Facts, opinions, and the real story behind Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Mary Kay Works When You Do

Written by SuzyQ

Sometimes at the unit meeting when the scorecard segment is announced… “Mary had a $300 week! Okay, we make 50% of everything we sell, so, that’s $150 profit. Let’s see, that’s $75 per hour! Not bad for two hours of work, eh, Mary? And I’ll bet Mary doesn’t make $75 per hour at her J.O.B! Gee, think what would happen if you worked a few more hours, Mary? Wow!”

So, I suppose technically that’s not a lie, but it certainly is deceptive. What we don’t know is how long it took Mary to book these appointments. We are not entirely sure if it was that mythical $300 class that most of us had every time we had a class, or if Mary has tons of customers who had reorders. It gets a little more complicated than the 2 hours allotted for the scoreboard. But that’s one of those little details that the NSDs want you to ignore. Don’t ask too many questions!

When we had a zero sales week, we were told it was okay… we needed to get that over with, it happens to everybody, and it there is always a new week. So we just needed to work more! After all, Mary Kay works when you do! OK, let’s just go with that for a moment.

See if you can find me a director in Mary Kay who isn’t working as much as she can and still has trouble keeping her head above water. She has heard repeatedly that “You can’t follow a parked car” and “The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang!”

The guilt she feels is sometimes overwhelming if she has not met her goals. If she has met her goals, the guilt can be overwhelming, too, if she is honest about the methods she used to meet her goals. (“Make a way, find a way”)

Leadership Conference is one of those events that features blaming and shaming of directors for their lack of success. Very subtly, of course, but the feelings are still there. The blaming/shaming is accomplished with the use of “I used to do that, too” or “If I can do this, anybody can!” Sounds good, right?

It’s not. The top directors and NSDs who teach do not disclose their expenses (they stick with the company line of no more than 5%… use the company recognition programs, avoid the vendors – but there’s this really cool ordering incentive that turned MY unit around… ) They don’t talk about their chargebacks, or the co-pays, the directors they have lost, the consultants whose names they can’t remember (“It’s a numbers game.”) and on and on. The company furnishes the talking points for their classes and speeches, and they just add their “stories” so it sounds sincere.

Wannabe top directors take extensive notes and decide to revamp their unit – the promotions, the recognition, and the meeting agendas. The director’s suits look better in real life than they did in the picture, the seminar awards are awesome in real life and the product changes are just so cool! (Go along with it, won’t you?) This year’s conference was the best ever! This is going to be so great— all we have to do is work more! Remember, Mary Kay works when WE do.

The focus is always always on recruiting. Build that unit. Move the consultants up to senior, then get them in a red jacket, get them to team leader, get them on target for a car, and into DIQ. It’s so simple. But, not easy. If it were that easy, everybody would be a director. It’s just a matter of work. We are the TOP 2% of the COMPANY. We rock. Mary Kay rocks. Mary Kay works when WE do!

Directors come home from Leadership ready to make their businesses and units turn around. And when these best laid plans don’t work – they can’t find new people, classes don’t hold, consultants don’t come to meetings, nobody else is recruiting, attendance at the winter retreat is down, people are not signing up for Career Conference, it’s hard to do inventories with product changes coming soon, and we are SO ready to work so that Mary Kay will work for us, it can be incredibly demoralizing.

It’s us. We are lazy and we are losers. We don’t have what it takes to make it to the top. We may even accidentally stumble onto Pink Truth and read a little bit. That’s where the lazy losers hang out. All they do is complain and spread negativity. They call Mary Kay a multi-level marketing “scheme” – not dual marketing. They say we have uplines and downlines, and we know we do not. They say that a very very small percentage make NSD and we know, in fact, that there is room at the top for us. They say we are not number one, and the company tells us that they couldn’t say that if it wasn’t true… What is up with all of that?

Obviously, these people didn’t work their businesses. We all know Mary Kay works when we do.

P.S. A couple of other things:

  • Look at the ordering pattern of your consultants
  • Look at your ordering patterns
  • Are you dialing for dollars at the end of the month, even though reported sales do not support more orders?
  • Are you teaching your consultants how to sell?
  • Do you know how to sell?
  • Are you making production every month?
  • If you have a car, are you ordering more to avoid a co-pay?
  • Are you living for the next month, it will turn around then?
  • Do you send out “Hear my heart “ emails to unit members?
  • Have YOU been told that if you can’t afford an event, you need to go?
  • Have you used this line on someone else?
  • Do your consultants know that they will get chargebacks if their team members return an inventory?
  • Do your Team Leaders know that 5 of their Team Members need to order and they need to do a $600 before they earn that magical 13% commission check?
  • Do you have a stash of old consultant agreements you are hanging on to just in case you need to “reactivate” someone?
  • Do you order to make production? (I know you can sell it, I am just asking)
  • Do you have any idea what it would cost you as a regular person to lease a car just like the one from Mary Kay you are driving “free?”
  • Have you ever withheld information about product changes so your unit members wouldn’t hold their orders?
  • Have you ever “held” production for the next month—like priming the pump?
  • Have you used more than one credit card to place an order?
  • Have you ever hidden a credit card statement from a significant other?
  • Do you assume that most people just “don’t get this business” if they ask annoying questions?
  • Have you looked at your huge inventory and wondered just how you were going to move it, and then immediately told yourself that it’s time to get on the phone?
  • Have you ever dreaded going to your own unit meeting?
  • Have you had a meeting that no one attended?
  • Are you on the phone for hours Sunday night trying to get a model for your meeting on Monday?
  • Is your NSD ignoring you because you “don’t get it” or you “aren’t a team player?”
  • Are the 5 positive Mary Kay people you are surrounding yourself with in a bad place, too?
  • Do your sister directors complain about their husbands too?
  • Any new divorces in your “Mary Kay family?”
  • Have you noticed that instant delivery of products to your customers really isn’t all that important?
  • Have you tried other cosmetic lines? You used to… you love make-up. There’s really good stuff out there… ask your customers.
  • Are you tired?


  1. Cindylu

    MK just seemed like a series of set ups. We’re being set up to fail with scripts that haven’t worked for decades. Now there’s call blocking and several better skin care products. No one trusts those fake (Free make over) contests anymore. Since products change soon after you place an order you’re always one step behind actually selling MK products. For many years other consultants have been giving discounts on products. It becomes harder to make any real profit. If you factor in: Cold Calls, Warm Stalking, Facials and parties that mostly cancel, (No one wanting the “Full Set”), extra wasted time on Open Houses with no shows, cost of gas and conferences etc. Mk is mostly a sad pathetic mlm. MK though along with the NSD’s and Directors love to promote blame-shifting. Blame Shifting is an emotionally abusive tactic. Passing the buck is a great way to gaslight others. Naturally you’re not allowed to be negative or voice concerns. This denial of reality really is crazy making.

  2. AnonyMouse

    “Have you noticed that instant delivery of products to your customers really isn’t all that important?”

    Maybe this was great back in the 1960’s when MK first started. But times have changed. It’s actually easier for me to either order what I want online directly from a retailer or to just hop in the car and go to Ulta or Sephora. Mary Kay’s sales model is obsolete. It took them (and other MLMs) way too long to catch up with regular retailers as far as online ordering goes. Step it up, MLMs. Get with the times. Or you’re gonna go the way of the dinosaurs. Which is kinda what some of us want anyway.

  3. Colleen Ottens

    I am in the process of leaving. So tired of feeling like a failure all the time! Tired of lying about follow up phone calls I am never gonna make. Tired of losing money. Glad I found this group!!

    1. Brainwashed no more

      Great job getting out!! You are not a failure. The system is not set up for you to be successful. It’s set up for you to fail. It’s mk, not you, who is the failure. I understand the feelings though. Happened to me too.

  4. Colleen Ottens

    The fake contests at events like fairs and craft shows bothered me so much!! No one else seemed to care thay we were scamming people for a goody box they were never gonna win!

  5. SuzyQ

    I remember we had a craft “show” in Omaha hosted by Aimie Gamboian who went on and on about the holiday line that year and a recruiting pitch… There was another NSD there and I asked her how I turn my unit around. She responded by saying “The cream will always rise.” And then to top this all off, there was a huge vendor presence selling cello wrap, baskets, bows, ribbons and all sorts of giftie thing. Disgusting.

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