Mary Kay Inc. Has Always Been Bad

Written by Raisinberry

Contrary to popular belief, the abusive state of affairs in Mary Kay didn’t start with the record breakers in the last 10t to 15 years. These were ladies who figured out where to concentrate their time, and selling skin care wasn’t it. Women like Dacia Weigandt and Jamie Taylor and other “do it fast” directors and NSDs simply exposed a long term problem.

If you want to be enlightened, stop attending unit meetings for 3 weeks. Women who are away from events long enough to lose some of the hype have a better chance at being restored to sanity. Then take a look at what I have to say here.

Let me prove my case that Mary Kay has always been a bad company:

1. Mary Kay Ash knew and accepted large turnover. She is the one who said, “If you don’t recruit 10 monthly, you are going backwards.” What does that say? If the opportunity was so great, wouldn’t every new recruit add to your numbers? No? So less than 10 means you are losing recruits. So, from now on, you are in a never ending churn of personnel who you get very excited about, but who will quit because success in MK is not as “easy” as they make it appear. Mary Kay knew this from the beginning.

2. You must get an average $1,000 per recruit on start-up inventory. Since so many will not activate at all, and most will come in with something and be gone in 6 to 8 months, you MUST get star orders IMMEDIATELY with whomever has the means or credit. So this business of starting smaller at $600 or multiples of $200 isn’t really going to get you the overall result, is it? Frontloading is a NECESSITY, to make the turnover numbers work. Wonder why you are spinning your wheels? You are probably a more ethical Director who doesn’t take advantage of women outright.

3. Now bringing this up to your NSD will get a great “overcome the objection” response that will sound like, “Every retail company has turnover…” But what is the reality of Mary Kay? What do you think would happen if every company in America lost 50% of its retail sales force every month, as Mary Kay does? How much “skill” would be flushed and wasted? They quit because the promises are not real, and so that is why there is no real reason to train anyone…in anything other than “book, sell, book, recruit” and how to warm stalk new potential leads. UNITS are built on a continuous flushing in and out of personnel, racing ahead of attrition with hopes that you can snag one or two to commit to the car or DIQ, where you can extract another year out of them before they wise up and save their financial picture.

The ones like me, who didn’t wise up but were naive enough to believe what my NSD was selling, keep pressing on to MAKE IT to directorship in order to hopefully make enough money to pay down their credit card debt. Since no one knows that this is the hidden reality behind the stage, with probably 90% of all directors, we suffered in silence and ignorance.

4. Since 50% leave, 50% must be recruited to stay dead even. Your National NEEDS you to “move on up” to keep the replacement drones rolling in. A typical newbie will give 3 months to 2 years. It is expected that she will wash out, so nobody is that concerned with attrition. It’s a numbers game, ladies! We need the numbers! (Also a Mary Kayism).

5. Every year at Seminar, a number of women wise up and come home more aware than ever that Mary Kay is a legal pyramid scheme. They sent their product back for 90% repurchase. It was their right, but every director with advance warning tries to head that off at the pass. This also was taught by Mary Kay Ash. “Don’t close the door forever!”

Back in the day, I am sure Mary Kay Ash expected women to be more ethical, with abuses at a minimum, but she also expected that you would average 2 recruits a month and hold 5 to 10 classes a week. With all that activity, she STILL knew about attrition! Imagine the financial wreckage of holding only 5 classes a MONTH, and still losing personnel at the same rate!

More than 55 years later, the grim reality is that customers are scarcer than ever before, the reputation of consultants is that of chasing recruits, the product is seen as an average product with high cost, and few women overall think that a Mary Kay party is a new and fresh idea when compared to other ways to spend their time.

Will Mary Kay change or accommodate the perceptions of the consumer today? It doesn’t appear so. The company can pretend to the media that they are so on-trend with recruiting the younger generation, but they are still doing things the same way. The sales leadership force still trudges on with the same tired scripts and relies on the tried and true ability of the NSD’s “I-story”, told by a savvy National, to snare and trap their prey. Why change what works? They aren’t interested in consultant sales to consumers.


  1. Kristen

    I must wonder, with a company of MK’s size and history, are they really so in the dark about their outdated methods? I have no data to go off of, only what I read in here, but I trust the information provided here. Aren’t women catching on to this farce? Is Mary Kay going to ignore the social media storm around anti MLM? I’m not hoping they succeed or anything (I clearly realize the company is profiting off the misery of others), but I wouldn’t call them stupid. Are they just so arrogant they think their brainwashing will never go out of style? Maybe it won’t. I’m just curious.

    Is The RMS Mary Kay just ignoring the iceberg warnings?

  2. raisinberry

    Over the years there were rumors of buy outs or sale of the company to other parties. They absolutely know they would never survive if they attempted a retail model…and tried to keep a 100% commissioned sales force. Avon attempted it…remember? I can’t say as I have seen any Avon products at Target or Walmart shelves recently..anybody know if they’re still doing it?

    Knowing Richard, I bet he’s negotiating for some kind of sale to a interested party, cause the MLM writing is on the wall. Didn’t Herbalife and Advocare lose a suit or two over the last few years? As far as sites like this that are whistle blower websites, we clearly know how MK debunks the content…The lurker of course never realizes that there are more Directors here than at their local area meeting! Kinda hard to sell the “lazy loozer” narrative when we taught their Seminar and Career Conference and Retreat classes! LOL!

    1. Heather

      At one point, I think Avon and Tupperware were owned by the same parent company. Avon tried the mall kiosk-like model for sales, and it crashed and burned. Long-time sales associates were livid about the loss of sales and recruiting.

      Berkshire Hathaway owns Pampered Chef. If someone like Warren Buffet bought MK, I would suspect that the company would be shut down since it’s a bad business model.

  3. Kristen

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they change tactics. I don’t get scam emails about the Nigerian prince anymore but now I hear friends tell me they have gotten calls about a kidnapped or jailed relative they must wire money to. There are always new ways to separate trusting people from their money. What is so insidious about Mary Kay is that it’s often your aunt or best friend or neighbor scamming you. When God was handing out morals, was Mary Kay Ash in the ladies room?

    Please, please, PLEASE ladies in Mary Kay’s toxic pink fog…stop the MLM madness! Admit you were duped. It’s very cathartic. The only thing dumber than joining an MLM is refusing to acknowledge your mistake. Then you’re not just dumb. You’re also unethical.

  4. Juliet

    For many addiction programs, one of the first recommendations is 30 in 30, as in 30 meetings in 30 days, at the relevant 12 step group. That’s because it helps so much, having it reinforced for the sake of resisting the temptations/cravings.

    So to stay away for 3 weeks – 21 in 21 lol – well, staying away from a 12 step group for 21 days will definitely be a surefire way to lose all progress toward healthier thinking so it sure makes sense it would work for clearing your head from the hysteria of cultism.

  5. Juliet

    Kristen: What is so insidious about Mary Kay is that it’s often your aunt or best friend or neighbor scamming you.
    That is hitting the nail on the head and it does hurt. First you are a victim, then you’re a volunteer…..then one of the vipers I guess.

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