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

Cheating to Get to Directorship

mary-kay-cheatingWritten by Stephanie

I am a former Mary Kay sales director. If I knew then what I know now I would have never became a sales director… especially not doing it the way I was taught to do it.

Being in MK you learn the lingo, the language and the look. “Those who show up, go up”, “Do what you have to do to get over the hump”. Well it is not all that it is cracked up to be.

If I can share anything about my experience and ordeal, it would be to warn other women not to do what I did and not get “sucked” into the MK dream of doing things unethically thinking it will get you ahead. What you must understand though, is that EVERYONE in Mary Kay is doing it. Every sales director has signed up family and friends and paid the money for them to finish DIQ. Every sales director has topped off production to meet minimums or appear to “finish a goal.” Every sales director has ordered in someone else’s name to make them active.

The sales directors all do this to achieve or maintain a status. How did the NSDs get to where they are? By putting in their own money for the units that don’t have enough production, pulling recruits out of thin air to prop up numbers, and generally scamming the system to meet the goal. If you think your director is one of the “good ones” who hasn’t done any of this, it is only because you do not know the truth about her.

Let me tell you my story from from the completion of my DIQ and go from there…

Month 4 of DIQ: By the time I was in my 4th month of DIQ, I had learned how to coach women into spending money on large orders and putting orders through in other consultants’ names just to stay active on my roster. In the last month, when it all counts, I literally placed over $3,000 in MK sales orders in all of my inactive consultants’ names just so I could finish DIQ with 30 people as this was the requirement then.

Under the full direction and guidance of my former sales director, she showed me how to place the orders in their names as long as they were “okay with it.” She knew that my husband had a very nice limit on his credit card and told me to ask him to put some money on it to get over the threshold of becoming a sales director. My husband knew how hard I worked the previous 3 months so he agreed. Obviously he did not know what he had agreed to and I did not clearly tell him just how much I was going to spend to get over the hump.

Other Sales Directors had done it and I was called by some of my former SD’s director friends to put the money through so that I could make it. I was told I would make it up in MK commissions and it would not matter in a few months anyway. So I did it. Only seeing what I wanted to see and not using the discernment God gave me, I placed all the orders. I activated 16 people on my roster to look like they all placed minimum orders and had all the product shipped to my home. You do the math. Over the next few weeks after making it, people celebrated my success. My former sales director was happy. She was now a Senior Director and not to mention received a nice commission from it.

Month 1 as a new Director: In my first month as a director, my unit was struggling to make the minimum sales each month to remain an active unit. On top of that, I never actually told my husband what was actually charged on his credit card. He happened to check the balance and called me immediately at work and let me have it. He was furious. He did not speak to me for weeks! In addition to this, I was being laid off of my job and my now Senior Sales Director encouraged me to work MK full time and not look for a new job. She explained to me how she did it and advised that I could do it too.

What I reluctantly ignored was that she lived at home with her mother and had very minimal bills to pay so it was easy for her to work the business full time with no worries. My husband and I have a mortgage, car notes, household bills, food and groceries to maintain. My husband encouraged me to look for another job but my director had my ear so she again advised me to just “look” for a job so he cannot say that you did not look for one and that way you will be doing what he asked you to do. I did just that and it did not get any better.

Month 2 of directorship: We did not hit production in the first month so I knew we were in trouble when my commission check was less than $100.00. It became extremely stressful in my home but I kept working as my director told me to do. She also worked and began to back away from me allowing me to “lead my unit” on my own.

Our unit did not grow the way it was supposed to but at the same time I kept being optimistic about the entire situation. After all I heard the stories of women who spent money to get to the top and now their spouses are happy so I felt there was no reason why we could not have the same thing.

My Senior Director went on and on about doing what you got to do to stay on top. Over time I watched her place orders in other consultant’s names, put her family members like her brother and boyfriend in the system as qualified consultants so she can earn her bumble bee. The thought of how much I trusted her sickened me. What was worse is that things did not get any better at home. My husband wanted to file for divorce. He went to seek a divorce lawyer and told me he would not fight for anything. He just wanted to go our separate ways. He advised to me that if he could not trust me, there was nothing. I begged for his forgiveness and told him how sorry I was for what has happened.

Over the next six months we only hit production once. After making it one month, missing it the next, and so on, I finally missed two months in a row and I lost directorship. What was even more heartbreaking is that when I tried to talk to my director about it, she immediately put all of the blame back on me. “You put the money on the credit card! You made the decision to do it!” My heart sank! I knew that I did it but I also knew who gave me the idea to do it and yet she sat back and watched me nearly lose everything I had. She was not married nor did she have any children so she did not know what it means to have someone else to rely on.

I had nothing. I was left with nothing. All I could do was pray and ask God to help me get out of this situation and redeem my marriage and the things I had done. I did find another job and put my multiple degrees to work for me. My husband got a second job and resented me for it for quite some time. We got counseling and worked together to get ourselves back on track.

After it was all said and done and I received a call from the company to notify me I was no longer a director, I never heard from my director again. Her Senior Director reached out to me and encouraged me and told me to focus on my marriage but my director did not. Over time, I grew to hate her and vowed she would never get another dime from me again! I also have shared my story with up and coming consultants so they would not make the same mistakes I made. I told them not get “caught up” in the glam, the prizes and wanting to be on top that you would be willing to do whatever you had to to get there and stay there. It is not worth it in the end.

Now that some years have passed I am still hearing of my former sales director doing the same things to stay on top. Unethical practices will get you nowhere and it is only a matter of time before the company finds out what she has been doing. I pray that God has mercy on her for all the people she has burned along the way. I also pray that my story will serve as a vehicle to others to not make the same mistakes I made.


  1. FoggyFrog

    If Mary Kay isn’t primarily about recruiting then why else would directors or diq be willing to sign up relatives and pay for thier orders? It has to be to get ahead. And recruiting gets you further ahead than selling product to customers. Why not just order more products yourself to sell as your 3 weekly classes? A single person ordering $3000 is not as good as signing up 3 fake people who each order $1000 (that the director pays for on either example). This is so obviously a product based pyramid scheme.

  2. NayMKWay

    “I … have shared my story with up and coming consultants so they would not make the same mistakes I made.”

    Stephanie, your counsel should be for those “up and coming consultants” to get out while they can. Your observation that “everybody does it” (cheats to get ahead) is valid, but you seem to think it’s a cultural problem rather than a problem with the system itself. Your experience was typical because the system is a scam.

    The root of MLM evil is unlimited recruiting. Any time you encourage unlimited chain recruiting with the lure of easy money, you’re going to over-saturate the market with would-be sellers, and most of those recruits will lose money and drop out. It’s a mathematical certainty. Mary Kay adds tens of thousands to its sales force every month, yet its sales force does not grow. What does that tell you?

    You think it’s only a matter of time before the company finds out what your former Director has been up to? Believe me, they know. And they don’t care. They turn a blind eye and instead look at their own bottom line.

    The only way Mary Kay could rid themselves of all the bad apples would be to cut down the entire tree, because a sick tree will never bear good fruit.

  3. enorth

    I remember a video where the perks of becoming SD were being hyped. “Who wouldn’t want to be a sales director, right? Everyone on my team wants to be a director! Well, except my husband.”

  4. BestDecision

    Siting here eating my lunch and swearing you must know my Sr Director. Exact issue here! I would’ve left sooner had it not been the feeling you described or not wanting to lose all you’ve already built. My Sr taught people how to get into Red by getting 3 personal use recruits, and then she began teaching on-targets and DIQs how to finish the production themselves and/or use family and friends as fake recruits.

    Years later, she’s in the same position now as 20 years ago. Meanwhile, I’m happier than ever and loving that I don’t have to worry about June 30th or any reports!

  5. Destiny Angel

    Karen Blake Typically it is people who were in Mary Kay and for one reason or another were not successful or in some cases their recruiter or director convinced them that they had to a ton of money (sic) on products then they couldn’t sell them or they got no training.

    Stephanie Springer like any organisation, there are people with good intentions that lead with bad practices and it gets passed down unfortunately

    No doubt our critics from 10th June 2022 will just write this off as a rogue bad apple and not the whole bushel that has been spreading the rot since day 1.

  6. Data Junkie

    This post in a case study in psychological manipulation. Look at all the terms, processes, titles, goals…it’s all BS. MK Corporate must be laughing at how easily they have been able to manipulate millions of consultants (globally) to concentrate on the “process” while missing what is really going on. All of this churn leads to product purchases by consultants, which fill MK’s coffers, but the product is rarely ever actually retailed and used by outside consumers.

    Take a step back an re-read this article using a different vantage point. Look at all the minutia the consultants have to wrestle with…all of which is just a distraction from the MLM reality…and that is that the consultant is the primary customer of Mary Kay, and that the product is just a placeholder in a fraudulent process that generates all the cash flow in Mary Kay…from the consultants.

    It is fascinating just how effective all of this is. And it all starts with that overly complex compensation plan. Add in all the levels and awards, recognition and that elusive “free” car, promises of community and easy money, and of course the all important (but arbitrary) “deadlines”, and all of this distraction successfully overwhelms critical thinking. The consultant simply cannot see the forest for the trees, and that’s exactly the way Mary Kay wants it to be.

    It’s no accident that all these MLM companies use similar tactics (starting with the convoluted compensation plan) to distract reps from the underlying scam. Magicians use slight of hand to great effect. What shocks me the most is that MLM has not changed in many decades, and yet we still have hundreds of thousands of folks in the US alone falling for these scams every year.

    It is my hope that wonderful sites like this one, with truly caring contributors, along with r/antimlm on Reddit and many others, are starting to stem the tide. But as they say, there’s a sucker born every minute. Without a change in commerce law, MLM will be with us for a long time to come. Given this, our job of exposing them will never be done.

    1. morningstar

      Very astute post.
      Critical thinking skills were sharp at engineering job, then it was a mush at MK meetings and events. part of the game, trying figure out in a cognitive fashion what the ‘HE double toothpicks’ is going on in MK. Trouble is; MK corporate put it all in place this way, so I would purchase product

  7. morningstar

    All cheat to get to director. Meantime your director is cheating so you do not make it to director, She can gain your peeps. Cheating from then on seems to get a bit more complicated, Layering for the cheating and trading in for a new cheat venues. Also all cheats in MK are not equal. Small medium and large cheating goes on. Otherwise corporate would have shut the doors a long time ago. MK despises ebay sales listings…..shows their corporate con in daylight.

    Example; when that stylin’ director buys her pink caddy from the lease dept. and promotes new MK car status. Director does not have to meet car production and she can loose directorship, be a red jacket. What is she driving? The same pink caddy. A woman does in my old hood. A small cheat.

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