Written by Frosty Rose

Mary Kay infinite-last-names Ash used to encourage women to dream bigger. That they could achieve anything with enough belief. Just watch the women on stage, she would say.

Those national sales directors in front of crowds of adoring fan-girls “don’t have anything you don’t have or can’t get fixed.”

On the surface, that’s so encouraging. I’m just like them, I used to tell myself! They started with the same starter kit I did! But what about the second half of that statement? It has me (and every other MK devotee) comparing my weaknesses to others’ strengths. Or, in the case of most Mary Kay nsds, to a carefully curated image designed to make me feel less-than, but just hopeful enough that I keep striving and stay on the hamster wheel.

January is infamous in Mary Kay for Leadership Conference. It’s the elite gathering for the cream of the crop, the sales directors and above. Consultants are reminded of this exclusive gathering when they’re being encouraged to shoot for directorship. The parties (mediocre and overcrowded without enough food or chairs), the girlfriend time with “higher level thinkers” (women more deeply in the fog than you), and training from the best of the best (well, at least those who lie the best). On top of all that, you get the oh-so-exclusive right to see the new director jackets that these women will wear for the next two years. We’ve already written about that Barbie knock-off debacle, so let’s focus on the national director jackets.

Presumably, nationals have already seen, tried on, and chosen their jackets before this event, but the real target market for “debuting” the jackets is the sales directors who are gunning for national. With this tangible piece of clothing that they can try on, take pictures in, and share the sweat of 1,000 other dreamers, these delusional women can truly visualize their success. They have something concrete to anchor their dreams, and now all they have to do is put legs to those dreams.

Of course, Jamie Taylor’s downline was front and center on social media “bee-lieving” together. For those who just stumbled on Pink Truth recently, Jamie debuted as a national in the spring of 2021 with 25 sales directors in her first and second line. Her area has shrunk to eleven sales directors and is unable to meet minimum standards to remain a national area under the new rules. But does that prevent her from pushing the NSD dream on her underlings? Of course not! “Every single one of these girls will be NSDs with me one day!!” she crows.

No. No, they will not.

They have been gunning for national for years, most of them. If it were possible to do, they’d have done it by now.

What they will do is continue to justify forking over money month after month to maintain directorship minimums. They will continue to pay car leases for “free” cars that they can’t make production to keep. They will convince themselves that “you can’t sell from an empty wagon” and frontload countless newbies with thousands of dollars of inventory that won’t be sold. They will continue conditioning customers to only purchase at a discount with endless BOGO sales.

They will keep ignoring the dismal fact that 99.6% of people in multi-level marketing/dual marketing/omni-marketing/whatever term they come up with next to avoid the FTC will lose money. But there’s always the 0.4%, and these women are determined to claw their way up to that point, no matter how many people they have to manipulate, or how much their success depends on their downline’s failure.

Speaking of the FTC, there’s some fun math on their website that discusses inevitable market saturation with endless chain recruiting, like Mary Kay’s. Mary Kay doesn’t like real math, preferring to stick with pie-in-the-sky estimates and how things could work in the ideal world.

But what does recruiting math look like in the real world?

Every aspiring national would need to recruit someone new every day, right? It only makes sense that to grow, she would want to grow fast. Well, what if on day one, she recruits someone who’s also striving to be her best and see herself in that elusive national jacket? If Chelsea recruits Sally on Day 1, and on Day 2 Chelsea and Sally each recruit someone new, and on Day 3 all four of them add a new recruit, and so on, it takes 32 days for the total number of new recruits to exceed the Earth’s population.

Mary Kay’s time has come and gone.

The bubble is on the verge of collapsing.

The whole system is slowly imploding.

And it can’t come fast enough. These women will not all be nationals. And my fervent prayer is that they see the light before they’re $75,000 in debt and divorced because they kept clinging to their dream that’s really a nightmare.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Brava, Frosty.

    It will be interesting to see if Jamie loses her area now, or if the new NSD requirements are just another MK “rule that isn’t, unless we want to get rid of her. ” 😵‍💫

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  2. Ooh, I love me some MLM math! With the US market saturated, Mary Kay needs to rely on new blood. Using extremely simple math (ave life expectency 70, even distribution by age), about 7000 girls become women every day in the US by turning 18 (or 21, if you choose). These ladies are the least likely to have life experience with MLM (i.e. a friend or family member turning into an MLMer).

    Considering most of these ladies will seek traditional careers (including home-maker), what remains gets divided by the thousands of MLMs trying to reach them as prime targets. The bad news is MLMers will continue to go after this demographic, as these ladies are the least familiar with MLMs. The good news is the anti-MLM movement is growing significantly, and thanks to social media, more and more of these young targets are getting introduced to MLM before an MLMer can get to them with their “pitch”.

    Frosty points out the sheer improbability of ever making money in MLMs like Mary Kay. The anti-MLM movement has mostly concentrated on making fun of MLMers and their outrageous claims. I look forward to the day it is common knowledge that MLMs take money from the downline to pay the upline, and that they don’t really sell much outside the downline.

    The most powerful thing we can say to an MLM recruiter is, “You do realize that your MLM sees you as their customer, not me or any folks outside the downline. It is your purchases, not outside purchases, that provide the cash flow for your MLM company and your upline.”

    MLM is a nearly closed system, focused on significantly overselling their products to their own sales force. No outside sales necessary.

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    • Yep I think MK will keep Jamie around even if she’s not fulfilling the requirements – if she fails – how will anyone want to try for NSD?

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      • Yes I think they will keep her no matter what (and they CAN because their own contract allows them to ignore the rules). They HAVE to keep Jamie. If she quits/leaves/gets terminated it tells every sales director that there is no hope for them.

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        • Wow. I already understood everything was fake in Mary Kay. Today I learned this applies to the rules as well.

          How soon until the product is fake too? Just empty containers…which would reduce cost and waste, but still give the appearance of a product. Or maybe just sell “options” to buy the product? That would make the product truly virtual, and further eliminate cost and waste. The end customer could “redeem” the option to get the real product, but the consultant would only have to hold “options”.

          This would eliminate so much of the product build-up in the IBCs homes, and spare the waste. And we’d find out how many folks actually use these products.

          (Shhhh. Let’s not give them any ideas!)

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    • THIS!! “The most powerful thing we can say to an MLM recruiter is, “You do realize that your MLM sees you as their customer, not me or any folks outside the downline? It is your purchases, not outside purchases, that provide the cash flow for your MLM company and your upline.”

      Too good to be buried at the end of a post!

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  3. Have any NSDs (under the ‘new’ qualifications) actually lost their areas? I know at one point, Caterina Harris-Earl, Amy Allgood, Holli Lowe, and a few others were literally down to single digits in their ‘area’ directors. Caterina came in under the ‘old’ rules, so she’ll be an NSD until 65 (or if she ‘retires’ early), but I don’t know about Amy or Holli.

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