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

No One Put a Gun to Your Head

mary-kay-gun-to-your-headIn an effort to help Kaybots save lots of time in responding to Pink Truth, I have put together a list of common things Mary Kay lovers say to Pink Truth members. These things are meant to show us how wrong, silly, stupid we are and how wonderful, workable, easy Mary Kay is.

We’ve heard them all before and none of them hold water. They’re simply parroting lines from the upline and corporate. They make incorrect assumptions about our members and their efforts in Mary Kay. So let’s debunk these phrases… and save Kaybots the trouble of telling us such things in the future.

No one put a gun to your head. – Pink Truth members are repeatedly told that no one “forced” them to do anything related to Mary Kay. Most often it is stated, “No one put a gun to your head.” And this is true. No one “forced” us to do anything. However, all of us were lied to. Some of us were told deliberate lies about how much our sales director makes, how much we can expect to sell, how much inventory we’ll need, the benefits of carrying inventory, how we can make money with just a “few” hours per week, how directors make executive pay or “full-time pay for part-time hours,” and a host of other things. Others were told lies of omission. Information about Mary Kay and the success (or more appropriately, the failure) of others was withheld from us. Deliberately. Without all the information, and without the correct information, we could not make informed decisions.

You should have researched Mary Kay before you joined! – Sometimes we are told that we didn’t do enough research about Mary Kay before we joined, so it is our own fault for being uninformed. Not true. Mary Kay does not allow anyone to see the “negative” side of the business. Directors and recruiters withhold the negative information because they are desperate for you to sign up. So-called “negative” (real?) comments on Mary Kay websites or Facebook pages are promptly deleted. Don’t listen to those negative nellies! Until sites like Pink Truth came on the scene, there was literally nowhere else to get the rest of the story about Mary Kay. And today, recruits are told that Pink Truth is full of lies and no one should read it. Mary Kay and its representatives are discouraging research outside of what they want recruits to see.

You should have said NO. – In Mary Kay, women are taught that “no does not mean no.” It means “I need more information.” Women are taught to repeatedly ask other women to consider Mary Kay, even if they have already said a firm no. They just don’t understand enough about Mary Kay. If they knew more, they’d say yes. So keep asking, and eventually you’ll wear them down. So even saying NO doesn’t work in Mary Kay, because you will still be hounded… whether it’s to buy products, sign up to sell Mary kay, buy an inventory package, place additional orders that you don’t need, or go to a company event. And coincidentally, many of us said no. It was just dismissed by our upline.

The business is simple. – The concept behind Mary Kay is simple. Sell products. Recruit new distributors. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. The execution of the concept is not so easy, however. Due to market saturation, it is difficult to find women to sell to and to recruit. There are too many other options in the cosmetics market and there are too many other women trying to sell and recruit, with no limitations such as territories. Mary Kay sales directors and charlatans will teach you about time management, scheduling, goal-setting, interviewing, closing sales, and the like. What they won’t teach you is an effective way to find more potential customers or recruits. Why not? Because a method for finding such customers and recruits doesn’t really exist. It is next to impossible to get a consistent flow of new customers and recruits. About the only way to do it is the equivalent of cold-calling… constantly. In a real business, there are tried and true ways of getting in front of your market in a way that will turn into business. In MLM, everyone is a target and there is no true way to isolate the good candidates (read: the ones who are easy to sway) to give yourself a good chance of being successful. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen. There are a few hundred women in Mary Kay who are very successful. Years ago when the company had 700,000 consultants in the U.S., 480,000 were quitting and being replaced each year. Your chances of success are almost nil.

You shouldn’t have ordered more inventory than you could sell. – This makes sense, right? You should only order what you can sell. The problem is that women are coerced into buying large inventory packages with misinformation. They are told the products “fly right off the shelf” and that “you can’t sell from an empty wagon.”

Due to market saturation, the products are extremely difficult to sell. Women have too many choices available all around them, and many times they’d rather pick something up in a store or shop online… where they won’t be hounded to hold parties or sign up to be a distributor. It’s easier and more convenient to buy elsewhere. And even when women do choose Mary Kay, there are so many representatives to choose from and thousands of Mary Kay auctions on eBay, giving them lots of options for cheap(er) products. Although carrying inventory might help facilitate some sales, women often have the wrong products on hand, requiring them to order more from Mary Kay.

Then there’s the issue of being “active” in Mary Kay. You have to order at least every three months to qualify for the discount, and at least every six months to retain your downline. Even if you have lots of inventory and you don’t need more products, you’re going to have to order to stay on the merry-go-round.

And of course, there is the pressure from your upline to constantly order. Directors and recruiters are notorious for hounding women to order additional products. The excuses run the gamut from “order the limited edition products before Mary Kay runs out of them” to “we’re trying to meet a goal and an order from you would help the team.” If you are working toward a goal and trying to move up in Mary Kay, more times than not you will need to “top off production” by placing an order for yourself. You don’t want to get so close to the goal and then miss it because your production was a little short, do you? You’re told that a modest order now will pay off in the long run, as you will be eligible for higher commissions and you’ll eventually sell the products.

Sure, women still have the opportunity to say NO. But don’t underestimate the constant subtle (and not so subtle) pressure to continuously order products.

You just didn’t work hard enough. (Also: “Mary Kay works when you do!”) – Either we didn’t work hard enough, or we didn’t work “the Mary Kay way,” or we didn’t believe in Mary Kay enough, or we didn’t do the right things. No matter how much work you did, you will always be accused of not doing it right or not doing enough. You must be made to feel guilty for your failure. Because Mary Kay doesn’t want you to realize that it is the fault of the multi-level marketing system and a host of market conditions that almost ensure you will lose money. Pink Truth has had thousands of members who all worked hard and did things exactly as they were instructed. But they didn’t get the results because this “business model” dooms almost everyone to failure.

You wanted a get-rich-quick scheme. – Pink Truthers are often accused of wanting to make money fast with little to no effort. It doesn’t matter that they were told they could make money in “a few hours a week” or that they could make “full-time pay for part-time hours.” Those are deliberate lies, used to downplay the amount of time and effort needed to have even the slightest chance of success at Mary Kay. Yet recruiters continue to push these phrases, implying that Mary Kay is a get-rich-quick scheme. Even still, the vast majority of Pink Truth members realized that any small business takes a lot of work, and they put in the time and effort. They simply didn’t succeed because MLM sets almost everyone up for failure.

You quit before you had a chance to become successful. – MLM promoters commonly say that people didn’t quit because they failed…. they failed because they quit. They claim that too many people quit before they’ve had a chance to succeed in MLM, making their failure all their own fault. The problem is that 99% of people fail in MLM. They see the failure, and they quit. That’s a good business decision. Stop the bleeding. MLM is not like a real business. In a real business, your chance of success is reasonably correlated to the effort you are willing to put in. Not so in Mary Kay. There are hundreds of thousands of women diligently putting in the effort – – working many hours, doing all the things they’re taught to generate leads and business, holding classes and following up – – and they still lose money year after year. It’s because the system of MLM guarantees failure for almost everyone. The real truth is that you didn’t quit too soon.


  1. Kristen

    Can’t speak for everyone, but many are recruited when they are emotionally fragile. Stress and depression zap logic, so even intelligent gals get sucked in. You can’t think straight. You’re basing decisions on impulsive reactions. Perhaps you’ve got severe marital problems, lost someone close, are lonely/isolated or miserable at your job and feel stuck there because of the money. Kaybots have learned to find out what’s wrong in your life to manipulate you into Beelieving Mary Kay is the answer to your emotional woes. Then, when you’re buried in debt with no friends left, the critics use the attacks listed in this post to point out your faulty decision making. Everything in Mary Kay is bait and switch.

    That said, I hope that critics will use their attacks to learn from my experience. No I didn’t research, but you should!!! No, I shouldn’t have ordered all that inventory. Don’t make the same mistake I did!!! I should have said no when things didn’t feel right. Please listen to your logical brain when something feels fishy.

  2. Mountaineer95

    Here are the things they NEVER say:

    Here’s my schedule C breakdown to verify my income/profit

    My “million dollar” director provided proof that the unit actually SOLD a million at retail and here’s the proof

    Here is proof that I sold EVERY BIT OF PRODUCT that I ordered, and that I SOLD IT ALL AT FIFTY PERCENT

    There so many more, please feel free to add to the list, guys!

    1. Kristen

      Said: “You can return your inventory within a year for a full refund”
      Not said: “But we will be charging back any commissions paid to your uplines (so the company never has to risk any sort of financial loss) and your uplines may not be too happy about it if you’re friends or family or something, so there’s that…”

      Also never said:

      “Let’s all sit down and analyze why the product isn’t selling and what is wrong with this business plan.”
      “Anyone else not making any money?”

    2. BestDecision

      My Director admitted to me as I was leaving that she has no idea how much she actually profits. She just never runs the numbers.

      Wonder if she ran the number of the chargeback she got from my inventory hitting Dallas.

  3. Brainwashednomore

    You should have said NO. – In Mary Kay, women are taught that “no does not mean no.” I was told that “no” means “not yet” or “not now”.

    A famous story is the one with a frog in the pot. The frog goes into a pot with cold water. Slowly the heat is turned up til the frog is cooked. We don’t become consultants to be swindled or manipulated. Little by little, we get love bombed with people who pretend to be your friend. We don’t realize this is happening because we’re told “just believe and you’ll reach your goals”. “The only way you lose is when you give up.” US vs them mentality…I can go on and on. We are the frog going into a pot with lots of incentives, applause, prizes, “friendships”, and supposed profits. And, the stakes get higher and our financial loss greater. Like the wizard of Oz, when you pull back the curtain, it’s all a sham. Lots of manipulation from the top down, lies about profit potential, etc.

      1. Brainwashednomore

        Yes, doesn’t surprise me. I was taught to “layer” them, figure out their personality, send them birthday cards with discounts, call them a few times after meeting them days later and then weeks later.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      It’s like the “how to have sex with women” advice … KEEP HARASSING THEM UNTIL THEY GIVE IN. Like sleazy lounge lizards everywhere, they won’t take no for an answer until you knee them in the tender parts.

Leave a Reply

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