Debt and Deceit as a Mary Kay Director

This is the story of a Mary Kay sales director with a relatively short MK “career,” but very large debt when she quit. It’s so easy to quickly fall into the trap.

A couple of years ago I reached director level after a little less than a year in Mary Kay. I was a director for 6 months before I was terminated, after an extension for not meeting Quota.

I had been unemployed for 2 years when I started MK. I met a wife of one of my volunteer buddies that was on a board with me.

I depleted $20,000 from my no tax IRA paying off credit cards, I had about another $18,000 in credit card debt that I had to work on little by little. I earned my first car as a consultant in April and debuted as a director on Seminar stage in July. I sold my car that was paid off and when they picked up my Mary Kay car, I was left with nothing to drive.

I got about $9,000 back from returning inventory and that all went toward my credit card bill. I had given my credit card to my sales director and she placed orders under inactive consultants. I don’t think I realized what we were doing. I have watched an NSD and very high level director do unethical things in regard to recruiting and inventory purchases by the recruits.

I believe the company turns a blind eye and probably knows all this goes on but I think they are so smart as to not get caught.


  1. Brainwashed no more

    “I believe the company turns a blind eye and probably knows all this goes on…”

    I had a conversation years ago with my mk director. She would tell me stories about a director and her team. They would do lots of unethical stuff. I asked her, why isn’t MK shutting down her directorship even though they know what’s going on. She tells me they have to wait because they got sued by a director for taking away her directorship. Her director was upset at her because she told Corp about this director. Eventually, mk did take away her directorship but it took a long time until that happened. People’s social security numbers used for orders, fake orders in someone else’s name, and even in dead peoples names.
    It’s in their best interest to let this continue. I was told that this is the exception. That usually directors are honest and ethical. But, over the years, I’ve heard lots of stories. And lots of excuses as to why they did what they did.

      1. NayMKWay

        Exactly, BD. “Everyone does it” is what they say when trying to coax another patsy to “find a way to make a way.”

        But when confronted with the moral shortcomings of The System, oh, no, it’s not The System, it’s “Just a few bad apples.”

        One sure way to tell a liar is when their story keeps changing. And Mary Kay is great at massaging the message to conform to the circumstance.

        [That’s some awesome alliteration for you, right there. You’re welcome.]

  2. Char

    “I got about $9,000 back from returning inventory and that all went toward my credit card bill.”

    Thanks for sharing your story. As a “director”, I assume you recruited others and had a downline. Were they all able to return their products too, and how much debt were they left with?

    General statement: MLM sucks because it makes a person both victim and perpetrator. How many people actually vet the “opportunity” before sharing it? Have they read PT or the FTC’s article on MLM? Why is MLM exempt from due diligence? There is a reason a recruiter doesn’t want their potential victims to read these sites. Scammers and unwitting scammers!

    “I believe the company turns a blind eye and probably knows all this goes on…”

    Mary Kay is an MLM company, and they make their money off consultant orders. Why would they want to curtail orders? They are a “direct sales” company selling directly to their consumer. Plus, they have salaries and wonderful benefits for their employees that they need to fund. Like many stores, at least they refunded $9000 for all the shopping this author did. That’s the reality of the situation.

    I’m sorry the author was lured by her upline into thinking this was a “business opportunity”. I’m also sorry she lured her own people in. Did I say how horrible MLM is?

  3. Cindylu

    Back in the 1960’s MK herself set out to become wealthy. She wrote up scripts, slogans and policies to ensure a select few succeeded. She included scripture verses The whole scheme was set up to ensure MK Corp and MK herself profited. It has been decades since this mlm has honed its pressure tactics. MK presents an unrealistic idea of what the average person can accomplish by joining them. There has been a constant ongoing moving of the goal posts over the years. Initially for Jackie Brown, Barbara Sunden, Ann Newbury etc., the shiny new direct sales plan progressed. Women fell for the party set up. Some women were bored and going to a friend for a make over (and prizes) was a night out. Booking facials and classes with the help of MK’s written strategies worked better. Most women were unaware that the entire evening was orchestrated. MK used what she’d learned in sales at Stanley’s Home Products and wrote up a how to take advantage of others. The “Make the woman feel Important” tactic was developed along with With promises of money, cars, holidays, and sisterhood, MLM companies push a predatory practice on desperate women in society. MK and many NSD’s were very good at promoting this fantasy lifestyle. The Sisterhood, fun Monday Night Meetings, Conferences, Pink Cars, Prizes, and Glitzy Seminar designed to entice women into believing in the dream. Why would women ever suspect this is a financial cult? Why would we ever think that MK women would mislead us? I saw MK in person on stage. She was one heck of a motivational speaker. There was this love hate relationship with her NSD’s. She chastised them on stage for not doing enough. With Narcissists, it’s never enough. She made tantalizing promises about empowerment and success. She called us her daughters. Behind the scenes we heard about the bathtub draining, that it was a numbers game and victim blaming. Directors are kept isolated until they suddenly realize it’s all an illusion. MK simply changes their approach each decade: warm stalking, internet and now work from home during a pandemic.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      The first women to sign up were able to rise to the top merely because of their “getting in on the ground floor”. When they joined, home sales parties were popular, and the competition for sales and recruits was not as intense.

      In short, they got lucky. They were in the right place at the right time, with the right amount of greed.

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