Efficient Admin (aka Michelle) loves good hikes and good food. She currently works as a Project Coordinator for an engineering company.
My Journey as an Independent Beauty Consultant: The Pros and Cons
First let me cover the positive good things I learned from being a Mary Kay Cosmetics Consultant:
- I can now cold-call someone on the phone without getting butterflies in my stomach. Prior to joining Mary Kay, I would get sweaty palms if I had to make a phone call to any person that I did not know. I would sit there for 10 minutes rehearsing what I would say, and when the call actually happened, my voice would waver and I would sound nervous. After my Mary Kay training, it’s a piece of cake to call an unknown person, and I can even engage them in a conversation. Also, now I can speak in front of a group of people in meetings and not get butterflies. Before, I would just hyperventilate at the thought.
- I look much cuter. Before Mary Kay, I wore just enough makeup and didn’t pay any attention to my clothes, and I forget about accessorizing. After Mary Kay, I became aware of color coordinating makeup with clothes, shoes with handbags, jewelry, and what colors looked best on me. My hair style became more important. If you look good, then you feel good.
- I learned to find good in everyone I deal with. I had to learn to deal with different personality types in order to establish a customer base. I learned that not everyone was like me and not everyone liked what I liked, but I learned to value the uniqueness of each person.
Let’s Go Over Just a Few Things Your Director/Recruiter Will Tell You
- The product sells itself. Go to eBay or your local Craigslist and see how many MK products are for sale, and that will tell you how easy it was for the consultant to sell to her local surroundings.
- Sell $150 at a skin care class and you just made $75 an hour! Uuuhhh . . . no, it’s not that way at all. First of all, you must calculate the time it takes to find a customer to book the class, call for a reminder, pack up your skincare class supplies, load up your car, drive to the customer's house, unload car, unpack skincare class supplies, do the 2-hour class, take orders if you are lucky to get some orders, pack up skincare supplies, load up car, drive home, unload car, unpack and clean all class supplies. Whew, I’m tired just typing this. It is more like 6 hours of work—minus 50% inventory expense from that $150 plus gas, you make more like $12.00 per hour.
- Customers don't want to wait for their orders. Not true. Customers have to wait on orders from most places they purchase from, like Avon, Tupperware, L.L. Bean, etc. Your recruiter wants you to order a large inventory up front so they can get commission on it. Period.
My Journey Through the Pink Bubble
I was first introduced to the Mary Kay product line when an IBC at my place of employment brought skin care samples for me to try. I just absolutely loved this product and it made my skin look great. This IBC was doing it for personal use and did not harass or try to recruit me. It was great she just let me enjoy the product and I started ordering the product religiously. A few years later I lost my consultant and needed to find another so I looked in the yellow pages under Mary Kay Cosmetics and called the director closest to my house to buy the product from (Director #1 who drove a pink caddie).
My First Stint in Mary Kay
I became interested in all the glitter and glitz and glamour that is so much a part of the Mary Kay world, that it wasn’t difficult for Director #1 to badger me into going to area events and at least 1 unit meeting. I went as her guest to a Glamour Shot party at a local hotel for consultants and their guests, and I got all made up and had my hair all fixed up by a real beautician. I was having a blast and I looked fabulous. Director #1 told me I could get my pictures for free that evening if I signed a contract to become an IBC, otherwise I would have to pay $80 to get the pictures. The cameraman taking my pictures said it would be a better deal to just pay the $80 for the pictures. I signed a contract and became a MK consultant at the Glamour picture festival.
From the start I was very clear with Director #1 several times before I signed the contract that I could only do MK 5-8 hours a week on a part-time basis (I had a full-time 8-5pm job) and could absolutely not order any more than the $180 wholesale because I didn’t have the money and I have rent to pay. I informed her of this 3 times before I signed and she agreed with me and said each time that it wouldn’t be a problem. After I signed the contract, ordered my startup kit, and went to her house for the first training, it was apparent she was not keeping her word because she pretty much shamed me into a $600 order right there in front of everyone. She told me I couldn’t do this business without a $600 wholesale for my first order. This was the first time I heard about this. So I caved in. To add insult to injury she ordered my products for me the first time and said that’s what her job was as a Senior Sales Director. I thought, this is so wrong, because I had an idea who my customers would be and what color palettes I am more likely to sell. She ended up ordering weird colors like orange lipstick that no way could I sell to anyone (nor did I sell it to anyone). This was only the beginning of this nightmare.
Every time I turned around she was calling me and harrassing me to do more than I was able to. I was going to all the training classes and unit meetings and did a booth at the county fair and we split up the names and I booked and held 2 facial appointments in addition to my full-time 8-5 Monday thru Friday job. I was working hard and doing all that I could, but apparently wasn’t good enough for her. One thing I would like to mention is that she held her unit meetings with another Director in the area. The other Director had about 20 consultants show up every week, while Director #1 only had 3: myself and 2 others she recruited the same time as me. So the question was: where were all her recruits that bought her the pink caddy? Why were none of them ever showing up at her unit meetings? This was a big red flag.
She told me many times that since I had such lovely nails it shouldn’t be difficult for me to sell the nail manicure kit. And since I had a full-time job, she says, I am exposed to people that she would never be exposed to so therefore I had a large potential customer base that she didn’t have. I went on vacation one time and she pestered me that I should pack some suntan lotion and other product to get some sales while I was on vacation.
I had a few ladies from church who did me a favor and helped me out and booked a class. My roommate also joined that class to help me out. After the skincare class was completed, Director #1 called and asked me to give her the names and phone numbers of my facial appointments (i.e. my church friends and roommate) and said she was going to contact them and talk with them. I said No I can handle them and can take care of them (after all it’s my business and I am the CEO of my business, right?) Then she got a real attitude problem and snapped at me and said that’s what her job as a Senior Sales Director was, to contact my contacts. In hindsight I’m glad I didn’t cave in because her purpose in contacting MY customers was to recruit them, so she (not me) would get commissions off of their orders. But I still didn’t give her their names and phone numbers because I didn’t want her harassing them as well. At this point I realized I was not going to subject myself to any more emotional abuse from this tyrant. I stopped going to the Success meetings and wouldn’t return her phone calls. In the next year I used about half of my leftover inventory for my personal use and the other half I bartered product with another inactive consultant who had leftover inventory. The rest went to Goodwill (like the orange lipstick) and I got a tax writeoff. So my first stint as an IBC lasted only 4 weeks.
My Second Stint in Mary Kay
Fast forward 5 years. I moved to City #2 and called a Director in the yellow pages since I needed product. I ended up signing an IBC contract again. On the bright side this Director #2 was so much nicer and much better than Director #1. I was so sure-fired convinced that the reason I failed at MK the first time was because I had an evil tyrant Director and no real unit of sister consultants and I wanted another chance at this business, and that with Director #2 I would get more direction and support and training. Well this was true to a certain extent. The only problem was they still didn’t teach you how to sell the product and book classes. The unit meetings were all about recruit, recruit, recruit, warm chatter to book classes with the end goal of recruiting. There was not much teaching the business side of things. Our unit meetings were mostly rah-rahs and upcoming contests.
One bright spot was that Director #2 did not require payment to attend the weekly unit meetings. We met at a restaurant that didn’t charge her anything, so therefore thank goodness we didn’t pay at the door for our unit meetings. My sister consultants in my unit were new just like me, except they had about 6 more months than me, but still relatively new. Once or twice we talked among ourselves, outside the unit meeting, asking each other why is it that we try real hard and work real hard that we can't sell much of the product or get new customers. I even paid $25 to hear Pam Shaw speak at a hotel in my town and all she talked about was stepping out of your box if you want to make it in this business—no business training or how to sell the product. Just, don’t test the water with your big toe, just jump into the water with both feet. Rah Rah You Can Do It!!!!! Well gosh that’s what I thought I was doing.
We were not allowed to say anything negative about the company or the business in general. I tried to tell Director #2 about abusive tyrant Director #1 and she very nicely cut me off and said please nothing negative about anyone. I would like to add that both Director #1 and #2 did not seem to have any other interest in life except MK. No other hobbies or activities they liked to pursue, it was all about skincare, glamour, MK and nothing else. Director #2 had a 13-year old daughter that came to one of our unit meetings. I don’t have any children but I could see plainly that she was the most insecure, timid, shy, intimidated thing I ever saw. Her mother sure was loud and outgoing though.
So there I was letting everyone I knew at work and church know that I was now a MK consultant. I worked a booth at a PTA conference and we split the names and I booked and held 2 facials, no sales from either and I had to give them a free prize just for booking the facial. Some of my coworkers booked and held skincare classes to help me out and of course it was good training for me and we all had fun but I only got small sales.
Once I mailed 40 of the beauty books to new homeowners in my zip code area offering them a “Welcome to Your New Home” gift if they booked a facial to try products (I found their names and address in the newspaper—it’s public knowledge when real estate is transacted). That cost $0.52 each book to mail and all I got was a $12 order for an Extra Emollient Night Cream. Overall in general, of the few orders I did get, I had to place a $180 because I didn’t have one or two small items in inventory, and nobody to trade with.
I got so desperate for customers and to sell/move my inventory that once I wrote down all the “spammer emails” filling my mailbox, (you know how we all get spammed in our email) well, I spammed them right back with a really beautiful, nice, colorful pretty email about MK, with my website listed so they could order products. I got blasted by 2 of the spammers saying don’t ever send us this stuff again. One of them even threatened to “turn me in” to the authorities. So I spammed the spammers with my Mary Kay business and I got blasted by the spammers because they didn’t want any MK emails. Darn-it all, I was just trying to get new customers and sell some product!!
The Beginning of the Final End of the Pink Bubble
Two years later I decided to move to City #3 (where I currently reside) and became inactive because I didn’t place another product order to corporate using my credit card. I absolutely refused to use my credit card one more time to order inventory (just to stay active) when I couldn’t even sell my current inventory!! Good for me!! I think some of the pink fog started to lift at this point. All of my energy needed to go into finding a new full-time job and getting settled into my new city where I didn’t know a soul. I did visit an adoptive unit one Monday evening and had to pay $4 at the door. There were between 45-50 consultants at this unit meeting, with about 5 Red Jackets walking around (you become a Red Jacket when you recruit 3 people and they are active consultants under you). The whole evening consisted of a Red Jacket getting in front of the room and telling us which product she sold that week and then the whole room would break out in clapping and screeching, every 45 seconds. Yes screeching—it was so loud it hurt my ears, and Yes every 45 seconds. I worked all day at 8-5 job before this point and was tired and didn’t want my ears to hurt. I ended up leaving ½ hour early because I couldn’t take it anymore. That’s great that the Red Jacket sold product that week, but she failed to mention how she sold the product. Once again no real solid business training. I had to pay $4 of my cash to hear a bunch of women screeching and clapping. This turned me off the business for good. I never tried to get into another unit after that.
So here I sat in my new city with $1200 retail collecting dust in my closet. I was getting orders from coworkers for products I didn’t have in my inventory. Fortunately I found a website that allows MK consultants to “barter” product between each other. The majority of these IBCs are Active consultants with MK. No selling is allowed. Thank the Lord I found this website because it enabled me to move $400 retail off my shelf (unfortunately I don't have the website link anymore). I bartered with active MK consultants all over the country and had good trades with all of them. They even have a listing of good traders and the bad traders to stay away from. I traded so many times that my name ended up on the Good Trader list. Still, when my coworkers had everything they needed, and didn’t order any more, I had $800 Retail that I just went ahead and donated to charity and took an $800 tax write-off. Yes, the IRS accepted it because I didn’t get audited over it. I calculated that during these 2 stints as an IBC, I ran up a couple thousand just in MK credit card debt and have since paid it off.
I love glitter and glamour and dressing up and looking good and all that but I can do that without MK taking my money. Even at the height of my belief and enthusiasm with the company, there was just no way I was going to stalk and approach a total stranger at the mall and try to sell product and book an appointment with her. I love the fish bowl idea but I just absolutely could not bring myself to beg a store owner to let me put a fish bowl in their store. It’s been almost 8 years since I placed my very last credit card order with corporate. Since then I have paid off my credit card debt and have many other interests in life that make me happy like walking on the nature trails, water aerobics, church activities, volunteer work, a full-time job with a steady paycheck, my circle of friends that are my extended family. I even bought my first house. The MK things always stressed me out because I felt I wasn’t doing enough and that I wasn’t good enough. But, however, see the first paragraph – there were the good things I learned while being an IBC.
In general, based on my experiences and that of other IBCs that I have spoken with – my advice to anyone who is thinking about joining MK would be: RUN. If you adamantly love the product and can’t live without it, then join as a “personal use” consultant and get the product at 50% discount. Do not attend any events and do not attend the weekly unit meetings so you don't get brainwashed into buying more product or spending more money. Better yet, check out ebay and see how many Mary Kay products are for sale. This will give you an indication how fast the product sells itself.
More Information on Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.
- Pink Truth
Welcome to the world of Mary Kay Cosmetics. I have been a consultant with Mary Kay for 9 years and a director for over 8 years. I was one of those consultants who moved up fast.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Is it your belief that others should expect the same results you had as a Mary Kay consultant?
Answer: Yes, that is correct, because there is a very high turnover in this business and not many succeed without accumulating a lot of debt.
© 2012 Michelle Dee
RTT on August 02, 2020:
Can I sell MK on amazon?
DevieRyn88 on June 22, 2020:
Nice Post, I really loved this Blog.
Thanks for sharing.
We offer to you.
Tiffany Underwood on April 02, 2019:
I just started Mary Kay and I just want to say sorry. Those people should have never been in Mary Kay or near the company at all! If someone is pressureing you for your leads - then they need to do some lead generation. And no one should have forced you to use your own card for orders/inventory. I was told my my director that you don't have to have inventory on hand, but it helps if you do. I took that to mean it's purely optional. Plus there are ways to plug your MK website and if someone places an order there, you still get all the commission and no hassle of actually placing orders or delivering product yourself. In the end, this kind of 1099/IBC thing is not for everyone and it sucks to say that there are people who give this business model a bad rep. I have been fortunate enough to have a good support group and see the "pink" fantasy come to life for a lot of women. I cannot express how sorry I am you went through all t hat and I'm even more upset that those nasty women harrased you and made your life so miserable.
Amanda MK on August 25, 2018:
I'm sorry you had such a horrible experience. My director has not told us we MUST buy inventory. Only mentioned to us that if we dont order $225 within 3 months we lose our 50% discount and that if WE want we can have a full inventory for customers. She also acknowledges ALL the time how some ladies are doing it full time and others are doing it part time. I hope everyone understands it's not like that with every director and team :(
mssweettea on March 22, 2018:
I just want to say thank you so very much for your detailed MK experience. It feels very much similar to what I went through. I also was pressured into purchasing product, which I used my first credit card (which was supposed to be for emergency purposes only) and purchased $2500.00 worth of product.:( I may have sold about 500.00 worth of product. I wish I was smart of enough to think about bartering with other consultants.That was 10 years ago. I ran into another ldirector a month a week ago, who was really nice and got me interested in it again. So glad I came across your post, so that I do not make the same mistake twice.
Former Male Consultant on February 08, 2018:
I used to do MK in my early 20s. I was really good at it, too. But, once you go beyond your friends and family it gets hard to get new customers. And honestly, the product seems so dated and overpriced. And the women selling the products just didn’t seem stylish, trendy, and articulate. MK is in the business of selling dreams to consultants, not selling good cosmetics. If that were the case, they’d discontinue their dated business model and sell the product in retail establishments. Once I realized that business would soon slow, I returned my product back for 90%. So, I actually made a little profit from the short stint in the game. It would be funny to go to the unit meetings and be the only one who had made hundreds of dollars in sales. And then I’d kinda feel bad for the unit members, because I knew well that the Sales Director only had her best interests in mind. She was pissed when I returned that product. Lol.
Amber S on January 30, 2018:
Mary Kay has saved me... saved my life as a woman. I know we all have different stories. But I joined for personal use and some how my business has flourished. I don't feel like I'm trying that hard. I made $60 an hour last week. Yes that's after all my costs. I sold over $900 wholesale last week alone. I have been a consultant since Nov 30, 2017. I am a red jacket and finishing team lead...I will have my car soon. I don't feel like I have put myself at all. I also have a full time Directors position in a hospitality corp, so I am very busy. Mary Kay gave me an outlet. It gave me me back!! I feel so good and proud of what I have done. It's not all horror stories. The part o put education... there is so much free education to learn how to sell and book on the consultant in touch page that it's not even funny. I have had every single question answered. I have not felt pressured. I just do it when I can and I do love the product. Mary Kay spends millions on research and safety. I am told my passion sells the product. I never go into anything honking I'm going to get rich. But I am having the time of my life making great money, meeting amazing women, having beautiful skin for 50% off. And the best part... I have no debt. I didn't order inventory. I started by placing an order for me and couple coworkers. And now I am here. Not even 60 days later. Red jacket, team lead.... and in qualifications for me car. And I look back at the time I have spent doing Mary Kay and I have had the time of my life and can't wait to see what my future has in store.
atreat on November 28, 2017:
angelswings77 - you may not have to purchase a new kit. MK has a $25 reactivation kit. Depending on how long you have been out.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on October 01, 2017:
angelswings77 - yes you will have to join a unit and order a new kit to get reactivated in order to do personal use. You will have to make it real clear to your Director all you want to do is personal use.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on October 01, 2017:
Karina - please read the article again to get your answer.
angelswings77 on September 30, 2017:
Does anyone know if I need to buy the kit again as I only wish to order my own products again. I was a consultant and still have all my tools and bags.
Karina on May 18, 2017:
Hi I have a full time job but I really want to have extra money job during the summer since my job get slow on that season plus I want to start saving. I was thinking to join Mary Kay and start selling products. Im not really looking to recruit people because Ive been in that type of business like anway etc etc and it doesnt really interest me to basically push people to get into a pyramid business. I know this type of business is not for everyone. However, I do know that I can earn some extra money by selling products as much as I can. I would like to know if I can really benefit from selling Mary Kay Products. Is it really a 50% earning? what's your advice? Thanks
Crystal T Medina on February 09, 2017:
I started my business in Jan. of 2013. In the beginning, I really got into it. I attended my weekly meetings and went to all the classes to learn as much as I could. I loved the encouragement of my teammates and the challenges! I was inspired after hearing other people’s stories. So, I invested a lot into Mary Kay, but didn't have the same experience as everyone else. I felt like I was doing Mary Kay 24/7. My whole life became Mary Kay, and as much as I tried, it never seemed to be enough. When I’d go to my meetings and share my struggles my director would compare me with others and would belittle me. I remember walking into my meetings discouraged and walking out, just devastated and embarrassed because I was the example of the one that failed…
Even though I was discouraged with the business aspect of things, I remained faithful to my skin care regimen and continued to try all the products. I started to notice brown spots around my face and on occasions I’d breakout. When I would bring the questions to my director she’d blame it on the food I was eating, or hormones or sometimes just my negative attitude. I did consult my doctor and stopped two of my medications for 4 months and continued to get the spots so I started doubting the products. I’d always wondered why Mary Kay was willing to allow everyone to start off making 50% and directors making more. So I wasn't COMPLETELY SOLD OUT to their products which made it even harder to sell.
In April of 2016 I discovered a documentary called, "The Truth About Cancer." After watching this, I started researching my Mary Kay products! I didn’t know much about chemicals but after a lot of research I was deeply disturbed to learn about all the toxic products I’d been exposing myself to. I’ve had one too many healthy conditions and wasn’t about to contribute to them by adding more crap into my system. I knew there was no way I could continue to use Mary Kay or sell it. I started thinking about my customers and people who I possibly put at risk. It was vital for me to share what I’d learned. Some might say, the amount of chemicals in the products are minimal and not harmful but think about how many chemicals we’re exposed to on a daily basis; in our food, hygiene products, air pollution, etc!
I called the Mary Kay Corporate office because I was curious to hear what they had to say about their products and wanted to know if they had any intention of changing the formulas to make the products safer and the lady literally laughed at me and bluntly just said NO. After that call, I packed up my inventory and returned everything I could.
I refuse to represent a company without morals or integrity. How am I to sell a product that could potentially be harmful to someone, just to earn a buck? I can't. I won't do it, and it's disturbing to me that they promote "Empowering Women" when they are clearly being deceiving! Sadly there are many companies out there like Mary Kay and the government and FDA aren’t doing anything about it.
So, that's my why! My deepest desire is to create awareness about safe products and expose the dangers of products that claim to be safe, when they’re not.
I did months of research to learn all about chemicals and how they can create hormone imbalances and some that are linked to cancer and severe allergies. I would literally google the name of an ingredient and went a step further to dissect it word by word. It was a lot of work but I had to discover for myself to better understand. Here are a few good websites and a very good book I used to do my research:
No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products by Alexandra Spunt and Siobhan O'Connor
~Keep it Real
Maricela on December 29, 2016:
I LOVE MY MARY KAY!!!
Sali Yang on November 07, 2016:
It's nice to read someone's else experience of Mary Kay and who decided to quit! It prooves that not everyone is born to be a consultant.
I became a Mary Kay consultant too, and I'm lucky to have a very nice sales director who is ready to do anyting to help you succeed and who is willing to give you advice on how to sell! But I realised that I'm not passionated in selling/marketing/business, etc. I am more artistic, I prefer arts and writting, and I definitely don't have the passion to invest time, money and energy to do a Mary Kay business.
I came to the conclusion that if having a nice director still doesn't make me motivated to continue, then it's not worth it. We must pursue our main interest! In my case, the interest of being a business woman simply isn't there.
So I decided to return my inventory for repurchase at 90% (meaning the compagny can buy back all the products for 90% of the price you paid when you initially ordered your inventory.) and keep some of the products I love for personal use. That was the main reason I decide to try Mary Kay because you can return your products, although they failed to mention me that the compagny repurchase for 90% and not 100%! And that you can never be a consultant again if you return your inventory, so no more 50% off bying products. It's like ending your contract with them
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on October 14, 2016:
Spears - I'm very sorry you had this terrible experience with MK. You say you don't know what to do, but I am sure you know the answer - to get away from these toxic dangerous people. I bet if you wanted to sign up under another Director right away they would not turn down your startup fee. If you feel you must try this again under another Director, be a visitor to her meetings first to get a feel or see any red flags so you don't have to go through this again. Better yet, if you like selling cosmetics you could go to the local mall / department store and get a job doing basically the same thing with not as much toil and you'll actually get a reliable steady paycheck. I hope everything works out for your good. This Director you speak of should have some cuffs slapped on her wrists.
Rene on October 12, 2016:
Spears - You were HIT!?! by your Director? I am in shock. A. if that's true, did you file a report with the police, I know you said you contacted them but did you file charges? B. Did you hear from MK Corporate? C. that is not a normal Mary Kay experience. I'm sorry you went through that, it seems extremely dramatic and traumatic, but you can't think that this is normal right?
Spears on August 08, 2016:
I have been a Mary Kay representative now for about a year and a half. I am now sitting on about a $1000 or more worth of inventory. I just returned home from my very first Mary Kay seminar and I have been in bed crying for almost a week. I had a terrible experience at Seminar and it was all due to my Director and her favorite little 23 year old minion. Everything was going fine until the minion arrived a day later. For some reason the minion decided I was not worth acknowledging and processed to ignore and exclude me. When I approched my Director to inform her, she immediately waved my mouth shut and told me to get over it! A couple of dat s later my Director hit me. There is a lot more to it but I do not feel like telling the whole story over again. I have told it to my husband, the police, security at the seminar, MK legal, ect...My husband said that I went to a Mary Kay ecent to be impowered and instead got assulted! I don't know which way to turn or what to do. Do I quit Mary Kay or do I continue with no help? I DO feel as though I have been brainwashed and that I did drink pink coolaid. I do like sales and I do like the idea of being my iwn boss, but you are niether when you are a Mary Kay Consultant. My Director called and harassed me as well and when I did not answer the phone because I was ill, she would punish me by not answering when I would call her. She is not very understanding and dies nothing else but Mary Kay. I hace watched her make other consultants cry at the meetings and make others very upset because they come directly from work in pants. I wanted to be successful but I do nit want to lose who I am ir my ability to think and feel for myself. If I want a new director, I have to quite and be inactive fir a year and then sugn up under someine else. So, my Director is abusive and I get penalized! How fair is that? So, in conclusion, I, too, say RUN! Mary Kay will swallow you whole and then spit you out all used up!
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on August 12, 2015:
VNJNBN - thank you for your positive comments. I agree the few positive things I learned from MK were hugh and I am grateful I got that much out of it, but I am also grateful to pinktruth for, what I feel, was very helpful insight into the business. Good luck with your MK business. I think you have a good head on your shoulders and won't get taken.
VNJNBN on August 12, 2015:
I've read several articles online about the how terrible selling for Mary Kay is. Honestly I let it take the fun out the experience for me and I regret that. My goals with this are different than most. I'm not looking for a job to give me income as a normal wage job will do. I'm looking for the experience that this will bring me. I was never pressured. I like the meetings. I like the rah rah. I like the products. I have lucked out in that I have been trained to sell. Mary Kay has helped me in my sales of insurance products too. I'm not brainwashed because I like what this experience offers. I am allowed to be creative, to meet people and to make great friends. I am grateful for this article. I view articles like these as an opportunity to check in with myself to be sure I do not treat others poorly and to know who will make a good recruit. Some of us like it. Some don't. To the writer the two positive things you got from your experience are huge! Skills you could have gotten from anywhere but you got them from your experience. I worked as a claims adjuster for years. Working with negative and sad people and for a very controlling company. That company didn't work for me so I left after 10 years but I could never discourage others from trying. It may work for others plus I learned too much from the company to knock down that way. Even though I would NEVER go back. Hahaha. I enjoyed your article but was a bit disappointed in your final recommendation to run. I understand why.. but the article was balanced until the end. I hoped for something different than the pinktruth approach
Kristen Smith on August 11, 2015:
Geez!!! Well this is my 2nd time selling MK and I hv to admit that this time is better. I truly hate you had such terrible pressure filled experiences with some of directors!!! I guess it always depends on the person. I take the things I want to change about some ladies from my unit as examples of what Ill do differently when I have my own unit. Thanks for sharing. :)
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on April 12, 2015:
peachpurple - that is awful and I am sorry you had to go through this with a friend. My guess is she is being brainwashed to only associate with her "sister" consultants inside Mary Kay. After all, once you join you are not even supposed to wear other products except Mary Kay. I hope you will be able to move on and find other friends who will appreciate you for you! Thank you for your comments.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 12, 2015:
i am sorry to say this but... my friend was a nice lady before she joined Mary Kay. Once she was into this, she had changed. Of course she dressed well and looked sexy but she looked down on me and our friendship deteriorate. She still ignores me and said that I am not fit to be her friend . I hated Mary Kay for stealing for friend.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on March 03, 2015:
LaurieMaxson - that is great advice to remember and thank you very much for your nice comments. I so agree we need to be comfortable in our own skin.
Laurie Maxson from AL on March 03, 2015:
I appreciate your honesty. As soon as someone tells you not to speak negatively about the company, you know you should be running :) By the way, it's not the fancy clothes or makeup women wear that make them Fabulous, it is just being ALL of you :) We often think we need to look like supermodels but the truth is, I believe women are more amazing on the inside than we are on the outside anyway. You just proved me right.
ivylady25 on March 02, 2015:
I've had my business for almost a year now. of course i want to be successful, but i honestly joined because you get products at half off. I do a little here and a bit there and I have parties on occasion. Honestly i just want to make someone feel good about themselves. If you choose to join that's great, if you'd rather eat dirt and die than sell Mary Kay that's cool too. Lol. It isn't for everyon. And one person's experience isn't the same for all.
Thanks for your honesty
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on November 21, 2014:
prairieprinss - thank you for reading and for your comments.
Sharilee Swaity from Canada on November 18, 2014:
Wow, EA, what a story. I am sorry you had to go through this, and that woman sounds like a major bully. My auntie sold Mary Kay back in the day, but I am not sure how she did it. I also tried my hand at Avon, too, but like Mary Kay, it is very difficult to make any money at it. Lucky, I was not pressured to sell 100 of dollars worth of product, though. That is such a rip off!
Great hub ... really good for people who may have considered MK as a way to get some extra cash in their pockets.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on October 31, 2014:
FlourishAnyway - there seemed to be a lot more puffing than selling. Puffing doesn't pay the bills though. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 27, 2014:
If they're not teaching HOW to sell they're just puffing people up. It's good you wrote this.
Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on October 06, 2014:
Well, I live in South Africa and do not know the MK products, but I know the experience only too well, I have been through it with 3 different products, always the same. So no matter what anyone says, it is not worth it. Be aware, If someone you hardly know phones you out of the blue, RUN! She wants you to be under her, no interest in you at all. The money is in recruiting people, not in selling the product. To me it is no better than a ponzy scheme.
H C Palting from East Coast on June 27, 2014:
MadScientist I can see that you are afflicted with a severe case of keyboard courage. I do have experience in sales, above board and ethical experience that is. I also see that your ethics are lackluster in that you don't mind bothering people who specifically went to a store that may sell competing products. Just because a person jumps off a bridge, I guess you would follow, eh?
I was in the beauty section of Walmart looking for a very specific lotion and was bothered by a MK bot without invite or warning. I left the area immediately because she began trolling those specific aisles. This is not a high sales standard. Surely you don't advocate that other MK bots do the same? Do you do this as well? Guess so. That may be why you are so vigorously defending the other MK bot.
I pointed out clear evidence that I personally saw that she wasn't doing as well as many MK bots proclaim and that is it. Please don't get angry with me for notating the evidence that was clear whether it was her desperation for a sale or her modes of transportation. There is nothing wrong with driving a whooptie or being driven around in a van but what IS wrong is if you are in the beauty section of Walmart, bothering and pilfering customers from them while proudly proclaiming to be a MK salesrep when your mode of transportation provides evidence that speaks to the contrary of success. Whooptie transportation loudly suggests that MK is not meeting all your needs particularly if you appear to be closing in on 45 as this woman appeared to be.
She hounded me, she asked several questions about makeup as I tried walking away she followed me until I finally said no and continued walking away. Later as I was heading to a checkout, I saw her doing the same thing to other people who were equally taken aback and not interested simply by looking at their body language. People go to Walmart to buy their products not MK. Many people do not like it when others approach them to "sell" them or "qualify" them.
You present many maybes above however you and the other MK bot ignore the maybe that others do not want you approaching them about this or anything else. In the ethical and above board sales world, you do not impose yourself or your products on strangers especially while you are in other places of business that may sell competing products. I guess many people these days aren't very ethical. Apparently you are "all for that."
Dani Alicia from Florence, SC on June 27, 2014:
Express10, I can tell you don't have any experience in sales or business. Companies steal other people's customers all the time. They send "undercover" people in all the time. And companies don't always pay for their advertisement. So she didn't have a nice car--I didn't have a car at all when I started Mary Kay. People join Mary Kay to make money so they can change their circumstances. That is the same reason people get a job--to make money and change their circumstances. Maybe this woman had a reason to be so driven to make her business work--you don't know if she was laid off or what was going on in her life. Maybe she has children to take care of. Mary Kay is not a get rich-quick scheme. It takes time to build anything and so maybe she had to drive her "whooptie" around until she built her business. There is nothing wrong with that. And as far as the guy in the van, how do you know that wasn't a family member or friend who was helping her out? You don't have to like MK, you don't have to buy it. But stop putting people down because of the type of car they drive or because they are working hard at building something. If you don't want what she is selling, just say no and keep moving. I shop at Walmart and when I see women whom I would like to be my client (because I don't talk to everyone), I go introduce myself and give them a business card. I don't hound anyone, but when I am out and about, I sure do talk to people. If they say no, I move on to the next.
H C Palting from East Coast on June 27, 2014:
Madscientist, I am here again just to repeat my real life experience of having a MK lady hounding me and other people in WalMart. I have always known MK is a direct sale company and I do not need you to repeat this. That MK rep could not have been doing well seeing as how the first time I saw her in WalMart she was being driven around by some guy in a van and the 2nd time she was driving a whooptie. If one is truly running a business, they do not pilfer from other businesses. They network when and where appropriate and they PAY for advertising and marketing.
Real entrepreneurs do not go into retail businesses and bother shoppers there. You were not there, I was and I experienced this unknown woman coming up to me reeking of desperation which repelled me from the moment I saw her face because I knew she wanted something from me, she wanted me to buy MK products which I of course did not. There are many ways to earn money, pilfering and hounding customers in retail stores is not going to pay anyone's bills and will get them banned from those stores.
Dani Alicia from Florence, SC on June 26, 2014:
I am so sorry that you had such a bad experience with Mary Kay. The truth of the matter is, Mary Kay is a business, not a job. You won't start off making six figures. You have to work to build it up. That would happen with ANY business that you start. I've read the majority of the comments and a lot of them is full of false information. For example, aussie85 says she sent back over $1500 in products and only got back $185. This is not true. The company will give you back 90% of the money that you invest. And bodylevive who says that your first order has to be a minimum of $600. That isn't true either. In order to become active, your first order must be a minimum of $225 (it used to be $200, it has gone up a bit). Sales directors will push you a lot--it is not their job to help you be mediocre. People tend to do a good job of that themselves. They are there to push you to be excellent. Let's be honest--Mary Kay is a BUSINESS not a job. It requires an investment--a minimum of a $118 starter kit if you are going to simply take orders. But the business works wayyy better if you have inventory on hand. Women are impulsive--if you show the sparkly stuff to them and put it in their hands, they are more likely to buy than if you tell them you have to order it. As far as sales directors making lots of money--this is TRUE! My sales director has shown us her checks from the company. She hasn't reached the $30K mark yet, but she does earn anywhere from $8K to $10K per month. But it takes dedication to get to this point. It amazes me that people will dedicate themselves to a job (someone else's company) but not to their own. Think about this--the person who started your company probably had to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to make it successful. People get into Mary Kay and complain about having to invest a few hundred dollars. Again, this is a business and businesses require investments. Any business also takes time to become profitable. You are going to have a bunch of "no's". Not everyone is interested in Mary Kay. As consultants, it is our goal to find the people that ARE interested and service them. The weekly success meetings are designed to MOTIVATE people who want to move up in the company. So therefore there may be a lot of talk about recruiting. Sales directors try to keep everything on a POSITIVE note so that people can stay motivated. I've never heard of anyone being upset because someone told them to stay positive! And to Express10, I'm sure the MK lady wasn't "hounding" people in Walmart. Mary Kay is a direct-selling company. This means that we DIRECTLY sell to people. This requires us to TALK to people. If people aren't interested--on to the next. Mary Kay is not an opportunity for everyone--if it didn't work for you I am sorry that it didn't. However, there are literally thousands of women making hundreds of thousands of dollars with Mary Kay. If they can do it, so can I and so can you but you have to be willing to put in the dedication and commitment. If you don't want to, then don't. It's really that simple.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on March 10, 2014:
ashley - If I could go back in time knowing what I know now that's all I would have done was personal use. Thanks for stopping by and for your encouraging comments.
ashley on March 10, 2014:
I joined last month for personal use,my director is real laid back,she knows I am personal use,she also told me if I want to do the business in the future to let her know.I am sorry that your experience was bad,honestly it sounds like a lot of women's stories,just know you are not alone.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on February 09, 2014:
Express10 - thank you for your post - TMM1280 reminds me of many Kaybots that are still "drinking the pink kool-aid" as we call it, and this is the same group of people that if you show up to an event wearing nice classy dress pants you will be scorned and look down on because you didn't wear a skirt. So you are not allowed to speak the truth and not allowed to wear pants. Thank you for visiting and commenting.
H C Palting from East Coast on February 09, 2014:
I think I will have to steal that Efficient Admin, "Let's-See-Your-Schedule-C." You have the RIGHT to share your opinions and experiences and while other have the right to disagree, TMM1280's advice was off the mark and unsolicited to say the least. They sound like the crazy MK lady who spent a few days hounding people down inside one of our local WalMarts trying to sell things to them. I hope someone reported her and got her arse banned from all WalMarts. I thank you for sharing your experience with MK. It is not unlike many others, some of whom are excellent salespeople.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on February 07, 2014:
TMM1280 - Did you truly even read this entire article thoroughly? There is nothing SELFISH about speaking one's opinion and nobody is twisting your arm to run away from a business that is not profitable.
There are no customers because they either a) use other products that don't break out their skin, or b) get recruited by MK and then wise up and leave, or c) don't want to deal with the crazy MK lady hounding them.
Your post has you sounding like a very judgmental person. Let me add that I am certainly not "bitter" because I have moved on to better opportunities i.e. steady cash flow, skincare and I feel I should not even dignify the comment "stoop to their level" as you say. I won't even respond to that because it's so ridiculous.
I have only 5 words for you: Let's-See-Your-Schedule-C. Best of luck to you and have a nice day.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on February 07, 2014:
TRR thank you for your comment. I think you have the right idea about tweaking the business for yourself. Good luck to you and let us know how it turns out.
TMM1280 on February 07, 2014:
I appreciate you sharing your experience. But the one thing that did concern me is the "ADVICE" that you ended with. I don't think it was at all appropriate to tell people to RUN if ever given the opportunity to start a MK business for themselves. I think that is extremely selfish! I agree, what happened to you was terrible, and I would surely have a bad taste in my mouth if I experienced that; BUT to "rob" others of an opportunity that could work for them simply because it didn't work for you is totally SELFISH!!! One thing that is 100% true is that MK is definitely NOT for everyone. How could it be? If everyone sold it, who would be the customers? So just because you and many other women have found that you'd be better off being a customer or personal use consultant, doesn't mean the business itself is evil, and that doesn't give you a right to say it's ALL bad just because it didn't work for YOU! Unfortunately, there are BAD MK consultants and directors out there that are robbing women of a life changing opportunity because they're not working their businesses with integrity. BUT, sweety don't stoop to their level. I know you were hurt by this, but use this as an opportunity to help others instead of hurt others. If you still love the product, find a nice consultant and support her by being a fabulous customer, and refer people to her to help build her business. This business has paid for college educations, numerous charity efforts, businesses for spouses, healthcare, dream homes, vacations, etc. This company has been around for half a century, and it's still POSITIVELY impacting lives worldwide. Mary Kay Ash has been dead for over a decade, but her legacy still lives and thrives beyond her presence on this planet. That doesn't sound like a company that's evil. PLEASE realize that all things aren't for all people, but don't steal from other people because your bitter. This business could help a woman pay her bills after she or her husband gets laid off, but what if she reads this and rejects the blessing that God is sending her way??? Best wishes to you :)
TRR on October 31, 2013:
I found your page as a result of searching the web for info about changing units. I signed on with MK a few months ago, after hearing about what a good company it is. So far, the company has been great. I love the online training, as well as the training cd's. Unfortunately, the unit that I am in is a different story & I would love to move to another one. I've had a hard time getting the ball rolling due to exactly what you stated, about there not being any solid business/sales training. The weekly meetings are just a pep rally - nothing more. When I inquired about training, I was told that all training was at the meetings. Because it has been nearly 20 years since I have worked in any kind of sales, I really need the training. I attended my last unit meeting a couple of months ago & have no plans to ever go back. After paying $5 to attend, the consultants were seated shoulder to shoulder across the back of the room to watch our 2 directors put on a party for a room full of women (friends/customers of the consultants). This went on for over 2 hours! We were shushed on more than on occasion, & told we should be watching & learning instead of talking. Yep, shoulder-to-shoulder...hot weather....35 women crammed into a room for over 2 hours & told not to talk. I hadn't been treated so patronizingly since I was a teen. Huge waste of my time in an atmosphere that was quite negative. I have continued to do my own training (like I mentioned) & so far everything I've learned, I have done on my own. It has been frustrating to say the least, but the company has been great to work with. My director sometimes takes up to a week to respond to any questions I have had (don't have time for that when in the middle of placing an order), so I just bypass her & have gotten my answers elsewhere. I do see the business benefits, & have no trouble at all tweaking my MK business to make it 'a fit' for me & to make it work for me. Perhaps my views are different, because I have been an entrepreneur & business owner for many years. The MK business plan is phenomenal & I do believe that there is plenty of money to be made. I am sure, of all the directors - somewhere there is one who has a little of what Mary Kay Ash taught, in her.....the golden rule, to make others feel important, & that by helping others succeed you help yourself succeed. Thank you for honesty, Efficient Admin, & best wishes to you.
Diane on August 25, 2013:
Hi, Um wow, I just joined MK 3 Weeks ago. I have done pretty good, no pink caddilac in the near or far future lol. Pink is not my color. anyway i made if clear to my director and recruiter to NOT push me. So ill see where it takes me but i do have a web site and tons of friends:) not going to be rich anytime soon... not my goal.. but thank you for this article :) Interesting..
H C Palting from East Coast on April 29, 2013:
Money = Choice
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on April 24, 2013:
Jasmine -- $30K sounds a bit high, especially in this economy. Their commission checks are based on how much MK product their consultants in their Unit have ordered from corporate that quarter.
I would still like to see their Schedule C if they claim that much in one month. I am glad this article has helped you make the decision to run and I hope you find a position very soon. When you find a position you will get a steady paycheck. Mary Kay is like a wing and a prayer with no cash flow coming in to pay the bills. Thank you for reading and your comments are appreciated.
Jasmine on April 24, 2013:
Efficient Admin it was really nice to hear another person's view. As usual most companies only show you the good side of the company but never the down side of it because they are only interested in recruiting. I was shown that some of them received $30,000 in one month and that I could be making just as much. I am sure that for most that may be a possibility. It depends on the person and it sounds like you must have a strong will to make it. Thank you because I was sleeping on it to give my answer today. After reading your comment I have decided to RUN. I just believe that this would not be for me. Being ex-military I just learned to check further into things before jumping into them. I have read many unsuccess stories. Very sad that some went into debt. I don't work at this moment but have been desperate to find work as an RN (new grad) which seems to be taking forever. So MK was very tempting. So again, Thank You!
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on March 14, 2013:
aussie85 - congratulations and you are in good company. You are now an ex-kaybot and you get a steady paycheck from a real full-time job. Thanks for reading and commenting.
aussie85 on March 13, 2013:
I have just left Mary Kay after just under a year. While my director wasn't bad I work a full-time just plus Mary Kay I just felt it was too much. It has taken my a month to finally get any money back. I sent back over $1500 worth of stock and I will only be getting $185 back. I agree with the others here do NOT join Mary Kay-RUN!!!!!!
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on March 12, 2013:
Express10 - I'm glad your sister didn't go through with it. I ran into the same thing with not getting clear answers and it was like pulling teeth to get any clear answers. All I can do is keep hoping the kaybots will stop drinking the Pink Kool-aid and see the light. Thanks for reading and for the encouraging comments.
H C Palting from East Coast on March 12, 2013:
My older sister talked about "joining Mary Kay" and I thought that it seemed to be light on details as far as the sales training goes. Every time she asked for specifics about sales training and methods, she was met with lackluster answers if any at all. She didn't go through with it and saved the several hundred bucks that you spoke of. I could have sworn I saw a story on t.v. in the past 2 or 3 months about other Mary Kay representatives that had similar experiences that you have. I feel there is nothing wrong with anyone sharing their opinion and life experience, that's a great reason to be on HubPages. To the Mary Kay bots I must ask...do you troll much?
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on March 09, 2013:
SandCastles - thanks for reading!
SandCastles on March 09, 2013:
A very good and informative Hub!
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on March 07, 2013:
Giselle - thank you very much for your comment. I did publish at least two comments by a kaybot troll. I bet you can guess which ones. I published the latest attack comment for the benefit of everyone to see that what you say is so true. Thanks for reading!
Giselle Maine on March 07, 2013:
Hi Efficient Admin, I just wanted add a few more words of support about this article. It was a well-written first person account of your experiences with Mary Kay, and you were open and honest. I really appreciated how you pointed out both the pros and cons of it.
It seems that not all of the commenters like what you've written, and that's their prerogative. In fact, in my experience it's rare for ANY article to have 100% positive comments.
As for me, I personally appreciate balanced writing that is based on actual fact or experience, as you have done here, and I therefore find it easier to put stock in your writing and much harder to take seriously the types of comments which are merely a personal attack on the writer. Thanks again and keep up the good writing, EfficientAdmin!
Stellar Phoenix Review on March 07, 2013:
As if the internet needs more redundant crap hanging around. In my opinionyour blog is crap You should just stick with twitter; twit. God I’ll be sure to block this URL.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on December 01, 2012:
bmariemk - I see you are a guest user on Hubpages and I would guess that you are still a fairly new consultant with MK. I would like to see your source on these statistics that state there are 200 Mary Kay millionnaires in the U.S. Show me your Schedule C. Ask your Director to show her Schedule C. Are there any Directors that will show their Schedule C? How much product are you selling every week? Every month? It is a wonderful business to get a positive high and some Rah Rah in your life. But for making real money to pay the mortgage and keep food on the table and make the car payments - No.
BMARIEMK on December 01, 2012:
I am so happy you told your story so now everyone can see what it takes to not be successful in this business. It is a wonderful business and the 200 MK Millionares in the U.S. alnoe is enough proof for me. If you read the marketing plan, it is better than any other direct sales marketing plan company and it is driven by the Golden Rule! So since you are being negative about a company you had a bad experience with-you cannot seem to move on-you don't believe in the Golden Rule. Look in your life I am sure there are hundreds of things you have failed at and never made a decision to change you outlook, situation or thought process. A s a Man thinkith...SO is He!
Change your way of thinking and whatever you do in life....find your WHY!
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on November 28, 2012:
bodylevive - I so relate to that as well. You can still get MK product on eBay for a discount. A lot of the sellers have fixed prices so you don't have to bid for any product. All of the consultants I bought from tried to recruit me as well. Thank you for reading and commenting.
P.S. Also check Craig's List in your area and search for Mary Kay Cosmetics and see how many results come up. There are probably consultants in your area that are trying to unload their inventory and you can get some product from them.
BODYLEVIVE from Alabama, USA on November 28, 2012:
I can identify with you. I use Mary Kay but I can't keep a representative because they all quit. One of the representatives I had tried to recruit me but I declined. They charge to much to get started plus your first order has to be 600.00. I told her if I had 600.00 I could find something better to spend it on.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on July 29, 2012:
Thank you very much Giselle for your insight and encouraging words. I believe MK Corporate wants the consultants to be their first line customers. However, they do not sell directly to the public on their website as Avon and Tupperware will - you have to find a MK consultant if you want to purchase the product. Also nobody can figure out why they discontinued their hot selling products such as the Day Radiance Foundation line, body exfoliating creme, and Nightime Recovery System (to name a few). The sellers end up selling their product on ebay or they donate it to Goodwill. Thank you very much for reading and your comments.
Giselle Maine on July 29, 2012:
Thanks for this honest and up-front description. Even though I love the products, I don't buy from MK anymore because the skin care parties are more about trying to recruit you as a consultant. I love the eye cream, for example, but I got turned off MK as a customer because of the emphasis on recruiting. I didn't even want to be recruited - I just wanted to buy my skincare needs at my friend's place hanging out with other gal pals & have a fun evening! When I ticked the box saying I was NOT interested in being an MK consultant, I got asked why. I pointed out that not everyone can be doing the selling, some people need to be buying it. I basically didn't attend any parties or buy any MK after that. To this day, I still wonder why MK wants so many people selling - it's not to their advantage if all customers become consultants because then who are the sellers going to sell to? Each other?
Thanks again for your honest description.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on July 29, 2012:
Thank you very much donnah, I hope this can help others. I joined twice because I was a dunce and loved the product, and then lost a lot of money, but did eventually recover from it all. Thank you very much for reading and for your encouraging comments and vote.
Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on July 29, 2012:
Wow. So many people can likely relate to your story. My sister had a similar experience with a company selling vacations. I think that to get to the top in these company schemes, you have to be willing to step on and destroy others. I am glad you came out of all of that on your feet. This is a good, cautionary tale, and I am glad you shared it.
One of my co-workers told me recently that she sells MK products. She told me that as she handed me a grocery bag full of product that she wanted to donate to my drama club. She couldn't sell it. I think your story is a common one.
Voted up and sharing.