Making a Living Selling Mary Kay Products

If you wanted to just sell Mary Kay products and not recruit anyone, could you make a living doing so?

You might be able to make a living just selling Mary Kay products, but it’s going to be difficult.

Suppose you sold $1,000 per week, EVERY week. Now remember… there are very, very few women in Mary Kay who sell $1,000 per week. There are very, very few who even sell $500 of Mary Kay products each week. But let’s just assume that you can and do sell $1,000 per week, every week, with 2 weeks a year off.

How much would you make???? We’re going to assume that you sell at full retail price with very few discounts. I’m added in 5% for discounts, but more typically the discounts are around 20% or more. If you’re like our friend Chelsea, products are usually sold at 40% or 50% off, guaranteeing zero profit. (Don’t forget that buy one get one free sales also mean zero profit for the consultant.)

This net profit includes all expenses on the LOW end. Experience has shown that most Mary Kay consultants offer more discounts on the products, and have higher expenses than shown here. So this calculation would represent that absolute best case scenario for a consultant.

Do you consider $14,500 a year a good living? That’s about $1,200 per month.

What is it per hour? In order to sell that much product, you’re going to need to hold at least 5 skin care classes a week. That would require at least 20 hours a week once you factor in all of the legwork involved to find people, get them to book classes, coach them to the classes, prepare for the classes, get there, set up, conduct the class, clean up, fill orders, follow up, etc.

It’s not a good living.


  1. I love models like this. Also, this is the only ethical way to make money in MLMs like Mary Kay. It is also nearly impossible to make work. It would be helpful to know the average sales margin for Mary Kay products ordered. Your model chooses 90% mark-up (for illustration, which is 95% of MSRP). Of all the product actually placed in the hands of outside customers, my guess is the typical markup is much closer to 0%, thanks to the gross oversupply of product that comes from front-loading and qualifying minimums.

    Who is going to pay that 90% mark-up when so many other reps are running BOGO sales (50% markup), or are selling at “cost” just to move their stale inventory (my guess…most cases)?

    While it may be possible to sell some product at 90% mark-up, the problem in all MLMs is finding enough one-time and repeat customers to pay any mark-up at all. These MLM products are just too expensive to create any organic demand. One time pity purchases and a few loyal customers might pay, but that’s about it.

    This is why so many folks start out trying to retail these over-priced products, only to run into the above reality. That is when they are told by their upline that the real money is in recruiting. In reality, the only folks willing to pay these prices in any volume are new sales reps!

    If Mary Kay Corp sold to the reps at true wholesale, the reps would be able to compete with other brands on price/value. But Mary Kay’s “wholesale” price is already well above market retail for competing products. Mary Kay is actually retailing the product to their own sales force! This leaves no room for the reps to mark up the product and remain cost competitive.

    Imagine if Mary Kay got rid of the upline (with its associated costs) and sold at wholesale directly to the sales reps. That $10 lipstick would wholesale for $1.50, allowing the rep to sell it at a competitive $5. This is how it works in the real world.

    MLMs like Mary Kay are not the real world, because in MLMs like Mary Kay, the sales rep is the retail customer! That high “wholesale” cost is required to pay all of those upline commissions…to folks who had nothing to do with the sale. What value did the upline bring to the end consumer? None…which is why so few outside folks are willing to pay those ridiculous prices.

    • 2023 Self-Employment taxes are estimated at $2,049 (FICA $1660, Medicare $388) = $12,451

      That’s less than a full time minimum wage job @$7.50 an hour.

  2. If someone is that good at selling, they can make a whole lot more money as a mall makeup artist. 15 – 20 years ago I was pulling in $21 per hour with Dior working about 20 hours a week. I don’t know what it is now.

  3. “If you’re like our friend Chelsea, products are usually sold at 40% or 50% off, guaranteeing zero profit. (Don’t forget that buy one get one free sales also mean zero profit for the consultant.)” Directors get commission on their own purchases, so she gets a 13% cushion when she does a BOGO.

  4. Today’s article clearly points out that you need an ARMY of LOSERS for every one scammer, er, NSD, for THEM to make a full-time living wage. Think about that the next time you’re setting up another “party” for the “boss babe/big girl money.” Most of your efforts go into other’s pockets; your upline (and of course corporate -the house is rigged to win, ya know)! Welcome to the wonderful world of MLMs.

  5. Does anyone else in Canada remember Deanna Blue? She was always Consultant Queen of “Sales”. I always wondered how she was putting up those numbers and where she was warehousing those orders.

  6. This is one of the times that I would recommend a PT doubter go to a weekly meeting. Watch that Queen of Sales lineup. How many people sold $1,000 that week? IF anyone did, how excited is the rest of the group? Do you think they’d be that excited if $1,000 weeks were as common as you thought?

    Alternately, request the past month of your recruiter’s Weekly Accompaniment Sheet. How much has she sold? How much has she given away? How many miles did she drive, and how many hours did she steal from her family for those results?

    And remember, the people who show up to meetings and recruit are the cream of the crop. Do not allow them to tell you that their lack of results are due exclusively to their lack of effort. It’s not true!!

    • Good point about taxes. I bet none of these people are requesting the sales tax refund for the difference between the full retail taxes MK charges you and the 50% of taxes you didn’t collect when you discounted.

      • They are told by their upline to collect the full retail tax (although it is illegal!)even if they discount. Tracking the sales closely enough to get the sales tax refund would make them keenly aware of how little they are selling full price, and that’s not in the director’s best interests.

  7. — New recruits are lured in with, “You make 50% on everything you sell!!” But after joining, the new IBC is TAUGHT to offer discounts, BOGO, GWP, etc., to get sales.
    — Recruiting events feature prize drawings…not just for products, hand-me-down purses, and left-over STAR awards…but for cash and even e-STARTs. (Who pays for those prizes? No, it’s not the Company.)

    Tell lies and offer bribes. Then, “mentor” others to do the same.

  8. If you’re in the top 1% of the country’s consultants, you *might* make enough to pày your household bills. Maybe, and also depends on what part of the country you live. Anyone below the top 1% can do better flipping burgers.



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