gain 30 to 60 plus members in the hopes of finding a few race horses to take the pressure off? Lose an offspring but gain car production? Yea for you!

No matter how noble you think you are, Mary Kay has a way of putting you in the darkest scenarios where your survival is pitted against the best interests of another… a place where you have to do a lot of rationalizing to justify your behavior.

And at month end, there might be one or two or ten Seniors or Execs who just don’t want to play the game anymore and will step aside, only to have their National ecstatic with her newfound pay increase. She’ll receive the flimsy, “Are you sure you can’t stretch” call designed to give the appearance of compassion. And as they hang up the phone, resolved that this budding national area will be no more, how tempted will Miss NSD be, to rapidly figure her new commission schedule for the upcoming month?

NSDs get compensated in so many ways. There’s a $3,000 bonus for 100 star consultants, another $1,000 bonus for a “on the right track” winner, another $1,000 bonus for a Cadillac requalifiers, another $1,000 for a fab 50 offspring, another$1,000 for a honor society offspring, and another $1,000 bonus for a higher circle of achievement. Most of this work to achieve these levels was accomplished by the Directors below her.

And if this wasn’t enough, after everything that veteran Director had done to keep her unit going for all those years, helping teach and train at Seminar, all the “stretching”, business counsel, ethical practices and company loyalty, all of it washes down the drain with her MK debt unpaid, and her NSD rewarded.

In product based pyramids, all things work for the good of the tippy top. And apparently, that doesn’t bother them a bit. You can easily see how trapped the 1st line Director is, when she no longer can parrot the Mary Kay rhetoric. She knows if she steps away, she ends up rewarding a person least deserving of it, and who would financially prefer she depart anyway. Crème de la crème sure fits. It’s actually the richest, fattest portion of the cream, known to clog arteries. All MLM product based pyramids, like Mary Kay Cosmetics continue on because the top dwellers are positioned to always receive the fruits and even the “failures” of the bottom dwellers. How’s that for Golden Rule living?


  1. Lazy Gardens

    How does the NSD-Wannabee sabotage Connie? What tactics have you seen.

    Would there be any advantage to Connie’s first line directors to sabotage Connie and move into first line for Ms. NSD wannabee? All I can think of is the “prestige” of being first-line in a new NSD unit.

    1. MLM Radar

      First tactic is to stop communicating with Connie and start shunning. Make Connie feel unwelcome and unappreciated.

      Communicate directly with Connie’s down line instead.

      1. pinkblacksheep

        That happened to me. My senior also encouraged my offspring to meet with her. And when my offspring came back into my unit, my senior encouraged her to continue going to my senior’s meeting. I was the star of the “future area” as long as I revered my senior. The moment I tried to be my own director, she and all her other offspring (4) shunned me. What’s insane is that had she kept supporting me and making me feel like a star, I would have kept going and been a huge part of a national area. By sabotaging me, she sabotaged herself. I wonder if she dropped her NSD goal because she knew she wasn’t willing to do the awful things it would take to get there. Or she just didn’t like that I didn’t revere and look up to her. Who knows. Glad to be out of the awful MK “bubble”.

        1. BestDecision

          This happened to me, too! Mine taught my offspring to equate unit meeting size to success. Funny how much stronger my production was and how my Senior isn’t any farther along all this time after I left!

  2. Twinkie Pink

    This. This, in retrospect, makes so much sense! And I’m feeling like I might be a little long winded and clear as mud, but here goes:

    While I personally experienced this underhandedness to a degree from my own senior (I’ve now been out of MK for years—seems like ancient history, or maybe more like a scab that refuses to heal), this post made me remember one Leadership Conference years ago.

    At that Leadership, I happened to sit next to a director who mentioned to me that she had recruited the ”biggest name in all of MK” (think of someone who is now retired). This nice lady proceeded to tell me that she’d never felt the go-give, or “the love” or the cult-like following or the adulation that her recruit, or her recruit’s “famously bonded” Sr. Director enjoyed. She just did not fit the mold. This poor woman was always treated like the third wheel since she never felt cute enough, or glamorous enough or as charismatic as her famous recruit (now an NSD emeritus) and her ”twin”, the Sr. (also an NSD emeritus).

    What Raisinberry’s post makes so clear is that had my seat-mate been somehow, “out of the picture”, her Sr. NSD would have, over the years, made A LOT more money, as that “Million-Dollar-Director” famous recruit would have been first line to her, not second. Geez. Talk about dog-eat-dog.

    1. Onegative

      Ohhhhh I want to know who this is!! I want to say Kathy Helou and Debi Moore, but Kathy always talked about how Debi was her senior. I don’t know anyone else who was a million dollar producer and charismatic.

  3. morningstar

    WOW This is cutthroat behavior set up by Mary kay herself. NSDs are narcissists and they would rather send their directors down the road for ……say it real slow

Comments are closed.