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

Not Making a Living After 35 Years in Mary Kay

This story was submitted to us by “Suzanne” more than 10 years ago. I have no idea who she really was, and I wonder if she’s still in Mary Kay. I’m running the story again because I think it’s so powerful.

I read everything that is written on your site and I know how true it all is. So here I am still a Sr. Director in MK after over 35 years and today I just wanted to scream. Recently I sent a note to my Sr. Dir. to thank her for an anniversary gift and explain why I could no longer attend any area events. I just can’t ever tell my “I story” again since I would have to be truthful and tell everyone that my pink bubble burst. After I went bankrupt a while ago, I find myself old with no health insurance, a bad heart that needs surgery and barely keeping a roof over my head.

Her response to me was no real surprise. She told me that she believed in me and recommended a web site about believing in yourself. Wow, isn’t that what I spent the last 30 years trying to do.

I believed in myself when I was being told by my former husband that I wasn’t really making money. I believed in myself when I was running all over doing classes, trainings and meetings and missing some of my children’s events. I believed in myself when I ran all those sales contests that ended up costing me more in prizes than what I made, because we were taught to keep offering things to keep consultants believing kept believing in myself when my accountant told me that I really wasn’t making any money.

I kept believing in myself and got divorced from that “negative” husband that was holding me back. I kept believing as I continued to spend the money to travel to all the areas where my unit was located even though they often had personal things to do and didn’t show up for the meetings. I continued to believe when I kept going to Dallas to receive the awards and get my head pumped bigger and bigger. Yes, I kept believing while my life fell apart around me…..and then one day I didn’t believe any more, but I was too far in debt and spent too many years to know what do next.

Today I believe that I did a lot of good things over the years by putting some real happiness in some women’s lives. I never asked them to place orders to help me but was more concerned about them selling product. Selling product in MK is a nice hobby or part time income.

The only real money in this business is if you can, without any conscience, recruit, recruit, & recruit with constant pushing for orders. It doesn’t matter if you ever teach them to sell. The company will keep changing products so they can keep ordering and you can keep collecting the checks. I actually don’t know how some directors sleep at night. That’s where the real believing comes in. They have to keep believing that they are really giving their recruits a good opportunity to earn money, when actually they only care that they order and don’t ship back product.

I will probably be taking care of my customers until I die, but I no longer “believe” that success will come just through “believing in yourself”. It’s just the hype that keeps people going so that others can benefit. I believed myself into a life of poverty.

I am still not a negative person, but I am cautious about what I just “believe in” without real proof. My riches in life today are the joy of a sunny day, the laughter of grandchildren and the love of family and friends. I gave up so much over the years while I lived in the pink fog. I hope more women can break out of that type of hold before they lose as much as I did.

Thanks for listening and keep up the good work with Pink Truth. If anyone ever wants my figures I can tell you that in my best year in the company I had 90+ consultants, was in premier club, queens court of sales, three offspring directors and my bottom line taxable income was less than $20,000. How’s that for a harsh reality?


  1. Pinkiu

    Lurkers, heed this warning. What a sad but predictable story. Whether it took place 10 years ago or last year, her story is relevant today. Why? Because nothing has changed.

    Suzanne doesn’t have a 401K, no retirement, no insurance, nothing. Even worse, she lost her family. People were telling her the truth but she refused to pay attention until it was too late.

    Why is MK so evil? Because MK like all MLMs, all direct sales companies, all pyramids have one function – to syphon money from the bottom (recruits) and funnel it up to the top. If recruiting is the real way you make money, then honey, you are in a pyramid scheme. If you are told to turn your customers into your competitors (recruits), then it’s a pyramid scheme. Legal perhaps, but still a pyramid.

  2. Heather

    Less than 20K in taxable income and look at all of the work that was put into that 20K. I guarantee that Suzanne worked 50-60 hours each week. No overtime or comp time. No 401(k)/403(b). No pension or retirement after 35 years. A broken marriage. Bankruptcy.

    This is the reality of MK and MLMs. You can make more money working part-time at Bed, Bath, & Beyond right now than you can in MK.

    1. Char

      “You can make more money working part-time at Bed, Bath, & Beyond right now than you can in MK.”—

      True, and it’s legitimate work! Participating in a product-based pyramid scheme where you have to LIE to make anything significant is not.

  3. Jasmine

    If her husband kept telling her that she is not making any money then that means they were living off his income. I wonder how she never said to herself, my husband is paying the mortgage, the light bill, the car notes, etc. What bills am I paying?

    You have to really be brainwashed to not generate any money, AND to not be aware that you aren’t making any money.

    This is really sad

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