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

Failing As a Million Dollar Director

A few years ago, Kristin Sharpe was bragging on social media about all the Million Dollar Directors in Mary Kay. She thought this was a huge accomplishment.

What is a million dollar director? It is a MK sales director whose unit has $1 million in estimated retail production. This represents about $500,000 in products ordered by the unit. (It does NOT represent $1 million sold to customers, although the company would have you believe that it does.) It represents about $100,000 in commission earned during the year by the director.

Kristin didn’t realize the failure that she was demonstrating with her post. At that time, Mary Kay Inc. was 55 years old. In 55 years, 172 sales directors hit the $1 million unit club. 87 of those went on to become NSDs.

85 of those never made it to NSD. That’s essentially half. Half never made it, even though they tell you that YOU decide when to promote yourself. ANYONE can do it.

So how can the million dollar director fail? By never making it to NSD. All that “success” and you can’t make it to national sales director, the pinnacle of success in Mary Kay?


  1. Parsonsgreen


    Kristin has been in the Top 20 for the Court of Sharing four times. She was the Queen of Sharing for the entire Diamond Seminar in 2012.

    Kristin’s personal Sales Unit achieved a Unit Club every year since debuting. She was recognized as the #2 Director in North America in 2013 and the #1 Director worldwide in 2014, reaching over $1.25 Million in Unit Retail Sales. She was also the Queen of Unit Retail Sales twice, both times as a Million-Dollar Director.

    Kristin has earned over 100 carats in diamonds as well as numerous luxury trips to places like Hawaii, Greece, Turkey, France, Monaco, China, London, Paris, Argentina, and Italy.

    To date, her highest commission check in one month has been in excess of $35,000 and she has earned over $2 million in commissions.

    1. Char

      “$1.25 Million in Unit Retail Sales.” —

      That claim cannot be proven because MK does not track retail sales to non-affiliates. This should be reported to the FTC…..along with income claims.

  2. Peggy Hicks

    I wonder how much she’s paid in income taxes. Those 100 carats of diamonds, pink Cadillacs & luxury trips aren’t so free after all. They’re taxable income, & I think it’s bordering on criminal that this is intentionally not communicated to new recruits. If recruiters were required to disclose their 1099s & Schedule Cs, the potential recruits would run the other way as quickly as possible.

    1. Data Junkie

      “If recruiters were required to disclose their 1099s & Schedule Cs, the potential recruits would run the other way as quickly as possible.”

      Well said. Along those lines, if those “income disclosure” statements published by MLMs were “net income” instead of “gross commissions”, recruits would have a similar reaction.
      True “income disclosures” would show 99.6% of the reps *losing* money. It would also show that most of the “million dollar club” members are actually sustaining less than $50K per year.

      A reasonable question to ask any MLM rep…”What is the average net loss for reps in your mlm?” A more revealing question: “What is the annual net loss for the median rep in the top 1%?”

      That last one really stings. In every MLM, even the median rep in the top 1% is losing money.

      1. NayMKWay

        Hey, Data Junkie, let me toss a little data fix your way. You can switch to italics for emphasis with this three-character sequence:

        (but leave out the periods; no spaces either)

        Switch back to normal text with the “cancel italics” sequence:

        (again, no periods or spaces)

        I’ll demonstrate by bracketing “losing” with the italics on/off character sequences:

        True “income disclosures” would show 99.6% of the reps losing money.

        It’s more work than asterisks, but it’s a bit fancier.

        1. NayMKWay

          Well, wasn’t that cute? My attempt to get the escape characters to print didn’t work. So I’ll try again…

          To turn italics on: less-than sign, i, greater-than sign (that is, the letter i inside pointy brackets, with no spaces)

          To turn italics off, insert a forward slash in front of the i (that is, /i inside pointy brackets, no spaces).

          My kingdom for a “preview” button!

            1. Data Junkie

              Italics appears to work, but not bold. Makes me want to research this further. Not using standard HTML tags, so this is curious. Thanks again for the tips!

          1. NayMKWay

            I, too, have been unable to get bold to work. I tried “strong” (that works at behindmlm.com) and “b”. Neither worked. I don’t think I have tried “bold,” yet, so here goes: bold
            Or maybe the letter “s”:

  3. enorth

    “So how can the million dollar director fail?”

    A certain SSD was Ruby Seminar “Queen of Sharing” several years ago. What an achievement! Right? Flew the family to Dallas, pictures of her on stage on the throne, floral bouquets, etc.

    But things started to unravel. IBCs quit, SDs dropped rank, the Queen lost her Caddy. Her FB page has now been scrubbed of MK, and Linked In shows her as having left MK in early 2022.

    Those lofty titles and grandiose recognition-levels don’t necessarily reflect financial success, and are certainly not indicators of long-term sustainability.

    1. Ruby Slippers

      And another one bites the dust!!! Just saw another sales director step down to “pursue”another career. I’m counting at least 10 I personally know of from our demographic area. Looked thru old pics of me and several other directors and most have resigned and completely quit MK . Several were Caddy directors . Cannot wait for the sh*tshow of low attendance at Seminar .

      1. BestDecision

        I was in a Caddy and left my offspring, unit, and customers without regret. I returned to my career and sent all my inventory back. I don’t miss holding meetings, handing out business cards, dressing and being “on” all the time, tracking production, or having to motivate people.

        Very few Directors I “grew up with” are still in MK. The ones that are are still lying to people, saying they’re “MK Millionaires” and stabbing each other in the back over pride and insecurity. They’re still creating a facade of a booming business and luxurious lifestyle, yet they aren’t getting new bar pins every year. My Senior is in the same title and place she was in over 20 years ago, but, knowing what I know about her and how she does things, that makes me quite happy.

    2. Mountaineer95

      And I’d bet that outside of MK, she won’t find a real J.O.B. with a legit title of Senior Sales Director or similar. Her lack of team building ability is evident by her being unable to replace recruits that fall off and essentially losing her entire unit. Anyone who works for a company that promises they can “promote themselves whenever they want” but fails miserably at this self-promotion is not someone I’d like to hire.

  4. NayMKWay

    On average, just over 3 Directors reached the “million dollar” level each year. (172/55 = 3.13) Three per year, out of how many thousand Directors?

    And only half of them made NSD. I guess the other half decided not to promote themselves, eh?

    I love Kristin’s laser-sharp observation:

    “The best part is that these numbers are only growing!”

    Um, yeah, they’re a cumulative total. By definition, they can’t shrink; they can only stay flat or go up. It’s like saying, “The number US Presidents keeps going up!”

    Slightly off-topic, but man, those open-mouth smiles look so phony; so contrived. And then some are holding one or both hands to their faces … indicating … what, exactly? Extra-super-bubbly happy? Is it supposed to be attraction marketing? More like desperation marketing.

    1. J-Kay

      They’re at a slumber party, probably organized by a director. They’re all in the same bed in their robes and Jammie, with their hands up to their heads, pretending to be sleeping on their hands.

    2. Mountaineer95

      “ On average, just over 3 Directors reached the “million dollar” level each year. (172/55 = 3.13) Three per year, out of how many thousand Directors?”

      Don’t many of them tout those ridiculously incorrect figures like “Mary Kay produces more female millionaires than any other company!” or similar? Methinks the stats Mrs. Sharpe shares here would make that claim impossible.

  5. Maggie

    I have a question can an nsd lose her downline and lose their nsd status? Or are you secured in that spot no matter what. I ask because these nsd seem not to worry a bit!

  6. Mountaineer95

    So I know we joke about it all the time, but what really is the deal with Kristin’s open-mouthed smile? It’s in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE. Seriously, make a quick, unplanned, natural smile. Is your mouth half open like that? Maybe if you’re caught in the middle of a legit guffaw. But not for a posted photo!

    I just spent ten minutes (ten freaking minutes of my life I’ll never get back BTW) trying to “naturally” make that smile. It just doesn’t work. It’s so weird! Now I know that many people are very conscious about how they smile because they’re hiding dental problems. But what dental issue could KS have to make her forcibly smile in such an awkward way? Are her uppers dentures and she has no lower teeth? Does she have some kind of bizarre over/under bite?

    As such an important, successful Director with MK, surely there is video footage from some MK meeting or event that has a candid glimpse of KS breaking a true smile when she thinks nobody is watching. Maybe an anonymous source will send it our way? Or maybe she really never does smile any other way than this “muppet face” thing she has going on as a trademark of sorts.

  7. Silent treatment

    So the nsd’s do have requirements? I know at least one nsd with just 1 director ( at the point mk should be looking for ways to get rid of her) she costing them money…[former Sr. Director 30 years…don’t miss a minute]

    1. TRACY

      Nsds under old agreements have no requirements. Under the requirements that started in 2011, they do have requirements that must be met, either in terms of number of directors under them or total production from their area.

  8. Terry Jura

    My ex which is a national sales director hurt me financially and use me lies about everything she even lied about being a national sales director and me giving her lots of money to get in to be a national I’ve lost a ton of money because of her and I’m actually trying to even get a car back that she took and I’m filing a suit against her it won’t be till next year in February

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