Written by Frosty Rose

It’s confession time. Fall is my favorite time of year to not be in Mary Kay. When September starts, you’ll find me picking apples, browsing craft fairs (while diligently avoiding the MLMs that sneak in), and spending every available weekend at whatever fall festival I can find (who can pass up a good funnel cake, amirite?).

In Mary Kay, fall always meant the time of year when my anxiety increased a hundredfold (from already elevated levels) because this is THE MOST IMPORTANT RETAIL SEASON OF THE YEAR! Stats would be thrown around about the percentage of retail sales that happen between September and December, as though we were a true retail business.

Training would be sent out about all the prep work (i.e. stocking up on products) that we needed to do for a successful holiday selling season. And then, the pièce de résistance, Camp Holiday. Where we all went to learn everything we needed to do in the next three months to get all the results we hadn’t been able to achieve over the last three (or thirty) years. Honestly, there was absolutely no reason why you couldn’t become a director, earn your car, and sell $20,000 retail during these three months.

For a behind-the-scenes peek at this new level of insane manipulation and pressure, let’s dive into Auri Hatheway’s Camp Holiday training from last year. With the exception of a few things that are virtual instead of in-person, it’s pretty much the same as every other year. Here’s the link for the full document.

Page 2, which is really just a glorified title page, already has a doozy for us:

Preparation + Opportunity = Success. This season is an
opportunity to choose an Entrepreneurial mindset.

Okay, well that’s not too bad. The season is the opportunity, so everyone has the same one, right? But what does she mean by preparation? The same thing everyone in MK means: over-order products because in the following pages, we’re going to show you the 863 simple steps to sell it all and make a gazillion dollars for your family! Put it on the credit card! You’ll be able to pay it off by Christmas, we pinky promise!

Well, maybe not 863 steps, but page 3 gives us 10 “strategies” to hit that $10,000 sales goal this season. That sounds like a lot to learn to me, but let’s keep going.

Page 4 is the breakdown of exactly how much you’ll earn from each strategy. I’ve put them in a more logical order because as written, they’re so hopelessly disorganized that even the training in the following pages can’t track the sequence.

Virtual Beauty Sessions: 10 classes x $300 = $3,000. Just 3 guests will average you $300 in sales! I’m not sure where she’s getting that math (doubtless, she doesn’t either) but there’s just no way that this is realistic. And having one of these classes every week from now until December? Sure… Nobody has anything going on and everyone is chomping at the bit to do a Zoom call and learn all about how to wash their faces. Even if you somehow miraculously manage to bribe one of your current customers to round up two friends for a Mary Kay Zoom, there are two things that have always made a Mary Kay party successful—guests’ ability to “experience” the products before they bought them, and your ability as a consultant to get them away from the group, one-on-one, and not let them go back to their friends until they bought enough. Neither of those elements is available via Zoom, so best of luck finding this $3,000.

Dear Secret Santa: 10 x $100 or 20 husbands x $50 = $1,000. Here, you get all your customers (plus all those guests from your Virtual Beauty Sessions) to give you a wish list of all the fabulous Mary Kay products they would love to find under the Christmas tree. Then you call their hubbies and manipulate them—I mean ask them nicely—if they’d like to be her Christmas hero this year (be sure to bat your eyes here). Give them a price, tax inclusive (because men are dumb), of all the Mary Kay things she’d like to receive this year. If you’re really good at this, you might even sell a ”12 Days of Christmas” set. Imagine how thrilled she’ll be to receive a new Mary Kay item EVERY DAY for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. That’s his whole Christmas gift budget for her? Oh well, she’ll love it! Oh, and make sure to include a certificate for a “free facial” after the first of the year. Your datebook will be full come January, and it’s not a completely transparent attempt to sell more product at all.

Pop Up Shops: 2 Pop-Ups x $500 = $1,000. “What is a pop-up shop? It’s a 1-day virtual event where your customers can access beauty tips and their favorite Mary Kay products with Amazing Specials! Use any platform with a private group/chat.” So, presumably, you’re going to stick all your customers in yet another ultra-exclusive private Facebook group and annoy the bees out of them all day until they silence the notifications, leave the group, or make a pity purchase. You’ll notice as we go through the list that you’re leaning heavily on the same people for all of these strategies. News flash: they’re tapped out and tired of your crap. Just stop.

Virtual Open House: 2 x $250 = $500. This is just another pop-up shop. The main differences are the time frame (this one seems to be a “party length” so 2 hours and live) and you’re only expected to sell $250 at each of these for some reason. It’s arbitrary, kinda like everything you’re ever taught about “hard numbers” in Mary Kay. The key difference in the training on this one is that you’re heavily encouraged to order products “in advance” and have them already prepackaged and ready for your guests to see and give away. Be sure to order plenty. Abundance mentality and all that. Don’t forget to send out physical invitations in advance complete with hot chocolate mix for them to enjoy during the event. The cash registers are certainly chinging in this scenario, but unfortunately, none of them belong to the consultant.

Holiday Shop 7×7: 7 customers x 7 gifts ($24 avg.) = $1,176. This one’s precious. “We are sure that a friend or family member will want help with their holiday gifts this season. They don’t want to go to the mall. They’re looking for simple gifts. They want affordable gifts ready to deliver.” Did the whole MK machine miss the fact that no one is going to the mall anymore? And I can order any gift I want, simple or complex or anything in between, from Amazon, and have it delivered for free within two days. This is no longer a selling point. And you’re not helping them. They’re helping you. More pity purchases.

There are more, but just reading about all this mess is exhausting, and there’s a caramel apple calling my name. Tune in tomorrow to find out about the other strategies for making millions in your MK business, including how to earn that elusive “free” car!

Welcome back to another exciting round of how to actually make money playing the Mary Kay game. If you missed yesterday, this Camp Holiday training is courtesy of Auri Hatheway, whose I-story is tear-jerking, work ethic uncompromising, and touch with reality negligible. At any rate, she knows better than anyone (and she’ll tell you so herself!) how to move fast and make money with Mary Kay. And she’s here to teach you, too! Can’t make this plan work? Well, you must not have the right work ethic or drive, it’s all your fault, don’t blame the plan, because it’s worked for thousands, or maybe hundreds, or dozens of consultants. Fine, it worked for one person that one time, probably because she fudged her numbers, but it can and will work for you, too! So, how can we make lots of sales during the holiday season and capitalize on the best retail selling season of the year? Well, let’s find out, shall we?

Small Business Accounts: 10 businesses x $200 = $2,000. I nearly spit out my coffee on this one. Particularly when I started reading about why on earth a business would purchase employee gifts from a Mary Kay consultant. Business owners are going to laugh her out of their doors if she starts selling her “executive services.” Much like most of the world laughs her out of the room when she starts bragging about her “executive income.” And, I’m sorry, but my kids don’t even want me to wrap their gifts, I’m that bad at gift wrapping. In no way is my “free wrapping service” a selling point. And free delivery? Sure, that’s included with everything these days. Let’s talk about the time commitment here. Most consultants are also working a full-time job, presumably during normal business hours that most of these “small business accounts” are open. Does she take the day off to go cold calling on businesses in the hopes of selling them $200 each? How many will she have to pitch to sell 10? And the time spent wrapping all those goodies? Maybe that’s when she can spend some quality time with her family this season—they can all pitch in together to wrap gifts! Hold it, that might be a good idea, I bet my four-year-old is actually a more accomplished gift wrapper than I am…

Trunk Shows: $1,000. Ugh, these are the epitome of humiliation. Decorate the trunk of your car with tinsel, battery-operated twinkle lights, and all things tacky, pile in a bunch of pre-wrapped MK gifts, and drive around to places that have a lot of men working there. Of course, they’re waiting till the last minute for all their Christmas shopping. Of course, they’re looking for something simple that doesn’t require them to wrap it. And, of course, they’re open to random women accosting them while they’re on the clock to look at the merchandise in their trunk. Because that’s not creepy at all. But trunk shows are highly lucrative for the upline because the key to success (haha) with these is that you have to have everything on hand for immediate purchase. Stock up, ladies! If you’re lucky, you can even pawn off some of that old, outdated inventory from last year (or 2012) that you haven’t managed to move yet. Men will buy anything if it’s wrapped up cute. Just fluff up the bows from what you didn’t sell last year and include it with this year’s current product. It’ll fly off the shelves, just like it does every single year. I mean, Auri wouldn’t promise it if it weren’t true, would she??

Pink Weekend: $1,000. This was by far my least favorite event (series of events?) of the MK year. On Thanksgiving weekend, instead of enjoying your friends and family, and allowing your customers to enjoy theirs, you’re annoying the turkey and gravy out of them with constant pings and dings for sales and specials just for your most valued customers. You’re also not quite sure how to differentiate your sales for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Because you offer all three, yay you! But your contact list is the same for all three, and they’re tired of you, especially after all the asks this season for virtual makeover parties, Christmas wish lists, Christmas gift purchases, open houses, pop-up shops, and (still to come) silent hostessing. Auri’s training also includes a “Marathon Makeover” day on Saturday, so you’ve got even more work to do to try to get people to you in person. The kicker of this training is that it requires you to deeply discount products to encourage people to purchase now. You’re incentivizing them for their loyalty all year, and you’re competing with every other retailer that’s discounting products that weekend. And you’re cutting into your profits. Your emails are flooding their inbox at the same time as every other store in the world is vying for their attention. And what do you have to offer that others don’t? Personalized service and free delivery. Well, I just got both (plus higher quality products) from my neighborhood Ulta, so….

Silent Hostesses and Car by Christmas don’t appear on the sales Action Plan, because the secret of silent hostesses is that they’re not there to sell for you—they’re there for you to recruit! You see, each silent hostess is going to sell $2,000, and you’re going to point out that that’s $800 profit! Does she want all that cash for herself? All she has to do is start her own Mary Kay business and the sales are all hers! You’re setting people up for failure from the jump with this one because no silent hostess is going to sell $2,000. The consultant is only projected to sell $1,000 in an entire weekend of heavily pushing her products for “Pink Weekend,” but an unskilled, untrained hostess, with nothing more than a Look Book, is meant to go out and convince people to buy $2,000 in lipstick and eyeshadow? Highly doubtful. But your job as the consultant is to show her how easy it should be, where she went wrong and why she failed, and how training as a “professional beauty consultant” will fix all that. And then recruit her with a $1,000 inventory anyway. If she can’t sell it even with all the training you can give her, well, she must be a lazy loser and there’s not much you can do about it. Just find 20 women you can manipulate this way and you’re all set! You’ll have your car by Christmas. Even though you haven’t gotten your car in the past eight years. Doesn’t matter. It’s all about your mindset and focus, which you definitely have this time.

All told, you should sell $10,676 from all this work, profiting that magic 40% number of $4,270. Products cost you 50%, and the extra 10% covers ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, etc., and voila, 40%. But you didn’t take into account discounts. Or gifts with purchase. Or postage for your out-of-town customers. And you just couldn’t pass up that super-cute basket for the one 12 Days set you managed to sell… And those small businesses are definitely not going to take you seriously if you show up with cheap wrapping paper for the “executive service” you touted…

So, you overshot your budget by a long shot. And you didn’t sell nearly $10,676 in product because things just didn’t go as plan. You definitely ordered $5,338 from corporate based on these wild projections, and your director and national director got their cut. We’re not even going to talk about the supposed $2,600 in commissions you got from recruiting all those silent hostesses to earn your car, because you didn’t. At best, you lost 20 friends.

And you didn’t get your credit card paid off like they pinky promised you would, and you’re just in a bigger mess than you were in September. Plus, you missed out on all the fun the fall and holidays offered.

Was it worth it for you? It never was for me. But hey, there’s always New Year New You makeovers in January, and the hamster wheel can just keep spinning.


  1. Script: Hey Maria, how are you? Listen girl, I have a challenge this Holiday Season that I know I can win with the help of 10 of my best VIP customers who will be a silent hostess. And I totally thought of you. I know you lovvvvve me so can I give you the quick details?
    Wait for a yes.
    Yay! Ok, I’m going to hook you up so here it goes. For helping me with this challenge, you’ll take home from $75 to $100 in free products. U love me more now, right? 􏰁
    Wait for reply.
    Okkkk, It’s super simple; I just need to know what’s on your wish list of $75 to $100 in free products and then all you do is send the following text to approximately 15 friends and when 10 friends take home the eye makeup remover and mascara set you earn your gift of free

    The scripts that cause products to fly off shelves.

  2. “Honestly, there was absolutely no reason why you couldn’t become a director, earn your car, and sell $20,000 retail during these three months.”—

    Hang on. You can’t just sell 20k to non-affiliate customers and become a director, so this is a bit confusing.

    • Yes, either something’s missing or else this is another example of truth in MLM being as common as snowcones in the desert.

  3. Working retail during the holidays the the worst. People are miserable, bitchy, and demanding. The hours are horrible – long shifts that either start as early as 3 am or go well past midnight. It grinds you down so badly it’s impossible to enjoy the season, and that was as a young single woman with no kids. I don’t know how the older workers did it, or how those with kids and families juggled everything in order to give them their Merry Christmas when you want to take a flamethrower to Frosty the Snowman and make reindeer stew out of Rudolph. Oh, the nonstop Christmas music? 20 years later and I still can’t handle more than a few songs at a time.

    The total insanity Frosty Rose describes above sounds a million times worse.

    People wanted things. The stores were where things they wanted were (late 90s and early 00s, well before online shopping was really a thing) and they turned up in droves. They waited at the doors before 4 am and had to be kicked out at midnight or later. We didn’t have to drag them in kicking and screaming.

    We didn’t have to buy anything ourselves. The merchandise was on the shelves or in the warehouse, purchased for the store direct from the manufacturer by a corporate buying team who understood market trends, spending patterns, and the economy. They could afford to offer things on good sales to draw people in because they understood markups, profit and loss, and other complicated unpink things. Even things like gift boxes and gift wrapping were free.

    Every hour I worked, I got paid my set hourly rate plus commissions, plus we got bonuses for things like opening charge accounts. When the shift was over all I had to do was collapse until the next one. No one to harass, no displays to arrange, no deliveries to make on my own time.

    I certainly never had to try to rook people into selling things for me for promise of a piddly reward. Anybody who wanted to sell gas ranges and refrigerators was welcome to apply for a job free of charge.

    Those 10 “easy” ways to make a “guaranteed” $10,000 make that retail nightmare sound. like paradise. Give up all your free time, go into debt, harass and alienate everyone you know, spend your own money on incidentals, ignore your family, be reduced to begging from businesses and strangers in hopes of making a sale?

    You’ll NEVER sell that $5000 worth of inventory at full retail, because you’re competing with brick and mortar stores and online outfits who can afford to offer things at a stiff discount. You’ll NEVER miraculously pick only the items that will be in high demand so you’ll be stuck with a lot of unsellable duds after Christmas. You’ll NEVER have enough of what people actually want so you’ll have to order them special anyway on top of your inventory outlay. You’ll NEVER find anyone willing to sell your junk for you for the promise of some meager reward and a recruitment pitch.

    And worst of all, when December 26 rolls around and you find yourself broke, frazzled, alone, and disappointed, your ever-so-helpful MK buddies will be happy to tell you it’s all your own fault because you didn’t work hard enough and didn’t want it badly enough.

    Scrooge’s mother must have been a Mary Kay lady.

  4. And one other thing that the K-bots never bother to point out: even if by some miracle you do sell that entire $5000 worth inventory for full retail and ignore all the incidental costs because they’re icking your wow, you DON’T MAKE $10,000. Because you still have to pay for that 5K worth of inventory. At best, you earn $5000 and it’s far more likely you’ll barely break even or wind up in the red.

  5. I used to sell $10-14K every holiday season, and most of it was NOT limited edition crap. I have worked with several small companies for many years, and 8-12 gifts at $30 each add up quickly. I didn’t have these $200-300 gift baskets because NO ONE wanted them. I packaged a lot of regular-line items (think mascaras, lip glosses, lip balm, hand cream, etc.) and maybe threw in an LE item, and the price points were easily $20-50. I’d do small open houses where folks actually did show up (because I had loyal customers), and I spent a LOT of time on the road with stop-n-shops.

    But this took a lot of planning and time on my part. There were two teen/tween girls in the neighborhood who LOVED lip gloss and nail polish, so I’d give them that to help me wrap and package (with mom and dad’s permission — because hey, they didn’t have to pay for it! Cost me about $200 retail for their help, and I’m still in contact with their family today).

    I got tired of this though…. just over it. I never got to enjoy the fall or the holiday season because I was always working, always hustling. I’d be stressed out that my own home wasn’t decorated or the tree was still naked. (And lemme tell ya…. decorating for Christmas/Hanukkah is a process and looks like Christmas threw up everywhere. And I LOVE IT. Come on… who else out there has TWO “Star Wars” Christmas trees? And frankly, I need a third tree just for the SW stuff.)

    If you’re still reading this, thank you. I’m here to tell you that your holiday season won’t be yours while in MK. There is a lot of pressure to sell the LE items, spend money, and find new recruits (ask me how many recruits I had during the 4th quarter each year — very, very few, as in less than 5 as a SD). Unless you have a solid customer base, you aren’t going to make a lot of money. You won’t see your family. Trips to the pumpkin patch and apple orchard are stressful and nowhere relaxing. And enjoying your own holiday season? Forget it. Won’t happen.

  6. These little plans crack me up. It’s like just throwing out some numbers and multiplying them means you will make a profit.

    If a genie shows up in a bottle and buys $1000 of product X 3 wishes =$3000
    You win the lottery $10,000 and get really lucky x10= $100,000
    A wealthy relative you never met dies and leaves you $20,000 and then one you have met leaves you the same amount $20,000 x 2 = $40,000

    There you have it! You’ve just earned $143,000 for doing almost nothing! Try earning that at a J-O-B.

    • Not to mention that nice Nigerian prince who’s going to share his millions with you just for sending him a few hundred bucks to help him transfer it into your bank account. Why, that’ll practically make you a princess!

  7. I was just thinking this morning how wonderful it is that I’m not worried about ordering tons of products, getting supplies, packaging said products into gift sets, planning open houses and virtual show and sells, and not to mention Pink Weekend sales! My holiday sales were way down last year, and part of me didn’t care but also part of me was disappointed in myself that I hadn’t worked “hard enough.” But it was my baby’s official first Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I wasn’t going to miss out on that.

    One thing to mention too is the “magical” week between Christmas and New Year’s. What a perfect time to regroup and get a jump start on makeovers and helping women get the gifts they REALLY wanted. *eye roll*

    • “Can you believe he just bought some random wrapped package out of a stranger’s car without even knowing what it was? Eye puffiness gel and anti-wrinkle serum! That’s not a gift! That’s an insult! And it expired in 2015!”

      “I remember him. Tall guy, black hair, picked out that one because he liked the penguin paper…. I mean, how rude! You should sign up to be a consultant and get exactly what you want! For a mere $6400 you can buy a starter inventory and put it on his credit card to teach him a lesson!”

  8. How could anyone work a full-time job and also do all of this during the holiday months?

    I own a small business (yes, a real business) and also work part-time for an employer. The amount of preparation and energy and time it takes to do a single art show is considerable. Doing one art show per weekend and also doing deliveries to retail locations during the week can easily add up to 20 – 40 hours in a week, and in comparison, the sales plan in the training mentioned here could easily reach that number of hours. As others have pointed out, you simply cannot dismiss the time it takes to drive around and to gift wrap or otherwise package products. This is to say nothing of the time it takes to hold a trunk show or any other event.

    If someone actually does have extra time and they would like to earn additional money, apply to work somewhere one or two times per week. My friend works at a grocery store only one afternoon during the weekend. He makes $14 per hour and has no expenses other than a small amount of gas to get to and from work, and a minimal amount of clothing he had to purchase that was dress code appropriate. When he clocks out of work, he is completely done until the following weekend. Free meals and in-store discounts are a few of the perks he enjoys.. And if he is asked or required to work more than he intended to, he gets paid for that time and sometimes gets additional perks as well, like gift cards.

    Is he going to hit the Big bucks by working this job six or seven hours per week? No, but neither are 99 percent of the folks who toil away at MK or any other MLM.

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