In Defense of MK Directors

Written by Raisinberry

Why Mary Kay still won’t work when you grow a conscience.

There is a part of the whole pro/anti Mary Kay debate that usually isn’t discussed. In most comments, consultants share the nasty self-serving character traits of their director, when probably 90% of directors are actually good women, following a success plan that was taught to them by their national and senior.

Consultants share how the prizes they got were cheesy. But in our opinion, at least you got a prize! That you didn’t like the prize is a bit unappreciative, don’t you think?

I am serious here. Directors shop for prizes, using the 5% formula we were taught so that prizes don’t bankrupt us. We spend many hours at the vendors or online looking for something in that price range that will attract consultants and look good and fun. Some of us are successful at knowing what’s trendy and some of us are woefully inadequate. So we borrow somebody ELSE’S prize flyer.

We do this because it is being done to us. All the way up the career path, somebody is offering a prize for getting out the door plus doing a wholesale order. There is ALWAYS a wholesale order attached to a prize.

Consultants crab about “elitist” treatment… how directors stay with directors at Seminar and Career Conference. Well, that’s how we’re taught. We have to qualify to sleep in a room in our NSD’s house. And Top Directors don’t room with Lowly Grand Achiever Directors unless they’re offspring. The whole preferential treatment thing is a core principle of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Separate out the unachieving so that they may gaze upon the receptions, parties and hoopla that the ACHIEVERS earn.

At some level this makes sense I guess. Not everybody can win the 1st place trophy. The difference in any other arena though, is that winning results are verifiable. Mary Kay is an entity that routinely awards those who haven’t actually earned the prize, in order to fool the others into believing that you can earn the prize too. And before Pink Truth, directors usually had no idea that was the case.

Directors stood up at your meeting and told you the awesome results of the superstar directors and the Seminar Queens fully believing that they were true. The only time we heard anything contrary was a whisper of a thought about that rare individual who cheated… the Queen of Recruiting in Emerald whose 24 recruits started sending back their $600s in July August and September. (RED FLAG) Stuff like that.

We knew WE cheated to finish DIQ… or maxed a few cards to finish Caddy…or won a recruiting contest on $20 Re-signs that belonged to other terminated consultants who would never know… but SURELY unit clubs weren’t bogus! (Is there ever a seminar year that doesn’t include “double credit” anymore? Which, of course, pushes directors to higher unit clubs.) Surely national areas weren’t bogus!

Your director never meant to harm you. She is chasing the wind. She cannot level with you because it will discourage you and that is not her job. She still wants to believe it will work out somehow. She is doing everything she knows how to do, and everything that she was taught, and she uses other people’s words because maybe, just maybe, they will work better than her results have been.

She is responding to “intermittent rewards.” She holds on to the fact that she did a “perfect start” so surely they are still possible. She watches motivational MK videos when her star quits and she has to face that disappointment and keep going. Her NSD is in some cases her close friend and she cannot disappoint.

She has been in the trenches with other directors and because SOMETIMES efforts produce results, she carries on, month after month, year after year trying to be positive and supportive and creative and consistent in the face of rude consultants, demanding consultants, critical consultants and pressures from above to keep that unit afloat.

She goes to Seminar looking for the magic words that will make her commit to big things. She doesn’t commit really because in the back of her mind… she knows that there is a whole lot of bogus going on and she just can’t get behind it.

She became a director to help women. Now she is so buried in debt, she had to stay a director to dig out. She is conflicted and stressed and because of that, unmotivated to add another team member into this “opportunity” but she MUST.

Since she started reading Pink Truth she is not frontloading any longer and she is sensitive to her own manipulation tactics, she wants to be a better director. She is hoping she can return to ethically running her business. She is just going to work on PERSONAL BUSINESS, and run a meeting.

It will take her about 3 months to see it just won’t work. And now a new trap for your director has begun. How can she get out, without destroying you? She told you how great this opportunity was… and you believed her. She will be punished by chargebacks if she does an open disclosure. She will be ostracized by her “friends” in Mary Kay. She will be dissed as a LOSER. And she will lose what small commission and car benefits she has, just to get free of it all.

All this for believing the opportunity lies of her upline and succumbing to intermittent rewards. From start to finish, the director’s heart -a good director- was to help women become more that what they ever thought was possible.

To stand by them and encourage them when they struggled, and to offer support. She picked up the meeting room fee when you didn’t feel like dropping in $3. She listened till 12 am to your failing marriage details. She met you at restaurants when your guest didn’t show and even picked up the tab because you were discouraged. She bought flowers when you got into your red jacket and balloons when you won your car. She did this over and over and things you never even knew about for your benefit. She even paid for tickets that never got reimbursed and never embarrassed you in front of your guests. She praised you and applauded you and ran down front to take your picture when you walked on stage. She really meant it. She was really proud of you.

And now that she is out of the fog, she is wounded and grieving and looking at the future with uncertainty, but with honor.

She is walking away from this because she never wanted to hurt anyone. Least of all her own family. She just trusted the women above her to be telling the truth.

They weren’t.


  1. Brainwashed no more

    I believe this to be true. That is part of the brain washing. It felt sincere. She bought in to the mkult. She wanted others to succeed for them but also for herself. The hamster wheel keeps going without stop.

    It’s like the frog in the pot into cold water. The water is getting heated slowly. The frog doesn’t realize the water is getting hotter until it gets so hot it gets cooked.

    We are taught to keep going. That our thoughts of success influence the outcome, just like in the secret. There’s no time to take off to think about the process and the success rate. It’s always about the next goal.

    When we do well, we are proud. When we don’t, it’s an aberration. It will get better. If you think negative or share that with your husband, you aren’t following protocol.

  2. Kristen

    Great post. In a somewhat unique situation. I was directly under NSD Suzanne Brothers. So, she barely knew me and only called once to tell me, “anyone who is serious about their business goes to seminar”. My aunt (who also didn’t know Suzanne) recruited me and we attended an adoptive director meeting and so I typically refer (in other posts) to this person as my director. Suzanne certainly wasn’t about to waste time on me after I ordered my initial inventory and was obviously not a star recruiter. My aunt never went, so I attended meetings alone with this adoptive director who wasn’t terribly interested in me and now I know why. I can’t relate to many of the PT posts/comments about directorly love or friendship. It highlights just how phony the friendships are in MK that since I wasn’t a paycheck to my adoptive director, I was treated like an uninvited party guest at best, an unwanted stepchild at worst. Raisinberry’s post is enlightening though. I can see it’s a systemic problem. Directors are trying their best, swimming through the fog too, and once they see it, can’t find a signpost to get out.

    Anyone know Suzanne? She recently retired I guess. The one defining moment that opened my eyes was when, at seminar, we were at one of those “free” fancy unit dinners and I couldn’t drink the iced tea provided. Okay, I wasn’t allergic, I just hate tea. Suzanne whispered to the waiter I could pay for another drink if I wanted. I thought, REALLY??? I just spent thousands of dollars on coming to this stupid seminar, ushered into your private hotel chambers to gawk at your wealth and fancy clothing, and you won’t even cough up a few bucks for a Diet Coke? I dunno. Maybe she was lost in fog too.

    Anyway, thanks for the post. Back then, I truly had no idea directors were scrambling too. They weren’t jerks, just trying to see a way through. I was actually fortunate to not have the warm fuzzies. It was easier to leave.

  3. Autumn

    What an excellent post. The MK lady in your community doesn’t want to scam you, not because it’s not a scam, but because she herself is still scammed.

    This is why I don’t send a salty note to my daughter’s class advisors when they do Pampered Chef based fundraisers. I send in $100 and drop the matter.

  4. Cindylu

    Once the original Directors and MK herself realized the mlm had reached its peak, than things should have changed. I guess that NSD ultimate prize had to be maintained at all cost. The worst is that all of this was abusive. They took this failing scheme and placed the blame on directors etc. We were never working hard enough. As t the prizes what I got were paper coupons or an empty box of pixie dust (lol) from my NSD. This mlm probably began to fail in the 80’s and 90’s. Once the internet arrived with massive competition in products, then MK’s allure decreased. I had heard of the Amway pyramid scheme. I suspected MK might be a scam. I agree that not all Directors are dishonest. Many truly believe, care and work hard. It is only once current costs outweigh the benefits, that some finally break the MK spell. Being your own boss in MK means you incur all the costs of shipping, training, advertising and costs for ever changing products. The CEO’s within MK don’t seem to care how their mean spirited changes negatively affect struggling women. Directors just believe what their told. MK has known for decades this is all smoke and mirrors.

  5. Heather

    This post could have been written by so many former SD’s. My ah-ha moment with trying to do the right thing came when my senior basically told me to “get creative” and make it happen. She encouraged cheating and fibbing – just make stuff up. No harm, no foul, right? Did I mention this woman is also an attorney? She should have known better, yet I believe the deceit in her came from the top. I couldn’t do it anymore. I had a conscience. No amount of applause and balloons and love notes could ever make up for knowing all of this was wrong.

    1. BestDecision

      Same here! I bet we were Directors at the same time. Mine taught people how to cheat and reach a finish line. I now realize she did it to get attention on herself with so many of us moving up at the same time. It’s all a house of cards that look impressive on the outside but is just Personal Use and made up names and SSNs on the inside.

      1. Heather

        We probably were, Best. I became a director after becoming a Team Manager (or whatever the title was). You had to get to your 12 and car, a Pontiac Grand Am, before you could submit for DIQ. I did it with an adopted director who honestly cared more about me and my success than my own director. (My adopted SD is no longer in MK – she stepped away a while ago when she, too, discovered that she could no longer work this ethically and truthfully.) I took so much heat for taking a cash compensation for the car versus the acutal car because A – what was offered sucked, B – for the money I drove a considerably nicer car than the MK one, and C – we were military and moved every few years. Dealing with car stuff while trying to move was ridiculous.

  6. cocoabeige

    I was in for many years. But I did not realize how little Drektors were paid until I discovered PT. They did/do a good job of faking their ‘success’. Once I realized how little they actually earned, it explained why cheap trinkets were offered. Explained, but didn’t justify lol. Does anyone remember the silly train bracelet? My Drektor once offered a watch with interchangeable face bands. More ordering was required to earn

    1. coralrose

      It also explained my director was always mentioning how much things cost/ the price of gas, and talking about how to save money at Seminar. When I went to her house she had holes in her linoleum where you could see the wood floor underneath. But, she had really nice hair & clothes & kept saying she made SO much money in MK. In my experience people who have enough money, don’t mention the cost of things so often.

      I feel bad for her. She was a nice lady and shared that she had a learning disability, and seemed to have low self- esteem (although she could pretend she was confident. She was scammed, too.

  7. Linda

    I a way I think this is the cruelest part of it. People who truely believe that they are helping others but they are just beeing used as tools to exploit the people they thought they were helping.

  8. Mountaineer95

    “Directors shop for prizes, using the 5% formula we were taught so that prizes don’t bankrupt us. We spend many hours at the vendors or online looking for something in that price range that will attract consultants and look good and fun.”

    This makes me sad. In my many years working in sales, I earned lots of prizes and awards. A Mont Blanc pen, Dom Perignon, dinner at top restaurants (so many dinners at so many awesome places), a trip to Quebec City (OMG fabulous city that I’d love to revisit), a trip to Marco Island, a Coach wallet, and much more but that’s all I can recall at the moment. And every single one was paid for by the COMPANY for which I worked. Not by my manager nor anyone above me.

    Every award in MK is tied to “wholesale” orders, for which MK Corpse pockets all of the profits. Yet Directors have to pay for these awards. It’s not fair, it’s not right, and it’s definitely not how the real world (as in not MLM) works. I’m sorry you guys had to pay for these things.

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