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

Convincing a Consultant to Buy $3,600 of Inventory

The magic number in Mary Kay for a “qualified” recruit is a $600 wholesale order. But the larger the initial order, the better off the sales director is. For many years, an initial order of $3,600 has been the ultimate goal.

I was in Mary Kay more than 20 years ago, and I bought an initial package of $3,600 wholesale. It was a ton of money then. And it still feels like a lot of money for this loser thing they call a “business.”

Why is $3,600 so important? Because one recruit with this large of an order almost covers all of the unit’s required minimum production for the month. That’s huge, especially since most sales directors struggle to make the $4,500 minimum each month.

It’s also because the company knows the first order a consultant makes is usually the most she will ever order from the company. So if you assume that all orders will go down in size, you want the consultant to start with the largest order possible.

Consultants don’t need $3,600 wholesale ($7,200 retail) on their shelves. New consultants certainly don’t need that much. They have no idea what they’ll sell and how much they might sell. And as we at Pink Truth know, most inventory goes unsold and sits in basements and garages.

Yet the sales directors and NSDs have a vested interest in those big orders, as their commission checks depend on it. So off they go to convince the consultant to place the large initial order.

Here is part of a training document circulated by one NSD laying out her case for a $3,600 initial order. Notice that she won’t give “money management training” to a consultant until AFTER she has ordered that much. That’s right…. Wait until after she has made a horrible money decision to teach her about how to handle her money.


Most Beauty Consultants need $3,600 on shelf. All Working and aspiring Star Consultants need $3,600 on shelf. If they do not begin with $3,600 or get there within their first 90 days, they never get there.

Why do I believe this?

  • The EMERALD Star level of 3,600 has been around for many years. Prior to TimeWise, prior to an increase in powders, foundation formulas, lipsticks and glosses and new shadows and cheek colors. We have added multiple products since we determined $36oo was ‘Profit Level’.
  • If a Consultant orders $600 initially, she feels she has ordered A LOT OF MARY KAY. She goes to her first class, sells $400. $200 of it she doesn’t have in her trunk. Now she has to reorder and redeliver to FIVE different homes. TIME. She is feeling overwhelmed, busy, disorganized. This leads to borrowing product, comprised relationships with sister consultants and guilt. This leads to mismanagement, no profit, and frustration. This leads to “Mary Kay is great, and I love it, but I am going to need to put it on the shelf for now”.

With $3,600 on shelf, she:

  • Gets @ $800+ Retail value FREE! This is profitable!! Pays for her Showcase, personal products, business cards, etc. Figure it out!
  • Gets the highest STAR on her ladder, setting the pace to excellence in her future (Once the mind has expanded, it can never return to its original form).
  • Gets a private $ Management training from you. (I never did group Money Management training with consultants. One on One after ‘on profit’ to show her how to pay down her investment and handle 60-40. Prior to profit, all they need t oknow about $ management is to make the min. payment on their cc or loan and invest 100% of all they have collected into product so that they can GET TO PROFIT).
  • Receives a ‘Profit Pin’ for her Red Jacket (or business suit) sleeve in CELEBRATION in front of your Success Meeting.

I believe you can promote this with confidence IF you have a good product Money Management habit yourself, are willing to support her Business Debut, follow up with her Power Start booked and coached, support her with adding her first 1-3 recruits (= a commission check which can pay down her loan also), and make HER MONEY YOUR BUSINESS.

I believe I first heard Top Director, Lisa Anne Harmon say it, “With a 600 she is frustrated and scared; with a 3600, she is only scared.”


  1. Kristen

    “Prior to profit, all they need to know about $ management is to make the min. payment on their cc or loan and invest 100% of all they have collected into product so that they can GET TO PROFIT).”

    All they need to know? Keep racking up the credit card debt and only make the minimum payment. Yes, I’m sure that’s what any financial advisor would advise.

  2. Data Junkie

    I can’t help but think of treating a prospective KBot like a child (for their own good):

    “If you plan to get into this business, save up the money for your initial inventory purchase…never, ever borrow for your business. Set the amount you want to invest, and get back with the up-line once you have saved that money for your initial inventory purchase. If this business really works as the up-line claims it does, your little business will sustain itself after your initial purchase and grow from there.

    However, if you find yourself hounded to borrow money to make more purchases even before you’ve recouped your initial investment, this will be an indication this is a actually a money pit, and it is time to get out! By saving up front and sticking to your commitment to never borrow, your financial exposure is limited to the loss of your initial investment from savings. By never borrowing, you will have a clear picture of the financial health of your little business at all times. If you want to invest more, save up for it. Never, ever borrow!

    Going into debt for this business adds the cost of interest payments onto your losses, which as they say, is ‘adding insult to injury’. Whatever you do, don’t borrow, and keep track of everything you’ve invested.”

  3. Lazy Gardens

    “all they need to know about $ management is to make the min. payment on their cc or loan and invest 100% of all they have collected into product so that they can GET TO PROFIT).” Keep buying! Nothing about buying what you have sold, analysing your marker … just keep throwing your sales money back to Mary Kay, and going deeper into debt by making minimum payments,

  4. Cat Ballou

    My former director was a master of frontloading inventory. First she texted me about my availability to set up a call. I gave her a couple of open spots on my calendar. Oh, no, this call was too urgent. It had to be sooner. And so the manipulation begins.

    So I gave her another window of time when I would be available. She didn’t call, because as a director she is oh-so-busy. She said she would call on Sunday afternoon. This is how the manipulation continues. As a director, she is important and her time is oh-so-valuable. By not respecting my time, she’s establishing a power dynamic.

    Guess what? My time is valuable too. I wasn’t going to sit around waiting for her to call. She finally called late Sunday afternoon, while I was at the hardware store buying a garden hose. This simply wouldn’t do. She set up a time to call later in the week, which coincidentally was the time I had originally said I was available to take her call. I think I sprained something, because I rolled my eyes so hard.

    She told me to be at my computer with my credit card ready when she called, so I knew what was coming next. She started with the free products ($110 retail!) that I would get with a $600 order. I told her what I had told my recruiter, that I was signing up for personal use only and was not interested in carrying inventory. I didn’t tell her, and maybe I should have, that I am capable of doing basic math and if I wanted those bonus products (which I didn’t), it would make more sense for me to just buy them than spend $600 on inventory that I didn’t want or need.

    My polite refusal to purchase a $600 inventory order was countered with directions on how to apply for a Mary Kay credit card. My recruiter contacted me the next day to see if my MK credit card application had been approved yet. I told her no, and that I have plenty of credit. What I do not have is a desire to purchase $600 worth of product. I’m still laughing at her reaction to that statement. I can’t imagine what I would have said if she had started with a $3600 inventory package. At least, that put an end to their attempts at frontloading with me.

  5. Brainwashed no more

    I love those fake sheets that tell you how much inventory you need. Everyone needs inventory even if they plan on very part time. That work of be fun to see that again.

    It started with $4,200, 3,600, 2,400, 1,800 & $600. I was told to start offering the top package and go down. Tell them about all the free products. Buy the time you get down to 600 it sounds doable. So manipulative…

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