Being a Sales Director During the Holidays

Written by SuzyQ

I’m just sayin’… that it would be incredibly difficult to be a director in Mary Kay during the winter holidays.

Those who are “working their businesses” have scheduled open houses to show their holiday gift packages. Lots of money spent there, mugs for the “coffee and cream,” assorted gift baskets (cello-wrapped of course), gloves paired with hand cream, lip and eye sets, mascara and lip stick stocking stuffers, the 12 days of Christmas gift towers… the list goes on and on. Although, the sales do not.

Attendance is down for open houses, people are too busy, and the holiday line is always pretty bleak. The products are over-priced, and even if they are of the highest quality and cutting edge, it’s hard to compete with the less expensive gift sets from Bath and Body, WalMart and Target. The only option is to offer discounts and that will eat into the already mythical 50% profit.

Those directors who are working their units are faced with too many retail choices and a lack of attendance at unit meetings and career events. If she can find someone who “bites” and wants the dream of a Mary Kay career right now, how does she place their initial star order, knowing that many of the products that are available to order are listed as discontinued in the most recent Applause magazine?

That was a rhetorical question, because the answer is that the director tells herself and her new excited beauty consultant that the products will fly off the shelves, it doesn’t matter the size of the inventory— it’s the holiday season! Mary Kay has lots of wonderful presents to offer all of her customers! By the time the new stuff is available to order, she will have money from her sales to stock her shelves with the new stuff! And gosh, those end of year tax deductions… it’s like having a new baby without the diapers!

And what does she tell her unit members when they have ordering questions? Other than the scripted, “The company has our best interest in mind, and it has been my experience that when products change, it is always for the better.” And, that customers want new stuff! It is the BEST time to be in Mary Kay! Christmas is our biggest selling season! You can have a debt-free Christmas! You can earn your car! Wouldn’t that be a great Christmas present?

Women want new holiday make-up tips and it is really easy to book facials and classes right now. We can offer free giftwrap and delivery, who doesn’t want that sort of service during this busy time of year? (Of course this does not count the cost of the gas for the “free” delivery and the packaging materials you offer in addition to your discounted prices)

And the reminders to the unit members that Thanksgiving is only ONE day. It is NOT necessary to take off the entire week to prepare one meal. I mean, the Mall doesn’t close its doors for goodness sakes. And YOU have a business! AND, holidays mean family… how much fun would it be to offer a Satin Hands pampering time after the dishes are done. Perfect! You will sell tons! And this is also a great time to tell those family members you don’t see very often about how wonderful your Mary Kay business is—who knows, you may be the answer to some family member’s prayer.

You will also want to remind your unit members that men don’t buy presents until the last minute, so really, it’s fun to load your trunk up with the baskets that didn’t sell at your open house and go to places where men work. Voila! A portable store. At this point in the season, if you happen to sell to someone’s boyfriend or husband who already has a consultant, well, you made the effort, she could have done this, too.

And, remind the unit, too, that the Malls stay open until the very last minute, so they can, too. And last, but not least, ALL gifts to everyone on their list (at least those she hasn’t recruited) should be Mary Kay products! Everybody loves to get Mary Kay products as a gift!

And, dear directors, we all know that November is not a fun month. You are looking at co-pays for the car, and limited production. (It’s sort of a given that November is not the best month in Mary Kay) But, intrepid true believer that you are, December is going to rock. New lipsticks! Many of them. Yesssssssss. That will help. And the company will come up with something else to entice your unit members to order so they can finish their stars. It is nice to have more than $1000 in by December 15, so you can get a check on January 1, isn’t it?

Which brings us to Leadership. Plane reservations need to be made, and clock is ticking down for registration. And area meetings with additional expenses, but you sort of have to go, or the others will talk. Can’t afford to go? That’s why you NEED to go! Hold a class and make the money. It will be fun to see all those who are on-target for the courts, and wonder how they did it. You will learn again, that you are not working your business enough, and you don’t believe enough. You will be torn between beating yourself up and pumping yourself up on the way home.

Just in time for the January retreat. More expenses, more time away from your personal business, more rallying of the troops so someone goes, more ready responses for the “I can’t afford this so soon after Christmas” whines. Start talking about Career Conference at the January Retreat! Push, prod, bribe, promise, plead. And it goes on and on around the calendar. Day after day, month after month, year after year.

And, every now and then you hear through the grapevine that another director quit. Maybe even sent her product back. How stupid is that? Even marginal directors have a team they can earn commissions from, and can build from again. You raise a perfectly groomed brow and sigh, and inform those who care, that you suspected something was up with her.

She hadn’t been working her personal business, she wasn’t recruiting, she wasn’t working with her unit, goodness knows the last time she even sent out a newsletter. She had been hit and miss with production, and she lost her passion and vision. She should have seen it coming. She could have done something instead of just giving up. Losers. The quitters are losers. She’s going to have to get a job. Geez. I could not do that again. Could you even think about working for someone else again? Working on their goals instead of my own? Having to work a schedule? She just couldn’t cut it. Some women can’t. Mary Kay isn’t for everybody, you know.

So, what’s up with your unit and your personal business? I’m just sayin’…


  1. I’ve been known to say that I’d rather chew both of my arms off at the shoulder than work retail ever again, especially for the holidays. The hours were horrible, the people were worse, and the opening bars of “All I Want for Christmas (Is You)” Hulk me out 20 years later. However, there were three benefits:

    1) Paycheck!! The one and only reason why I stuck it out as long as I did.
    2) You could leave the store and not think about it until your next shift.
    3) When people asked where I worked, they didn’t suddenly find some reason to avoid me.

    Compared with what SuzyQ says above, the Mary Kay holiday experience boils down to:
    1) You’re likely to earn peanuts or even end up in the red.
    2) The store, warehouse, shipping center, assembly area etc. are your home. You never get a break from it.
    3) No one wants to get the hard sell over the pumpkin pie, no one wants your business card in their Christmas card, and no man wants to get lugged over to some stranger’s trunk to pick out Christmas gifts, because the only people who sell out of their trunks are selling stolen/bootleg merchandise and questionable meat.

    Instead of being a time of togetherness and peace, you’ll wind up alienating everyone. Remember what I said about how you are trapped in the store 24/7? Well, so is your family, and I guarantee they’re learning to hate both Christmas and you (or at least your job.) And admit it: you hate it, too. You want to do all the family Christmassy stuff but you can’t because MK first, MK second, and what family?

    Both suck, but retail sucks in a way that won’t destroy your family and your confidence (plus, you know, the guaranteed paycheck.) Choose the lesser suck, please.

  2. The big lie that stands out is when the director is saying they could never work for someone else… work a schedule, etc. Let me tell you- when I was a director… I had to work a schedule (which included weekends/holidays).. otherwise I wouldn’t be a director. There is no “off time”. You were always working, always “On”. I now work for someone else- and mostly work from home a flexible schedule. I do have monthly deadlines as a bookkeeper, but as long as I have things done on time, my boss doesn’t care when I work. So I now have way more flexibility working for someone else, than I did working for myself in MK. (and a consistent paycheck!) Life is good!

  3. You will also want to remind your unit members that men don’t buy presents until the last minute, so really, it’s fun to load your trunk up with the baskets that didn’t sell at your open house and go to places where men work. Voila! A portable store. At this point in the season, if you happen to sell to someone’s boyfriend or husband who already has a consultant, well, you made the effort, she could have done this, too.

    Last Christmas Eve, 2022, was on a Friday and a major storm was heading our way so most manufacturing companies I know about shut-down on either the Wednesday or Thursday. On my town’s FB page there was a lot of complaining by women who found their last minute shoppers were not at work so they missed out on their targets for the month.

  4. Do you know what I did after Thanksgiving dinner with my family? BINGO!!! With prizes!!!! It was a great day. No stress, no thinking of my job, no thinking of who I could recruit.

    Years ago, when I was in the pink fog, I made my female relatives do a “facial” after dinner. Do you know how much I sold to the warmest of warm markets? ZERO. I’m so glad I don’t have to think about that any more.


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