15 Years of Pink Truth

Fifteen years ago, on July 4, 2006, Pink Truth was born. We started out as Mary Kay Sucks, and the whole idea was to create an anti-MLM site that never went away.

Let’s back up. I was in active in Mary Kay for about 18 months between late 1998 and early 2000.That’s me in my skirt, pantyhose, and red jacket at Seminar 1999. I wanted to be a director so bad, and the red jacket was the first step. (That’s me at seminar 1999 in my red jacket!)

I came into Mary Kay with an emerald star order ($3600 wholesale) because that’s what you did if you wanted to be successful. Despite not selling much of it my first month because I was just getting started, my recruiter begged me to order another $1,000 my second month so she could finish her car. Then she begged me to order more so she could finish DIQ. And so on and so forth.

I did all the things I was taught. I hustled every single night after work. If I didn’t have a skin care class booked, I was on the phone or out meeting people. I put in a ton of hours and I followed all the instructions. I went to all the events, watched all the videos, participated in all the calls. I was the model beauty consultant because I wanted to become a sales director and quit my job.

Like so many of you found out, it was a losing proposition. I could not recruit a unit of women honestly. And I wasn’t willing to buy my way up the ladder. I got turned off by the tactics used by my sales director. I hated seeing her push women to buy inventory when they didn’t want to and/or couldn’t afford it.  Her spitefulness showed when she gleefully told me one of my recruits went inactive and I was no longer eligible to wear my red jacket.

I stopped actively working Mary Kay in 2000 after I started my forensic accounting business and had been working that for about six months. I just didn’t think I could do both Mary Kay and my real business anymore and I made a choice. Oh, how my sales director ridiculed me. I remember her telling me that I’d never make anyone feel good about themselves with accounting. (She apparently didn’t consider how good someone feels when I find the money that has been stolen from them.)

After I quit MK, I spent the next year trying to liquidate the thousands of dollars of inventory I had. I should have sent it all back, but I didn’t want to “close that door forever.” I kept selling to my customers, trading products I couldn’t sell for ones that I could, selling items at cost to other consultants, and then deeply discounting for customers until it was all gone. In the end, I just barely broke even on Mary Kay. Hundreds of hours of my time devoted to MK, and I didn’t profit one cent.

A few years later I found a “complaints board” online and started reading about Mary Kay. The women discussing their MK experience seemed to have a lot in common with me. I started participating there, and out of that grew a couple of websites for complainers like me to talk with each other. But each time a new website exposing the negative side of Mary Kay started, it eventually went away. Women got tired of running the sites or they were doxxed and threatened by Mary Kay ladies and other MLM supporters.

I had a different idea for a website. I started Mary Kay Sucks mostly for fun. I wanted to gossip about the Mary Kay ladies, and that first year we did a roundup of the worst dresses at Seminar. It was a lot of fun. The number of visitors shocked me. And I quickly felt a responsibility to do something with that. Maybe this was a chance to REALLY get the “other side” of Mary Kay out there?

So I set out on a mission to educate women who were thinking of signing up for MK or who were already in but looking to get out and get as much money back as possible. I was immediately accused of trying to “bring Mary Kay down.” I never had any intention of trying to do that. I saw MK for what it was: a huge company with enormous resources that could buy all sorts of positive publicity. There would be no taking down Mary Kay.

I also spent a couple of years battling trolls who tried to ruin me professionally. They spread lies about me on the internet, and they told me that if I didn’t shut down Pink Truth, they’d make sure that my business was ruined and my reputation would be so trashed that no one would hire me. They did things like trying to get my book publisher to cancel my contract, calling law firms I worked with to damage my reputation, trying to get me kicked out of professional organizations, making false reports about me to my state’s CPA licensing board. They even went so far as threatening to show up at my speaking engagements and disrupting the events.

But I weathered that storm because I knew I was doing the right thing. I knew it was important to get truth about MK out there, and not be intimidated by people with a vested interest in hiding that truth. For women who took the time to research before they signed up, there was finally a resource to show them the other side of Mary Kay.

When I was recruited, there was no information out there about the company. All I had were the handouts my recruiter and her director gave me, and they were filled with lies. But I had no way of knowing that. Pink Truth would help balance the scales a little and expose the lies, the half-truths, the false earnings claims, and pull the curtain back on this huge scam.

So here we are, 15 years later, celebrating all the women who have heard the truth about this pink predator. Mary Kay is a true wolf in sheep’s clothing. They preach empowering women and being boss babes, knowing that almost everyone loses money. We’ll do our best to keep educating the more than 1 million visitors we get each year. Mary Kay was betting on Mary Kay Sucks going away quickly. 15 years later we’re still here, and we’re not going anywhere.

48 Comments

    1. TRACY

      My nsd Sharon Buck and senior director Tobi Bolt are still in. My recruiter/director Kelly Kuster, who was going to be “nsd by 2005” lost her unit and is a salesperson at a jewelry store.

      The same old directors are still spinning their wheels 20 years later, never moving up from where they were when I left. It’s so sad to me.

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  1. Blue

    I do wonder how the recent Jamie Taylor scandal will affect things like Seminar attendance. Why would anyone pay to sit through an awards ceremony where achievements have now been proven to be bought/fake? It may have more impact than they yet realize. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. TRACY

      Did you see an anonymous commenter said Jamie told people on last week’s zoom call that she did get appointed and will start transitioning to nsd this week?

      We might not be able to stop them from moving up the pyramid, but we certainly can keep exposing how they do it (i.e. by buying their way up).

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        1. TRACY

          There was a delay in appointing her, and based on some Instagram posts by Jamie, it seemed she was not going to be appointed. We’ll see if the anonymous poster is correct and she starts the nsd thing this week.

          1. RiaJaize

            I wonder how possible it is that MK reconsidered and decided to appoint her after you posted about it, just to prove that your site doesn’t really know anything. Probably not. But it’s a funny thought that she could owe her NSD status to Pink Truth.

  2. pinkboo

    Thank you for being tough and providing a much needed source for REAL information and REAL facts.

    Truly “empowering women” is allowing them to make an EDUCATED decision before embarking on a MK “career”. The lies and dishonesty so prevalent during the recruiting process is inexcusable – why do they hide so much if MK is so wonderful?

  3. Pinkiu

    Congratulations Tracy and thank you for funding this site.

    While I was already out when I first starting posting on MK Sucks, I didn’t realize I was still mentally in that pink bubble. This site was my deprogramming from a business cult. It took a about a year of reading, defending, arguing, and more to realize I had been manipulate to believe I could succeed in a venture designed to make me hand over significant amounts of money to a scam.

    Thankfully, I ended my 7 years at least breaking even by doing as you did – keeping what I would use, trading product, selling it at cost to other consultants and steep discounts to customers. The last of the product, I donated to our church garage sale… and none of it sold. That speaks volumes. It didn’t sell at a garage sale for pennies on the dollar. I think the Salvation Army picked up the leftovers. I was just happy it was all out of my house.

    The best part about quitting? No more calls to customers using a fake promotion. No more messages from my NSD/SD begging for an order. Oh, I remember so clearly when I was done in my mind. I was free from having to look at every person with $$ signs. No more compliments to lure them to host a party. No more calls saying, “I’m so excited about…” N.O… M.O.R.E! Done. Ah, the freedom was electrifying.

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  4. NayMKWay

    Wow, Tracy, I knew you were tough, but standing firm against the underhanded shenanigans they threw at you… wow. Mad respect.

    I “stumbled upon” Pink Truth by way of a link at Reddit’s AntiMLM sub. I thought I’d read a couple of articles and be on my way, but I was quickly hooked. I think I’ve read nearly every article that’s still up.

    It took quite a few visits to sequenceinc before I actually twigged to the fact that both sites were yours. I saw a video clip and said to myself, “Wait. i’ve seen that hair before!”

    One final question, though: how is it you look so mature at the age of, oh, twelve or so in 1999?

    Happy [site] Birthday, and here’s to many more!

  5. AnonyMouse

    “I remember her telling me that I’d never make anyone feel good about themselves with accounting.”

    I dunno, I feel pretty good about myself when my accountant shows me how the hard work I’ve put into my finances has paid off.

  6. Char

    Thank you Tracy for doing what I could only ever dream of doing. We all share our knowledge about the MLM scam, but you really “walked the talk” by setting up this website. Bravo.

  7. Lazy Gardens

    Has it really been that long? I feel ancient.

    I found Mary Kay Sucks because I got accosted by a Kaybot in a shopping mall and looked MK up on the internet because I thought they was dead. Nope.

  8. BestDecision

    This website and all the brave people who post are the reasons I got the courage to send my Cadillac back and quit Directorship. I did everything by the book, even falling for the Rena Tarbet training. I, too, gave up countless weeknights after work, weekends away from friends, family, and rest. And I remember when Allison Lamarr wore a shirt on the NSD trip that sent a message to us all that she knew of your site and thought little of it.

    It’s funny how the squeaky wheel gets all the attention.

    Now, after deliberating the pros and cons of listing MK on my resume, I’m still embarrassed that any of it happened. How could I have fallen for such a con? How could I abandon my education and career?

    Simple. I was lied to and trusted God-loving that were in front of me.

    The BestDecision I max wasn’t getting into MK. It was getting my money back and getting out of it. I can’t get that time left, but I can post something on here that may help even just 1 person.

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  9. Alicia

    Coming out of the woodwork to say a massive THANK YOU to Tracy and all who have posted and commented here over the years. This is what got me out of the pink fog and opened my eyes to the insidious nature of MLMs. I might have been an unfortunate “serial MLMer” without this site. I have since become an antiMLM advocate among my friends and family, and have shown this site to several people to either bring them out of the fog or prevent them from joining an MLM in the first place.

    This site is a true resource and heroic effort, empowering women and ACTUALLY changing women’s lives for the better.

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  10. Brainwashed no more

    Happy 15th anniversary Pink Truth!! Thank you again Tracy for starting and maintaining this site. So happy you were around when I needed you. There was so much shame for me, thinking I failed when the system is set up that way.

    My story is similar to yours Tracy. Full inventory, lots of booking calls, lots of efforts. When I started, this website wasn’t around unfortunately. My former Friend recruited me. But, when I woke up a few years ago to really consider if i. Wanted to continue, this site helped me a lot. All the stories told and corrected facts about being able to return inventory. My director and former friend told me that I can’t return inventory after 1 year. I did return what I could and got back some money. Some of the rest, i sold for no profit. Over time, I’ve been forgiving myself for falling for this brainwashing. Lots of mary kay lies learnt over decades of conning women. They have lots of experience lying and manipulating women. And teaching women to do the and to others.

    1. TRACY

      But don’t the Kaybots say we were all lazy losers who didn’t try hard enough.

      And uggh to the MK friendships. My director became my “best friend” while I was placing large orders. The first month that I didn’t place an order she wanted, and I told her I was working on selling what I already had, our “friendship” started to evaporate.

      1. Brainwashed no more

        Yes, this former friend director and I were friends for years. We were at each other’s weddings. She once thought I was stealing a potential recruit and her true colors came out. I almost left MK. Too bad I didn’t. We eventually repaired it or so I thought. But, I haven’t heard from her in years since I sent back my inventory. What a true friend, right? I’ve lost other friends bec of MK too. I see an article there about all the losses that we’ve had bec of MKult. Friends I’ve had for years, from childhood, from my church, etc. Family. Some have supported my MK faux business. But, lost some because of this “wonderful” opportunity and the pressure placed on me to recruit “anyone with skin.”

  11. Heather

    Tracy, you and your site made a huge difference for me when I backed/ran away from MK almost 13 years ago. I had reached a boiling point where things exploded between me and my senior. To say that I had had it was a gross understatement. I was tired of the exploitation, the manipulation, and the fakery. Oh gawd, the fakery! I just could not do it any longer, and I was exhausted from putting up a positive face to my unit members who I *knew* were struggling.

    I should have returned the products and gotten some money back, yet like you, I didn’t “want to close that door.” I should have slammed that door shut and nailed it closed with “Do not enter” signs all over it.

    Thank you, Tracy, for bringing to light how horrible and evil MLMs are.

  12. raisinberry

    I was told about this site by a new recruit who wanted me to tell her the truth..which made me visit and attempt to do battle with you negative nellies! Ha ha ha ha…yeah that lasted about what, a week and a half? Thanks to all the great women who helped me melt down…and get my mind back.

    1. TRACY

      I think it lasted a few months, as you were determined to show us that MK could be done the right way and you could sell your way to profitability. I’m so happy we stayed cordial as you found your way through that.

  13. pinkpeace

    Tracy, without this site I probably still would be wondering why I couldn’t have made it further and quicker up the Mary Kay ladder than I did. I honestly don’t remember how I found this site. (Most likely my guardian angel did a key word search for me!) I had left Mary Kay, but thought my problems with the company were all my fault. I was STUNNED to find out I wasn’t the only one and doubly stunned to find all the ex-directors who were on this site. Pink Truth is what allowed me to heal from my experience – and I will always owe a significant portion of my mental health to you, Tracy!

    (As an aside, if any of you have met Tracy in person, you know how gorgeous she is. The photo above of that ill-fitting red jacket is proof that Mary Kay clothes make even the best of us look bad.)

  14. Pink Jihad

    I found the site Mary Kay Sucks after one of my closest friends got into Mary Kay and it almost played a role in destroying our friendship (the friendship was salvaged). This site is fascinating to me and I have been reading almost daily (rarely post) for 15 years! My friend is no longer in Mary Kay but she still buys some of the products.

  15. ihatemk

    Thanks for a little bit of your history with MK, Tracy. I found this site b/c EVERY time I would go to a MK party or whatever, I would just think to myself, these people are CRAZY!!! Who in the world gets that EXCITED about make up? I remember hearing the spiel the Ibcs, directors or whatever would give and I would just think to myself, what a load of crapola!!! One day, I did google Mary Kay Sucks and your site came up!! I wasn’t the only one who thought Mary Kay Sucks apparently. The promises and crap were just too much for me to believe. Full time income, part time hours, Mary Kay sells itself (uh if it is that good then why in the world does MK need YOU!!! ), oh, wait so YOU will be the overpriced mediocre stuff. I remember one time going to a party and they were selling the roll up bags for like 200 bucks and the IBC saying some crazy thing like some women buy 2 b/c they don’t want the other one to get covered w/hairspray, etc. Um, who pays 200 dollars for a plastic roll up bag? What always amazed me was how people could say the MK price w/a straight face. I never could do that, when I considered it overpriced to begin with. And the bs about YOU CAN’T BREAK the skin care set. Why can’t I use the products I WANT TO USE, but have to buy the others that I DON’T WANT TO USE. Oh, wait, it is all scientifically designed to work together. (No, it is designed that we will say this so we can get more $). Sales were lost bc you CAN’T BREAK THE SET!!! I am such a skeptical person to begin with. I remember filling out those stupid ABCD personality things. I think I was the “C” or whichever one that is a little harder to recruit b/c no I don’t have the time to do this nor do I want to!! Oh, and the bs about our busiest people make the best IBCs. They try to overcome every objection w/some stupid platitude or some dumb answer. I am trying to be polite and tell you in a NICE WAY, NO WAY JOSE!!! I remember one time I went to a party and the IBC took us each aside individually and asked what I wanted, I remember telling her I didn’t need anything at the time and she still gave me a bag and after reading this site, I understand now that it was a psychological thing to make OTHERS think that I had ordered so that maybe they would feel pressure to order b/c who wants to be left out? I just love this site Tracy! Confirms so many things I suspected about MK.

  16. ran4fun

    I found this site in February of 2014, two years after my relative became director. I knew she was struggling keeping good records, so I googled “Mary Kay spreadsheet” hoping to find some resource to help her get financially organized. Not surprisingly, I found no such spreadsheet or any other resources that could help her in that way.

    But Pink Truth was at or near the top of my search. I was shocked by what I read. Mostly shocked because I felt like you were writing her story! Raisinberry’s articles especially resounded with me. When I told her about this site, she had already been warned by her nsd that it is full of negative people who didn’t work the business, therefore she had no interest in reading it.

    Not surprisingly, she lost her car and directorship. She is still loyal to the company, but only orders the minimum each quarter to keep her discount.

    I secretly wish that she and Raisinberry would have a chance encounter and discuss MK. I feel like that might be the only way her rose colored glasses will come off.

    Thank you, Tracy, for all you have done to empower women to think for, and stand up for themselves.

  17. The Patient Whisperer

    I found this site in 2006 after my MIL (a serial MLM’er) twisted my arm into doing Arbonne. I searched “is Arbonne legit” and for some reason, up popped “Mary Kay Sucks.” ??‍♀️ I got out of Arbonne soon thereafter, based on info learned from this site as it applies to MLMs in general, not just the pink devil, and it continues to serve me well to this day as I share Pink Truth with those who need to read the truth! (The MIL still refuses to listen, though…?)

    Thank you for your dedication and perseverance, Tracy! Your reach is far and wide and I have no doubt you’ve saved more folks from heartache than you’ll ever know.

  18. BestDecision

    Pages 44-45 of the new Advance brochure show OBVIOUS changes in company stability. New NSDs have a 2-year grace period to hit numbers before they lose their appointment as an NSD, and then, once they don’t, get ANOTHER 2 years of “growth period”.

    Do they give that same courtesy to new Directors? No! We had to hit production Month 1 after DIQ and never miss more than 2 months in a row. Not a bad YEAR or even a bad QUARTER. 2 months!

    Secondly, it says any NSD must maintain $100,000/year in commissions to maintain her title.

    If MK was so successful and not sinking, why the need to point out that there are NSDs making less than that? Hmmmm??

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