“Do More, Get More” Churn in Mary Kay

Written by Raisinberry

When I first came here I did not understand that it was the MLM system that was the destructive, predatory model. I was still brainwashed into the belief that those who “failed” at Mary Kay just didn’t apply themselves. If a person just does more, they get more. If you agreed with that statement as it pertains to Mary Kay, you just revealed how fogged over you are, and how little you understand about the nature of multi-level marketing. Here is why.

That “model” of work ethic (“do more, get more”) only pertains to business where there are real customers, a real market, legitimate advertising venues and freedom to conduct business as you see fit. Even now, with the recent bad press, how will a consultant be able to divorce herself from Mary Kay’s growing negative perception?

The main source of income for Mary Kay Cosmetics is through start up inventory, and then contest driven reorders that have virtually no bearing on actual product sold. This “well” eventually dries up, and as Mary Kay trains its leadership to maintain the pumped up facade at all costs, (since mental attitude and motivation cause momentum you can not afford to lose) commission checks get turned back over to MK in the form of product purchase to meet production.

A director simply is not wise to tell her unit that they have not made production. The thinking is, if they think they are “losers” they will perform with less and less activity and motivation. People just don’t do well if they perceive they are out scored and have no hope of winning. Momentum is everything. That subtle message insures that the Director will find a way or make one to keep the unit running.

If you do more of this will you get more of this?

If you go out and get more recruits, who eventually get sucked dry, what do you have to do again? Get more! If you have to cover your own production with your own commission, back and forth throughout the year, will you get more? If you race and work in a frenzy and recruit 5 superstars to get ahead of attrition, do they stay and build a structurally strong foundation to their own businesses and your organization?

Generally they burn up and need to be replaced, or they offspring and drop your commission to 4 or 5% of the fledgling unit from 26% personal. This is supposed to be Go-Give on your part, as you extend your vision to further down the road, seeing the “big picture”… NSD. But who really profits from this?

The frenzied churning is the MLM model. You are required to race as fast as you can in order build big, in order to stay ahead of the fallout. You however, have no control over the “people” in your unit. You will have skilled, unskilled, poor, no credit, emotional issues, difficult, needy, overbearing, weak, strong, promising adults and babies, who will ALSO run into good hostesses, bad hostesses, and no hostesses, on their way to growth or frustration.

Because they have few methods for getting business, they run into real discouragement. Because each has different skill sets, and attitudes, results are a never ending crap shoot. With so much out of your control…can “do more” be a guarantee for results? Or just more variations?

If you had a “real” job where you had 30 employees, who signed on and then failed to show up or work and needed to be replaced in various quantities monthly, do you think you would see a problem? A futility? After say 10 months of constantly replacing 5,6,7 employees and retraining new each time, would you wonder if your employees were experiencing difficulties with either the training, their results, as in lack of success?

Does not each recruit sign on intending to be “successful” for the most part? If the job required certain skills, would a company hire those who had no skills in this area at all? Only to train them and watch them fail? Mary Kay does. In fact we have promoted we do not want the “sales type” in order to throw a broader net.

The objection comes, that no one is an employee of Mary Kay. They can do what they want. “We can’t make them do anything”. But why would they stop short on a method to a dream they were so excited about? We train and train and train some more! Conferences, retreats, Seminar, Unit meetings. Why wouldn’t this be enough? Because what they were told and sold at the guest event, what they get told and sold at the orientation, and the subsequent meetings, slowly erodes into lies.

Faced with the “all you need to do is” cavalier attitude of a misrepresenting Director, they scurry off convinced they just “didn’t work hard enough”. That is designed to keep them from returning merchandise, and to “Keep that door open for a later time”.

In a real job, if an employer found that his workers were being blocked from success more often than attaining it, and began buying product from their own paychecks, what would the employer do?

If BEST BUY found out that its floor sales associates were buying the DVD players, because they were struggling to sell them to real customers and didn’t want to look bad as sales people, what would BEST BUY DO? Run a contest to sell 13, 26 or 39 DVD players for a luncheon prize and tie tac? Or would they INVESTIGATE the problem with the DVD player, their marketing tactics, the sales ability of the floor associates, the merchandising, and interview FORMER OWNERS of said DVD player to discover the problem?

If you “do more” of anything that gets you the exact same results, you are practicing an exercise in futility. The fundamental flaw of the MLM model is that the company’s profits come from YOU, and your recruits…not consumer sales. Consumer sales are your problem. You , as a Director, are being paid to CHURN through people, regardless of their success, maintaining only positive momentum, until they burn out. As long as you accept this and prepare to replace each months recruits, forever, you can skim your commission off their start up inventory and Mary Kay Corp stays alive.

Periodically a “loyal jewel” gets recruited who will stay and play, but the vast majority burn out. By Mary Kays own admission, they used to recruit 40,000 a month and lose the same. Churn Churn Churn.

Do more get more in Mary Kay means, put everything on the back burner for 2 to 5 years and recruit everything within 3 feet, and never look back over your shoulder to see the wreckage you are leaving in your wake. Never face that you make your living by pretense and exaggeration. Never face that you never fully disclose the success rates in Mary Kay. Never face that all these women you are telling to join will never truly have a business all their own.

Never face that you are using the company approved free product bait to get the largest orders possible to save your ship, regardless whether the newbie has the skills to move it. You will live a life of rationalizations and denial, pretense and fraud, awarding and recognizing credit card space…not results! This is your life.

It is a painful observation that of an entire units population, so few actually make money at this today. If your Unit is 20 years old, you will probably have 5 or 6 veterans who manage consistent sales, but that one would hardly call a living wage. Is anyone telling NEW DIRECTORS that this is what they will face? They think they are building a Unit that stays with them. The Fabulous 50’s push is to cover the fall out rate that happens 6 months later. Churn, churn, churn.

The fact that Mary Kay does no advertising on television that directly supports home parties speaks volumes. They fact that they had a customer service video that they already produced–used only for an intercompany pump up– speaks volumes. They have opportunity to raise the prestige of the consultant in the market place and never do so. The “Fall in Love” campaign was aimed at “us”… not consumers.

We were manipulated into a “feel good” so we would stay the course and be “proud”. That ad would do nothing for retail sales to retail consumers, and they knew it when they launched it. But you had to be a STAR CONSULTANT to get the “leads”… remember? What Corporate was hoping for was an ad to “warm the market”. What Nationals wanted was a tie in to production. The money comes from you… and the “pretense” is it comes from customers. How many of us did sapphire star to get “leads”, without the 3600.00 in sales that would have been required during the same time to justify the expense?

The multi-level marketing model simply “preys” upon the downline. Companies who do business this way have no intention of recording actual sales. They are not invested in your retail success, and their behavior proves it.

A “regular” company would get to the bottom of employee dissatisfaction and lack of success, and fix it. Mary Kay does not believe anything needs “fixed”. In fact it’s working. As long as Directors only sell “hope” and “possibility”, the sale of real products are moot. The mlm system combines recognition, manipulation, misdirection, and motivation in Madison Avenue packaging in order to get you to believe it is real. How many of you went to your 1st Seminar and clapped for the Unit clubs and the Million Dollar Units and had no idea that a 650,000 Unit had no proof of sales, and was really being awarded for 325,000 worth of wholesale?

In all multi-levels, the only thing that gets credit is the buy to the Corporation. If they tracked actual sales to customers, the gig would be up because everyone would see the pathetic results, the “con and hype” and the proof that churning recruits and their start up inventory and contest baited reorders is the real job. All mlm’s collapse when recruiting stops. That is the clearest picture I can give you to see what the real “product” is.

Stop recruiting in your unit for 90 days, and you will SEE what your real “product” is. You will see whether your Unit is supported by sales and selling success. You can devote your entire 90 days to getting everyone involved with holding appointments, and refuse to recruit anyone. You will see if you are in a Selling Unit and if Mary Kay is a legitimate retail opportunity, or just a brilliantly contrived and concealed pyramid.

Because the large inventories will rarely turn the expected profit for the majority of your people, all the “doing more” in the world will never change the fact that you are supporting a predatory business model that relies on exaggerated claims and thrives on deception.

I fear if you continue to “do more of it “, what you’ll get, will leave you never being able again, to look yourself in the mirror.


  1. MK will swear up and down that they’re not a pyramid scheme, but the gals in the graphic are literally standing on a pyramid.

    • That pyramid includes a blatant lie. It says “Driving FREE!”

      As if.

      You pay for insurance (overpriced insurance from Mary Kay), you pay for gas, and the lease payment comes out of your commission. Not to mention the inevitable copays on those months you don’t make production.

      Mary Kay does pay for one thing, though: a tow truck to haul your car away if you either quit or no longer qualify. Normally, you’d drop it off at the dealer, but they insist on sending a noisy tow truck (is there any other kind?) so all your neighbors can see what a failure you are. Such a loving, caring company that only wants to build up women, right?

      • Now I wonder, what if someone drops it off at the dealer right before quitting? Do they still send a tow truck to her house to make her look bad?

        • “Oh, you already returned the car. Well in that case, we’re gonna tow… um… gotta be something with wheels around here… THAT WHEELBARROW!”

  2. “Do more, get more” is one of those Mary Kay principles that does actually work in the real world. It’s like recognizing what you want more of. But the MK version is irreparably warped in implementation and if you scratch the surface of what they’re doing more of, you see behind the veil.

    Businesses say, “Do more (of what’s working), and you’ll get more (good results).” That’s what corporate does–push recruiting and massive initial inventories because that’s where the profit is for them. For consultants and most directors, it sounds more like, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

    • Your comment about insanity reminds me of a hilarious quip I encountered years ago in the corporate world. We were doing some internal capacity forecasting after one of our business/sales partner companies had come to us with a business plan to increase their sales volumes five-fold in the next 12 months. We were asked to quantify the cost (to our business) to be able to build out our infrastructure to handle this uptick in sales volume on the part of this partner company.

      It wasn’t until that day that I discovered that, with this particular sales partner, my company was losing money on every sale made by this partner. Thinking I was the first to discover this, I mentioned it to my finance counter-part, and indicated that if they increase volume by five-fold, our losses with this partner would grow by the same multiplier. He looked at me and winked, saying, “Don’t worry…we’ll make it up in volume.”

      After the mutual belly-laughing finally subsided, he shared with me that this particular business partner was a loss-leader by design (part of a business plan to expand into a new market…the loss-based pricing was only temporary), and it was our job to accurately forecast the cost of this expansion for our own executives, which we did.

      Frosty Rose, your comment reminded me exactly of this quip from that encounter, and how hilarious this comment was at the time, while so sad for the millions of ladies mislead by Mary Kay over the years, who remain unaware that the joke is on them.

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