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

20 Reasons I Don’t Want to Be an NSD

This piece was written several years ago by our member JTA. She was a longtime Mary Kay sales director who came close to becoming a national sales director, and then decided to give it all up. I’m running it again because it was so important to hear from someone who got to the TOP of MK and then gave it all up.

1. I really analyzed my offspring’s production – About 1/3 of my offspring were at Premier level doing that production regularly. After expenses, as you can see from the info posted on Pink Truth, Premier directors do not make very much money, $20k per year at best. The other 2/3 made and missed production, mostly every other month. Many of these were actually placing HUGE $2-4k orders on the odd months themselves to make the production happen. Almost always, in my National’s newsletter, the majority of the top 10 of personal wholesale were from my future area. This is heart wrenching. It is listed to be celebrated, like their personal sales are so huge, but I KNEW that they were not selling this much. The orders are placed simply to make production. Add to this that several of those do National Court of Sales. So they are celebrated for this, when behind the scenes there are major debt issues, warehousing of product, etc. Very sad.

2. I realized no one was really making much money except for me – Besides my offspring, I took a long hard look at who in my unit was actually selling consistently and really making money. Who is in lineup week after week? Very few, if any. Take a look at your meeting if you still go. It is sad. One may have a good week now and then, but there are really no consistent big weeks happening. Sometimes you will have one that is consistent, then she becomes a Director, then ends up on the hamster wheel.

3. The new breed of young, often single and/or with no kids, typically unethical Directors working around the clock are put on a pedestal – My buddy got a poster in the mail from Sales Development, had a huge photo of one of the new breed of top dogs, and quotes her saying that she has to eat, sleep, and breathe MK! I remember hearing another top director who zoomed to NSD teach that you have to become obsessed and possessed! THERE IS NO BALANCE preached here! There is no God First, Family Second here. The message is clear, WORK AROUND THE CLOCK, and you might get somewhere. I, sadly, started to do this. I created a schedule for myself that allowed only 24 hours off. I did this for about 6 months and realized it was ridiculous and not worth it at all.

4. I was advised to and believed I should wait to have a baby – I was told I should wait on getting pregnant with another child til after I debuted NSD. That would have been about 1-2 yrs out. I agreed to this stupidly, even though I was not that young. How crazy is this?

5. I became angry at family – I would get angry at my family for wanting to spend time with me because it would distract me from my goals, ruin my momentum, and get me off track. I became very, very angry around the holidays because of a family vacation that was planned months before. Again, how crazy and unbalanced is this?

6. The unethical behavior that is ignored and allowed became too much. – The company plain and simple turns a blind eye to blatant unethical behavior, all in the name of money. In our Seminar, we had the same queen, year after year, and you KNOW something fishy is going on. The same thing goes for the queen of our national area. The girl is nice as can be, but does not speak English well, lives in a very English speaking area, is not bright and can never quite verbalize HOW she does it, yet does the national court plus every year. Also, coincidentally, she always does the Court of Sharing with qualified recruits each doing exactly $600 each (you can tell this by taking her commission and dividing it out). I remember once Mary Kay actually stripped the Court of Sharing award from her because of something done not-quite-right, but she was right back doing whatever it was again the next year! Why doesn’t our National do anything? Or the company? MONEY HONEY!!! How about orders put on others credit cards, under others consultant numbers? How about NSDs who put all new unit recruits in their DIQ units? Scary!

7. I had to come to terms with dishonest things that I have done – I am certainly not perfect and not above reproach. Mom, grandma, step mom all on my DIQ team. I did my own large orders of product not really needed to make goals. Ordered $5k at the advice of my national and friends to earn my first Cadillac, did the same for my first half million, even asked my national to take my name out of the newsletter for top wholesale so my offspring would not see it. Did ‘2nd chance’ agreements for relatives or friends if I need a gold medal to qualify for something. Have always turned a blind eye when my people did the same. I advised all of my offspring to recruit “bodies” to make the numbers. Had them get permission to order in their people’s names if need be to have the required number of active. With one exception, every single director that I know of recruited bogus people and did bogus orders to become a director. THIS IS A STRONG STATEMENT! EVERY SINGLE DIRECTOR that I know of with one exception has cheated the system.

8. Found out Mary Kay was married 6 times – She was not perfect! I do not have a lot of details here, but did meet a close family friend of MK’s and he mentioned casually that he and his mother, Mary Crowley, were the one to introduce her to Mel Ash, her sixth husband. True or not (and I think it is true), it made me realize that she is NOT perfect, but was a savvy, shrewd businesswoman. Not the perfect person we are led to idolize. Let’s admire her skills, admire the fact that she built a (once) booming business, and even model the good of what she taught. Let’s leave it at that. She is no god, and the P&L being People & Love has long since been thrown out the window, and is back to Profit & Loss. That is underscored by much of what happens and is swept under the rug.

9. Learned of Richard Rogers’ bad behavior – Had 2 different conversations with 2 totally different people. Both negative, one was a former MK Corp employee that worked with John Rochon. I was really angry at him for what he said, and didn’t believe him. I don’t recall specifics, but basically he said Richard was a playboy, was only interested in money, that he and all the heirs only cared about their trust remaining in place. Then at dinner in Dallas one year had the waiter share similar stories and share about obnoxious behavior in the restaurant. Richard Rogers and John Rochon’ cared about only one thing. P & L = Profit and Loss.

10. The bottom line is corporate and us answer to the heirs who are only concerned about their trust money. I had a top NSD approach me to ask for my support of a new commission structure. She asked if I would call corporate to tell them to pass it. She mentioned that we NEEDED to have NSDs making a million dollars a year, and that the reason corporate was not sure they would pass it is because the heirs were worried it would cut into their trust money. Again, P & L is PROFIT AND LOSS.

11. We are herded like cattle at events – I don’t know if the company grew or I changed, or both, but the events were like torture. The line for leadership parties were 30-60 minutes, in the cold! The parties inside were crowded and we were packed like sardines. The videos that say “It’s great, you just HAVE to be here!” were totally bogus, everyone says that but inside we are like “This is AWFUL!” Lunches, everything, too big, too crowded, too hard to get from one place to the other, too expensive, not worth it.

12. I am tired of the same stories, sayings, slogans, repeated over and over. My last Leadership Conference, I recall being at our area night, and hearing speech after speech of the same rah rah with NO content, NO teaching, nothing of substance. I spoke near the end and had spent lots of time on my talk. It was quite different from the rest, rich in content and lessons, not just fluff, and I remember thinking that I no longer belonged there.

13. Those UGLY UGLY national suits.

14. The constant calls about not being able to book, problems with getting new customers, etc. – I ran out of ways to overcome and gloss over the very real problems that my consultants and Directors were having with trying to grow their businesses legitimately. Perhaps the market was saturated, I don’t know, but it became more and more clear that in this day and age it is nearly impossible to have a sustainable, thriving business doing things consistently and steadily without working at a frenzied, crazy pace.

15. Realized that SO much work goes into so little money – I took a long hard look at my paycheck vs. expenses. Again did the same with my offspring. The big money dream is really a myth. It is not worth it!

16. Learned the real deal with becoming a National – Had some serious pow-wows with new Nationals and those in their areas as to how they made it happen. Learned that the process of qualifying (which used to be a NIQ period) was basically DIQ only WAY more expensive. In DIQ, typically you see them recruiting fake people and putting in fake orders. So we are talking $300 per fake person. Nationals-to-be are funding ENTIRE UNITS. 20 offspring units are required with at least 7 of those at Premier or Cadillac production. That’s a lot of orders, and it’s hard o find consistency in the units. So the NIQs take their own money and/or have other offspring pitch in to help make the area happen. I am talking tens of thousands of dollars here. One new NSD I know of did a home equity loan to fund her NIQ. I just couldn’t do it, and I could not put that pressure on my people.

17. I saw how hard my best offspring worked, and what they had to show for it. I guess this is a repeat of some of what is above, but it saddens me to no end to see it. I do not know how Nationals do it, unless they just do not pay attention to their numbers.

18. I saw Pam Shaw’s Keeping it Real section of her newsletter. It is a page that lists all the stats for her national area. How does she sleep at night knowing that maybe 5% of her area is keeping their head above water. Nothing shows the reality of Directorship better than this. I suppose it is her way to shame everyone into working more but what it did for me was illustrate the futility of Directorship, and the lie that Nationals are enriching lives. That was my goal, to enrich lives and I could not do that in this company.

19. I saw first hand a basement full of product when I went to visit one of my favorite offspring. This was really the beginning of the end for me. In my heart of hearts I knew this person was in trouble, so I flew up to work with her to turn things around. She was one of my Directors that would be a part of my NIQ so we had to get the #s up! Well when I arrived I have never seen so much product, probably $30-50,000 easy. Shelves and shelves and boxes and boxes. I learned details about her personal life, and it was so much and so overwhelming that I was frozen. The big event we were supposed to have didn’t happen, and she later resigned.

20. I took a break, and it was AWESOME. When I stepped back to take a break, I realized that I do not want to continue in this business any longer. I love having my life back. I love to be around, I love to be at home at night, I love not being embarrassed about what I do, I love being able to be normal when I go out instead of looking for my next ‘warm chatter’, I love the freedom, I love not being stressed. I had major health issues that calmed down immensely after I decided to quit Mary Kay.


  1. NayMKWay

    I LOL-ed at #13, because those ugly, ugly suits have only gotten uglier since. Who knew they could?

    But #3 is what jumped out at me:

    “My buddy got a poster in the mail from Sales Development, had a huge photo of one of the new breed of top dogs, and quotes her saying that she has to eat, sleep, and breathe MK!”

    You can bet Sales Development didn’t want that poster to be seen by prospective recruits. Nope, the posters they were allowed to see had slogans like “Executive pay for part-time work!”; likely with a smiling model standing next to a pink Cadillac.

    It’s the lies, lies, and more lies that offend me the most. Corporate lies about nearly everything.

    1. “Products fly off the shelves. Your inventory is your ATM.” They do not, and it isn’t. And they perfectly well know better.

    2. “Free training! The equivalent of a college degree!” Seminar certainly isn’t free, and almost all directors charge a fee to attend those weekly meetings. Little training happens at those rah-rah events, and maybe 10% what you do learn is something you’d want to put on your résumé (which you can’t anyway; MLM job history is poison on a job application).

    3. “Free car!” Not if you don’t make the numbers, it isn’t. And even if you do, MK makes you chip in on their overpriced insurance. You’re getting that car in lieu of part of your commission. How is that free?

    4. They inflate “sales” numbers by giving double-credit several months out of every year and by pretending every wholesale dollar results in two retail dollars. Let’s call it what it is: they’re cooking the books.

    I could go on, but time does not permit.

  2. AnonyMouse

    The National suits. ? I remember the year I joined Mary Kay, the Nationals all hated the new suit for that year so much that they kept the suit from the previous year. It was a mutiny.

    1. NayMKWay

      In the past few years, it seems like MK is doubling down on their poor fashion choices. They come out with suits that look like cheap seat covers, then the following year they come out with the same seat-cover look, only even homelier. It boggles the mind, it does.

      And the prices! More useless expense to eat into your profits, and MK gets their cut, for sure.

  3. Blue

    This is well written and still relevant. The recent departure of several NSD’s seems to prove it. It will be interesting to see if the current comp plan will hold up. I suspect it won’t.

    1. Mountaineer95

      It is, and yet the only comments to challenge this post will be from IBCs who are supposedly “making good money” with their Mary Kay “business” that they’ve done part time for a few months or people who “aren’t in MK but don’t see why we’re so bitter”.. Not a single Director will challenge anything in this post; if one does, she either will not share her name or will not share her financial records.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *