The Canvas Grey

Inspiration, Perspective, Insight

My Mary Kay Story

Posted by thecanvasgrey on April 15, 2007

I think my story is typical and that is exactly why I’m sharing it.  I want others to KNOW what happened with me and has happened with hundreds of thousands of other women.     I’ve always been into skin care and cosmetics.  I enjoy taking care of my skin and I like the way I look after I’ve applied my make-up 

When I was 20 my friend started Mary Kay and I had a party for her.  The line was okay but not for me.  She wanted me to sign in as her recruit but I didn’t.  I wanted to pursue a business career.  Cosmetics and playing in them was just for me.    Then, for a brief time in my late 20’s I used and sold Jafra.  It is a cosmetic company that started around the same time as Mary Kay and “works” in much the same way.  I did learn quite a bit about skin care and make-up during that time.  They had more training in one month than I got in 10 months of Mary Kay.  I remember I stopped selling Jafra because I wasn’t making any money.  I went back to department and drugstore cosmetics.   

Throughout my 30’s I tried Mary Kay off and on when I was invited to a party.  Looking back it seems during my 20’s and 30’s I went to WAY too many parties and bought stuff to help out a friend that wanted the host gift.  Sound familiar?      After turning 40 I knew the same old stuff wasn’t working for my aging skin.  I started to look for the “right system” for me.  I tried all types of systems from those on QVC, HSN to department store lines.  I wasn’t finding anything that worked for me.  And I had all kinds of half used items lying around.  I was tired of searching and remembered Mary Kay.  I started buying it from eBay stores.  Sometimes I got good product, other times not.   

We moved to a new area, far from family and friends.  I wanted to find some women to connect with and started going to a local gym.  One of the ladies was…you guessed it…a Mary Kay director.  Next thing I knew I was at a large party talking with women of all ages about one of my favorite subjects, cosmetics.  I tried all the new products and my face looked fabulous.  They fed me lunch and seemed like such good women.  I was entranced.  I enquired about the career opportunity because it all sounded so great.  90% buy back, only $100 to get started; everyone was happy and excited about their 20 to 30 year business.  The whole system costs $400 retail; why not save $300 and make some money at the same time!  HOW COULD I LOSE?????  MARY KAY IS SO REPUTABLE.  Sign me up! I made the financial decision to invest in a small store.  I wanted to have some inventory of basic items, some samples, office supplies which included everything from pens to staples to files to paper clips, the list went on and on.  I readily admit that it was FUN to go out and buy these things.  It was FUN to get packages in the mail to open, sort through and place into my inventory.  I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed making up flyers, facials (I preferred the one on one, I enjoyed getting to know the lady, sincerely wanted to help her, and I always sold more), running my own business on my terms (which simply isn’t true), and I was setting my own hours (uh, not really).  I knew that for the first couple of months I would be busy getting all these things set.  My family came last during this time…not first, last, we were all sacrificing to make it easier in the long run of my business.   

Because I opened a store and was a STAR consultant and had recruited I was told I’d be honored at a quarterly meeting.  I was to receive recognition for a great beginning.  They asked me to give them money so I could attend the meeting where I’d be honored.  I thought that a bit odd but obliged because I was excited to get a night out for myself. It was fun, a bit over the top in the rah-rah area for me but still fun.  As we were paraded about in order of our Stars I realized that this ranking system didn’t depend upon who SOLD the most, it was based on who BOUGHT the most from Mary Kay Corporation.  I saw women out in the audience selling raffle tickets to win HALF of the pot.  Okay, who got the other half of the pot, I thought.  Then the I-stories started pouring across the stage.  I’d never heard speeches like these before, about someone being so happy to be in a company and what success they were having in “their business”.  They all started to sound the same but very excited.  Later I wondered about all the phrases they were using (which are scripts).  I wondered why I was supposed to say things to clients that didn’t seem natural to me.   

I moved on and I sold quite well for a while; mostly to family and friends and then to their friends and some neighbors (this is completely typical). I invested in some bridal lists and advertising leads (to the tune of $450) but not ONE of those panned out … NOT ONE response from calls or postcards (which cost time and money).  Yes, I did both in a desperate attempt to get SOME of my money back, but I did not.   After about five months I became frustrated.  I was working almost 12/7, always in “Mary Kay uniform” and full face (because heck, I never knew who I would run into or who would call wanting to stop by for an order – ALWAYS ON).  Every quarter there were NEW products to buy (at least one as a tester) and some things I still had in inventory were already discontinued…I had JUST gotten people to try and buy them.  I didn’t like that at all.  It seemed like the catch-up game to me.   

I contacted my director and she said it was because I didn’t attend meetings and told me that they helped so much with new ideas and challenges.  I told her I was full of ideas and nothing was working.  I told her I’m not an idiot and I’m not.  I was in the business world for 20+ years and did very well until I chose to stay home with my kids while they are young.   She sent me some CDs and DVDs for encouragement.  I listened to a few and yes, these ladies were excited but they all said the same things, over and over and over again.  I had to wonder why are these women “idolizing” Mary Kay Ash and why it was so important to keep pushing for more recruits versus sales.   

Then my director placed in my hand something that made me question her AND Mary Kay Corporation’s ethics.  It was script that said when recruiting other women who may not have the money to open their business, have them ask other family members and friends for the money to start their business.  ANY company that even HINTS at this type of abomination isn’t ethical NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT; much less gives you exact words as to telling OTHERS to do this!!! I started questioning more and more about Mary Kay this “reputable” company that was around for so long.  My dear friend who was my recruit and I began to talk more about things that weren’t working and how all we got from our director was encouragement to purchase or recruit.  After two out and out lies to me I knew Mary Kay and the people in it wasn’t the place for me.  I was degraded by my director.  She insisted that I wasn’t working my business right if I worked more than 20 hours a week.  There was something always wrong with me.  Thank goodness my self-esteem was high enough to know that it wasn’t me.  But being the analyst I am, I had to know what wasn’t working and how all these other ladies seemed to be doing so GREAT!!!! 

My dear friend and I had seen some websites that painted Mary Kay Corporation in a less than flattering light.  Up until this point I had dismissed them.  I decided to see what these websites had to say about Mary Kay.   I read with an open mind other women’s experiences.  I learned of pyramids and MLMs (multi-level-marketing).  I realized to make money you must work constantly and well over 40 hours a week as a consultant or sign up hundreds of people to sell it and KEEP (that is a key word…KEEP) them in Mary Kay.  I had felt and it was confirmed that Mary Kay is a cult.  It meets EVERY definition of a cult.  And lastly, Mary Kay preys upon women who are at home (wanting to be with their kids) with a need for extra money or recognition that at home moms don’t get from their family.  Mary Kay is designed to creep into every fiber of your life until you are engulfed and your life isn’t your own any more.   

The truth, my conclusion, the fact is Mary Kay is a cult within a pyramid scheme.    
Pink Truth provided me the information and support to get my life, my family and my FREEDOM back!   Pink Truth is the place to find truthful information about Mary Kay and other MLMs (most all of the at home party “businesses”) provides a source of support for those in the process of DE-PINKING and recovering!!!!

If you are even considering Mary Kay as an option in your life, investigate it thoroughly and with open eyes.  Just because a reputation is good doesn’t mean you should invest without checking…think about all those who invested in ENRON.   Please don’t go into debt over Mary Kay; please don’t leave your family (like I did for six months)!!!  IT IS NOT WORTH IT AND IT TAKES MORE THAN 40 HOURS A WEEK TO MAKE $500!!!  Just work the numbers and it is easy to figure out!  Look at it this way, you can put 40 hours of work into your MK business and there isn’t a guarantee you will get a dime…not one thin dime because NO ONE HAS TO BUY IT or sign up and STAY in MK! Still think I’m wrong, check out eBay and see how many people are dumping their stuff at a LOSS

Regain your LIFE!!! 

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50 Responses to “My Mary Kay Story”

  1. cstrohmeyer said

    I find the marketing and business model of companies such as Mary Kay reprehensible. I have watched two friends turn into selfish materialistic monsters. Mary Kay products are good, but no where near what they cost and the need to use friends and bring in more representatives under oneself in this pyramid club all the while using persons all around them is just plain disgusting.

    Carl Strohmeyer- American Aquarium Information

  2. Kristen said

    I have decided to stay in Mary Kay, but completely agree with a lot of what you are saying. I sell my items on e-bay, I do NOT recruit my friends, I do NOT stock up on inventory, I do NOT go to raraa meetings all of the time (just when I need to know about Christmas items and whatnot) and I am probably the most profitable woman in our unit. I actually EARN more than I SPEND. It was always really funny to me that the company encouraged us to pay for meetings right after we invested like 5000$ and gave us presents for being a STAR. Then, I saw people pawning those same presents off on e-bay – like I do if I happen to get them (not that I try) and if I win anything. Why not just give us money?

    Also, our items are sooo overpriced. No one will ever sign up under me now becasue I discount my products sooo much. This is how I order. When I need my makeup, I make a list, send our e-mails for a sale (which my clients wait for becasue I never sell anything at retail anymore), then gather their orders and mine and place my order. I deliver, mail them and am done. I do not do parties (or rarely and these are mostly trunk shows) and most clients I go to see I do only one on one facials with. I stopped calling people I don’t know and only do MK for the free or half price products – after all, they are good.

    Thank you for your ideas – so right!

  3. MK Girl said

    I have been a Mary Kay consultant for about a year now. Yes, I have a full time day job and work Mary Kay in my spare time. But little by little I am building a strong customer base and team. Soon I will be able to just do Mary Kay.

    Why, you ask? Because I LOVE IT! It didn’t really seem like you ejoyed helping women. You talked a lot about money, and how you didn’t make it. That, you can only blame on yourself. Maybe you weren’t cut out for sales or running a business?
    That’s ok. It is not for everyone. At least you have the choice to do something you love. Find that something and you will soar, I promise.

    I must say having my own business and being my own boss has not been a breeze, but if it was easy it wouldn’t be so fun. I love a challange especially challanging myself to live up to my potential.

    And as far a the product is concerned. It is THE BEST I have ever tried, that was affordable. My acne scars are gone and I no longer have breakouts. I am confident now and happy every day for this opportunity I have been given.

    And I need to add that there is nothing wrong with asking family for a loan to start a business. This is very common with a lot of small business’s. Not everyone can qualify for a loan at a bank.

    And yes, I have a lot to say. I have been reading alot of negative blogs about Mary Kay and am just so disappointed in people. Why waste your time? Move on! Find something that does work for you.

    Also, I am sorry that there are some consultants out there that are deceitful and manipulative for there own means. But, you will be hard pressed to find any company that doesn’t have people like that. I have ,thankfully, never met a consultant like that. My unit members are honest, respectful, ethical women. We do not pay for “meetings”. We do not pressure inventory on on new consultants either. We want real hard working women that are able and willing to have their own business and succeed.

    Ok, now I have finally shared my feelings on the subject. Feeling better. By the way, I am a college graduate with a degree in Computer Science (Which I love) and I still want to make Mary Kay full time.

  4. You and I will never agree about Mary Kay. I completely respect anyone’s right to choice. I told this story because I’m not the only one who has had this experience. I educated myself on many things, most of all the hype surrounding MLMs (multi-level-marketing). I have links in my right side bar that describes how they work in more detail.

    So many people are selling dreams these days. It is easy to see how anyone could get caught up in this crazy advertising frenzied world. That is another reason why I blog. People getting rich by selling a little something and a whole lot of hot air to people who WON’T get rich and waste their most precious asset, TIME!

    I’ve related my experience openly and honestly from my perspective. I’m far from a lazy person. I’ve discovered so much about myself through the experience so I believe in looking for the good of things.

    Your are right about selling, it isn’t for everyone especially when you have to fake so much. I can’t fake. I’m not a faker and THAT is what made me a good salesperson. People trusted me and unfortunately I trusted some people who weren’t trustworthy and that includes corporate Mary Kay (they are expert at selling dreams). This company is NOT about God, Family, Career…one of their best dream selling pitches.

    I’m very over all this and leave these posts out there for others to read and possibly learn from my mistake. To be more CAREFUL and ALWAYS check and verify when being shown ANY type “opportunity” that is presented to you.

    How did Reagan say it? “Trust but verify.”

  5. Peggy said

    I have to agree that there are Units out there like the one you were in. I have been in Mary Kay 2 separate times. The first time from a Friend from out of state. I signed up ordered a small order and came back home to Virginia. When my product arrived I was so excited. Then realitity set in. What did I do now? Who did I do facials on? So I called my friend and was told I needed to get in a good support group. So I dropped out as I knew no one that sold Mary Kay in my area. April 27 2007 A lady came and did a facial on several of us and gave me the cd Choices. When she called me to recruit me I told her I didn;t care what people in other states was doing. Show me your commission checks. She did and I was impressed. No it wasn;t a huge amount only a little over 1500. She was going the following week to pick up her car. Not the Cadiallac just the Vibe. She never told me it was going to be easy. It was gonna take work. I decided I would try once again with Mary Kay. I placed a nice inventory and began my second adventure. We have weekly meetings. No not alot of hoopla. We do training sessions were we learn how to do warm chatter to people we meet along our way while out doing everyday life. My business is beginning to flurish and I see it growing daily. If you meet me you are gonna hear about Mary Kay. I average selling 500 a week with doing a couple of classes a week. I also do gift baskets and take to each class so everyone can get an idea and I have people calling to order them for all occasions. Even men call for them for wife and mothers birthdays. I feel alot has to do with the unit you are in and how plugged in you are. We are never asked to give money for anything. We do have a honor our Hostess night each month and a drawing for a gift basket which we all give a little something towards.

  6. Stephanie said

    I also feel that there are a lot of blogs speaking poorly about Mary Kay. This business takes time to build. I have been in the business twice and this time around for a month so far. I personally appreciate the scripts and different ideas my director has given me to aid me in my business. I agree Mary Kay may isn’t for everyone that doesn’t make the company bad. This is a great opportunity you just have to realize it takes time and effort. Mary Kay is great and I suggest to anyone form your own opinion. And please run quickly from any dream robbers and surround yourself with optimistic people. I haven’t read any of the negative blog entirely. They are draining and I would much rather read something up lifting.

  7. If you believe that Mary Kay is good for you, great. I like to read uplifting things too. I am an optimistic realist. I also find that the truth isn’t always uplifting. My story is my experience with Mary Kay. If there are lots of negative blogs out there about Mary Kay that may say something to you or not. I’ve been honest and open about my experience. It is only negative if viewed that way. I think any business woman would want to know all about the positives and negatives etc. before jumping in based on word of mouth reputation (which is what I did). I think weighing all sides of things before spending time, money and effort is a positive thing. This life lesson taught me that I must be a better steward of my time, money and effort.

  8. heidi said

    I am a MK consultant still ACTIVE, signed up last year b/c of the same thing a really nice friend of mine was doing it too and so I signed under her. Regardless to say my friends no longer sell’s mk, she gave it all back. she must have realized the dark truth about it before I did. My mother did it in the past too and really urged me not to get inventory, still to this day she doesnt like that I still continue to order, but I watched a DVD that my director gave me and boy did I fall for it thought well everyone that I know luv’s it and so I should have no problem selling.
    I ordered over 4,000 dollar’s worth of inventory the FIRST time. but my director would still go on about how that just wasnt enough and I was needing to re-order (blah blah blah) So I than proceeded to buy much more b/c of all the NEW CRAP that come’s out and the product changing and discontinuing. and they always’ say but the product’s just will be even better. (who care’s now i am stuck w/ all this crap.) Now I am $10,000.00 dollar’s in dept to my eyeball’s w/ my credit card debt (where’s the profit in that) but that’s not good enough for her. Sometime’s I have to ask someone do you have this product or that b/c I do not have that one item. The last time I had to do that a girl sys well that’s why you have inventory I was like you do not have any idea how much I have in inventory. that was the last time i went to a meeting. I still find myself ordering it’s addictive and the thing is if you do not reorder after a while it make’s you inactive so there for you have to make a min. order just to order what you need. The shipping and handling, after taxes and all that it is outrageous (where’s the profit). I still have over 5,000.00 dollar’s in inventory just sitting around my house. I was told by my director that we can not sell our stuff on e-bay but you know what I think I just might have to just to get rid of it all try to pay off some dept. That’s if I can get rid of it. Be careful if your wanting to get in it the girl’s are just to dang chearful at the meeting’s and the director’s are fake!!! They will not admit it but they do try to talk you into purchasing as much inventory as possible saying well if you dont have it than the customer will go to someone that does. WELL LADIES I HAVE TON’S OF IT AND IT IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE! and it’s true they blame you not going to meeting and say well if you came we can help and once you do it’s just to get you there to buy more crap. or yeah well just get another credit card!!!!
    I once thought my director who claim’s to be a christian woman w/ moral’s and luv’s her family so much. She once told another gurl that she wouldnt meet w/ her for lunch to discuss her ideas unless she got her recruit to order the nxt day what is that about she alway’s claim’s to be there for us when we need to talk w/ her! PLAIN AND SIMPLE GREED!!! THEY GET THE CAR’S BIG COMMISSION CHECK’S OFF WHO? US!!! THAT’S WHO! ALTHOUGH I STILL LUV THE PRODUCT I THINK IF I CAN GET RID OF IT I WILL ORDER FOR PERSONAL USE AND THAT’S IT.

  9. Heidi, you can get 90% buy back for anything you’ve purchased in the last year and the refund includes what Mary Kay charged you in sales tax. Do that if you can and use the check to put on your credit card. There are people ordering it from MK and putting it directly on eBay because there is new product on there too quickly. If you haven’t already check out http://www.pinktruth.com, there is a wealth of information on the site and the ladies there are very supportive of what you are going through. My Mom and a couple of friends still get it on eBay for WAY less than half price.

  10. Erin said

    I thank God everyday for Mary kay, what an incredible Life changing opportunity for me, you have to work at it and do for others not for you, changing the way people feel about themselves and their lives via the products or career is priceless. So sad to hear negative remarks, If its not for you, move on. Mary Kay Success traings teaches holistic lessons not only for the enhancement of your business but for your life, and those lessons are life long. You can only get out of something what you put into it and I choose to always touch people’s lives with an incredible product and an incredible business opportunity.

  11. This life lesson taught me that I must be a better steward of my time, money and effort. Peace and joy to you Erin.

  12. Mia said

    I just wish I would have read your story before I started – I am so MUCH in DEBT from Mary Kay and to make matters worse – I am a Sales Director. Most people think I am making so much money, including my family. My last paycheck was $150.00….

    I will probably have to step down this month as a Director because we haven’t made production in two months. I actually feel excited and relieved to do so!

    I agree with you Thecanvasgrey that my life lesson from MK has been to be a better steward of my time, money, and effort! You couldn’t have said it any better!

  13. Jessica said

    First off, you didn’t HAVE to buy inventory. No one is forced to do anything, just encouraged. I started out with $0 in inventory and did orders for almost 6 months. I now have a client base of over 205 people in 3 states. I have a team of 25 young women who are also doing exceptionally well.

    I do keep inventory now, but it’s only the items that I know will sell because they’ve been selling.

    I do encourage people to read EVERYTHING you can about a business before joining, but I do not agree with sites like PinkTruth. I know people who have posted on there and they said the experience was horrible. Well, sitting at home everyday except for one and then going out and “marketing” on Wednesday is not going to get you anywhere.

    You can’t make money without working.

    As far as office supplies, only buy what you need. I keep a stapler, staples, pens and pencils, and spiral notebooks handy. I have storage containers and shelving units that I use now for inventory but I didn’t need it to start with. I ran my business out of a portable file box for quite awhile. I use my computer (which I already had, and most people do), and my printer (that came with my computer) to handle almost all of my paperwork now. I have a basic filing system, but all my customer information is done on my computer. I can scan, copy, and print with my computer so that eliminates the need for business machines.

    Your director lied to you? Did she? Or were you not realistic about what she was saying. She encourages you to buy inventory because that raises her commission check. OF COURSE SHE’LL TELL YOU TO BUY IT! But did she place the order for you? Did she hack your bank account to pay for it?

    No, you did. You are ultimately responsible for YOUR failure in the Mary Kay business. Yes, I said failure. YOU personally are not a failure, but your Mary Kay journey was a failure, because you let it be.

    Buying bridal lists is ridiculous. Go to bridal fairs and get a booth for about $20 and talk to people face-to-face. Have a product display.

    There are so many things that you could’ve done, and should’ve done. You chose to spend huge amounts of money on things that were unnecessary and you can not blame that on others.

    YOU are your worst enemy. Listen to your common sense before doing anything.

    I encourage EVERYONE to try Mary Kay, but only spend the start kit amount first until you see where the business will take you.

  14. CG said

    I have to say I read this memo and could understand some areas where you are coming from. I am sorry that you had a bad experience. But, I am utterly confused with some of your information. Fact wise, Mary Kay is NOT a pyramid company. It is rather the opposite. I have been doing MK for about six months now and absolutely love it. I am working on my MBA in Business Management and time and time again, I hear professors discussing the ‘recession proof, ethical, and innovative/intelligent’ business plan Mary Kay has. I have invested a lot in Mary Kay. I even took out a loan. But, I have received so much back! I also agree with your old director that is does not take 40 hours a week to make money. I honestly only invest 4-5 hours a week and sell about $600, making $300 dollars (returning 50% back to my business). The first weekend of my MK business, I had over a $1,000 weekend. The number of hours you ‘work’ does not mean business work effort. It is how productive those hours are. Mary Kay Ash was an amazing woman, a true entrepreneur of her time, who wanted to create a business where woman could earn a living and love their job. I encourage you to read the recent biography published. I understand your anger and resentment, but I think you are being somewhat close minded. There is also ten to one more positive writings about MK than negative……Doesn’t that tell you something?

  15. CG, if Mary Kay works for you…GREAT! I’ve posted my thoughts and experiences and don’t feel any anger or resentment toward anyone nor will anyone ever change my mind. I’m not any more close/open minded than you. I don’t need MLMs to make money and certainly money isn’t everything. I am happy for those that find happiness in what they do in life. All that is needed is the truth. If you sell MK products that is great, you have a product and sell it…wonderful. It is the recruitment end of things, it is calling someone “The Queen of Sales” who is actually “The Queen of Products Purchased from MK Corp.” It is the “worship” mentality of Mary Kay the person that is promoted by everyone or it certainly seemed that way two years ago. I’m all for people being happy and enjoying themselves in their work, thinking their founder or boss is great…Mary Kay and the practices I saw there were over the top for me…I can’t speak for anyone but myself. Good luck and God bless.

  16. Lisa said

    I’m astounded that you would even print this. I have been with Mary Kay and do only work between 8-15 hours a week and do make between 150-500 a week. I have re-orders,book, and do have a team of 5 women from over the years. What ever you put into it you get out of it. I love my business. I attend meetings, when I can and learn from those around me.

  17. Thanks so much for your judgement on ME… not the Mary Kay business structure being out of whack. You are judging ME. Someone you know nothing about. We do all know about Mary Kay and the business structure. If you are happy working Mary Kay then I’m happy for you. I now work from home and get paid for every moment I work. That suits me and my family much better and I’m making good money. So how’s about being happy for a person instead of judging people that have less than glorious things to say about Mary Kay…one of the reasons Mary Kay is a turn off… the judgement of others when not doing it the “Mary Kay” way.

    If I were to say something out of character for me, it would be, “Get off your high horse and why the heck are you out here in blogland defending Mary Kay and judging someone you don’t know instead of working on your sales?”

  18. Shelly said

    I am glad you posted your story, everyone is entitled to their opinion and just because yours isnt painted a rosy pink color doesn’t make it wrong. I currently work full time and one of my co-workers wives is a double diamond top director or something like that and she did a facial class for us and recruited me. I do have a side note on this, it wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realized I was sold expired product!!! Of course by that time I was signed up to sell MK so I didn’t bother complaining, I did replace these old products with newer products in my inventory. By calculating the expiration dates, I figured that she had to have these products for at least two years in her stock…all of the bottles for the Timewise products were completely different!

    She did not hold a gun to my head and make me start up with a large inventory but she was pretty convincing in saying that I have to put in along with my start up fee at least $600 because I was offered a one time deal with many free products (a few hundred dollars worth) and bonus items (my signature look) when first signing up that I can not take advantage of at a later time. So if nothing it is a pretty compelling argument to pony up a few thousand dollars, and then came the business card, the propay account, the website and a few office supplies. I have the luxury of being able to afford to drop that amount of money without putting myself in debt because my day job compensates me well and I can have an expensive “hobby” if I wish, but I don’t know many people esp. nowadays that have that option. Also she talked up all of the tax write offs that I can do when I fill my taxes, to bad it doesnt apply to most people since you have to be able to report a loss and sell all of your inventory.

    I was extremely optimistic and did a few parties and sold a few hundred dollars worth of stuff and did pretty well over christmas, but I felt the need to continue to reorder items even if I knew there was a slim chance of selling them to maintain my active status and keep up with all of the new products constantly being offered.

    My director has alot of great ideas, and she is on top of keeping in touch with me…I am not sure how much of that is a correlation to me being a coworker of her husband. She does make everything sound easy like the latest pitch Selling $24 of product to 24 faces in 24 hours. I recently moved to a new area for work, I dont even know 2 people much less 24! She also did acknowledge that this area is a tough crowd with not many women interested in the product, but she also said I need to try harder and just offer my services to every woman I come into contact with.

    I had to think about this for awhile though, did I really want to be “that” woman that nobody wanted around because I was always trying to sell them something? So now I am in a tough spot because I don’t necessarily want to give it up but when crunching the numbers my profit is never going to be more than 25% which doesn’t seem worth it for the time and effort that has to be put forth to get that profit.

    So YES you do have to work it, YES there are success stories and NO this is not for everyone. But what is TRUE is that your director will forget to mention a few things to you when signing you up that do border dishonest and unscrupulous because she wants her commission check. I am sure Mary Kay Ash was a progressive woman for her time but I am not sure how happy she would be to see the direction that her company is taking. One thing that stuck out to me was when my director told me about “creative” financing putting an order on multiple credit cards, splitting checks and cash if the customer cant afford to pay it all in one shot. That did not sit well with me, I am not looking to put some poor woman in debt over some face cream and lipstick…esp not in these times!

    And I do not have a business degree but I have done sales for many years on the side to get myself through college, I have learned alot of great info from MK Intouch. But realistically starting off with $0 I find hard to believe, esp. if you are paying shipping and handling for every order and sales tax and tax on the shipping and handling now…that is cutting into your profit margin by a decent chunk if one places many small orders!

    BRAVO for telling your story and pinktruth.com does not show Mary Kay in a flattering light but there are always two sides to the story! And women do deserve to hear them both before making such a big life decision…..without being judged!

    BTW, pinktruth has many women that were directors and did not just sit around and work one day a week before deciding Mary Kay was not for them. What is so wrong with sharing a story about MK that is not flattering but still true!

  19. Shelly, thanks for sharing your story! There are two sides to every story.

    I can attest that I’ve learned more than I could have imagined through my MK experience. I’m so thankful for the experience but surely hope my experience is a warning to others too. Unfortunately these types of “friend recruiting friend” can hurt more than a pocketbook. Unfortunately it can ruin relationships or prevent possible relationships from happening.

    I really know what you are saying when you had to decide whether you wanted “to be that person” and how that can have an affect on you and everyone you come in contact with.

    Thanks again for sharing your story.

  20. Anonymous said

    I am trying to get out but am worried about selling back and not getting my money back… you said a few comments up that they refund your taxes as well?

  21. Anon, Yes, you can return anything purchased over the past year and they will send you 90% of your money back and ALL the SALES TAX that Mary Kay withheld for that amount of product. For example, if your state has a 10% sales tax, Mary Kay charged you for the product you purchased from them and they also deducted the 10% sales tax for your state taxes (which isn’t done in normal business practices). So if you send back $1,000 in product (what it actually cost you) you will get $900 back plus $100 for sales tax withheld. Originally when you first purchased the $1,000 in product they also charged $100 for the sales tax. So you paid $1,100 now you will get back $1,000 of it…you are out $100 plus what you paid for shipping costs. Hope this helps and if you need more information check out http://www.pinktruth.com. Debi

  22. Mrs.MP said

    I tried the Mary Kay routine when I was between jobs. I liked the product. I had an MBA. I know about business. I understood selling. I bought a lot of inventory. Did everything they talked about at the meetings. Sales were few in my rural area, money was tight for farmers and their wives at the time. I took a risk at the urging of my director. I enrolled in one of their marketing plans where I provided an address list of customers or potential customers and they would be mailed a flier with a free gift with purchase offer and my information. I bought a LOT of the inventory based on that offer then sat back and waited. And waited. I finally got a copy of the letter they had sent out. They had got my address AND phone number wrong. (I checked my original copy, it was correct on what I gave them). So there I was with all this inventory, one time specials, and nothing from it. I got a refund for the advertising, but that didn’t help me unload a $1000 worth of inventory I bought specifically for that offer.

    I sold my stuff back to them, joined Jafra and sell simply to share the product with friends at a discount and buy my own product. Still a MLM, but the training was better and more real, and the focus was on the product (which I like as well or better) and not recruiting.

  23. Linda said

    I used it for a while, talked into signing up by a boyfriends sister. I didn’t sell, I had a well paying job and didn’t need a cosmetic hobby. But I liked the product, didn’t LOVE it, but liked it well enough to sign up just to help her “recruit” someone and bought enough products to last me for a year. Through her though I heard a lot of hard sell tactics, some of which I found a bit over the top.

    The clincher for me was when a young woman, the wife of the fellow I worked with, who I hadn’t seen in ages, and who didn’t even bother to call me when I was undergoing cancer treatment, suddenly called me up, my new best friend. Surprised from hearing from her, and so enthusiastically, I invited her over for coffee. Within minutes she launched into her sales pitch for MK, putting some samples in my hand and saying “no offense but your skin looks like it can use some better products, you’ll notice a difference right away with this line”.

    “Oh really?” I said and showed her my bathroom medicine cabinet. Full of the same expensive products she just tried to sell. You know for my “bad skin”. I didn’t have to ask her to leave.

  24. Ms. MP, I agree that if I were going to use an MLM product it would probably be Jafra because they aren’t like Mary Kay at all. However, I’m having fun trying lots of different products and all the new lines that are available now. Freedom of choice is, well, freeing to me. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Linda, thanks for sharing. I’ve said a prayer that cancer will no longer have a place in your life and that you’ve experienced a healing. It is amazing to me how unpleasant women can be to one another when this product is placed between them. I’ve known more friendships and unhappiness to come out of this type of “marketing design” than anything I’ve ever encountered in the name of “business”. I hope more people are forewarned because you’ve shared your story too. Thank you so much!

  25. Laura said

    Wow…. you are so right!!! What is so funny about this company is as soon as you have them figured out, they drop you! Just a little hint ladies, those drawings to win a product at your local fairs or craft show…. its a marketing plan. They will call you and tell you that you won a free makeover and facial.. Guess what?….they are free anyway. I’ve seen some ladies not even give out the free product that they have displayed. They just want to get your names. Also, they teach you to go hang out in the cosmetic isle and stalk protential buyers. Someone may come up and look like they are helping you and then tell you that they are a MaryKay consultant and you can try their product free. I just think the company is using drastic measures to get people to try the product. If God is really first then why are you lying to get people to try the product. Think about it ….Would God want you to lie???

  26. lastoneoutdude said

    Hi Guys,

    Trying for information about which is the cheapest tooth whitening goods to buy?

    It can be very difficult to source the up to date information as far as I can see. One place tells you one thing and a different place advises you something completely the opposite!
    So, I thought the best thing to do is get real feedback from you folks as you may have personal experience re this area.

    Any information would be really appreciated.

    Thanks in advance guys.

  27. mkstar16 said

    I would have to agree with the deception in this company, it’s so sad and if Mary Kay could see this she might very well be spinning…no pun intended.

    I’ve heard the horror stories about basements filled to brim with products that could not be sold. My heart goes out to those women.

    I couldn’t help but wonder if Mary Kay would be the “Best Selling Brand”, if people were actually “selling” these products and placing orders on a “need-only” basis?

    I used to sell Mary Kay and have just a few things on my shelf, but I have already moved on to something else. There are lots of businesses out there start on your own and like the Burger King Slogan states…..You can have it your way!

  28. Emmy said

    I was in Mary Kay for a full three days. I like the product. I still like the product. However, I spent a year as a happy and good customer, though I was constantly told about the consultant opportunity. I had a bad feeling as a I signed the contract.

    I’m not the sales type person. I’ve worked retail, but never on anything that forced me to be so direct in selling.

    I’ve personal beliefs against using God to make money. My religion does not have paid clergy, so I really can’t fathom using God in a business plan. No offense to anyone, but it’s a personal thing for me.

    No, no one “held a gun” to my head (and why does everyone use that term as they criticize those who did not stay in MK?) However, my SD was not upfront with me, and I had to ask her specifically if I had to buy the inventory she was pushing.

    Canvas Gray was simply stating her experience and letting people see a side of the MK story. I find it incredibly immature to criticize her as a person instead of what happened with her business.

    Women think in a different manner than men. Too many in MK manipulate the female thought process, so the old “gun to head” excuse is not applicable here. MK uses emotions, not logic.

    Besides, I’ve seen too many women who are successful in Mary Kay. None of them have time for their families. Family time is one of the things promised.

    • Thanks for sharing Emmy!

      • Anonymous said

        I feel that Mary Kay expects too much out of women financially in the beginning! I feel it is wrong for them to ask anyone to go out and ask their family, friends or to go to a lender just so they can start a Mary Kay business! What if they can’t pay it back? That’s going to put that person in a bind if their Mary Kay career doesn’t pan out, which it most likely won’t! Plus the fact that they expect you to keep an inventory! For what purpose? Some of that stuff has an expiration date & if you don’t sell it, you’re out the money!

  29. I’d be interested to know if some of the early girls who replied to this post are still in MK and what they think of it now…

    I will never fully understand why a consultant would ever want to recruit her customer… Let’s see. If they actually buy the product at full retail price is 50% commission. If she order’s the same product from MK and at best it’s only what, 26%?? more than likely 4 % or 9%?? Just doesn’t add up, does it.

  30. MaryKayGirl said

    its unfortunate that you all have the negative experiences that you have. however, if you choose to go into a business then close your mind and shut out those who are becoming successful in it, then whos fault is that?
    also, there are some really crappy directors out there – that comes with the “being human” territory.
    im lucky – i am in a non-pushy, ridiculously successful unit….but if i choose to do nothing that is suggested, then i make nothing.
    if i simply book a class with whoever (be it from draw boxes, wedding shows, etc) i sell $100 per face and 1 in 5 want to join my team-just what they told me would happen.
    why? because of my attitude….
    not sure why i am posting even because no matter what i say, the people who have made the decision to be negative will continue to be negative.
    i find mary kay a completely honest and forthcoming company (ummm like where else is everybody pay cheques posted and sent out in a magazine?)
    but yes, i read between the lines and i have a plethora of amazing women in my unit helping to build me up, and now i am enriching womens lives too – but if they choose to say “f” it, then obviously they cant believe in themselves and wont go to work….you gotta go to work to get paid.
    “those who show up, go up” and that IS the truth.

    • so tell me… DID you book from, boxes? DID you sell $100/face? DID 1 in 5 join your team?

      It all looks good on paper. Speaking of paper, Those checks that are posted are all BEFORE expenses… BEFORE chargebacks… At all those Unit events where everyone stands up and spills about her highest love check, I wonder how long ago they were. Two years ago? Three months ago?

      Personally, I’d rather spend 40 hours a week at my J-O-B working “for the man” and have a steady income, PAID time off, benefits AND a retirement plan.

      That’s just my truth.

  31. PinkDiva said

    I recently began my own Mary Kay business (a few months ago) and am already profitting. All my team members are honest and hard working women that are strong in faith and ethics. I WAS NOT pressured into buying any inventory, although I did choose to invest a small amount of money so I would have product on hand. I have already profitted enough from my business to cover those inventory costs. I was not forced to take out a loan and I most certainly do not pay for team meetings. Meetings are a fun and educational experience, not “rah rah” as some would claim. I have never heard a script about encouraging poor women to take out loans to begin a business. I think the way you are slandering the Mary Kay name is ridiculous. Mary Kay Ash founded her business on faith and the Golden Rule. Running a business takes time and a lot of hard work. How can you expect to make any gains if you are not willing to put in the effort? There is more to a successful business than buying inventory. You have to establish a rapport with your customers and go out of your way to make women feel good about themselves. That is what Mary Kay is all about!

  32. Dear MaryKayGirl and PinkDiva,

    My experience is my experience and I’ve not slandered anyone or anything. I’m very happy that you two have found something that you enjoy and that you believe you understand. I would not wish anything ill upon you nor call you names or blame you for being happy doing MK. Why would you blame me for something because we didn’t experience the same thing? What makes you so much better than me to assume that I don’t work hard…you have no idea about who I am or what I do (that sounds like judgement). One might stop to ponder if those things which many people were experiencing about three or four years ago (and before) have changed the face of the MLM that Mary Kay is, and it is that by definition. I again, hope you enjoy yourselves with open eyes. I still don’t get it…why all the finger pointing and character judgement swirling around about a line of cosmetics? If you are happy then all is good, why would you point fingers at someone who’s experience is different from your own? Why are Christian’s pointing fingers at anyone? It is my believe, if I walk the walk and talk the talk, I will truly be blessed. Amen and IT IS SO! Thank you God for all Your Goodness and Mercy!

  33. Kim said

    I simply believe that some women can be a successful Mary Kay Director/consultant and others can’t. It is no different then any other career. So why is it when you find it doesn’t work for you, you feel the need to share it with the world? Nursing isn’t bad but I bet you there are women who trained to be a nurse and then found out it wasn’t for them. Why do you need to let everyone know, that when you didn’t go to training and you didn’t practice the correct way to operate your business, that you weren’t successful? This confuses me time after time. It is always someone’s fault? What about good old fashion hard work with a 90% guarantee to find out if you might be someone who can build a successful Mary Kay business. If you Find putting your faith first, family second and career third reprehensible, and you find helping other women find a product that works for them reprehensible. And if you find being able to build a business from your home where you can raise your own children reprehensible then I feel sorry for you. But just because it wasn’t for you doesn’t mean that others haven’t been successful and felt as if they were giving to others. Just because you buy a cosmetic from a personal consultant working from her home instead of an under paid clerk at the store doesn’t make Mary Kay a bad company. I Feel that if you are going to bring up one thing you’ve failed at, why not put your whole life in print and let the world know everything you failed at in life!!! I am sure all the others just like you would love to read about it. People who feel the need to bad mouth something just because they weren’t successful with it, do it because they don’t want to admit it’s them and not the business. Please stop trying to ruin the positive, fun things in life from everyone. Find the good and spread the Good News! No one cares that Mary Kay is not for you! When i meet women that thank me for changing their life by helping their skin look better then it ever has I feel good to share it with the world. Sorry you don’t understand but I am sure glad I am woman enough to take credit where it is due and to know that I am responsible for my own decisions and my own actions in my life. Doubt I need to tell the world how everyone is misguided but me. May God bless your life and your efforts and I hope you find a rewarding, successful career in helping others like I have.

    • Kim, You ask why I must tell my story and why it didn’t work for me, so I ask why should I post your story that works or anything you have to say??? This is my blog. Why are you trying to provoke an argument even further when you can plainly see the other responses? I have a extremely successful career now, from home and get paid for every hour I work. You’ve tried to sound so nice when it is evident that you are trying to provoke hard or bad feelings…why don’t you spread good news?

      For anyone else that wants to argue, go elsewhere. I will no longer post such nonsense.

  34. EmmaGrace said

    I love Mary Kay 🙂 I was briefly a consultant when i turned 18 but I decided I wanted to pursue college and didnt really have time to contribute to really putting alot of myself into starting my business. My experience while I was doing it though was very pleasant. My director, like me started off with no inventory, and I never felt pressured to buy any. No pressure into going to meetings etc. When I was involved my director and the people around me were very loving and encouraging, and I did get really good training. I think what I liked best about our unit was that the consultants legitimately cared about the women they were servicing with their products. It was more important for the woman in front of them to feel better about themselves than to sell a product. Also, Mary Kay allowed for many mothers in the unit to have an at home job and they were able to make good money to support their families. Over all, I felt very welcomed and encouraged and greatly enjoyed that unit. I would recommend the company to motivated women who enjoy helping others feel good about themselves. It was very fun when I was in it. I want to get more into hair and other aspects of cosmetics, so Im going to actually pursue a cosmetology certificate and working in a salon or just where ever God leads me. I definitely will not be shutting the door on the MK opportunity for the future if that’s where I feel led to go. I’m very grateful for the great company Mary Kay has started and in my experience, even though I wasn’t in the company for a LONG time I saw the fruit that it produced in the lives of women around me, definitely fulfilling the motto “enriching women’s lives.” Im sorry that you had a bad experience with your stay in MK, but I hope you are doing wonderful now.

    God Bless

  35. whitb4whit said

    You hit the nail right on the head! I will leave it at that, and all of these women can judge however you lived it!!!…I wish I would have done a little more research before joining. You give away more free product than you sell. It’s very time consuming, when I could work m-f 40 hours a week and once I’m home I am free to do what I want even on my weekends and holidays! I appreciate you being truthful because I am 23 with too much inventory that I wish I didn’t have. I do enjoy helping women, but not when I feel as if I can’t look them in the eye because I am being dishonest by selling them products that I barely no how to apply correctly and that I can’t testify to working because I’m only 23, my skin is not doing any changes yet! I also can’t force anyone to sign up, come to a party, or answer the phone…however this is what all of your time is doing. Along with spending money to get supplies, to organize your inventory at home, to mail things, to go to these seminars. Not to mention, you are supposed to be your OWN BOSS and that is not how I feel. I feel as if I can’t say no or if I do say no, there is some phony positive script they have. Why would you want to recruit people by basically forcing them to be your recruit or re-order…who wants that hassle? Not me, I just feel deceived by the directors and leaders of this business…and its not appreciated!!!

  36. Anonymous said

    I’m really sorry you had such a negative experience with your direct-selling business. I’ve found it to be a good fit for me and my family, and keeping my family’s priorities at the forefront of all business decisions has allowed me to have some of the freedom for which I was searching. Good luck to you and yours as you move on in your career path.

  37. Anonymous said

    I am a freelance makeup artist, a beautician and cosmetician/beauty adviser. I have been in the business for year selling cosmetics from estee lauder, clinique, mac, pur minerals, vichy, neostrata, elizabeth arden, etival, gosh, quo, benefit, smashbox, forever 21… and I am also a Mary Kay consultant. I may agree with the extra spending money that they make you do for these meetings, BUT! out of all the things you’ve said their stuff is not over priced at all. It is probably the most affordable one of the best quality makeup. Woman at MAC spend over 80+ on a 3 step skin regime, 70+ to 100+ on high end Skin Care RX brands, and Mary Kay starts at 40+ to 80+ for a complete skin care regime. Hands down, if i did not work for all these cosmetic counters, and if I did not have money to afford Smashbox or Cover FX with my discount Mary Kay is on the same level scale, I’d just have to find a representative to find one since its not in stores.

  38. Athena LeStrange said

    I wish I had read this before getting my showcase. I have not really started in the business and immediately the sales director told me if I could not afford to get an inventory going, to ask my parents and boyfriend for the money. That was my warning bell. Too bad that bell rang after getting the showcase. I hope to be able to tell my recruiter that I’m out. I don’t want to be in a business that is like that. No company should ask vulnerable women to borrow money from their loved ones in this delicate economic times!

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  41. Thanks for finally writing about >My Mary Kay Story The Canvas Grey <Liked it!

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