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

Does a New Mary Kay Consultant NEED Inventory?

You’ve just been recruited into Mary Kay, and your recruiter and sales director are telling you that you need inventory. You can’t sell from an empty wagon! No one wants to wait for their products! Sephora has products on their shelves, so you should too!

Unfortunately, purchasing inventory is one of the biggest downfalls for women in Mary Kay. Women end up with more products than they can sell, but they still end up needing to place orders for inventory they don’t have, and their inventory stockpile gets bigger and bigger.

Even if you try to be cautious and only purchase a small amount of inventory, you will run into problems. If you can find customers, you will not have the products they want to order, so you will be constantly placing orders. There are minimum order sizes, so you will find yourself ordering extra products you don’t need, simply so you can meet the minimum.

One Pink Truth member came up with this answer to the question “Do I need inventory?”:

This is a twofold question. First of all, do you need an inventory? Certainly not in the beginning. Most women are familiar with online ordering, and waiting for their products. Women that order from in-home distributors expect to wait for their products. So as you begin your experience with Mary Kay, you need to take time to determine your customer -base, and see what you sell the most of.

If you are tempted by all the free products that are included in your initial order, remember that it is like buying things you don’t need, just because they are on sale. Don’t fall into the trap of getting “free” product and ordering product you don’t need just to meet the bar for the next bonus. Unless you sell it, it becomes debt, not an investment.

What size inventory should you have? As you gain customers, you will begin to have an idea as to what products you sell the most. When you are able to determine what would be valuable to have on hand, then you can slowly begin to order a couple extra things here and there to have ready for your customers when they order. To be honest, you do NOT NEED TO HAVE PRODUCTS ON HAND. Charge your customers shipping if you need to, and order their products in groups. In any given month, several customers may reorder, and then you can place one order at the end of the month.

Do not, under any circumstances, allow your director place your first order, especially if you have decided to buy an inventory. She will order you a sampling of almost every product, things you may or may not be able to sell. YOU need to determine what products you will sell, and no one else. This is your decision. If you do not know what to order, do not order inventory! Make a smart business decision and wait until you have the money to place an order, money generated from your sales.

Please avoid getting a credit card and placing an inventory purchase on it. It is debt, according to any financial adviser. It affects your credit score, opens up yet another temptation to buy even more extras for your Mary Kay adventure, and starts you off on poor financial footing.

You may lose a few sales because you don’t have products on hand. However, the small amount of profit you might have made on those sales is nothing compared to the money you will lose by stocking inventory you don’t need, purchasing additional unneeded products to meet order minimums, and the interest you will pay on the credit card debt related to your inventory purchases.


  1. cindylu

    In the beginning MK had just 9 products. She switched from selling where even her neighbors. were suspicious to having consultants do the selling. Unfortunately she soon forgot the supposed original doctrine of helping women to succeed. If that was the truth, the company: would have fewer products, would stop constantly changing products (causing hundreds of women undue financial stress and debt), would advertise properly in real magazines and doing real commercials and would have listened and fixed things when the misleading tactics began. Since it was an mlm from day one (Not the absurd nonsensical “Dual Marketing” facade) we were deceived with, then only a very few women before the 1980’s narrowly made it. They then had to find questionable or even underhanded ways to maintain the illusion. Hence the ongoing “Fake it till you Make it” (The co pays, the seminar indoctrination) and the weekly repetitive fake training. Time to end this pyramid scheme and save many more women from being lured into a pink nightmare of endless debt.

  2. MLM Radar

    You’re pressured to buy inventory from the very first day. Just to qualify for the “wholesale” 50% off price discount you must order products totaling $450 “retail.”

    Are your friends and family excited enough to order $450 retail price in MK products in one or two weeks? Remember, you can’t wait long or they’ll cancel those orders. If their orders don’t add up to $450 you’ll wind up buying the difference yourself.

    They don’t order enough? No MK discount for you, and no profits.

    You buy up the difference to get to $450 with no customer orders to cover the extra items? You just handed your discount and profits back to MK. It’s lose-lose for you.

    1. BestDecision

      The $30 e-Start is tanking. My Director is averaging < $300 per new Consultant first orders, and she did say less than the minimum to maintain her Cadillac.

  3. Liblou

    My recruiter and upline got mad at me because I would not buy the recommended qualifying inventory package when I signed with them. So much for women helping women. More like women putting women in debt. Sad what this company has turned into.

    1. TRACY

      Liblou – It has been this way for a long, long time. In the very beginning it had a selling focus. But it didn’t take long before the focus turned to selling inventory packages to new recruits.

    2. MLM Radar

      The “qualifying” order doesn’t qualify you, the consultant, for anything. The applause and “consultant of the week” ribbon doesn’t put any money in your pocket to pay for your purchase.

      But your big order DOES “qualify” your Director for hefty bonuses, and might “qualify” your recruiter for a higher percentage commission. If applause and a weekly ribbon will persuade you to line their pockets with cash, they’re happy to do it.

        1. MLM Radar

          The dirty secret is that those meetings didn’t give you any information about how to market your $600 inventory to end-user customers. What you learned, if anything, was all the reasons why you should buy even more inventory even though you still had few customers. You also may have learned how to recruit your best customers, which would reduce your end-user sales even further.

          But you were led to believe these meetings WOULD help you sell that $600+ “qualifying” inventory. Bait-and-switch. It was all bait-and-switch. In other words, fraud.

  4. morningstar

    Here is how Ulta is reopening soon.

    Hey kaybots – better not use that full size “whatever” item with your customers. MK could be liable, but I am sure there is a nice clause in the consultant contract, not liable for contamination and cross contamination during the pandemic. Tell me would you buy from that consultant with the starter kit stuff? Used again and again to get those recruits….. How many rules does MK follow per article below – only a couple.


    1. J

      Clearly you’ve never tried being a consultant yourself, because we have a no touching policy that we follow with EVERY single person we do facials with, and we NEVER touch the products directly with our hands, or use the same applicators, as that would be any direct transfer of germs or contamination to people & the products themselves. Any beauty expert would know that, & so should you?. So yes, if someone were dumb enough to NOT follow those guidelines & had proof that the product damaged their skin or gave them an infection or issue of any sort, then yes, whichever consultant/individual that gave them the products to use would be held reliable, that is in NO way Mary Kay’s fault, as that goes against their initial guidelines. It helps to know your facts before you go judging something you have not encountered yourself.

      1. BestDecision

        I was a Director, and I saw lots of hands on faces in my years. Customers don’t want a “facial” they have to apply themselves, so we all caved at times. Brides want makeup done for them, not applied with their own hands.

        Clearly you haven’t had that many face-to-face appointments with hundreds of customers over years of MK or you’d not be so oblivious to what really happens beyond “guidelines”. Ever sped beyond the speed limit??

  5. Emmapeelfan

    Someone posted on FB the cat TP challenge – where people stack rolls of tp for their cats to jump over and keep increasing the number of rows until the cat can’t jump any higher. Except in the post I saw, it was Mary Kay lipsticks…probably a couple hundred (enough go go across a doorframe and at least 8 or 9 rows high – and several package versions).

    Because when things get bad, every gal needs lipstick, right?

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