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

Holiday Open House Failure

How many of you felt (or feel, if you’re still in) the sting of the holiday open house failure in Mary Kay? Your upline insisted that you order a ton of Christmas products. After all, they’re going to sell out fast! (They sold out, but only because everyone has a ton sitting at their houses, not because they actually sold the stuff to customers.)

You also bought all the supplies. The cute bags, tissue paper, cellophane, bows, crinkle paper, boxes…. packaged up all sorts of sets.

And then no one showed up. You have $500 or $1,000 or $2,000 into all of these products, and you sold a couple of pathetic little sets. Just like this lady:

But she is not getting discouraged!

Honey, that is exactly what Mary Kay is counting on. You’re going to keep trying. Because YOU must be the problem here. It can’t be the system. (Although if you looked a little, you’d see that 99% of people lose money in MLM.)

It is the system. You are almost guaranteed to fail in MLM. Get discouraged. Please get discouraged. Stop throwing money down the toilet. Discount this stuff to wholesale. Get your money back. And leave MK as just a bad memory.

And how sad are these comments?


  1. BestDecision

    Open House memories make me twitch like I have lice running over my scalp. Waste of time and money, and I never enjoyed Christmas! It was pushing 12 Days sets, waiting for people to come, shopping Christmas decor for props and packaging in the Summer, and always having sets left over.

    I’m so sorry to any woman who ever came to my Open Houses or received a set from me. You deserved way better.

  2. Kristen

    My heart breaks for these women. I remember that giant balloon of hope that Mary Kay had inflated for me. I had a picture in my mind of women lining up to buy because it was so easy. Then, it popped. Nobody outside of MK shared the excitement or interest or behaved like MK said they would. Bewildered, I felt lied to. Only to experience the gaslighting of my director’s inability to explain why events didn’t happen like she said they would during my recruitment interview.

  3. Not a Bot

    I was thinking there is no way to make any money if you charge a 50% mark-up from what you pay on the products. First of all, many people don’t even sell enough to make their money back, let alone make a profit (and they encourage you to give any profit back to MK in the form of more products). To move product, many people have to discount it. They are lucky if they make back what they put into it. Plus books, samples, bribes (prizes and gifts to those who come), gas, paying for meetings.

    I don’t know anybody who really enjoys these parties where they feel pressured to buy overpriced stuff they wouldn’t normally buy, play awkward games, then get needled by the consultant to have their own party or buy more.

  4. raisinberry

    The Towers! The Coffee and Creams! The “Twelve Days of Christmas”, The Satin Hands! Body Lotion in Oven Mitts! And what sold? The baskets of “discontinued” limited editions at 50% off. And every year…I did it again. Why? Cause I got the same counsel as these fine ladies gave our consultant above.

    1. TRACY

      THIS year is going to be different! You know how to do it better. You’ll choose your products better. You’ll make better sets. you’ll run a better promo. STOCK UP BEFORE IT SELLS OUT.

  5. morningstar

    shrink wrap, I want my money and time back. We used a hairdryer – ugh! may I have the pleasure to not deal with shrink wrap in this lifetime.
    Obnoxious pictures? is it my old baskets? HOT sales here – no.

  6. morningstar

    Here is my take on each FB comment above- IMO What they really mean.. LOL Thanks PT.

    woman #1 = What is going on? This can’t be…..
    woman #2 = in pink fog cloud high above the earth
    woman #3 = stepford kaybot wanna be director eschewing hope and prayer
    woman #4 = maybe wondering what is going on but others have bad luck so all is good
    woman #5 = wired up cheerleader who can’t sell but will TELL YOU exactly how to make a buck.

    1. NayMKWay

      I think woman #5 is completely out of touch with reality. It’s not a flop even though no one showed up? Getting the gifts together is the hardest part? What??

      And these are the types who we hear from on Fridays telling us how none of us succeeded because we didn’t treat our business like a business. I guess they missed the training meeting where their Director taught them about cutting their losses.

      What? No one ever taught them to cut their losses? Ah, that’s right: just stay the course and keep a positive attitude, and everything will work out. After all, buying and wrapping gift baskets is the hard part.

      [Full disclosure: I was never in Mary Kay. I’m an intetested bystander, is all.]

      1. Char

        #5 yep. And, “Do drive by appointments with your friends, family, and customers!”

        A lot of my comments are an attempt to untwist the MLM speak that has made typically uncomfortable and unethical behavior seemingly acceptable. For example, I’ve recently commented about friends and family being the MLMers’s target for profit. That really rubs me wrong, and it should others as well.

        1. morningstar

          Gaslighting over time creates cognizant dissonance. It is interesting, however in a quick few words; It is when the reality you live vs what the person that is doing or saying to you doesn’t jive. This is a perfect explanation of it in your astute comment above.

      2. Mountaineer95

        Back when I had a brick-and-mortar retail store, if I ran some big sale or special that flopped, I certainly didn’t keep repeating it ad infinitum, just blindly hoping that some day it would actually work. Instead, I tried to figure out why it didn’t work, and how I could not make the same mistake next time. This is what real business owners with real businesses do. Just think, if every company or business kept running the same failing promotion over and over, rather than adapting and changing their methods, how many would still be in business?

        These are not business owners, in any way.

  7. Cindylu

    🙁 I still have very unhappy memories of the boredom, the humiliation, the waste of time and the waste of money selling these awful supposed Christmas products. No one came to my Open House. No one made a purchase at a local Christmas Market I wasted money on to rent a table. Worst is that our Directors promote them just so they’ll get that Commission. The entire tacky mlm set up within Mk is just plain abusive. Put IBC’s in debt with antiquated terrible smelling unsellable products. Worst is pretend they’ll sell if we package them with cellophane, bows etc. No amount of decoration will entice anyone to attend these sad little parties. No invite, no discount, no ad will attract anyone to your Open House. Your Director etc. in MK should be embarrassed to promote such senseless methods of selling strong smelling lotions. No one wanted these perfume Christmas scents in the 1990’s. I doubt if anyone wants these over priced products. Don’t bother ordering them. If you did send them and all your other products back. If your director pretended you’d make sales, then why would you keep trusting her?

  8. Char

    It’s a matter of perspective. All I see is:

    – Mary Kay, the direct selling company, was able to sell at least $1000 worth of product to this woman. Good on them to keep MK debt-free.

    – The upline made a commission kickback from this woman who bought heaps of products from Mary Kay. It’s not upline’s problem beyond that. Upline are in this to be “successful” MLMers, and that means finding people to place orders direct with MK.

    – It’s such a pretty display of all the stuff she bought from Mary Kay.

    Hopefully my sarcasm doesn’t go over someone’s head, but it’s not really sarcasm, is it? It’s the truth – from the perspective of MK of course. *I googled to try the find the right word to explain “sarcasm based on truth”. I got “kidding on the square” or maybe a sort of “reverse psychology”. Any English majors want to help me with the right word?

    1. Mountaineer95

      Imagine if she spent so much time and detail on packaging actual gifts for family and friends. But she’s probably so burnt out from putting together all of this MK stuff that she’s too tired to do the same for her actual gifts. It’s sad.

  9. Heather

    I’m one of those weird rarities who sold a boatload of stuff at the holidays — most of it under $25. I worked my TAIL OFF each year, and there were years I went all out with the coffee and cream sets, the towers, and more.

    Then one year I quit doing all that stuff. I put a few little gift things together, including some limited edition crap, discounted the hell out of it, and then sold it. My sales were all volume, and I’m pretty sure I made pennies for all of my hard work. I had a decent client base who actually did come shop with me — and most of them just wanted to come over to see our “Star Wars” Christmas trees. (Yes, we have a couple of SW Christmas trees, including one with a Death Star that lights up AND plays music.) I do not miss it. I do not miss the mess that was my office and dining room table. I do not miss the glitter everywhere (glitter is the herpes of the craft world). I LOVE enjoying the holiday season with my family and friends withOUT trying to sell them anything.

  10. Ruby Slippers

    I would bring a gift basket to my once a year dinner out with friends I only saw once or twice a year . They were both customers also
    I also don’t miss carrying that silly glitzed up basket around town and hoping someone would ask me about it . It was all so ridiculous. Yes, I did have decent sales, but never accounted for my time invested prospecting, wrapping, delivering,, etc.
    I think I’ll keep my regular JOB .
    Like knowing what I make for time invested .

  11. notapartyfan

    Years ago I went to an open house, hosted by a woman who made beautiful jewelry and had a large following. Her friend took the opportunity to set up a long table full of her MK Christmas products, right at the front entrance. Women were passing her by, going straight to the jewelry, never turning back. The MK lady was miffed and showed her irritation. I didn’t see anyone buy from her or even show an interest, even though the home was crowded, a consultant’s dream! This was years before I discovered Pink Truth. I never sold MK. A little investigation of lies told to me by a consultant brought me to PT. I’ve often thought about this consultant’s Christmas display, all the women who passed her up, and how worthless that effort was.

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