The Truth About Mary Kay Directorship

This is the story of a former Mary Kay director who was taught to deceive women in order to get the numbers to move up. When her directorship finally ended, she and her husband were forced to put their dreams on hold while they recovered from near financial ruin.

Here is the truth and nothing but the truth. I have always tried to be straightforward and honest, but sometimes we lie to ourselves. Last year I finally saw clearly some things I lied to myself and others about.

I signed up for Mary Kay just to get my product at cost, since I was using plenty of it anyway. Well after doing some reading I found it was much more profitable than the MLM I was doing for 1 year before Mary Kay. It also offered a lot more as far as support and training.

I went to a meeting and I was hooked. I was told I could make as much as my husband was making in corporate America in a short amount of time. We had been looking for a way for him to quit his job for years and I thought this is IT! So I immediately decided I was going to be a director and went home to convince my family. I had to be a director because that is where they tell you the ‘real money’ is. Also it is supposed to be a position where your life is devoted to helping women achieve happiness by putting God first, family second, career third. Something I was completely in favor of.

Well I did everything I was ‘supposed’ to do for 2.5 years. At first I had a very hard time leaving my family for meetings, parties, facials, seminars, etc. Then when I was home I had to be on the phone trying to get more business or I was on a conference call or working my social media accounts. If I was not doing any of that, I was stressed out because I wasn’t where I thought I should be (wasn’t making the money I expected, hadn’t recruited the amount of people the numbers told me I would, etc.). So I was never spending quality time with my family. The main reason I decided to be a consultant was to have a career where my family could come first, and so that my husband could put his family first as well.

So I thought once I am a director I will have ‘made it’ and paid my dues, then everything would fall into place. So my husband quit the job he hated when I signed up, so he could take care of his mom whose Parkinson’s was advancing. In order to survive, since Mary Kay was not paying our bills, we refinanced our house, twice.

Of course I told everyone that we were living off of MK because the more you believe, the more your beliefs will become reality. I really wanted MK to pay our bills and if I was successful more people would want to jump on the bandwagon. I am so sorry to those that I deceived; in my defense I was deceived myself. No one on my team has lost more money or more time with their family than I have, and I feel like such an idiot.

Which I guess brings me to the subject of lying. In MK you are taught to lie… shame on me for falling into it. In the beginning I would be asked questions like what I would do with $1,000 if I had it. I would say pay off credit cards or something of that sort. I was ridiculed and told to think of something better than that, like going shopping or take a vacation, or something frivolous. I was told I wasn’t dreaming enough, I had forgotten how to dream, and I will never get to where I want to be if I didn’t have a big goal to work towards, something tangible and showy. So little by little I did what they said to the detriment of my family and our finances.

There is so much I could go into. It is hard to tell other people how you can become brain-washed and go against so much that you hold dear. But it is just like boiling a frog, little by little, and before you know it you are a different person with different values. I have recently read so many stories of other people this has happened to and I relate so much.

I do not think that MK has always been bad, but it has turned that way. I know there are plenty of great consultants out there who have others best interest at heart. The problem is with corporate, sales directors, and national sales directors. As soon as I became a director everything changed and I was given a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of MK medicine. That is when the truth poured from the lips of other directors and corporate themselves. No longer did anyone try to hide what their true purpose was, basically recruit as many as you can as fast as you can, and get their inventory order before they know what hit them.

Sell the dream of having everything you ever wanted (or will be taught to want) and for those who fall for it, get them to want to be a director so bad they cannot think of anything else. Make them long for it by not allowing consultants to hang out, participate, or even talk to the directors. Make them think that what directors have is something so special and mysterious that they just have to have it too.

What started me seeing the light is shortly after becoming a director (it took me almost 2 years from signing my agreement), I was NOT making the money that was supposed to be so easy to make. Granted the reason for this is because I was not recruiting 5 people a month to make that happen. I should have realized that there was no way I was going to make money because in order for me to become a director I had to pay for many of my team member’s starter kits and inventory. They were not going to be worker ‘bees’ on the team, but you are told that you have to ‘make a way or find a way’ and ‘fake it till you make it’, which I always found disturbing, but I bought it because I wanted to be in the shoes of those women who were teaching this.

And then the last few months of my involvement in MK…. My husband decided to go to graduate school. I became a director in June, in July I left for Seminar in Dallas, in Aug I went back to Dallas for new director training, and in September I traveled to be trained by my adopted National Sales Director. My husband  and I decided we needed to move closer to his school, so we sold our house and bought something closer to school. We really felt like we were doing what we were supposed to be doing (and maybe we were, all except the Mary Kay part).

Graduate school turned out to be way more involved than what we realized and Mary Kay still was not paying the bills (go figure with all the traveling I was doing, taking me away from business, making a move, and not having a working team). My husband had to quit school at least for the time being and find a job, but was not able to find anything for months. I lost my unit because we were not making minimum production requirements.

Directorship is such a trap and extremely stressful. My main purpose in telling you this is so that you will not fall for it or any other MLM company (which is truly what MK is). The healing process took a long time. We wanted to learn from our mistakes as we were moving on from MK. My hope and desire from this is that others may not fall into the same trap that my family so sadly did.

Please do accept my apology for perpetuating the brainwashing; I am truly sorry to those I caused harm.


  1. Char

    Finally! Finally an apology and a person deserving of respect because of it. I’m sorry she got caught up in this, and I’m so glad she learned from it. There is shame on the person who recruited her and on their upline too. Bunch of liars!

    The second thing that should stand out to everyone is this statement, “I signed up for Mary Kay just to get my product at cost, since I was using plenty of it anyway.” Think about that the next time someone calls MLM a product reselling business.

  2. BestDecision

    Sean Key apparently has started his own company, per LinkedIn. That’s another part of Directorship you’d never expect: corporate and NSD favoritism. He was notorious for spending lots of time with certain Directors but then brush off others. A lot of NSDs do the same. Corporate ignores NSDs and Directors if they’re breaking rules and are their sweethearts. It’s all sickening because you felt you could never get that edge that others got so freely.

    The thing no one does in MK: Use math. Anyone not in a Cadillac is making less than $48,000/year gross income. Expenses are very high, and they cut into profits. All you have to do is look or ask around as to who is driving a CURRENT pink Cadillac (not an old one they bought or a generic Cadillac they bought and claim to be “Cadillac Directors”), and you’ll discover who is making ridiculously low income.

    If they’re not doing $30,000 wholesale every month or the Trip every year, their gross income is less than $80,000/year. Take out taxes, and it drops to about $62,000/year. Expenses are next.

    Very, very few make good money in MK. Don’t fall for anything else otherwise.

    1. Mountaineer95

      Well said BD! I particularly like this bit:

      “The thing no one does in MK: Use math. Anyone not in a Cadillac is making less than $48,000/year gross income.”

      It is infinitely frustrating for us when the PT critics attack this and say it’s all negative, bitter lies. A fact is a fact; it is neither positive nor negative. But they have to attack it in this manner because it IS a fact that cannot be disputed. Math is math, crazy Kaybots.

  3. NayMKWay

    “My main purpose in telling you this is so that you will not fall for it or any other MLM company (which is truly what MK is).”

    I was so glad to see this line, as well as (as Char pointed out) the apology. It shows the writer really has learned from all this, and regrets how her actions affected others. Brava!

    There are so many nuggets of insight in this letter. A few I noticed:

    1. Author had been in another MLM for a year before joining MK. That obviously hadn’t worked out either, but she still thought there was that unicorn MLM out there somewhere that was “doing it right.” There isn’t. They all suck, because MLM as a concept sucks.

    2. The lies and the brainwashing start early. The promise of income that will exceed that of a corporate job in no time at all (hah!), and the subtle warping of thought:

    “What would you do with an extra thousand dollars? What? Pay bills?! Ha ha! What kind of dream is that?”

    Right away, they start whittling away at your core values and motivations. Take a life pro tip from someone who has been on this planet for more than half a century: living modestly and debt-free beats the HECK out of owning a bunch of crap and looking to a future of years of stress, knowing you somehow have to pay for it all.

    3. “Fake it till you make it” does not work. It’s just deception, and it’s part of the brainwashing process. While you’re faking being successful and wealthy, what you’re really trying to do is to make others (and yourself) crave what you pretend to have. Soon your own motivations change, and you’re in worshipping at the altar of avarice. It’s offered as a way of “reprogramming yourself for success,” but the real reprogramming is toward greed and selfishness. It speaks well of the writer that she found the concept disturbing. Living a lie didn’t sit well with her, and that’s a good thing.

    Excellent letter. 10/10!

  4. J

    These letters are always welcomed, and I can’t imagine how difficult they are to write. So many consultants leave and never hear another word from their directors once the final line is signed. For others, suddenly you’re an alien and a danger to the your previous unit. And others coexist with their former directors in a weird limbo; you might get a nod of acknowledgment at the grocery store, but certainly not “how is your family doing with all the debt you took on?”

    None of these are comfortable places to be; it’s traumatic to acknowledge your support system is toxic. It’s heart breaking when they don’t change. And it’s downright isolating to be cut off for simply wanting financial stability and family time (you know, those things so many of us joined for).

    These letters from former directors are very much part of the healing process, thank you.

  5. Cindylu

    “It is supposed to be a position where your life is devoted to helping women achieve happiness by putting God first, family second, career third. Something I was completely in favor of.” Sadly this is one of many lures that are used to have you sign up for MK. Also the amount of brainwashing love bombing events is mind boggling. Weekly meetings, conferences, pretend training and Seminar. Even if you do make the odd sale, MK cruelly siphons it back. That is the reason why a few benefit: the heirs, corporate and a few NSD’s from decades ago. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you are moving forward away from mlm’s.

  6. Data Junkie

    If only letters like this would become ubiquitous. Sadly, every Mary Kay director can relate to this letter. If only they shared this woman’s humility and self awareness!

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