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

Prize Planning for Directors

Written by Raisinberry

Every May, a group of local Directors in my former area would gather at the Local Holiday Inn and discuss the ordering bait for June, to “reach our Seminar Goals”. Being unaccustomed to the best choices in gaudy jewelry, I showed up but generally didn’t offer any input. I trusted the more successful Directors to choose the precise order-generating gem.

You can’t imagine the amount of discussion that occurred, as to what a prize appeared to cost, which was better for a $225 order, and how exotic should we go for a $1,800 order. A Hollywood star’s engagement ring knock off in cubic zirconia was a sure winner for an Emerald Star. Some of our gang noticed an NSD sporting a emerald baguette cut ring (you have that one don’t you?) and of course everyone had to have it as Star Consultant bait for newbies. Doggonit… Mary Kay royalty wore it!

Every year it’s something exciting. There prizes from corporate for being a director, and for ordering a certain amount in June, there are prizes for recruiting too! And whatever your wholesale order is for June, there often a little “thank you gift” commensurate with your..ahem, “activity.”

They are aware of that nasty site, Pink Truth, that accuses them of “pulling inventory” (i.e. consultants placing orders for products that do not get sold), so now they are going to talk the talk of selling at retail to do a wholesale order! So its your “activity” that gets rewarded. Ain’t that special? Sell $200 retail a week and you’ll be able to do a $400 wholesale order for a June promotion!

Now they can’t be blamed. And honestly, they can’t. If someone sells $200 retail a week and wants to place a $400 order and gets the cool prize, well then yay for her, it is working as it should. But the line between bait, manipulation and real activity is always blurred in Mary Kay.

You know where I am going, don’t you? When no one tracks actual retail sales, then no amount of creative language concerning activity actually matters.

As a former financial abuser of women in June, I would lay out the prizes for ordering in a flyer and “romance” them, wear them—yes usually all of them, and do what my director and NSD said… make them want them. We would “language” the desire to have them by simply stating it! “You want this great purse”…”You have to have this awesome bracelet”… “Why not reach for the stars and get this gorgeous matching necklace? Our National is offering a great pair of earrings for a X order.:

But where did I and my area learn this? Mary Kay Ash herself. Mary Kay didn’t want anybody spending big money for a prize. She wanted big recognition — a big show — ’cause she was selling the attention rather than the money spent on the prize. Penny prize –> dollar recognition.

Over decades that idea morphed into what we all hovered around a table to accomplish in May. Let’s get the cheapest thing we can that looks like it’s expensive in order to maximize the wholesale order and bait new recruits, the base unit, and support our DIQ’s ability to sell “prizes, awards, and recognition” as a key reason to join.

In a real business, a person would order inventory based on audience or target market, need, availability, and hours of operation. Not in Mary Kay! They promote inventory ordering for a cubic zirconia necklace or a fake Kate Spade handbag! But it is June. It’s special. It’s year end. Certainly no one would fault offering additional prizes at every level and in multiple categories that overlap what the National is doing, what the Unit is doing and what Corporate is doing to the degree that barely anyone can keep it all straight? How nuts must you be to not order when there will be close to half a dozen prizes for keying in those 16 numbers?

Don’t you know your order will help us reach our goal? Can you “stretch?” Funny how, in all my years of being trained to pull production, we never asked if they sold somethin

7 Comments

  1. CarolAnne

    The Mary Kay lady in my tiny hometown was all caught up in “winning” this cute pink ring for year end– you all know the ring, it’s a stock photo even on this site and she was going bananas trying to “win” this thing that probably cost the director $5.00. When she said on the site that she was a STAR for 4 quarters for the year all I could think was how much crap she must have stocked up to garage qualify for that Krap.

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  2. Lazy Gardens

    A real business gives fewer prizes, but they are good ones – my Italian leather portfolio, Cross pen/pencil set, etc were solid tokens of the recognition for my ACTUAL WORK for the companies.

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  3. Data Junkie

    “When no one tracks actual retail sales, then no amount of creative language concerning activity actually matters.”

    From a Mary Kay Corporate perspective, those purchases by the consultants are retail sales. MKC does not care what happens after that. The consultant is the target retail customer of MKC.

    MK consultants would be shocked to see Mary Kay’s “cost” for these products, and the huge retail mark-up the consultants are asked to pay to MKC for each purchase. MKC wants the consultants to believe MKC is a wholesaler, and that the consultants are the retailers. But Mary Kay Corporate actually operates as a retailer, where they view the consultants as retail customers…even collecting retail sales tax on consultant purchases.

    Real wholesalers don’t collect retail sales tax…but real retailers (including Mary Kay) do.

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  4. Hedgehog

    So sad. I remember when Shauna Abbotts first started 20 some years ago and she dragged me to a meeting because she was SO EXCITED SHE EARNED A PENCIL FOR SELLING A MASCARA! She told me she couldn’t understand why she was so excited and motivated but boy did she ever want that pencil!
    She also used to post that MK was such an amazing company to work for that she’d happily work for a Costco hotdog for them.
    I don’t have a job – am a stay at home Mom, and I get way better benefits, lol! You just can’t always see them.

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