Mary Kay Lingo: A Translation

For anyone who does not recognize the jargon of a Mary Kay consultant here is a breakdown.

Think outside the box means let your director think for you and tell you what to do. (Unless you fail, then you should not have listened to your director and you should have read and followed all company-generated materials.)

Mary Kay works when you do means that we will blame your for this system that inherently makes 99% of people lose money. We can’t recruit new people if we don’t make it YOUR fault.

Warm chatter means stalk strangers and get them to listen to your line.

Get referrals means have your friends give you names and numbers of more people you can harass.

On target means that you’re going for a goal but will need to buy a bunch of inventory (either for yourself or for someone else) to make it to the next level in the pyramid.

Book and hold skin care classes means talk a reluctant person into having one and then call them everyday up till the party to make sure they are still having it.

Get a phone number from each guest so that they too can “hold a class” and get a phone call or text daily from you.

Do not be pushy in Mary Kay terms just means do not resort to violence to get your bookings and try not to call after midnight.

Be discreet in Mary Kay jargon means block your number on the phone so that your number comes up unavailable.

Reach for the Stars means reach for your credit card.

Dream Big means order big so I can keep my car and unit.

It’s only $100 to start means until I tell you about all the inventory and events and supplies and meetings and things you’ll have to spend money on.

You are not required to purchase inventory is only the beginning of the sentence. Once you sign your agreement the rest of the sentence goes “but if you want to succeed you will. You wouldn’t open a store without inventory.” (But then after you have too much inventory, we’ll tell you that no one held a gun to your head.)

You can’t sell from an empty wagon means I still need more production this month to meet my quota!

No quotas means there aren’t any, unless you want to be a sales director, but we won’t tell you there’s a quota until after you do all the work to become a director.

Attend your unit meetings means pay money to sit at someone’s house after an already long day for 2 plus hours in a skirt or dress. (At least with virtual meetings you can wear what you want!) You’ll get to stand and clap while someone gets a pencil because they ordered inventory. If you haven’t purchased anything for the week, you will not be getting a cute little 99 cent charm. If you spent at least $200 though you will get an awesome ribbon.

Think and act positive means pretend you are always happy and doing well. When someone asks how business is say “GREAT” even if as you say it you are on your way to see your lawyer about filing for bankruptcy.

Fake it till you make it is along the same lines. Don’t ever let anyone know how much money you’re losing at this so-called business. They might not sign up.

Do you have a quick minute? literally translates to “Do you have three hours and thirty friends? You do!!! Well, let me tell you about XYZ.”

Go to Seminar means use your vacation time from your normal job for an out of town Mary Kay pep rally. Prepare to pay for your trip. You will get to share a room with 3 other consultants!

Time is money means do not waste time hanging out with non Mary Kay friends. They will only hold you back from being a Mega Star.

Negative Nelly is someone who tries to burst your Mary Kay bubble by telling you the real facts and figures about Mary Kay. Don’t listen, because you’ll find out how slim your chances are for success.

Mega Star is someone who spends “mega bucks” on cosmetics that they will not sell or use.

“No” in response to a recruiting interview just means I need more information.

Layering a potential recruit means calling and harassing periodically over a period of a year or two. You’ll break them down eventually!

I’m so excited! has several different contexts. For example, if your leader tells you that she is so excited, what she is really saying is “the wider I smile, the more you minions will actually begin to believe what I’m saying”… If a consultant tells a potential customer that she is so excited about new product or the Mary Kay opportunity,what she is saying is “I would rather slit my wrists than tell my recruiter that I have failed her…I am not worthy.”


  1. “Find a way or make a way” means you find a recruit to place an order, or you place it yourself.
    “The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang” means if the Director doesn’t place Star orders, no one in her unit will.
    “You can’t chase two rabbits” means you should quit your job so you have to do MK aggressively to survive.

  2. There’s enough Mary Kay jargon to fill a whole book, but my favorite will always be: “Would you like some free pampering and a facial?”

    (Would you like to come wash your face and try on your own makeup while I push you into buying it or joining up?)

  3. “You have to show up to go up!” means pay to attend every meeting and seminar available to you, for that awesome training. What if you skipped that ONE meeting where you’d have been given that special key to your success, huh?

    “This is a duplicable business model” means don’t ask any questions, just do what you’re told because we thought of all the answers already. Would you dare question a recipe from [insert celebrity chef du jour ]?

    Corollary to “On Target”: you’ll never arrive; no matter how far you get, there’s always another carrot to chase.

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