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

My Experience in the Mary Kay Cult

Written by Cindylu

Thank you for creating this site and telling it like it is. This outdated, materialistic and phony MLM system has been broken for decades and gotten away with it because of a good sounding fairy tale and a good PR and corporate operation that avoids realizing what a monstrosity this has become. It has brought out the worst of the worst in many many females. Worst is the use of the spiritual manipulation Faith First, Family Second and Career third. Those who have no family might be able to be all business, cold hearted, have few boundaries and double standards but I shuddered at what I saw.

I believed in caring and practicing my faith. Even decades ago the word MK Cult came to mind after a few meetings. Unfortunately my personal experience saw the manipulation of women who lost their grocery money over this pyramid scheme.

I couldn’t sell to a woman who could barely sustain her family. Offering them the opportunity turned out to be a cruel mistake. I was okay with a husband, pension and savings. When I read MK’s book, I saw a tremendous potential for good and a tremendous potential for evil.

Initially I trusted my recruiter a hard working former supervisor. I also trusted her Red Jacket who also was a caring person. Both went on to simply buying product for themselves. Many lives ruined as women were treated as numbers and discarded. I did not like my Director ever (Very Cold) . I bought $600, sold most of that, bought $1800 (did not want to keep customers waiting or borrow. Before MK, I had an excellent career with great pay but I was “retiring” to be home with 2 children.

Attended 2 seminars. Saw MK at one where she chastised a NSD on stage. I don’t think MK was too happy with some of her nationals. Believe that the market was saturated years ago. The only ones able to succeed started MK 1972 and were given the opportunity to open Canada, Mexico etc. Eventually the market did get saturated and worst the reputation of the early directors preceded them and when I started years ago most already knew to avoid MK like the plague. Perhaps this company that began during the era of door to door selling, during the conservative 50’s was okay initially. Once women had real careers like: lawyers, doctors, dentist, journalist, CEO’s of companies, pilots, etc. then this MK ruined opportunity only indulged a few who began this hurtful mlm scheme.

When I got to go to a meeting and met my NSD, I was appalled at what a cold unfriendly condescending person she was. When I met the newest upcoming NSD in my area, my home was nicer than hers. It just didn’t add up.

It was embarrassing to try and book skin care classes and barely sell anything. The costs for gas, prize give aways, 2 seminars, 2 retreats and discounts meant in the 2 ½ years I was in MK were an embarrassing money pit. I also am not motivated by trinkets, pins, or worst opulence. I have been able to have a real career where I paid off a beautiful home, various cars, travel (including paying for children & family) have a great pension, have dental & medical care and what I need. We also saved enough to put our children through College/University. My husband got really worried about me because he saw how this cult was manipulating me and convincing me to spend money from my hard earned savings and this fake business going no where.

Also there was no real training because my director began her career early in the pyramid scheme and divded up an entire city with 2 other consultants. She began with thousands and barely kept being a director because she was so cold hearted. Early on with no training I booked an entire bridal party. No way would I ruin a young woman’s day. I demanded my Director show up. (Too bad she did as I would have quit that day) rather than ruin my life & family and other women for 2 ½ more tortuous years.

In the end my health failed due to the frustration MK became and the constant trying to avoid the lies. I was hospitalized with young children. Not one MK person visited or acknowledged that. I went to corporate to see about changing directors. They did not care. In the end I sent back product.

It took years to come out of that MK cult haze. My husband had written me a letter at one point trying to convince me to break free. Years later I am thankful for that awful illness that gave me back my freedom and allowed me to eventually find meaningful well paid employment which also allowed me to be there for my children. For 2 ½ years my young children lost me and also during my illness too. All those evenings and weekends away from them. All that wasted time on MK and most women know to avoid. (So it won’t work anymore).

I recently asked my grown daughter about those MK years and she cringed. She had attended one of our idiotic meetings where the woman being praised ran a little store and got away with it. One foolish director boasted about a once earned check of $5000 and I knew immediately it was the only time she’d ever made a decent pay and for years afterward barely got by. To those new consultants I would say, if I could not make it years ago before the internet and when parties were still okay, why would anyone join an antiquated company with a horrid reputation and known to be a cult? Also I worked but did not want to hurt other women and absolutely no one in MK was there when I was hospitalized. Not my director, nor any other consultant.

9 Comments

    1. Lazy Gardens

      Mary Kay, the woman, had plenty of direct sales and recruiting experience from the 1950s. And that was her business goal: make it like 1950, but with her in charge.

  1. Eliz

    “To those new consultants I would say, if I could not make it years ago before the internet and when parties were still okay, why would anyone join an antiquated company with a horrid reputation and known to be a cult?”

    The internet, Ulta, and Sephora are enough to convince anyone that MK is and outdated business model. Besides those stores, have you stepped into a Target or Kohl’s lately? Game over, MK consultants (as though it weren’t already……) If you are warm chatting there, make sure you do it away from the beautifully-remodeled cosmetic sections in those stores that offer a wide variety of brands of skin care and makeup at various price points. Your two odd shades of overpriced limited-edition lipstick that I can’t try on are no match for this. This is in addition to the fact that your average drugstore already has a variety of make up brands that are better quality than MK for half the price or less. So in the same shopping trip, I can pick up a truly great foundation, then buy Great Lash for $5.99 (instead of 18 for the Mary Kay one that never seems to work). A Milani or NYX eyeshadow palette can serve most of my (modest) needs for less than the cost of the compact for MK, and the one decent MK color crumbles in my purse so I barely get any use out of it. So, there is NO reason for me to purchase MK other than the fact that the consultant has a goal to meet. That gets old real fast. There is nothing unique about your product, and as the OP described, it is an exercise in futility that I have witnessed? There is no opportunity in MK, ladies, just an expensive social club.

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    1. enorth

      “there is NO reason for me to purchase MK other than the fact that the consultant has a goal to meet. That gets old real fast. ”

      When I was a little girl in the early 1960s, we had a neighborhood Avon lady. My mother referred to her as “that pain in the ass.”

      Lurkers, is that how you’re viewed?

  2. Peggy Moon Hicks

    “I couldn’t sell to a woman who could barely sustain her family. Offering them the opportunity turned out to be a cruel mistake. I was okay with a husband, pension and savings. When I read MK’s book, I saw a tremendous potential for good and a tremendous potential for evil.”

    Cindylu, when I joined MK 30 years ago, I had a day job working in the only pediatric medical practice in a 25 mile radius. We had lots of single moms with kids on welfare who often spent their welfare checks on themselves while their children went without basic necessities such as clothing & shoes. It really rankled me to see these moms come into our office dressed to the nines, with their hair professionally done & acrylic nails, while they said they couldn’t afford to buy a fever thermometer or pay the low copays for prescriptions for their kids. We had CPS on speed dial because of child neglect, which we were required by law to report.

    I’ve said all of the above because I refused to sell MK to anyone on welfare based on my experience in a pediatric clinic. My adoptive director vehemently disagreed with me because she felt that if a mom bought MK makeup, she’d feel better about herself & thus be a better mom to her kids. That would happen when pigs fly. On the other hand, my regular director agreed with me & told me not to waste my time trying to sell to welfare moms or other low income moms when the money they get should be spent on basic necessities. And IMHO, makeup doesn’t qualify as a necessity.

    I got out of MK about 7 months after I signed up because I saw early on what a money pit it was, & I swore I wouldn’t accrue more debt than I could repay in 6 months. I’m glad I stuck to my guns. The best day happened when I received a check from MK for the inventory I returned.

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  3. morningstar

    Which makes me wonder how the Ricard and Ryan Rogers are doin? Great am sure……
    Soon the need to stop the corporate carnage will be revealed. Really how many 4800 orders do they need on hand down at the warehouse?

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