mary-kay-pinWritten by DebiUnpinked

The only way to get to the bottom of whether Mary Kay is for you is to research Mary Kay Inc. and then MOST IMPORTANTLY check out the numbers.  Any business worth investing your precious time and money should stand up to ANY light shed upon it!

First the numbers, get numbers from more than just one or two sources that ARE NOT directly or indirectly linked to the company.  Use the internet as a tool of investigation and Google versions of the company name and products they sell.  See if what they say about their own products is what others are saying about them.  The truth is in the numbers and the numbers don’t lie or stretch the truth or forget to tell you something important!

Another thing that doesn’t lie is the amount of debt on your credit card to start “your business,” which really isn’t your business at all.  Did you know that you can’t legally use the name Mary Kay in ANY flyers, newspaper ads or posters unless they are pre-approved by MK and in some instances you must be a director or higher in the company to do this.  You CANNOT sell products at flea markets, auctions (including eBay), at the mall, in a store front, in a beauty salon, craft fairs or fairs of any sort unless you’ve gotten approval from MK.   Did you know that many women have/are selling products from the trunks of their cars?

If what you’ve been told about “The Mary Kay Opportunity” appeals to you be sure you think with your head FIRST and then let your heart follow; I’ll explain that later, let’s stick with the money and numbers for now.   The Mary Kay ladies talk about checks they have gotten from MK and throw numbers here and there like they are sprinkling flowers on a path for a bride.  And they are hoping you will be their bride (recruit) because the checks they get from MK depend upon how much YOU, their bride (recruit) purchase from MK in products.  Yes, MK rewards those that recruit others who purchase products; again, not that they recruited someone to sell but that they recruited someone who PURCHASES PRODUCTS…and the more that YOU purchase the more MK rewards the person who recruited you.  So the motivation for someone to recruit you isn’t to offer you the opportunity to earn money – it’s to get you to purchase products so they can get money from MK.  That is one layer or level of the “opportunity” at MK.

The next level or layer of this “opportunity” is for you to get as many recruits to purchase as much product as possible so that the person that recruited you can get to the next level of the opportunity (in the pyramid) and get a bigger check from MK while you start getting your check from MK for the purchases your recruits made that month.  And thus a pyramid is built, you recruit, your recruits recruit and so on and so on.  Except important points are left out like you must keep these recruits in MK AND keep them purchasing product every month, month in and month out in order to get a check from MK or to advance higher into their “positions” (i.e. Senior Consultant, Red Jacket, Director, etc).  Month in, month out, day in, day out, you must keep these recruits or replace them with new recruits that purchase products.  No product sold by your recruits equals no “love check” from MK.  This is what MK calls them. I kid you not!  They call them love checks because all the people at MK LOVE you for rounding up more women to purchase more products directly from them.   My director told me this “secret” early on.   “The real money is in the recruits, she said.”

Oh, no, no you say… Mary Kay isn’t about recruiting…it is about selling…okay, let’s look at that:

Now if you are in a huge city where no one is doing MK and you know everyone and they are ALL beating your door down for you to come over and do parties and want to spend thousands of dollars on Mary Kay products…you ARE in the pink!  If not, read on!  Oh, by the way, most of the ladies that have money to spend on your products work weekdays during the day.  So you should plan to work at night and weekends during the hours you and your family are supposed to have time together.

Now let’s get down the to nitty-gritty:  Parties last three hours, party and host prep is approximately 30 minutes, order filling and paperwork if you are quick lasts about 30 minutes, 30 minutes for delivery to you and sorting and then there is the delivery of the actual orders which can be 10 to 45 minutes and a heck of a lot of gasoline (oh and the gas to and from the party).  So at an average party you sell $300 to $500 retail which 60% (by the way…this should be 70% to 75% in the real world) must go back to pay for product, postage, samples, party supplies and other business necessities, oh no, I forgot to deduct the hostess gift of $10.

Okay, now I’m down to $110 to $190 in profit from that one party (in a perfect world)…not bad but how does that work out to an hourly rate?  $22 to $38 per hour, again not bad, but we didn’t include all the hours you searched for someone to have the party, all the phone time calling people?  Did we include that one day for 6 hours you made up flyers and passed them out at the mall?  Did we include the warm chatter you made with that lady in line at the grocery, Wal-mart or gym?  What about other expenses; the closed toe heels, panty hose, black skirt and white shirt you had to buy because it wasn’t in your wardrobe?  What about the red jacket or the annual director’s suits to come?  What about the fees you pay to go to meetings or seminars or special events?

Let’s put the money aside for a moment.  Let’s talk about how you are approached, how you are motivated to join, to reach for and join the stars in MK.

Most women are known to be emotional creatures with maternal God-given instincts to help nurture others.  We also have the wonderful gift for diplomacy or keeping the peace.  Many of us, myself included, do this by trying to please everyone so that everyone is happy.  These are traits I’m very proud to have as a woman.  However, MK had this figured out how to exploit these wonderful female traits.  That is why they use scripts.  Scripts are pre-written, memorized blurbs of information designed to keep you involved emotionally and motivated through manipulation.

These scripts are designed to pick out parts of our traits and exploit them; loyalty, peacekeeping, nurturing, etc. to emotionally link you to them and make you feel guilty if you doubt or question them in anyway.  The scripts you hear over and over again are of dreams to be fulfilled and some use versus of scripture or the famous God first; family second and career last to snare women.  Especially those who want to add to the family finances and be at home too.  Sound familiar?  Some of these scripts aren’t very nice and tell you that you are a quitter or a failure if you want to leave the company.  WHAT?  What employer has ever told you that you were a failure because you want to leave and work somewhere else?   What company dangles dreams and stories in front of you that are unachievable for more than half of those in the pyramid?

Why, why would they do this?  Because MK wants to keep you purchasing from THEM.  MK wants to assimilate you into what must be called what it is…a cult.  If you think I’m lying or being mean-spirited look up the word cult and investigate it.  Find out what YOU think…not what anyone else tells you, including ME!  You are always strongly urged to come to meetings when you aren’t making money (purchasing MK products).  Many MK women use religion and God in their inspirational messages…beware…Mary Kay cosmetics isn’t in any religious texts that I know of.  And for goodness sake, read what was said by Mary Kay Ash’s son after her death in his speech at seminar.  If this isn’t a man setting his mother up for sainthood then please explain to me what the heck he is trying to say!

Another way to keep you involved and purchasing product is the prize structure which is based on the amount of product you purchase…I mean sell (ha!).  And they have awards at the seminars that include the Queen of Purchasing, um…SALES I mean, that is Queen of Sales.

The bottom line:  Mary Kay Corporation isn’t about helping anyone sell their products because they have already sold them to the YOU.  They use tactics to keep you dreaming of being that one NSD that actually gets the carrot and chews it.

THE TRUTH – YOU are Mary Kay Corporation’s customer.  PERIOD!

If you’re still thinking I’m a negative Nellie or I just didn’t work hard enough (what is enough?).  If you are one of the few who is REALLY MAKING MONEY then why would you be afraid, mad, upset or be told by MK not to listen about what other women have experienced?  Looking, listening and thinking for yourself; aren’t those traits of a good business woman?  Is that why MK wants you to ignore us negative slackers or ignore  Are they afraid, upset or concerned that you will stop purchasing their products?

Pin Your Dreams on PINK?  I did, don’t do it. Go to eBay and pay less than wholesale and get a part-time job where you get a real paycheck and real rewards!


  1. “If you’re still thinking I’m a negative Nellie or I just didn’t work hard enough (what is enough?). If you are one of the few who is REALLY MAKING MONEY then why would you be afraid, mad, upset or be told by MK not to listen about what other women have experienced? Looking, listening and thinking for yourself; aren’t those traits of a good business woman? Is that why MK wants you to ignore us negative slackers or ignore Are they afraid, upset or concerned that you will stop purchasing their products?”

    Great article, and this is the heart of the matter right here. When people criticize my employer, I might agree (because it has its faults like every other business), or I might just nod and go “uh-huh” while privately rolling my eyes later. What I don’t do is get mad and insult the complainer, try to shut them down, go on Facebook to cry and rage and look for others to console me and reindoctrinate me into how wonderful my employer is.

    Instead of leaping straight to “Pink Truth is a bunch of mean lazy loosers who deserve wrinkles!!!!!!!1!!!” try to intercept that reaction with “why does this criticism make me want to lash out? Why does it make me feel uncomfortable? Is it because I agree and won’t let myself admit it?”

    Because as DebiUnpinked says, if you were really confident and secure in MK, the criticism wouldn’t bother you.

  2. Awesome article. Note: I am not directing the following comments at DebiUnpinked. She’s just using terms her audience (of MK consultants) will understand. I just have a beef with something I saw in this article, that I see often in Mary Kay:

    “Okay, now I’m down to $110 to $190 in profit from that one party…”

    Let’s be clear on this. The proper term here is “margin”. For the product you sold, you made a margin, which exceeded the cost of the product sold. This does not translate to a business profit until you are able to sell enough of the product you have purchased to cover ALL of your MK costs and expenses. It is unclear if anyone in Mary Kay has ever turned a true business profit from sales alone (without bonuses from down-line orders).

    If you spent $3000 on inventory, and took in $300-$500 in one party, you are still $2500-$2700 in the hole. That is NOT a profit, even though you generated a margin on products you sold at that party. As with all MLMs, the qualifying minimums in MK are more than any one person can hope to sell, which is why you can’t turn a true profit by only selling the product.

    This is just one of many examples where MLMs like Mary Kay misuse common business terms to make their “opportunity” look better than it is.

  3. Great article that just about covers it all. The one little thing missing are the words “multi-level marketing” (MLM). This is mainly noted for lurkers, so they know that Mary Kay is an MLM company. Everything Debi wrote is describing the MLM system.

    Over the years, MLMers have tried to camouflage the scam by changing its name. We’ve had: network marketing, direct selling, dual-marketing, referral marketing, social sales, and I’m sure I’ve missed a few. It is usually presented as “an opportunity for you”.

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