“Sometimes” Success Scam in Mary Kay

Written by Raisinberry

How do I explain what I did when I was a director? My unit trusted me. Just like I trusted those above me. And even though I didn’t buy into all the hype, “hook, line and sinker”… I did say the things I was taught to say.

Truth is, I did know that what consultants ordered was not what they sold. I knew because I saw them sitting every week during scoreboard, or only standing up intermittently for sales. So yes, I knew the orders never ever matched the retail sales results. I didn’t stop consultants from ordering even when they weren’t selling.

I knew I had to get orders so I could make production. I looked the other way. I thought, maybe it will all work out. Maybe we all really could make it to the top! Some women really do make it! Sometimes it really does work!

I believed it because I was taught it…  and also because I saw success happen! I did! I really did! I knew that sometimes, while warm booking, a sharp recruit gets signed who changes everything. I knew that sometimes, lots of boutique booth activity pays off or a great referral comes through and sometimes you get a great customer turned hostess that causes many shows to happen. Since I never knew when the moment would be that you would get that super hostess or super recruit, I had to stay positive and keep encouraging consultants! I have seen this business turn on a dime!

I know that sometimes when you don’t quit, you get a yes on the phone… and a yes leads to more calls and more yeses… sometimes.

And because I know this, I could never say that MK didn’t work… because sometimes IT DOES WORK. What I didn’t realize is that “SOMETIMES” is never enough times to make a viable business… but it is enough times to make uplines sell women on the fact that it could.

The unbee-lievable strategy of Mary Kay is knowing that SOMETIMES it will work, and that you will always wander back in your mind to the “day” when you had the $600 class… the $1,100 week, the signed recruit… and you will overlook your lack of daily, weekly or monthly results… for the prize to be attained…”someday.” After all, if you did it once before, you can do it again!

My job was, to keep hope alive for consultants. My NSD’s job was to keep hope alive for me. Positive attitudes and enthusiasm was what we sold, because enthusiasm will always get a better result than a “neutral” or “dead” frame of mind.. We had a chance if we just stayed positive!

The sad truth is that being “positive” really does not cause the universe to align in your direction, no matter what pop culture tells you. It only makes you FEEL better. When all the believing does not cause “achieving,” if you believe Mary Kay mentors, you are scarred, left with no self esteem, thinking you never measured up, didn’t have faith, or worse, didn’t deserve success.

Once a director comes out of the pink fog, she suddenly realizes how “anti-women” Mary Kay really is! It is astounding! And painful! And utterly contrary to what we were programmed to believe.

A company and system and sales management force that KNOWS consultants are ordering product over and over, by a system of manipulated and contrived benchmarks that they themselves have created, that have nothing to do with retail sales success, is abusive. And worse yet, because it is not an “accident,” it is a planned scheme that operates under the idea that since you are a woman hungry for praise and recognition, you will do just about anything to jump through those hoops. They are counting on it.

We were counting on it and pathetically, never realized we too were being “handled.”

All we had to do was wait for that “sometime,” when a consultant had a great outcome and she would sell herself on the idea that MK works. Then there was the hype and events, and other people’s “sometimes” would testify to the fact that if you just never quit, you would make it. But 340 days of struggle and discouragement, no activity or negative activity never seem to surpass 25 days of “sometimes.”

We lived on, promoted, and celebrated those 10, 15, or 25 times in a year that something decent happened in someone’s business, like a lipstick gloss add-on, an order out of the blue, a good week, a new recruit. We pushed consultants up the career path until they hit the wall, or their credit cards got maxed out, and watched the consultants regroup… and waited for another event where they could get see other people’s “sometimes” and bee-lieve again. And the pink fog truth is that is exactly what we did as well.

How sick it is that we believed in the selling of hope (which sounds so positive and wonderful and noble) only to suppress the truth that we personally exhausted ourselves looking for the magic solution to a sustainable Mary Kay business. It never ends. You will forever lose what you have built. There is no firm foundation under a Mary Kay opportunity unless you are callous to the plight of the masses of recruited women.

With 30,000 new recruits a month in the U.S. and the same number quitting each month, just how many women could be sustained at the NSD level? The consultant IS the customer, and as long as no one knows the truth, Mary Kay can continue to persuade the blind, naïve and hopeful of heart.

I never realized what was under all this and like you, I believed. An occasional “win” should not make us blind to the reality of cumulative severe and sometimes irreversible losses. “Sometimes” is exploited in Mary Kay, and so often every director and DIQ continues on in the hopes that “sometime” in the future they will make enough money to pay down their debt, be able to be with their children, retire their husband, do something good with their resources, all the while drowning in the reality of the opposite! Because SOMETIME, it will all be okay!

How tragic that in Mary Kay, the selling of hope is a destructive ruse that locks women into a perpetual fog, whispering platitudes and sayings and never evaluating the MAJORITY of the days where losses, lies, manipulations, expenditures, denial and doubt rear their ugly heads. It is the extremely rare woman who can build a consistently successful cosmetics business without becoming an annoyance and nuisance to her “circle.” And the ones who prize well-balanced honest approaches and good service will not have consistency or volume. Their business will be hit and miss, all their days. The business model and method is anti-retail. And Mary Kay’s own documents prove it.

Former directors who have left Mary Kay all together are no longer selling “sometime.” They no longer abuse women with “hope,” denying the reality of hundreds and thousands of consultants who have signed on with us over many years. A woman who loves other women and shares their REAL HOPE for themselves and their families would never take advantage of them. Especially when the results we pointed out to you… the “sometimes” that worked for other units and other directors were 9 times out of ten, based on fraud anyway!

“Sometimes,” your only hope, is solely based on truth.


  1. Raisinberry, this is so eloquent! ‘Sometimes’ is definitely the driving force for those folks who persist in MK. It’s the basis for the endless ‘success events’ where directors quote their highest check, never sharing the monthly chargebacks that inevitably occur. Those who climb the ‘ladder of success’ rapidly are the ones who have become adept at exploiting ‘sometimes’. They spurn those who question the ‘other’ times (when you don’t make production, have to put it on a personal card, need an extra quarter to make Cadillac, or my favorite–“decide to step away from directorship”), and continue the ‘churn and burn’ needed to have more ‘sometimes’ moments.

    • You are so right, ElleBee. Even departures are disguised because they are deemed negative to the sales force. I have worked sales all my life…and I have never had a “sales” management directive that told me to fake out the sales staff. Mary Kay requires it.

    • leave it to you, Lazy, to offer the hard core psychology proof, that shows our personal observations are right on the money! TY!

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