Written by Cathy

I am not new to reading Pink Truth but this is my first time commenting. I was a consultant for 6 months and became very discouraged by my experience.

I will admit that when I first started to read PT I thought that this can’t really be all truth. My family runs a business and I know that sometimes dissatisfied employees will exaggerate their grievances. After a few months in MK, I found myself relating  to these stories.

I have used Mary Kay since I was a teen and love the skincare line and have been happy buying MK from a good friend of mine for the past 12 years. Never once did she bug me, hound me, or ask me to become a consultant. I actually asked her about it because my kids were getting older and I was looking for something fun to do. She, after all, had been in MK for 15 yrs and seemed to enjoy it. Even my mom and husband thought it would be good for me to do this. Not saying this to brag but I am thin, blonde and attractive and was told this would be easy for me to sell MK because I look so young for my age. I signed up! For the first 4 months it was great! I bought the $1,800 package (with cash not credit) and was queen of sales most weeks and was a “rock star” according to my director. I guess you could say my “warm market” was working well for me. I only sold to two people who found me through my website so most of my 40 or so customers were people I knew. I told my director up front two things:

  1. I will not go into debt to run my business.
  2. I will not warm chatter.

She assured me that I would be fine not doing those things, and I never did them. I was involved with our very successful family business for many years and we ran debt free. I know something about running a business and thought Mary Kay would be an easy way to make some “fun money.” I may be one of the few who go into MK really not needing the money but just wanting something fun to do, and the bonus of getting the products I loved at half price.

But after 6 months, this is what I found:

  • I was a star consultant for the first two quarters. In that time I had close to $4,000 in actual sales. By the time I  bought product, attended meetings, career conference, extra class supplies etc I am shocked to say I had only $59 left in my MK account. No debt, but no money either.
  • I had no team members and no one was interested in even hearing about being one.
  • Although my calendar was full the first four months, by month 6 I couldn’t get anyone to book or buy. I did get some reorders but that was only after I ran a special.
  • I did everything my director  told me (minus the warm chatter) and still no new leads. Wore my pin everywhere (not one person asked me about it), gave out over 20 samples with a gift certificate to all my neighbors (one order), attended all meetings, posted on social media consistently, got referrals (not one wanted a facial when I called… my friends were even reluctant to give me names). I wasn’t able to get anyone to do a party. They were fine to place an order but did not want to host a party. I even tried a 1/2 price hostess shopping spree to try to get parties, but had no takers.
  • My director (who lives in a different town) came to see me a few times to “help” my business. All she wanted to do was get my friends to come over and do “practice interviews.” I never did it. I knew why she wanted to talk to them and I would not put them in that position. My director (different from my friend I bought from) was also the same person who told me that she makes all this money and supports her family but when she has came to town she asked if she could just stay with me. She asked to stay with me when she didn’t even know me. If she was so high up in MK and making all that money, why did she have to ask to stay with a stranger and not a hotel? (I told her I didn’t have a guest room or space ).
  • My director often ran contests for nice prizes that NEVER seemed to be won by anyone.

I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t possibly make any money a Mary Kay. I could of course could recruit and get more money that way but I couldn’t possibly look at someone and say “Yes, do this! I have made money!” I did it debt free, but still I only had 59 bucks to show for it after 6 months of effort!!!!

I decided to call it quits because I wasn’t going to make any money even after “doing it right” and following the instructions they gave me.

This is just my two cents from someone who was not one of those “not working her business” or “just bitter.” I did all I could (and more) to work my MK business. My friends told me they just found it easier to go to the drug store or department store. I get it.


  1. Is this a rectified article?
    Asking in the event the OP is lurking. How much was her expenses? Like for the conference? I am curious.
    Proof you can’t make money buying for $1 and sell for $2

  2. Great post!!! Friday critics – please please tell us what she could have done any differently to have made money!!

    • Please, with sprinkles on top.

      Let’s see how her story stacks up to some of the usual Friday criticisms:

      “U DIDN’T RUN UR BUSINESS LIKE A BUSINESS!!!!!!!!!” But she did, and furthermore had years of experience of running an actual, profitable small business.

      “IT’S UR OWN FAULT U BOUGHT 2 MUCH UR WEAK NO 1 PUT A GUN 2 YOUR HEAD!!!!!!!!” She didn’t, and plain told her director that she wasn’t going into debt for her MK business.

      “U DIDN’T DO ALL THE THINGS!!!!!!!” Only she did – went to all the events, did the social media, the nametag, the samples, the parties, and came up empty.

      “U THOUGHT U WERE GOING 2 GET RICH DOING NOTHING!!!!!!!!” Nope. She just wanted to do something fun, get her products at a discount, and make some extra mad money, More than 59 bucks, I mean.

      If the products are so great, why did her sales go cold as soon as her warm market did, to the point where she couldn’t even get reorders without offering a discount? If MK is such a great opportunity, why did no one want to sign up under her? If directors have your best interests in mind and are so successful, why did hers want to mooch off her hospitality and poach her customers?

      I too would love to hear an explanation for why she failed, since it can’t possibly be that the MK “opportunity” is a big old heap of… not Shinola.

      • “make some extra mad money, More than 59 bucks, I mean.” I’d be REALLY MAD if I sold $4k in 6 months and only had $59 to show for it!

    • Warm chatted everyone within 6 feet, of course. All those sugar-sharp prospects in Target, at the park, the soccer games, her business … OMG, she should have sold to every customer in her existing business!

  3. Futher evidence that recruiting and front-loading are the key to success in Mary Kay.

    Her 100% markup was barely enough to cover her costs, and she had to discount to create any product demand, so she discovered there is no real market for these products beyond the temporary economy of F+F. Her small business experience helped OP recognize the folly of MLM as her warm market dried up. Not all MK recruits are so fortunate to have such a background.

    This leaves endless-chain recruiting (with front-loading) as the only way to turn a true profit in Mary Kay. Wait..what does the FTC say about this again?

  4. “Gift certificates and shopping sprees.”

    It’s nearly impossible to make a sale without discounts and freebies. Just check out any training and you’ll see that directors teach these tactics.

    I recently heard a SSD boasting how she doesn’t offer discounts all the time. “I just sold to a customer…she paid full price and was happy to do it. I gave her a gift-with-purchase.”

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    • And yet, with all this that’s being said here – how can there possibly be that many people possibly lured into lining other people’s (upline) pockets? I can understand the pre-internet era, and how parties and such were a thing in the 60s-80s. But, with most women now in the actual workforce…how can this company possibly have enough recruits to churn through??

  5. If their product was good and not overpriced there wouldn’t be a problem. Yes I understand that so comnission needs to be paid but it don’t justify the high mark up in MK. Think about it. Traditional brands sold in brick and mortar stores costs are a lot higher and remember this is a selling point from the hons /huns yet their products are better and more affordable. It cost MK pennies to make a tube of lipstick.

  6. If their product was good and not overpriced there wouldn’t be a problem. Yes I understand that so comnission needs to be paid but it don’t justify the high mark up in MK. Think about it. Traditional brands sold in brick and mortar stores costs are a lot higher and remember this is a selling point from the hons /huns yet their products are better and more affordable. It cost MK pennies to make a tube of lipstick.

    • Yes, there will be. Because product is not the point of such business. Membership in the sales force is the true merchandise of MLMs.

  7. One of the best posts, EVER. Facts, rather than feelings. Someone who knows how to do bookkeeping, with real world business experience. The only improvement that could have been made to the article (besides minor editing), would be inclusion of a spreadsheet that illustrated hours invested, expenditures and profits. Finally – create a link from the home page, prominently displayed, to get in front of all the would-be Friday Critics. Those critics truly are a dense bunch…same ole “PT is filled with hateful hags/busybodies/dream stealers, etc. BTW, I’m a guy. Got into PT because I started suspecting MK was a MASSIVE SCAM. Now an addict to PT.



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