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

I Want to Encourage You!

Apparently we just did it all wrong. There is a contract. We should have read it. His wife is successful. But he just wants to encourage us!

As a husband of a wonderful woman who was a Mary Kay consultant for over two decades, I saw a lot of water flow over the dam. There has been much about this business I do not like but on the other hand, it hasn’t been entirely bad.

Once my wife realized the power in the “independent” status of her business, she was able to make huge changes that allowed her to see profit rather than deficits.

What this amounted to was a simple decision to control her own business – not to be subservient to anyone else. After the costly areas of operating were identified as non essential, she made changes and cut out all non profitable activities. She concentrated only on activities that were cost effective. She eliminated the non productive and costly events and dedicated herself to personal monthly profit.

When she became truly independent of her area and began making sound business judgments, her profitability exceeded the average weekly wage for our State. This, of course, was the goal. Dollars finally found their way to our wallet instead of being constantly put back in her business.

From a man’s point of view, and after reading posts on your site, I have come to the conclusion that many Mar Kay consultants have lost sight of, or never quite knew, the power of the word “independent.” The very foundation of your status in Mary Kay is contained in that one word which is within the four corners of the Mary Kay agreement you must sign.

What really jumps off the pages of pain in Pink Truth is the fact that consultants feel they’ve been treated unfairly, with manipulation, and how DEPENDENT they were for the support they didn’t get. If indeed someone has done this to you, it is a sad and sorrowful thing. I know the motivation for keeping the truth of your contracted power away from you. Simply put, it is so they can exercise pain, humiliation, and hatred toward you if you cross them, and you’ll think it’s within their power. I urge you to take back your power of the “independent” status of your business.

In these next few lines I’d like to say being familiar with any contract language is paramount before you sign any contract no matter what! Forget the driving force behind the pressure of ”you’ve gotta do it NOW“ because that always benefits the one applying the pressure, not you! Independent is an easy word in this contract but generally not emphasized for the obvious reason some in your organization want to maintain the illusion of authority and control over you.

Since your first impression of your recruiter was probably when she was dressed in a costume that made her look like a generalismo of a third world country – adorned with glittering achievement badges, you probably, and wrongfully thought she was going to be your boss, or supervisor in the chain of command. Nothing could be further from the truth, and if anyone made you believe otherwise they’ve breached the contract between you and the corporation. Keep forever in your memory cells that no one stands between Mary Kay Corporation (the contractor) and you – (the independent subcontractor).

You are not dependent, nor are you subject to control by others not affiliated with the larger controlling unit – (the contractor) and that means everybody from the rank of recruiter to the very highest NSD. If these people are not actual paid employees of the contractor, you are not required, nor do you have to rely on anything, or anyone else in the contingent for their opinions or for guidance in your conduct. The others who hold large titles prefaced with the word “Independent”, have only one function – to inspire, encourage, and excite you about the company so you will buy product, and recruit others – just like they do.

The company wants you to maintain the highest levels of integrity, honesty, and responsibility towards the company, customers, and your peers, and to hold the company harmless for any damages or misrepresentations by the independent…

This is standard language found in any sub-contract – there’s about 20 general terms and conditions on the agreement which all consultants have a copy of.

No matter how euphemistic the implication, or how intense the abuse is that you must be of a particular or religious affiliation, you are not bound by or committed to join in this activity either. There is absolutely nothing in the contract that stipulates this so if it’s done to you, it would violate all the laws of our land. No one is allowed to pressure you in this way. Report all instances to the corporate office-not anyone in between.

This is a serious breach for those who are insincere, and wear a false appearance of virtue or religion – although there’s absolutely nothing in the MK agreement that addresses this topic. However, legions of us have witnessed it in action. Primarily a person in an iconic position will turn a MK meeting into an outright religious revival and link the overall success of their production directly to God. This is yet another way to make you believe they have not only the authoritative power of the corporation, but the ultimate power of God over you if you don’t conform. I believe that God gave all of us special abilities, a short list of behavioral controls, and the ability to choose between right and wrong. He said there’d be a judgment day, then he moved on…

Also, as a consultant you aren’t required, nor do you rely on others for a benefit package as this is another freedom of yours to choose your own. The contractor has deemed your earnings would be reported via form 1099 as per usual in independent sub contract issues. The company literature, the agreement, etc.; all stipulate MK consultants are “Independent Contractors“ — not an employee.

I have read your posts and some of this is the most intelligent writings I have ever seen. Especially on the emotional level. Nobody does it better than you and I am just a man who cannot reach the depths of what you feel. You are the ones who have experienced the boundless humiliation, pressure, and sometimes have been ostracized by your upline. You have every right to be outraged!

Thankfully you have this site to express your own situations. My intention is to encourage all of you who are reading this site, to dance to your own drummer. Take back that which is yours. Look at your situation and make a decision in every instance that will be best for you and your family. When you feel pressure to do things you cannot afford, stand up for yourself! Don’t do it. If you have plenty of inventory, don’t order until you actually need it. Until you upline start paying your bills and expenses, you control what goes out of your wallet! Take back your power.


  1. PeachyNotPink

    Dear OP,

    Thank you for mansplaining this to us in such a wonderfully condescending way. No wonder your wife was ripe for MK. Your gaslighting disguised as paternal concern would make anyone susceptible to future manipulation.

    By they way, you are spectacularly wrong in just about all of your assumptions.

    Go pound sand.
    Former IBC

    1. Wasrings90

      “that made her look like a generalismo of a third world country”

      I think you a mean a clown that failed the make up application classes….

      Because I have seen many people who are prominent in 3rd world countries dress way better than any MK lady I have ever seen….. Even Qualidfi would win in a wore it better vote compared to the influential MK Ladies….

  2. BestDecision

    A Consultant for over 20 years and never a Director. That alone separates my experience from hers. She has no idea what that level entails or costs.

    I made a decision, too, sir. I resigned and sent my product back for a refund. BestDecision for me!

  3. Lazy Gardens

    MLMing, mansplained to us! OK hubby, please provide PROOF of your claims of profitability to the site owner (pinktruth@gmail.com). Tax returns, or it didn’t happen.

    1. Char

      Yes, and make sure those returns show a profit from reselling product to non-affiliates.

      Profiting off pyramid scheming aka endless-chain recruiting doesn’t count as legitimate, ethical income.

  4. Pinkiu

    Oh, how enlightened I am! If only I knew that before! Here’s what YOU need to know. I chose NOT to become an SD because I wanted to just sell and have parties. In my first year I too figured out what to spend my money on and what activities were not productive. I stopped going to unit meetings and ran my business independently. Yes, I started to have a positive cash flow, but I couldn’t make much more than minimum wage. Why? Because I had to pay for postage (perhaps. now I would set a postage cost), gas for delivery, $200 (then) minimum order if I only need $50 in product. And on and on.

    Here’s what that MK contract told me to do to be profitable. I should listen to my SD. Did you know that in MK, they don’t teach you how to run a business? My instruction was to sell, and invest all of my profits back into product until I had $$$ sitting on my shelf and only THEN should I keep 40%. Ten percent of sales is nowhere near the truth of the business costs even pared down.

    Here’s what MK told me I couldn’t do in order to be profitable. I couldn’t advertise. I couldn’t sell product from a booth at a local event. I “shouldn’t” discount product. I couldn’t wear pants. I couldn’t “break” the set for a first-time customer. Can’t sell on eBay, Craigslist, or other online sites. And on and on. Now, of course, I did some of those things being ‘independent’ and all, but if I was caught, I would be terminated.

    Being in MK is not being a business owner. You’re so right, you are the company’s final sale – the final customer. You are only a contractor afforded the ‘right’ to resell you own purchased product.

  5. ran4fun

    Why would a ” husband of a wonderful woman who was a Mary Kay consultant for over two decades” be reading Pink Truth? Especially since “was” denotes past tense. Wife is not in MK anymore? So, hubby, why are you here? And why do you feel compelled to “encourage” us? And yes, we’d really like documentation (Schedule C) to verify your income claims.

    I think this is someone from corporate “disguised” as a “husband” of a happy, successful MK consultant doing a little CYA.

  6. Kristen

    It sounds like this consultant did her own thing to the exclusion of the meetings, seminar, etc. but how is she making money selling a product in a saturated market where every woman runs for the hills when she sees you coming? I think PT makes it pretty clear that even if you somehow avoid the brainwashing that already started in order to pull you into the company, you can’t make money on selling the product. This man says his wife does, but really? She would be a statistical anomaly, especially since highly intelligent and educated women on this sight couldn’t make it happen.

  7. MultiLevelMoneyLosing

    “It hasn’t been entirely bad“ what a rousing recommendation!
    How about instead of being “independent” (or reading this long screed), get a real job, as well as a paycheck and some benefits!

  8. NayMKWay

    “Independent” – Critic du jour, ad nauseam.

    “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

    Dear Sir:

    With all due respect (i.e., very little), you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. You seem to think the word “independent,” as used in the Mary Kay contract, is empowering. It is not. The only reason it is in there is to absolve Mary Kay Corporation of all obligations to the consultant. Maybe read the contract again, keeping in mind it was written by Mary Kay’s legal team to be as absolutely one-sided as possible. “Independent” just means they can screw you over.

    Item: They can cut you loose with zero warning, for zero reasons. It says so in black and white. Don’t believe it? Ask all the consultants in Australia and New Zealand what happened to them when Mary Kay decided to close up shop there in March of this year. Zzzzzzzip! That was the sound of the rug being pulled right out from under them. No warning, no severance. All they got was the ability to get a full refund–as opposed to the usual 90%–on unsold product. How generous of them (sarcasm).

    Item: They can and do change the product line far more often than necessary, with zero input from the consultants. They say it’s because they’re trying to keep up with market trends, but that’s a transparent lie. The only reason they revamp the product line on a regular basis is so consultants have to order new inventory. Mary Kay has never kept up with any market trends, ever, but they sure change stuff a lot. (Was anyone clamoring for black compacts to replace the platinum ones? Did they really ask for the new compacts to not work with the original inserts? Hmm….)

    Item: As a consultant, your customers do not belong to you. You do not get a protected territory, either. Some other consultant can swing by and recruit your entire customer base right out from under you, with zero repercussions. Your entire town could sign up as consultants with no one to sell to, under the Mary Kay system. Mary Kay touts “No Territories!” as if that were a positive, but that’s just another corporate lie.

    But here’s the fundamental point you missed, though it was staring you right in the face: you claim it’s possible to earn a decent income by doing things your own way, which by your definition means selling but not recruiting, not ordering inventory, not going to meetings. All good advice, but is it enough?

    Of course not.

    Divide Mary Kay’s gross sales by the number of consultants, and the figure comes to between $1,000 and $2,000 per year. Even if all that merchandise were being sold at full retail (HA!), that’s less than $170 per month in profit per consultant. That’s the math of MLM: when recruiting is unlimited, nearly everyone gets screwed over. And all your condescending mansplaining doesn’t override math.

  9. Heather

    *puts on her big girl panties and prepares the flame thrower*

    You sir (and I use that term loosely here) are a complete and total moron. Your manslaining to a room FULL of former SD and IBCs is full of condescension and half-truths. There is nothing independent in an MLM, especially MK. NOTHING. You are at the mercy of the company whose name is on the products. I have worked as an independent contractor before, and guess what? I was able to do EVERYTHING how I wanted. I controlled EVERY aspect of what I did, where I did it, and how I did it. Can you do that with MK? If you say yes, I have oceanfront property in Nebraska to sell you.

    Your wife found income-generating opportunities? Good for her. How much time did she have to invest in this in order to exceed the average weekly wage in your state? And what IS your average weekly wage? If I made purely the average weekly wage for my state, even if I include my spouse’s income, we would not be able to continue with our current lifestyle.

    Reading the contract? You are assuming we did not do such a thing. Heck, I even gave it to an attorney friend to read! It’s pretty vague yet iron-clad, which takes me back to the not-independent-thing in my first paragraph.

    As I read through the lines, I see someone who is a control freak and likely has a say in every little thing your wife does, down to what she wears. That is sad and shows that you are not her partner but her overlord.

    1. BestDecision

      20 years of $200 orders doesn’t carry weight in my Director’s bag. I love seeing these people spin COVID as their most successful year ever. Big orders make successful years, not necessarily actual sales. There’s no way you sell as many Basics without matching foundations or being in person to demo everything.

      The lies continue!

      1. NayMKWay

        In 2006, Avon tried to reverse a long downturn by concentrating on recruiting over sales, and even ran Superbowl ads touting the “opportunity.” Soon after, they reported on their success: many new sign-ups. There was a brief sales spike, followed by a renewed downward trend that ended with them getting bought by Natura. It was that or bankruptcy.

        Yeah, I can believe they’ve seen a spike from COVID. But they shouldn’t expect to help in the long run. It didn’t help Avon any.

  10. KayNotMary

    “ I have read your posts and some of this is the most intelligent writings I have ever seen. Especially on the emotional level. Nobody does it better than you and I am just a man who cannot reach the depths of what you feel.”

    I did the math and figured out this so-called opportunity is a loser. No emotions involved, just math and market analysis. Even a man can bust out a calculator and figure out revenue/expenses/net.

  11. Amy Walton

    Condescending mansplaining.
    Had a coworker ask recently what “mansplaining” is. Should show her this as a textbook example/

    Oh – and one more thing – W2 or it didn’t happen!~

  12. Mountaineer95

    “…have only ONE function – to inspire, encourage, and excite you about the company so you will buy product, and recruit others”…

    …um yeah, that’s three functions…ie inspire, then encourage, then excite. Try counting again, this time using your fingers if need be.

    1. Mountaineer95

      Drat, I really made a promise to you guys that I wouldn’t post about every single mistake a Kaybot makes, but I cannot hold back on the English major in me. Now for this form this guy:

      “No matter how euphemistic the implication, or how intense the abuse is that you must be of a particular or religious affiliation, you are not bound by or committed to join in this activity either.”

      Well, the words euphemistic and implication don’t work together in the context in which he’s placed them. The first “or” used should have been “nor”. And the word “abuse” doesn’t fit the context. It makes more sense to use “pressure” instead. Actually a combo of the two words makes the most sense albeit not in this exact structure.

      I can tell that he is proud of his assumed grammatical skills and likes to demonstrate them. He just misses the mark too many times.

      I really hope he follows this site and returns to discuss these points.

  13. Mountaineer95

    I’m surprised Mr. Fancypants missed this:

    …”there’s about 20 general terms and conditions on the agreement which all consultants have a copy of.”

    “There’s” is a contraction of “there is”. But in his sentence, the “There’s” is paired with “terms and conditions” which is decidedly plural. So, the “there is” doesn’t fit with the plurals and thus should be “there are” (as in, there ARE about 20 general terms and conditions).

    But perhaps worse (as far as grammatical errors go) is the remainder of the sentence…

    …”terms and conditions on the agreement which all consultants have a copy of.”

    Yeah, so this is a basic mistake. It should read “terms and conditions on the agreement, OF WHICH all consultants have a copy.” (Caps included by me and not necessary)

  14. eric

    While I disagree with his assessment, and definitely found the tone condescending, why the immediate shift to an identity based attack (mansplaining). I find that to be really weak and lacking substance.

    1. TRACY

      He’s the one who made this a gender thing. He said “from a man’s point of view.” And thus he has not been “attacked” regarding gender, but he has been responded to in accordance with the discussion he began.

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