Pink Cadillacs and Executive Income

The most clever marketing ploy ever instituted by Mary Kay is the PINK CADILLAC! It screams success. The general public sees a woman in a pink Cadillac, and assumes she is very successful and earning the big bucks in Mary Kay.

The sad reality is that most of the Cadillac drivers are making about $30,000 to $40,000 per year. That’s not executive income! And these women are in the very upper ranks of Mary Kay.

Below is a snippet of an interview I did on HuffPost Live more than ten years ago, talking about pink Cadillac drivers… but nothing has changed. At the time I calculated that about 200 women in Mary Kay in U.S. were making six figures after business expenses. It could be up to 300 women in the U.S. But when you compare that to the approximately 500,000 women who are now consultants in the U.S., the numbers are dismal.


  1. How are they able to convince (manipulate) so many of us for so long?

    I realize that I was a great pawn for them. I was so fooled by all of it, it was easy for me to be a good consultant. I really believed all of it, or I couldn’t have done any of it. I was able to transfer that belief on to recruits, customers, etc.

    But why did I just keep believing? This is a reflection. I’m not shaming myself. I really want to look within and see what is there (or was missing) that made me so naive & gullible? What did they present to me, how was it presented, .. how did it stick so long?? (21 years!!) Most importantly, what changed within me to take that step back and go, hey now just wait a minute…

    Thanks for sharing out the other side of the equation here at PT. It helps so much.

  2. I often wonder that myself. How could I have been so manipulated? I am an educated, strong woman, or so I thought. I actually stepped back and sent back inventory only to be pulled back in. I received an “exception” to join again and started once again on the hamster wheel. I was finally able to break away and sent back inventory again…for good this time. Even after all the deception and lies occasionally I feel that pull especially when I see a pink caddy even though I know that person is likely not as successful as she portrays. Thank goodness I can come here to get a reality check.

    • It’s Aretha Franklin for me. But Aretha’s “Pink Cadillac” is not a car. Once you know the lyrics, you will never look at a Mary Kay car the same way!

  3. 300 out of 500K consultants is 0.06%. Also, let’s remember that this $100K is gross commissions and bonuses. These folks are all spending on their qualifying orders as well (yes, even NSDs are required to fill their houses with unsold product) which eats up a non-trivial portion of that gross. Not to mention other business expenses, which are greater the higher you go up the pyramid (travel requirements become very costly at these high ranks).

    If outsiders could see what is required of directors at this level, few would choose to follow this path. They have no life. All of their time is spent furiously trying to replace all the people leaving their downline. The minute they take their foot off the gas, their downline starts to shrink dramatically.

    The hamster wheel gets worse, not better, the higher you go up the pyramid. For the amount of stress, hours and effort required of these folks at the top, they would have a far better quality of life with a traditional J.O.B.

  4. Can you make an article on how Mary Kay operates in China? Just read abt it in a older article on this site and I’m curious lol

  5. Please ignore my 1st text as there are ommisions which make my message unclear.
    I am from Malaysia. There is trending thing that is happening just recently. I don’t know if it’s a strategy advocated by Mary Kay herself or it’s an evil genius creative idea with religion values in the mix. There is a call for donating products to the seniors in welfare homes. Those who want to donate will buy from the consultants or directors at retail price. Just few days, the NSD of this particular unit (only this unit came up with this idea) proudly showed off the number of body shampoo (new product by MK). I counted roughly there are about 100 ++ body shampoo and other products that were purchased by customers for the charity drive. It is shameless to use charity drive during fasting month to fulfil your production. Btw, they did a trial run few months back and it was successful and they did it with gusto now during the month that’s considered to be holy

    • @Ubi, this is a regular kind of sales tactic here in the USA. It can be over the holidays or it can be .. whenever a director/consultants need to “increase” sales.
      Usually the director or consultant wouldn’t take a profit on this type of sale (or that’s what they said). I never did one, so I am not sure the details. Maybe someone else will add more info.
      I’m sorry to hear they are taking advantage of your holy month.
      Thanks for coming to Pink Truth!

      • Hi @Intrigue
        Thank you for responding. It is soooo very sad. I consulted with my son, who is a policeman, about this. He said that this is a fraud, which by right should be treated as a crime because people are being exploited and being used for someone’s personal gain and profitting 100% off a charity drive.
        Moreover for a 192ml body wash for RM69 is too steep a price, in a country whose unemployment rate is very, very high whereby a RM2 soap does just as well.


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