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

Bankrupt Because of Mary Kay

This young woman was a Mary Kay director who bought into all the hype and into appearing successful. Bought into it… literally. Does that sound crazy? Only if you’ve never actually been in Mary Kay or if you’re in Mary Kay and in serious denial.

Buying your way up the “career ladder” and into recognition is the norm in Mary Kay, it’s just that it’s not supposed to be discussed. And that makes sense… don’t discuss it because it’s wrong and silly and we all know it, but the upline depends on it for their commission checks to keep rolling in. Buying your way in Mary Kay is probably the most destructive thing about the company, and the dirtiest secret of all.

Julie was a family member of someone I dated about five years ago. She had been doing Mary Kay for about 15 years or so. She repeatedly called me to “be a model” for an event that she hosted at her home every Saturday called “Models, Muffins, and Makeovers.”

After about the 3rd time of her asking I finally agreed to go so she would quit bugging me. When I went, I was totally sold. She lived in a million dollar home, drove a “free” car, was dripping in diamonds, had been on numerous free trips, and seemed to be living the dream. She showed copies of her paystubs that showed ten thousand dollar paychecks … and all she did was “play with makeup” — in her words. She even bribed people on the spot to sign up w with beautiful fake costume jewelry.

Even though I really wanted to sign up on the spot, I was scared and told her I wanted to think about it. She sent me home with an Applause magazine and all I could see was these young superstars earning huge monthly paychecks. Julie kept telling me that I was the same age as them, and I could do it, too.

I totally believed and trusted her, because she was a family member of someone of whom I was in a serious relationship with. She invited us to go to church with her (nice touch), and then after church she would answer any questions we had over lunch — her treat of course.

She got me. Hook, line, and sinker. I was sold. I wanted into this pink bubble, and I wanted to do it 100%. She convinced me to quit my job (a very well paying job that I had just landed straight out of college) and do Mary Kay full time. O f course that meant working as her assistant very cheap to “learn the business.”

I was brought in with FULL $3,600 inventory … is there any other way — if you are going to be “serious” about this business?

Julie failed to mention to me all of the product changes that were coming the next month. Tons of products that I just purchased were not longer going to be in the Look Book because they were being replaced by new formulas and new color. I was too new at the time to fully realize what was going on — I knew nothing about makeup or skincare.

With everything said and done, samples, organizers, recruiting packets, class supplies, and more products… I probably spent close to $10,000 over the next few months. I was not the least bit scared or worried though, because this stuff would “fly off my shelves” she told me.

She told me my first step was to hold my debut — she graciously offered to hold it at her house — which I later learned only because it was in her best interest to do this so that she could recruit everyone. I was to invite everyone I knew with skin. I must have invited 50 people. I had 10 people confirmed, and NOT ONE PERSON showed up … not even my mother. I remember how crushed I was. That should have been a RED LIGHT and huge signal to me … but the brainwashing began … this would now become a huge part of my “I” story which I would tell at my director’s debut. I would overcome the odds, and not give up. Julie gave me a huge pep talk, and I kept going.

I became the pest that Julie was and began to bug my friends to come to Julie’s house for these events that she held twice a week. I even lost a really good friend over it. Julie had converted part of her house in to her training center, and then another additional room for the model make up room.

I realized that holding skincare classes was not the “trick” to this business — it was just getting people to her so that she could sell them like she did me. That worked all up until I was in DIQ, and then through DIQ. She got credit for all the production while I was in DIQ. Then after that we were on our own, because of course she wanted us to fail, so if we lost our directorship, she would get all of those people back.

My journey through MK was about two years. Once you see everything one time through you realize what is going on.

Julie lost 6 directors over the course of my journey … one director whom I became very good friends with must have had at least $50-$60K worth of MK sitting a room in her house. Julie knew this — and just kept encouraging us to order every month to make production — as if losing directorship was the worst thing on earth.

I sold the dream to one of my friends — who followed in my footsteps 100% — she also filed for bankruptcy about 6 months after I did. We were spending money on Career Conference, Seminar, prizes for our unit, taking our units to mystery days … everything said and done, we both were about $60K in debt.

Smoke and Mirrors — that’s all it was. Everyone thought we were both successful.

Anyway, I am so glad I got out of the pink cult and got my life back. There are so many lies … I could go on.

I feel bad, because am actually really good friends with a very “successful” director who started the exact same time I did. I hesitate to post anything, because I don’t want to smear or in anyway affect her business. When she started her training center, I helped open it with her and held my meetings with her. She is a very hard worker, and did things the right way … she had business sense … I didn’t. I am glad she succeeded.

Oh, by the way … Julie ended up moving too because they couldn’t afford to make their house payments on their home. Also, working in her office I learned A LOT of the dirty secrets of MK … but I was “in the club” at that point … so I chose to look the other way.

20 Comments

  1. Char

    “I feel bad, because am actually really good friends with a very “successful” director who started the exact same time I did. I hesitate to post anything, because I don’t want to smear or in anyway affect her business. When she started her training center, I helped open it with her and held my meetings with her. She is a very hard worker, and did things the right way … she had business sense … I didn’t. I am glad she succeeded.”—

    Why, because you aren’t part of her downline funding her con? You still don’t get it. Sigh.

    There is no “right way” to do MLM, a method with a specific definition. Imagine me explaining the right way to steal, murder, cheat, lie, etc.. Suggesting that MLM is done the right way sounds as ridiculous as that. Sure, all these acts can be committed successfully, but they are all inherently wrong – including MLM.

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    1. NayMKWay

      I have to agree with Char: there is no “right way” to do MLM, because MLM is an inherently abusive system. It steals from the majority to enrich the few. Those at or near the top depend on those under them to order product (as does Corporate). Which would be fine if the underlings could sell what they order, but they can’t.

      The math is inescapable. Mary Kay has at least 50 times the number of sales reps than the matket can support, yet they’re always pressuring every member to recruit even more. Recruiting is vital because the drop-out rate is so high, and the drop-out rate is high because no one can sell anything. It’s a vicious cycle.

      Mary Kay’s owners and executives are well aware that most of what they produce goes into garages and basements, and eventually into landfill. Do they fix it? Heck no, they’d kill the golden goose. Every move Mary Kay makes is calculated to drive recruiting and ordering. That’s why Directors are encouraged to flaunt wealth they do not have (recruiting by lying), and why so many products are obsoleted on a regular basis (forcing consultants to order replacement inventory).

      Every time Mary Kay discontinues a product, millions of dollars in inventory on the shelves of their consultants is rendered worthless. MK knows what they’re doing, and it’s reprehensible.

      No, dear writer, your friend is not “doing it right.” She’s either living a lie (“fake it till you make it,” remember?) or she’s living large off the backs of those under her. Neither is in any way “right.”

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  2. Kristen

    Undoubtedly, Mary Kay defenders will explain that “Julie” was an isolated case, a rarity in an otherwise system of good people. Nope. Julie is the classic example of everyone in Mary Kay. Your story is as typical as 99% of others who try this “business”. Your friend may be in the 1%, but it is doubtful. She probably doesn’t mean to lie to you, but only presents the positive (due to brainwashing).

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    1. Char

      “Your friend may be in the 1%, but it is doubtful. She probably doesn’t mean to lie to you, but only presents the positive (due to brainwashing).”—

      Could definitely be doubtful with lying involved, or the friend has a lot of people under her just like the author herself was under her own Director…..spending 10k to fund her Director’s checks.

      I cannot comprehend how she sees it as any different to her own situation.

  3. Data Junkie

    “I must have invited 50 people. I had 10 people confirmed, and NOT ONE PERSON showed up … not even my mother.”

    This is why it is so important not to enable our MLM friends with pity purchases or even our time. If everyone set boundaries up front with our MLM friends, the damage would be limited and MLMs would finally dry up and wither on the vine.

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  4. morningstar

    “That worked all up until I was in DIQ, and then through DIQ. She got credit for all the production while I was in DIQ. Then after that we were on our own, because of course she wanted us to fail, so if we lost our directorship, she would get all of those people back.”

    Common ploy in the business. DIQ sometimes realizes this at the end moments trying to obtain directorship. had an NSD that did this….and likely preached it. It has been discussed here. A very dirty trick.

    1. Mountaineer95

      Too bad most of the Pink Truth critics (ie the ones who pray for us every Friday) are not nor have ever been in DIQ. They don’t experience this ugly truth, and they certainly aren’t told about it (if only there was a resource…like a website maybe…that offered example after example of such treachery…).

      But what many of them DO experience even at the entry level is how their own customers can and will be recruited out from under them by directors. Any consultant who says she is just in it to sell and refuses to recruit (and that’s basically every single Friday Critic here) will experience losing her customers to recruitment from her upline. It’s not only accepted, it’s encouraged. How dare they refuse to share the opportunity and keep those customers to themselves!

  5. BestDecision

    2 vivid memories from reading this: “Muffins & Makeovers” (courtesy of Dacia) and the intense feeling of sadness when people didn’t show up to something you hosted, created, or invited to.

    The first, the Business Debut/Grand Opening, is a gut punch because it’s your family and friends. I remember having no one at mine, either. I had worked so hard cleaning and setting up, and I’d done everything my Director told me to do. Zero bookings, zero sales. I was embarrassed that my Director gave up her Sunday afternoon for nothing, and I was deeply humiliated that the people I loved and was loyal to abandoned me.

    Those are not healthy feelings! I was already scared, had taken out a loan to afford inventory, and had all my hope put into “focus on the effort and the results will come”.

    Mentally and emotionally, MK wrecked me. I forfeited so many nights and weekends doing it and not with my family or friends. I gave up YEARS of my young adulthood feeling anxious, not confident, and then betrayed but shackled to it. I couldn’t get out once I’d spent that much time doing it, nor could I just quit on my team and unit.

    It’s been a little bit since I resigned and sent my Cadillac back, but MK is still affecting me today. My career took a hit from where I could be by now, and I don’t trust people like I used to.

    Completely toxic.

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    1. NoToMLM

      So proud of you getting out. I pray you regain everything you thought you lost. Once there is life there is hope. I am so glad I never gave up my nursing career for MK. I did both simultaneously until I realized that I was never going to get to top director or NSD. Lost my unit within 16months of becoming a Director and am glad I did. I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulder. Once my SD told me I made a mistake for choosing to start a fa]mily that was when I knew I was done.

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