Written by Raisinberry

If you have been in Mary Kay for any length of time you are aware of a typical meeting involving a “scoreboard line up” of top sellers in your unit. The count up begins for what was sold, and generally anybody over $300 gets to come down front and tell their sales success. $300 a week in sales is supposedly a Sapphire Star Consultant, provided she ordered $1,800 wholesale during the quarter.

The problem is, there are very few real business women in Mary Kay. Your director will have you split your sales 60/40 (60% back into products, 40% for expenses and profit if there is anything left over) as if that ratio has anything to do with actual accounting. You will note that even a weekly summary sheet does not track your real expenses and real profit. No, you are to record your 60/40 split as if the number remaining from the subtraction of your restocking amount reflected your actual profit. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In real business, the cost of doing business, every dime, is factored into its profitability picture. Mary Kay knows you will do such little business that real tracking of expenses against profit is futile. That’s why classes that are supposed to teach Money Management, are actually thinly disguised attempts to teach you to have full inventory, get all your MK debt on one credit card or loan, and pay it off with one set payment every month. This is taught as simple business management. Here’s the problem:

Your expenses continue. Your need to order new merchandise continues. Old products don’t sell, new products come out, and you eventually accumulate a bunch of unsellable products. If you are serious about your business, you will be at every meeting, every Career Conference, Every Leadership Advance, Every Pacesetters, Red Jacket Rally, Seminar, Pizza and Possibilities, Muffins and Makeovers, Meatloaf and Marketing, Omelets and Opportunities, ad infinitum.

You have start up inventory debt that hasn’t been cleared. You have reordering debt that hasn’t been cleared. You have travel and event debt that hasn’t been cleared, and accounting for all of it and the interest you are paying is a nightmare.When pressure comes to add more to it, like for finishing STAR Consultant or hanging on to Car Qualifications, you swallow hard, get a sick stomach and rationalize that soon you will be a director and pay it all off.

You won’t.

So since we are no longer willing to live in denial, let’s take a hard look at real profit and loss for one month…and I won’t pick July. Let’s take October.

Don’t glaze over. I know numbers make you nuts, but that’s why you are in this mess. I’ll keep it “general.”

Monthly sales: (Example of a typical scenario)

  • Week one – $320 sold
  • Cost of inventory – $160
  • Hostess losses ($75 for $25 coupon) – costs you $12.50
  • Travel- $8.00
  • Section 2- $5.00
  • Product giveaway for guests- $10
  • Website, Preferred Customer Program, meeting fee – $9
  • Interest on credit card debt – $3 (big range here, could be as high as $20 depending on your rate- Lets say $12 divided by 4)

TOTAL COSTS = $207.50

  1. You sold $320, and you actually made $112.50. You thought you had a pretty good week. Better than most. And you profited $112.50 and that felt pretty good. Not the $160 they told you that you’d profit, but you have to spend money to make money, right? Except now it’s time for Fall Retreat, and your ticket price is $40 to $100 depending on where it’s held.
  2. Next week, You attempt to repeat that $300+ week, but your class postpones. Some of your costs keep happening, like interest on the credit card, the meeting fee, preferred customer, etc. If you took a guest to the meeting and gave her a gift, that cost you something too. If you didn’t sell anything, you are now in the hole.
  3. Week three you sell $500! Part of it contained that $400 roll up for $299.You made $99 on that roll up, NOT $200 because you discounted it. Then there are all the expenses all over again. You made another $200.00 from a double facial, lost some samples and product at $5 and of course your “gift with purchase” for the 2 of them at $7. Now add your “fixed costs” for the week, meeting, interest, preferred customer, etc.
  4. Week four you sell $250 and have the same costs again. At month end we can also add what you gave away in warm chatter samples, interviews that involved you picking up the tab, Other “fees” for Saturday trainings or marketing sessions, and your next wholesale order! Are you restocking ONLY what you sold? Chances are you are not! There’s new product to try, items you think you need more of, and so you charge.

After one month you have sold $1,070.

If you think like a Mary Kay consultant and not a business woman, you tell yourself you have 60% to order! Wow that’s more than $600 wholesale. Except a $600 wholesale costs you about $700 by the time you add in shipping and taxes. If you have $600 to spend, your order can only be $500, not $600!

If we use Mary Kay math, this woman profited 40%, or $428 on her sales. But does she really? Of course not because she had all those other expenses. And if she discounted ANYTHING during the month, she has no idea what her real amount of profit is. If she doesn’t count real costs, she is digging herself into a hole that will consume her, and she probably doesn’t realize it.

The money to run your “business” comes from somewhere. It doesn’t materialize out of a hat. And every week that you don’t sell at least $300 is costing you big time. Add all the “nothing is mandatory” but you better go, events… and you are frankly, screwed.

Mary Kay has been playing “Big Girls in Business” for nearly 60 years. In 14 years, 11 as a Director, I never had a money management training class that talked actual cost and profitability, factoring debt and inventory management, and what obsolete product really costs us. When has what you have lost in product changes, packaging changes, and upgrades EVER been discussed?

And what has your TIME been worth? If a $300 week gets you $80 before your have your non mandatory events to pay for…what was your time worth? Meeting 2 hours, class 3 hours, Saturday guest event 2 hours plus calling, confirming and coaching… Don’t forget your time on social medial trolling for sales and showing everyone how wonderful #mymklife is.

Get the real picture? Now the accountants of this forum will be irritated that I didn’t spell it out exactly, but I want my words to resonate for the non-accountant mind. What does your logic and observation tell you? Are you in fact BETTER OFF financially for being in Mary Kay, or is the whole picture much more dire?

We can hope that some have broken even, but the vast majority are paying big time for this dive into “executive income for part time hours”.

Mary Kay Cosmetics prospers on our ignorance, hopes and dreams. This corporation is the quintessential opportunist, which, because it will not admit that these charges are true, will never cease to fuel the tide of antagonism against it.


  1. Excellent article. I was in mk over 10 years. Top consultant. Queens court of sales. Star consultant every month. I sold a lot but I never made a profit. Birthday discounts, hostess gifts, office supplies, preferred customer program, all the expenses I needed to “have a business. “

    • Same experience I had and that of my entire unit, too. I did profit as a Director, but not nearly what I made in my original career. And definitely not “executive income”.

  2. Does anyone actually sell $1000 a month? That can’t be possible. From that we see the “real” money is recruiting, which proves it is a pyramid scheme

    • Rarely did I have a unit member sell that much on a regular basis. $1200 was the goal to remind a Star Consuktant, and many lunged their own purchases towards their $300 weeks. And got a 20 cent ribbon for it.

    • I used to sell a LOT of products each month, usually around $900-1200 RETAIL. I had a large customer base (~200) and steady monthly reorders.

      When I would calculate expenses, discounts, freebies, and more, my percentage of profit was 25-30% AT BEST. I was good at moving products, and I taught my team and unit how to sell. Unfortunately, I could almost never ever sell at full retail and make the elusive 50% profit, despite almost 14 years in the goat rodeo.

      • Same here! I never accounted for all the hours spent thinking about the business when I wasn’t holding a meeting or appointment. A completely waste of years off my life!

  3. I just had to post a link to this story, even if it isn’t quite on topic with this particular posting:


    Okay, so I know that Montgomery, Alabama isn’t quite the metropolis that New York, Chicago, Denver or Los Angeles is, but the city does have around 200,000 people with many more in the surrounding suburbs. Could they ever have a news day slow enough for this?

    As a side note, the story mentions this pink cadillac is “one of 1400 on the road in the US”. Whew! Out of supposedly 3 million active beauty consultants. And I bet not one of those cadillacs are being driven by somebody who has to pay a monthly co-payment because their monthly safe were insufficient.

  4. Mary Kay couldn’t survive off of buying $1 selling for $2 even if the products did sell and they know it.
    The problem here is the products rarely sell on top of the buy for $1 sell for $2

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