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

I Quit Before Buying Inventory

Written by Soured by Pink

I thank you so much for what you and everyone on your site is doing. I almost fell victim to the pink dream and the promises of earning that cruise, earning that car, or the false promise of working without needing transportation. I had my concerns after my first Trash It night, finding the whole experience fun and surreal at the same time. I have terrible social anxiety and I truly don’t like interacting with strangers.

Yet, somehow… I found myself growing curious, interested, and came out of my shell. Listening to the ‘sales pitch’ about how amazing and wonderful Mary Kay is… the more I began to think about how nice it would be to earn extra income. I had made a decision with my husband to open credit to purchase a new computer. Shortly after that one of my cats forced us down $3k at the start of the year. We knew we could manage it even if things might be tight for a while, but… if I could make money on the side we wouldn’t sacrifice much.

$100 can’t hurt right? It comes with so much product that I could easily sell for profit right? Plus that bonus makes the kit pay for itself, right?

I had questions. Despite the pretty words and pink haze starting to settle over my mind, I felt like something was strange. I think for me it was my ‘free gift’ (which is discontinued product I found out later) because the packaging looked… old to me. So… time passes and I attend another little event. A smaller crowd, but I found myself talking and sharing with strangers with confidence. It was nice, to not feel so bottled up and to share my experiences as a customer at the time. That day I sat down and did an ‘interview.’

I learned about 90% of my money back if I backed out. That I didn’t need to buy inventory, that I didn’t need to ‘put myself out there.’ I was tempted. I had things I wanted to get off my credit to make saving for a house easier. I told her I would talk it over with my husband, hear his thoughts since this is our money that would be going into this. I talked it over with him, shared my thoughts and the concerns I still had, mostly over taxes and that I would have support for getting started on my very own business!

He agreed, but asked instead if I would rather pursue self-publication through Amazon. (Something that I will be pursuing instead and not chasing a pink dream). After thinking it over some more, I decided why not try Mary Kay first? If I only make $25 extra… I only make $25 extra. It would be something and I wouldn’t have goals or pressure to do this while working 40 hr weeks. I could put in an hour or two a night or just 5 hours total for the week AND still work on getting self-published. This would be perfect.

I was invited to a meeting along with a friend who has been there with me from the start of my interactions with MK. She had been considering joining as well, but that morning I announced my decision to join. After all… I could just use social media and a website to build customers right? I sat through the meeting, watching my friend and some strangers do a facial and color thing. Went through the pinning ceremony while being extremely nervous and uncomfortable. I even received a gift from my consultant as thanks for joining.

Then… I was handed a packet. My kit was just ordered that morning. The director wanted to go over it with me the next night and over the phone. I thought this was good because I could review the material, see just what I had gotten myself into. I remember being told to ignore some of the stuff inside this folder which made me cautious. I went home that night, got into the website and started going through the packet.

AND LAUGHED! $30 for the website! $225 I needed to routinely spend in order to ACTUALLY GET MY 50% DISCOUNT. Not to mention $40 for business cards and other such things in a pack. I looked at my husband with panic in my eyes. What did I just do?! I had been told I don’t need inventory, the kit had everything I needed, and they made it seem like the site was offered for free.

I pulled back, confused and feeling like I had stepped into river of pink glass. This was nothing like I had been promised. Then the call. I had my call and listened to everything I was being told and these little goals to set for myself in order to succeed. Everything else I have seen posted on this site was parroted to me. When that call ended… I felt physically ill. I don’t want to call people. It gives me anxiety. Talking to strangers gives me anxiety. I can barely order in a fast food joint or ask a clerk for assistance. There was no way I can book 8 parties in the next 2 weeks. Then inventory! I felt pressured into buying inventory, but I already was thinking to myself… I wait for packages all the time. Product on hand is nice… but not necessary.

Red flags were everywhere in my mind. Feeling a little betrayed… I decided to do a simple search, changing my questions to more accurately reflect my concerns and found you. Unable to sleep with the realization of what that call told me and how to back out now… I spent the entire night reading stories and more from all of you. Boy have I learned a lot.

I told my friend who was still on the fence… run away and don’t look back. I’m just glad I saw the truth before I could get strong armed into buying inventory. My starter kit arrives tomorrow. Undecided if I just want to keep it, toss the materials, and donate the product to women’s shelters or send it back for full refund. Either way… I’m worried now about my information may be used against me to feed the dream for someone else.


    1. Whydidieverjoin

      Send it back now, asap! Your director doesn’t care about you, she only cares about her commission check shell from you & other people’s orders. And once you’re done for good, you’ll never hear from her again. Nobody makes money from selling overpriced, mediocre, short lived products in MK, only from massive recruiting.

  1. Brainwashednomore

    “Red flags were everywhere in my mind. Feeling a little betrayed…”
    Yes, I can relate. Nothing is what they tell you. The lies keep going and going. Yes I also felt a lot betrayed by someone in thought was a friend. Good you woke up before you invested more time and money.

    “Undecided if I just want to keep it, toss the materials, and donate the product to women’s shelters or send it back for full refund. “
    Send it back soon and Get back the money they promise. When I left I sent back boxes of inventory and then sold what I could.

  2. NayMKWay

    You were betrayed—why should you be out-of-pocket? Send the stuff back. Charitable organizations get MLM crap dumped on them all the time. They don’t want it, it almost always ends up in the trash, and the MLM that caused the whole mess gets to keep their lucre.

    Send it all back; you’ll feel better.

    Speaking of feeling good: you should feel great about yourself for seeing through the pink smokescreen quickly. The Mary Kay method is insidious: first they worm their way into your life under the guise of friendship, then start making demands. It’s all free and easy until you sign up, then it’s neither. But now you’re committed, right? Maybe it’ll work out if you apply yourself … The next thing you know, it’s months or years later and your finances are in shambles, and your marriage and other relationships are strained or broken. You didn’t go down that road. Good for you.

    Great for you.

  3. Lazy Gardens

    There is not enough USABLE product to donate.

    Do NOT open the box!

    WRITE “REFUSED” on it and give it back to the carrier, or call them about how to refuse a shipment.

  4. Heather

    Agree with the other sentiments here…. Refuse the starter kit box and send it back for a refund. Do NOT open it. Do NOT accept it.

    When your director calls you about refusing the package, let her know that you have changed your mind. Stand firm. Let her know that this will be the last time you two speak about MK and that she needs to respect your wishes.

  5. Kristen

    “I remember being told to ignore some of the stuff inside this folder which made me cautious. I went home that night, got into the website and started going through the packet.”

    ↑↑↑This is why they push so fast before you have a chance to think about it. Classic scammer tactic. Move as fast as you can. They know you’ll think better of it once you see the light of day. I do believe they would have your internet connection disabled until they get you to order inventory if they could, to prevent you from researching with sites like Pink Truth.

  6. morningstar

    This is not about selling cosmetics. It is about MK corporate setting up a sham where YOU THINK you are the sales person. MK has made the sale to you ONLY, when you buy anything from them. They even charge you tax as every other retailer does on cosmetics. The people who make money from corporate are the ones who KNOW the CON and eek out those to prey upon. The good con artist types are NOT being replaced fast enough at the NSD level, based on the NSD retiring that WERE the work horses circa 1990- 2019. Corporate does need to scramble now, Rhianna has hit it out of the ballpark with her 40 shades of foundation and other cosmetics, and she is launching skin care.

    1. Data Junkie

      “This is not about selling cosmetics. It is about MK corporate setting up a sham where YOU THINK you are the sales person. MK has made the sale to you ONLY, when you buy anything from them.”

      Sums it up perfectly!

      Now if only we can just find a simple way to show Mary Kay recruits that Mary Kay corporate sees their own consultants primarily as “customers”, and not “business owners”, we will have won the battle!

  7. Linda

    Hello, my first time commenting and I love this site. I work for the company that sells all MKConnections.com products. We are contracted to print and sell these products. I cannot tell you how many times I want to tell these ladies to WAKE UP – but I can’t…I have to suffer in silence.

    1. Eliz

      Oh my god. I didn’t realize they had to order the accessories from one place. I have lurked on the site for years, since a dear cousin got caught up in this and it changed her personality. I have done the mental math several times, trying to figure out how she makes any money, but now I am even more sad because she has so much of the stuff on this list. One storage case alone would eat up the profit from several regular sales, and she has several of these. I still buy products from her occasionally (I know better but it’s complicated…..family………) and even the profits from a relatively large purchase from me would not cover ONE of those carrying cases. I also know that most people would never make as big of a purchase as me at one time. Then, she will throw in all this extra stuff to thank me for the big purchase….some of which I see in this catalog! (I has assumed they were gifts or something but obviously she BUYS them from here.) AND she goes to seminar each year. It’s not even a matter of IF she is making a profit…….she must be DROWNING in debt. Her sales don’t even cover the MK products, much less these extra things. Business cards? Who uses business cards nowadays? (She does….).
      We don’t even see her anymore. On June 30, I succumbed to the pressure of several days of texts and calls and ordered something. I went to pick it up at her house and she just left it outside…..didn’t even leave the door open to say “hi” to me when I picked it up. I realize now that she was probably inside making frantic calls (“dialing for dollars”) and didn’t have a second to acknowledge my presence. I was kind of humiliated, because we are family and hadn’t seen each other in forever, and I was giving up my own time to drive to her town to pick it up. She didn’t even open the door, and she was AT HOME. She just used me……AGAIN. I know that seems off topic, but when I realize that all my last order only covered the purchase of ONE of these EXTRA accessories, and she gave up family time and relationships to do it, it just makes me even more sad. Literally, everyone makes money except the “consultant,” and they just can’t see it. Ughhhhhhh.

      1. enorth

        We went thru this when one of my husband’s relatives began selling MLM supplements. We chose to ignore her out-of-the-blue emails where she was suddenly interested in our “health.”

        Sometimes, the best way to help them is to NOT help them.

      2. Char

        How rude! I’d return everything to the company for a refund. It says you can send direct to the company if you’re unable to reach her. I’d classify no contact at the home during pickup precisely that.

        1. Eliz

          Fool me many times, shame on me. I will ignore the messages from now on, or just say “no.” Lesson learned….despite over thirty years of family memories, deaths, births, etc., , I am nothing more than just a wallet, which is all these women see on June 30 or any time they have a “goal.” Sad….. perhaps she will come out of it someday. Pink truth and the anti mlm Reddit have taught me that it’s a waste of time, and destroys the relationship to try and educate them. (Never mind that they have abused my trust and my wallet, I would be the bad guy ..…)

          But do these women just not do the most basic accounting, profit and loss statements, a
          spreadsheet, etc? I am in education, and get paid once a month, so budgeting is quite cut and dry for me and I may just not understand complex business math…….. But, looking at that MK connections website made me realize that everything down to the little ADVERTISEMENTS stuck in with the products cost extra money. I highly doubt she sells enough to even cover the cost of these “supplies”, and yet she still purchases a closet full of the products, pays for the website and weekly trainings, and travels to Dallas almost every year? This does not compute. Does the fact that they don’t have a regular amount of money coming in make every sale seem like they are making a profit? Does basic math just get forgotten that quickly?

          This sweet lady has been in this for seven years, waiting for that “free” car, which she could have easily purchased on her own by now if she had not been buying “business” supplies.. The overpriced cases and accessories don’t even bother me as much as the absolute waste on the stupid consultant stickers, postage for catalogs (despite paying for a personal webpage website), sample cards, business cards, and packaging that gets thrown away. You can argue that the actual MK products have value (questionable), but that other stuff is absolutely unnecessary, or at the very least should be supplied by MK corporate. The poor consultants are paying to look like they have a career.

          Seven years of this continuous “leak” from her family finances. She could have done so much with that money……training as an actual aesthetician, summer trips with her husband, an actual college degree to change careers, etc. She held a great job before and is one of the strongest women I know. The brainwashing, plus the sunk cost fallacy, is so strong. Good for the original poster for listening to her gut, being a fierce protector of her family finances, and “nope-ing” out of it before getting sucked in. It takes a strong sense of self and boundaries to deflect such a sophisticated, fine-tuned system of manipulating people to ignore their instincts.

          Again, thanks for the site. You were here before anti-mlm was cool, and you get many references on Reddit and have saved many women from the tactics. Keep plugging away!


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