When selling the Mary Kay opportunity to potential recruits, we hear about how wonderful and luxurious the prizes are. How women get big prizes “just for doing my job!!!!” But the truth is that it takes ordering hundreds (or more often thousands) of dollars of inventory to get the prizes. (Remember the prizes aren’t tied at all to actually selling anything. They’re tied to how much you ORDER from Mary Kay.)

When we call them out on the dollar store trinkets that are awarded, we get called petty and unrealistic. They say that (of course) a lot of money can’t be spent on the prizes and they have to be in proportion to the amount of commission the director earns on the consultant’s. order. Sure. Of course you have to keep in mind what you’re being paid, so you know how much to spend on the prize.

But I bet you didn’t realize just how little is spent on these prizes. It’s embarrassing and insulting. Take a look.


  1. proves they make no money if only 6 to 8 out of 160 huns are ordering. Even then the orders are pitiful.

  2. “…and rally at the end of the year when the unit is working on a big goal!”

    …and order more inventory at the end of the year when you’re trying to rank up.

    There, fixed it for you.

  3. A half of 1% on $39 is 19.5 CENTS not $1.95. Her math was on 5% aka .05!

    Grade school memories: Move decimal point two spots.

    *Credit to “brainsmama” on DB for first catching that Mary Kay math.

    • The more typical mistake is not moving the decimal point at all, like saying 5/1000 is equal to 0.005% insteadof 0.5%.

      Moving the decimal only one place instead of two: so they’re half-right. I guess 😉

  4. Trinkets that become landfill; such a waste.

    Imagine how insulted anyone would be to receive the cash, instead; that’s how manipulative the trinket-reward system is. Mary Kay Ash knew how to play the game to her advantage, all right.

    • I know I bring this up a lot here and I hope it’s not overdone (I mean harping on my previous sales experience), but in the years that I worked in retail and wholesale (furniture and mattresses), I was awarded some kick-ass prizes, such as:

      a super-high-end mattress in 2003 that is so good I still sleep on it today;

      another super-high-end Vera Wang Limited Edition king mattress set that my occasional houseguests absolutely love;

      a bedroom suite that I was able to buy for cost plus freight (again, high-end made in the US) furniture 20 years ago that has survived many moves and still rocks today;

      a hand-cast made in CA Wesley Allen iron bed;

      a luxury, top-notch (and totally FREE to me) trip to Quebec City for being in the top ten percent of sales reps company wide, and to which I was welcomed to bring one of my best friends in place of a spouse as I was single at the time…she was welcomed like family, not like the rules MK enforces on their “reward” trips lol;

      On the same trip, I entered my deluxe room at Le Frontenac to find a lovely gift bag on the pillow, which contained a substantial personalized Mont Blanc pen that paired nicely with the bottle of Dom Perignon that also was awaiting me in the room;

      from my other rep job (wholesale giftware), a monogrammed Coach wallet from my sales manager…and I’m being sincere when I say that those are all the perks I can remember…I’m sure there are other great ones (dinners at Ruth’s Chris, Sullivan’s in Chicago, and Angus Barn come to mind) that I cannot specifically recall right now.

      There are many other gifts and rewards from my career, and I always appreciated them, especially the ones that I earned due to outstanding sales performance. These weren’t gifts available to just anyone…you had to be in the very top percentile (ie under ten percent) to get some of these rewards.

      Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like that in Mary Kay, ANYONE can “earn” the rewards if they just buy enough product at wholesale. Like, if 100% of the “sales force” bought what is necessary to earn a (name a special piece of jewelry here) trinket, then 100% percent of the sales force will be awarded this “special” item.

      I don’t doubt that the MK “sales force” is motivated by prizes. I’ve been there and done that, and earning ANY prize was motivation enough. But the “quality to achievement” ratio of MK prizes (and I did just make that up) is very sad. How much does one have to ORDER to get a two-dollar trinket?

    • It’s Denise’s husband’s modern farmhouse-themed brand that sells some vintage barn finds and cheap jewelry. The cheap jewelry is used as buying incentives for Mary Kay consultants.

  5. Denise spends a lot of time asking about how to properly reward her downline for ORDERING product. Not once does she ask about, or talk about, how to reward her downline for actually SELLING product. I’d love to put her on the spot and ask her (without time for her to dig for an answer) roughly HOW MUCH her downline has SOLD. Not bought from MK; but SOLD.

    Any “sales manager” (or Director) worth her salt, and in a REAL business, knows at least an idea of how much her direct reports are selling. Oh wait…some MK hun will see this and wonder what a “direct report” is. I’d say that’s a sign that the hun should pursue something other than sales.

  6. Hunbots say “I get prizes just for doing my job!!!” and they get prizes for ORDERING product. Sounds about right.

    • Those so-called prizes, trips, jewelry, & Cadillacs they earn also cost them money because they’re taxed as income. They’re added to the Form 1099 MKC sends out every year. Nothing in MK is free.

  7. Denise’s husband owns the company Kuchy Coo. I bet they make more money off of that venture than Denise does from Mary Kay.

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