No Integrity in Mary Kay

Written by Raisinberry

The longer I am away from Mary Kay, the more I am reminded to clearly define what the boundary lines are to my own sales approach. I spent some time thinking about how the lines got blurred in Mary Kay…

Like any slippery slope, you first get a small warning in your spirit about what you are doing or have done. Whether or not you listen to that warning and course correct to do what is right, is the challenge to all of us. Maybe our stint in Mary Kay was one of those defining moments that lays out the one correct course for our lives. To decide what the truth is, what it is not, what integrity is and what it is not, and work to fiercely defend it.

When my Director called me to tell me my first recruit “did a diamond order,” I was ecstatic. For her? No. For me. She quickly encouraged me to round up any other recruits I could find to use #1’s production to go on target for my car.

I had one recruit. I wasn’t thinking about going on target for my car. But everybody said “Listen to your director,” so I did. I didn’t make it, but I recruited two more. When it came time for the inventory talk, #2 was unprepared, and pressured because My director wanted an “on target.” I suddenly had that warning in my spirit that inventory was for me, not for #2. Her poor reaction to the end of the month pressure caused her to never participate again. My buzzers went off, but I stuffed my ears.

The dulling of integrity had begun.

Each new recruit represented wholesale, as my director called to tell me the good or bad news. “She’s got no credit,” “She is qualified,” “all she can do is activate,” “She’s a sapphire star!” I always wondered why what they “did” was a word other than spend money. I don’t recall ever being told, “She just put $4,278. 85 on her credit card.”

On the directors’ conference call years later, all of us who had recruited were featured. My National wanted me to share what my new recruit ordered. I was the winner because my recruit ordered “a diamond.” At 26% commission, I was the belle of the ball. Nobody wanted to know what my recruit brought to the table in terms of personality or skills, what her dreams were or what she wanted to accomplish. She was a diamond, and that’s all anybody needed to know.

A point in time comes when you realize that all efforts at skin care classes and all interviews are culminating in the moment when you get the wholesale order. The recruit is rarely prepared, but instead is taken on a path that presents the ordering bonus and what she gets free.

And the closing question is not, “Does this level of merchandise make you uncomfortable?” No…we would never want that answer. What we ask instead is, “How much free product do you want? $100 worth… or over $700 worth? ”

Integrity is formed in the mini-moments. Is what you are doing benefiting you more than the person you are working with? Are you disclosing all the facts? Are you being an opportunist? Are you deflecting rational thought through silly come-ons and freebies? Do you want the best for other people or only yourself? Do you want to sleep like a baby at night?

When people are reduced to what we can “get out of them,” our buzzer has been silenced. It is no longer operating and we can no longer judge what is good from what is better. Distinguishing good from bad is obvious to the woman of Integrity.

Distinguishing good from better reveals the depth of integrity from which a woman lives.

Had our integrity buzzers been working in Mary Kay, we would have never loaded with inventory a woman who never sold before. Not for any reason. If I can be so blunt, a woman with poor interpersonal skills should have never been taken advantage of. I have seen women who had emotional problems frontloaded because they could be, as well as women whose personal appearance would prevent women from seeing them in any capacity under the “beauty consultant” label. Before you remind me not to prejudge anyone, and inform me that MK is all about transformations, let me remind you.

Good from better. What is wrong with encouraging only a small amount of inventory in order to achieve a measure of confidence and see if deficiencies can be conquered? What good does it serve to frontload an emotionally challenged individual who will take the next two years learning to stand up and say her name? If you are rationalizing that it is still her decision, you have missed the point. We were to be mentors! Not predators!

If you think I am not giving the recruit the benefit of the doubt, think of the “success” ratio of the gregarious, sharp and gifted with confidence red jacket, who has everything going for her? How are HER sales doing?

We have bought our own excuses and numbed our own consciences to accommodate the fact that we NEED that production and we must get it. Reducing people to whatever amounts their plastic can carry, and referring to them as sapphires, rubies and diamonds, as we brag about our production, is the slippery slope that leads to a full scale integrity melt-down.

As we rebuild our lives, let’s remember again, that doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing. Choosing to do what’s better over what’s good, has greater rewards than what is seen in the immediate. And taking advantage of people always backfires against us, because we know what we did, as the rationalizations fade away. We scar ourselves chasing short term gain.

Gain can be good, but a clear conscience is better. If you operate your Mary Kay Unit with integrity, thinking first and foremost of your people and their situations, and your production starts to fall…do you have the integrity, to undergo the loss, without making your people lose more?


  1. Char

    Great article. It’s bad enough to compromise integrity; but with MLM, people typically do this using their friends and family. MLM teaches you to target them first – and to keep nagging them. In MLM, you are taught to see every situation as an opportunity to scam: family reunions, weddings, funerals, dance recitals, etc..

    Nothing worse than taking advantage of friends and family and exploiting that relationship. Ewww.

    The con artist will tell you that you are “helping” your friends and family. Don’t be fooled. As Raisin said, “When my Director called me to tell me my first recruit “did a diamond order,” I was ecstatic. For her? No. For me.”

  2. NayMKWay

    “Integrity is formed in the mini-moments.”

    Wow. What a beautiful and insightful thought. It’s so true, too. “Every journey begins with a single step,” the saying goes, but not every journey is toward the better. It’s good to consider carefully where you’re headed before taking that first step.

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