I Was a Mary Kay Consultant for 9 Days

 

This is not the post I wanted to write, but alas, I am human, and I make mistakes. And those bloggers that always seem to have it together? Nope. Not me. Not today.

Today, I’m letting my pride take a little beating, and choosing honesty over hiding behind the facade that everything is ok. Please be kind?

So, you probably figured from the title that I’m not doing Mary Kay anymore. Yes, that little business venture only lasted a week and a half. Just add it to my repertoire.

mary-kay-cosmetics

Here’s the deal

About a month ago, I attended a Mary Kay debut with a family member, and enjoyed listening to the speeches from women who were obviously so excited about the product. I wasn’t particularly happy about my current direct sales company, and thought a fresh start with Mary Kay might be just what I needed to help our income out a little bit.

Besides, I was a total convert to the products – they do truly work! So I made my list of questions and took advantage of this meeting to thoroughly comb through the details.

I went home saying no to the Mary Kay opportunity that night. There was nothing wrong with Mary Kay, I just didn’t feel it was for me. I’m a writer and a blogger, and wanted to devote my time to developing the community here.

The month of April came around, and starter kit was being offered at a stellar price. I gave it another honest go-around. What if I could just buy my own products at cost and sell to family and friends?

Uh oh.

Once I’m in, I’m all in

I got right to work when my starter kit arrived.

There was a new Facebook page to be had, a blog post debuting my new business, a giveaway (which ends tonight, and yes, the winner will still receive their prize), as well as a mass email to all my friends, co-workers, and family.

Then I pulled out a fresh new pink notebook, and starting working my way through the MK website.

post3b

During this time, I realized a couple things:

  1. I had to spend more money than what the starter kit required. There’s the additional business cards, MK website, and a credit card processing program, among other incidentals.
  2. I was strongly encouraged to buy a significant amount of inventory. A great deal, for sure, but again, more money. I declined.

Then my first order came in. I was ecstatic! But when I tried to submit it, that 50% discount I had been promised wouldn’t go through.

Note: the fine print. A consultant must place a $400 retail order every 3 months to maintain active status and receive her Earned Discount Privilege. (The 50%)

Funny. No one mentioned that. So, I went ahead and coughed up more money toward inventory to secure my discount. I was currently almost $500 in the hole, and I had yet to place that one order.

That’s when I started to rethink my decision.

What was I going to do with all that product? We had just moved to Florida, and I didn’t have any contacts yet! Perhaps the question I had the most, how did I not know this before I signed up?

Then I found some other MK consultants who had gone through similar situations to mine. Reading their words made me feel even worse, yet validated, and I knew I couldn’t continue any longer.

A lesson in business practice

Mary Kay Botanical Effects

I want to be careful with my words so as to not damage the relationships of those I know in Mary Kay, and also those reading whom I don’t know personally. I’m not saying that Mary Kay is a scam, or a MLM company that doesn’t provide you with legitimate income.

However, if you are considering an “opportunity”, here’s what I want you to know: You are the only person with your best interests at heart. Not the company, not it’s directors, YOU.

Likewise, it is your responsibility to get the facts first, and then fact check again. Talk to those who were previously with the company, or gain the perspective of consultants who are not directly involved in your up-line. The point is to gain a well-rounded view, so you can make the right decision.

After quite a bit of research into Mary Kay business practices, I could not visibly foresee it being a profitable venture, unless I, one, focused on recruits, and two, pushed hard on sales to get rid of all that inventory.

Either way, I wasn’t being true to myself, and I just can’t live with that. So much so, that I will not even try to save face with all of you, and instead, lay my heart on the line in hopes that those of you with direct sales experience can relate.

Well, if you’re still reading, thank you. I appreciate all of you more than you know. You keep me writing, and writing gives me joy.

I’m signing off for now, and you probably won’t see a new post on Monday. I’m taking an extended weekend to lick my wounds. I hear a day at the beach tends to help with that. {grin}

For any further Mary Kay needs, I’d like to refer you to my lovely sister-in-law who will take only the best care of you. You can visit her website here.

Lest you think I’m only singling out Mary Kay, I currently am working on a post to show you how I lost money after 2 years in Uppercase Living – this time, with actual numbers.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, so sorry it didn’t work out as you’d hoped! I know that hurts. But thanks for your honesty and openness. It adds depth to your focus on “creative savings” – to know that you’ve tried something and it didn’t work, and want us to learn from that. Thank you! And have a great weekend at the beach!

  2. Nicole @ Amazing Frugal Mom says

    Great article! That is very brave of you to put this out there! I’m assuming you found the blog about this very topic. I have had a lot of friends & family get involved in MK and other direct sales companies, and they’ve never made any money. Don’t be embarrassed!! Return everything you’ve bought and feel lucky you got out early!

      • Christy says

        Hello Kalyn, I basically just went through the same thing so your words are encouraging. A girl whom I’ve known for quite a few months now was not 100% up front with me when I signed up. She said it would be a good idea for me to sign up so that I could get my $200 MK repair kit at 50% off and whatever else I would want to buy at cost. Obviously, I quickly learned, I would have to spend a fortune before it actually started to pay off, IF EVER!!! The crazy part is, I started an airbrush tan business and was spraying her weekly at no cost! Anyhow, I have a question.. I did buy the kit and did not spend much money on it. I also have used some of the products and am not interested in returning it. However, I do want to cancel my membership with Mary Kay. Mainly, because I do not want my recruiter to be able to have “my name” on her “team”. It may sound petty but that just puts her one step closer to driving that damn pearl pink Cadillac, that I feel she does not deserve. Do you know if I will I be able to take my name off any ties with Mary Kay? Thanks again!

        • Jennifer says

          I too just signed up. My rep thankfully was very up front with me so nothing has shocked so far, but if remember correctly you can return your starter kit and they will reimburse most of your money, but I would call Mary Kay directly to be 100% positive. Sorry it did not work out.

        • says

          Christy, I’m so glad this post was encouraging to you! When I canceled my MK membership, I was basically an inactive consultant until the yearly subscription I paid was up for renewal, and I just didn’t sign on again. I don’t believe my name was counted toward any of my upline, since I wasn’t selling anything and making them a profit. I hope that helps alleviate some of your fears!

          • Kittychi says

            I’ve been a consultant since April (after I was basically nagged, begged and prodded by my friend), and figured since I was unemployed, and having a hard time getting hired, why not? I was wondering what do I have to do; I’ve made three big orders (the first being the initial inventory order of $600), and now that I’m going to actual classes and not online, I’m finding that it’s much more difficult to try to get out there and get names for facials.

            Also, I’ve come to realize that not everyone has the money to get those skincare sets ($90). Plus, what I didn’t know is that you have to PAY to go to the weekly meetings! In my area, since they have a studio on the 2nd floor that they share with an insurance company and realtor in the same building, they charge $5/meeting, or $15 for the month. I’ve gotten the Pro Pay, and the website, which despite my telling them, they’ve never visited. I didn’t have the money, as I was unemployed, and getting a little money from my GI Bill stipend, and I used my credit card to get that first order. I’ve had to lean on said card once my money goes to the household, and it’s kicked up my balance along with the orders.

            Another is that my son is out of school, and it’s rather difficult when you have a chatty 5-6 year old as your trying to pan for new customers. My director wanted me to go to the Thursday morning meetings as her (I go on Tuesday nights, as class and other obligations take up the other nights, with me going to class 2 nights out of the week), and I told her I could bring my son, and have something to occupy his time with, as the meetings usually run two hours. She asked me if I couldn’t have my son at a part time job (I was considering getting a part time job to help with the household finances more), why should I treat MK any less?? Um, EXCUSE me?? She knew of my situation: my neighbor is watching my son on the two nights I’m in class until my husband picks him up, and given the fact that it’s summer break, wants to go places do things with her own daughter, which can’t be done when she has my son. So what started out as doing something for free during the school year has turned into a $40/week bill for me. She does iron treatments, and what was originally scheduled for Wednesdays, she actually moved to Thursdays to accommodate me. My director casually stated I could have her watch him on those mornings as well (which I took offense as she has no kids, and no idea on how you have to plan around little ones–the younger, the harder), and given the fact she was taking an even drier tone with me as we were talking, really has me reconsidering things. If I could return everything (except the things I used personally), and get the charges back on my card, I figure the better off I’ll be, or would I have to do a solid year?

            Sorry for the long story, but this is the situation so far. I’m thinking that I’ll have to go back to work, before we just may have to move, as my husband’s job is not paying enough, and he’s looking for something that pays more as well. Trying to get the ‘oodles of cash’ that comes in from those facials/skin care classes is not going to happen before we may have to choose either commit to our lease for another year or not, and move. It seems like the ‘free time’ one gets does not really apply, because you’re trying to get people to give you their number. I was even given a wrong number, and when I called, a man answered the phone! I’ve done specials with my friends, but if they don’t have the money, they don’t. I can’t force them to buy, and the other most common thing I’ve been told, is ‘I already have a consultant’, not surprising, because there are a TON of consultants in the area! I’ve been questioned about if I’m trying hard enough, and also, I’m going to commit to getting my degree first. I know I feel convicted when I talk to my friend and the director (she just made director, and my friend’s gunning for a red jacket), but both have grown and no kids. Frustrating, is this entire situation! Grrr!

        • says

          First of all let me say I’m sorry it did not work out for you. Running your own business is hard work and you have to have extremely good self discipline habits. No one starts a business and makes money right off the bat. You are going to have initial “start up” costs. If you track your money, efforts and expenses good you will be in the “black” and out of the “red” faster. It took me about 6 months of hard work to come out ahead and start seeing my profit margin from my initial investment. But, I’ve owned my own business before, I knew what I was getting into. People should learn to read agreements they sign IN DETAIL and not always take the word of someone who is doing the talking! Lesson learned. :-)

          In answer to your question – You can’t just “quit” your one year agreement that you signed from Mary Kay. What you can be confident in is that since (I’m assuming) you are an inactive team member that you are NOT helping her drive her Pink Cadillac. Her privileges for earning the use of her career car are based on her team members that are WORKING and ordering product from the company to fulfill their customer’s orders. Just being on her “team” in no way gives her any advantage. I personally have 5 team members, but only one is working it like a true business so my “perks” are only based on the “one” … not the five. Mary Kay does this so that we keep working and no one gets rich by sitting on their behinds!!! I hope this helped. If you do NOTHING your upline director gets NOTHING from your zero efforts. After 1 year you are no longer a consultant.

      • Crystal Swiggett says

        Hi my name is Crystal and I am a MK consultant. My director was very up front with me. I also had to use my own common sense on running a business. Even thought I know it takes money to make money, I never placed a huge order with my own money. I had a business debut, did facials with my samples, and people placed orders. I made my start up money plus some in my first week. From then on I did the same until I start seeing enough profit to keep inventory on hand. You must have products to sell. Its not hard to find clientele if you play “the referral game” at your parties. you give all the ladies 2 min. To write down the names and numbers of ladies who might like a free facial! Who ever gives you the most names wins a lip gloss. I leave each party with at least 20 new names. Its just a matter of out thinking the business. It also helps to have a great director who wants to see you get free cars and nice commission checks. I find that when I recruit former MK consultants its always better this tile around because I try to give them a different out look. But no it is not for everybody, but you DO NOT have to spend so much of your own money!

        • Shanti says

          I am a Mary Kay Consultant and I have been using this product well over ten years. I was sold in having my Mary Kay business when my daughter with severe acne began to use the Velocity system. Out of the hundreds of dollars on medicines from dermatologists Velocity was the only thing that worked. I have been with Mary Kay for a little while as a consultant and saw when I became committed to my business I began to see growth. One thing I have found out is if I clock in at a job every day I can put the same initiative into my business. This has paid off time and time again. Crystal your post was great and I’m glad to see that you feel good about your decision. It is helpful for me as I continue to push through the obstacles. I will admit as well this decision is not for everyone.

  3. says

    I’m sorry that happened :(
    I’m glad you realized it now though instead of a month down the line and be even more in the hole. Thank you for sharing this, so that other people can hopefully avoid this also.

    I sell Scentsy and one of the reasons is because you don’t have to and aren’t encouraged to buy a lot of stock just to have, though they did recently change the rules about how to stay active (must sell $150 in a month once every 3 months.)

    The good thing you can take away from this is I’m sure no one’s going to be able to take you again – you realized it quick this time and I’m sure if there’s a next time it will be even quicker!

    • says

      Currently, with Uppercase Living, I only have a yearly requirement, and they don’t push inventory. My contract with them is up in August though, so I’m just going to let that expire when the time comes. I’d like to focus on other things!It’s hard to have that kind of pressure to sell. Unless you already have a good customer base, it takes a lot of work.

      • Elizabeth says

        It really does take a ton of work. It’s not worth going in the hole over, that’s for sure!

    • says

      Thank you! I think honesty is something that is really needed in blogging. It’s too easy to appear like everything is always ok.

  4. says

    I did something similar to this with Avon years ago. I thought maybe it was just because I was young and inexperienced. This actually made me feel better. :)

  5. Hope Pichura says

    I, too, did the same thing Kalyn. And you are right, nothing was disclosed to me, either, that in order to get the 50% discount you had to place the $400 order every three months in order to take advantage of the 50% discount. Being the (idiot is the only word that comes to mind but I will use…) ‘fool’ that I am, I GAVE all my stuff to a girl in our church that was just starting out with Mary Kay. I know there are those that do great in it, and it truly can be a very profitable venture, and they do have a good product, but I feel ALL the information needs to be disclosed when you sign up, not just in tiny print that (unfortunately) many of us do not pay careful attention to. Just another life lesson learned. I’ve sold Cookie Lee Jewelry and loved it; there was no surprises in fine print with them, and years ago I sold Little Peddler (don’t even know if that’s around any more), but loved that, too. No surprises there, either. To those that do sell Mary Kay, “thank you”, your product speaks for itself. Being a customer, rather than a consultant, is for me!

    • says

      Thank you for letting me know I am not alone! I’m wondering if MK consultants are told not to disclose that portion to new consultants until they sign.

      • says

        Hi there ALL,
        I just wanted to give you guys some insight from an actual beauty consultant. I stubbled upon this site when looking for some extra flyers for my MK biz and felt compelled to share my experience. Mary Kay doesn’t trick you into anything. I think it makes perfect sense that the company has you order quarterly to remain active. WE DON’T have quotas. The only thing it costs to get started is the Starter Kit ($100 plus tax and shipping). The title of “beauty consultant” means you are servicing customers. I was never told not to tell my potential recruits about how our 50% off works because I know that if you are working your business it is something you don’t even have to think about. You earn 50% off anytime you place a $400 retail order if you aren’t active so that is pretty awesome considering it only costs you $200. Every 3 months spending $200 means that you could take care of those close to you and earn your products for free (which is what I did when I was a busy student and only had small amounts of time to work). The company has to protect the power of the consultant because if everyone could just sign up at 50% off always and forever we wouldn’t have any true customers. I appreciate the company doing this and just want to encourage all of you that your consultant was not being malicious when she recruited you. She legitimately believed you would treat it like a business. If you aren’t willing to work it as a business then you should be a customer :). Perhaps it is that she believed in you so much that she couldn’t see that you would ever be worried about minimums. People who worry about minimums don’t make it in any business because in order to be successful you can’t think small. Mary Kay is an incredible company and I feel honored to work with them…so many think MK uses people to build businesses but what we really do is use BUSINESS to BUILD PEOPLE. I have seen amazing transformations in others and myself and I can share with you from the bottom of my heart that you should feel honored you were even asked to be on her team because it means that she was willing to do life with you. Best wishes, B

        • says

          Brielle – you are truly welcome here to share your side of the MK experience! Thank you for giving us your take. I wholeheartedly agree that anyone who sells MK should do so as a business. However, MK targets non-business women. Part of their appeal is that you can work as much or as little as you want, and still bring home a decent income. It’s just not true. The ones who are making the incomes are uplines who have recruits and tons of customers, and work 40+ hour weeks – just like a legitimate business.

          when you are just starting out with MK, it can be really hard to make that first profit, and you have to make a profit at the end of the day to be in business. If you don’t keep track of everything coming in and going out, you won’t know how much you are really taking home and getting paid for your time. Think big, but also think strategically. Excess inventory is not a strategic move in my opinion, because it is money just sitting on the shelf. And the more you have to buy to get that 50%, the more you have to sell, sell, sell, which most women and stay-at-home-moms just don’t have time to do.

          As for not letting others know about the 50%, I think it is irresponsible to refuse this information and only let these ladies know of the financial risk after they sign the dotted line. You should know exactly what you are getting into, as with any business opportunity.

          • Kittymay says

            I agree; and also, they don’t tell you that you have to PAY for to go to meetings! I’m a stay at home mom, and you’re right, with that and school, and helping out my friends who have no transportation, I really don’t have the time!

        • says

          Well said Brielle. I agree with you whole completely. MK has been around for 50 years enriching the lives of so many women. Is this business for everyone…no is not. That consultant that ask you to join her team saw something in you. We don’t ask everyone to join our team but, we do share the opportunity. It is up to everyone to do their own research. We advise of the cost to start and answer any questions there forward. Every business owner should want to have some on hand inventory. In MK you don’t have to buy inventory. MK feels that if you are to remain in active status you should be selling at least the minimum of 225.00 every two months. Just thought I’d share.

  6. says

    I’m sorry it didn’t work out Kalyn!

    I’ve been debating Blessings Unlimited….I’ve talked to a few people and everyone I’ve talked to says they love selling and that it’s been good for them. That said, I’m still leery of getting in to it for the same reasons you mentioned here.

    I’ll keep you posted on what I decide. My husband has given me the go-ahead, but I’m still on the fence.

    • says

      Please do keep me posted. I would think that they should be honest, since they are a Christian company, but you never know. Something to think about, (because it is home decor and I saw some jewelry), is how many times you can have a repeat customer, or how much work it would be to find new customers to buy. I had that problem with Uppercase Living wall decals. One person might buy 1 or 2 decals from me and be done, because there was only so much they could buy for their own home or as gifts. I’m not saying that to discourage you, just something to think about – I wish you the best!

  7. says

    Argh I hate when that happens, I had a similar scenerio when I worked for Avon cosmetics. Ended up spending more than I was supposed to be making :( just as well you knew now rather than further down the line :) xx

  8. says

    What an honest post. Sales is a hard business period, but good for you for getting out there and trying things:-)

  9. Kris says

    I’m really glad that I read this. I too did this exact same thing back in 2007. Except, I allowed a MK rep to open a CC in my name and charge an obscene amount of money on it for all of this inventory that I would supposedly need. I wound up 1,700$ in the hole by the time it was all said and done. Wish someone had been brave like this to post long ago- Though, i’m not sure I was in a place at the time to really listen or care what anyone else thought- nevertheless, thanks! :)

    • says

      I briefly heard/read about the CC accounts becoming a problem, and would struggle working for a company that encourages debt. Thank you for sharing your experience here!

  10. Julia, MK Independent Beauty Consultant says

    As a fellow MK Consultant, I hate that you had this experience. I can honestly say that I was told about all of the requirements before I ever signed that paper. It all depends on who is recruiting you. I have been told what to say to anyone I am recruiting and was told that you tell them everything that you would want to know. I actually read this post to my Director and she was upset that anyone would have that proble. Mary Kay Ash’s goal was to enrich the lives of women. Why would she have this goal, but try to make you go broke in the process? Again, I apologize on behalf of the company that you had this problem.

    • says

      Thank you for feeling free to share this, Julia. I realize that not every consultant has a bad experience, and I can confidently say that writing this does not turn me off to buying MK products. I love the skin care/makeup, and am happy being a customer. :)

  11. Natalie says

    Just now reading your post! It was very informative and I am grateful I read it. I actually JUST ordered my starter kit for Mary Kay only 1 week ago. And was NOT told about all of the other things you were going to have to purchase, other than your starter kit. My Consultant, although a very great person and very friendly, never informed me of the minimum $600 inventory purchase you have to do within the first 15 days.. Or the website and pro pay credit card site purchases. I have been a customer of Mary Kay, along with other women in my family, for years and so was finally convinced that it would be a good investment for me. But now I am not so sure! I am expected to now invest such a large amount of money and the only for sure costumer base I have right now is some family members! I am starting to feel the same way you felt…. Not sure what to do!! I also do not drive or have a vehicle at the moment and my transportation is usually my husband driving me to work and where ever else.. so that is another down side to starting this out! any advice would be very much appreciated!! before it’s to late ha…

    • says

      Natalie – your story sounds so similar to mine! The only thing I would suggest is to get those family members on board to slowly changing their makeup and skin care regimens over to MK, and only place a bulk order every couple months to meet your minimum requirement. The smaller, and more frequent your orders, you will end up having to purchase more inventory or risk losing that 50% discount. If you decide to opt out, I know MK will take their starter kit back for a full refund if you haven’t opened it. I never got a refund because I had used some of the catalogs already, but if you call them, they should be able to help with the return.

      I hope that helps, and I wish you the best, either way you decide to go!

  12. Natalie says

    thank you! that is really helpful! I am still debating sticking with it. I may have some family members that want to purchase at the moment..but who knows later on. just don’t want to set myself up for failure. Thank you I really appreciate your response!

  13. says

    Hi! I don’t know how old this post is or if its already been a year, but I just wanted to let you know that you can return all your merchandise to Mary Kay for 90% of what you bought it for as long as it hasn’t been over a year since you ordered it! They try and make sure that if MK doesn’t work out for you, you can at least get most of your money back (besides the starter kit). I’m so sorry you didn’t have a good experience and I completely understand. Your director should have been helping you and guiding you. You should have been told all the details before you signed up, but some people are sneaky and it’s sad that those people give Mary Kay a bad name. Also, the $400 order every 3 months is mostly for protection. A lot of people were abusing the system and signing up just so they could get the 50% off, which of course the more people that do that the more it hurts the business as a whole. But you of course don’t have to make one huge order of $400, in three months ALL the orders you have made need to at least add up to be $400. These are definitley things that your director should have helped you with!! It makes me sad..I hope I;m not coming across as rude or anything!! I just wanted to maybe help with some details. I am currently working with Mary Kay and have been for a year now. I started to make big orders so I could have my own inventory (even though you can just stick with the starter kit if you want) I just found that having inventory on hand helped my business. I decided to go the route of MK being my main source of income since I am a single mother, and it literally saved my home from being taken by the bank. But it is a lot of hard work. I find it was totally worth it and I;m so glad I at least gave it a try. If you don;t try you might regret right? But MK is definitely not for everyone! Thank you so much for being honest and helping others with their decision. =) There should be more people in the world like you, open and honest, the opposite only hurts other people in the end and makes them feel like MK is a sneaky business that refuses to tell you the details until it’s too late. I really hope it’s been under a year since your order so you can send your inventory back to MK and try to get most of your money back! It definitely sucks to be stuck with something you won’t use.
    Any way, I’m babbling now. Again, I hope your experience didn’t totally turn you off of MK, and maybe this message will help someone else out there in the same problem you were. =) And I;m ashamed of the recruiters for not sharing the details with you and others like they should! It;s not fair to the other person to go into something not knowing all the details!!

    God Bless,
    Kaytlin

    • says

      I actually was able to cancel my inventory order with no problems, and received a full refund, so there were no problems there. I’m so glad MK is working out for you and providing you with income to help your family, but I also appreciate you saying it takes hard work. I fear that many direct sales companies in general try to pass off their business model as something that can be done in your spare time, with huge benefits. I can’t argue that there are successful MK people out there, but you’re right, they work really hard too!

      Thank you for being open and sharing your heart here, and I’m excited to see the comments become such a variety of perspectives. I know it has really helped individuals who are thinking about taking the plunge at least be introduced to other experiences.

  14. Kelly says

    I too was a part of Mary Kay :(. My director NEVER gave guidance and basically abandoned everyone when she got married and moved to another state. If you were a consultant who couldn’t afford to buy inventory then you were ignored and received no help or even acknowledged. I wanted to stay doth MK and wanted to see about going with another director but was told that was frowned upon
    Definitely left me with a negativity regarding Mary Kay!!

  15. Rachel says

    I can’t believe no one told you about being active to get the 50% discount and all that. that just blows my mind. i am sorry you had such a bad experience.

  16. Unknown says

    I am sorry for your bad experience with MK. I understand your pain. I am still in pain trying to pay off my inventory from 3 years ago. I have never earned anything from MK. Every time I sell anything the earnings go into the MK account to pay off product. Everyone I know sells it and so it makes it so hard to sell. Yes, I have to order $400 retail every time I place an order. What am I doing? I keep getting in debt to just make one customer happy. No, they did not tell me about the ordering. I feel like giving up and maybe I should. I wanted to become successful so bad. But, it just isn’t working out. There are a lot of things that they don’t tell you.

    • says

      I think the inventory is truly the kicker – it’s just money sitting on the shelf, and you never know if it will be sold or not. I wish you the best, and appreciate you taking the time to comment here!

  17. says

    so what to do with the inventory? I have 3-4 customers but not enough to warrant keeping the inventory that I have. Sell it as a LOT on Craig’s list or what? I just want it out of here!

    • says

      You could do that, or I have seen others sell them as lots on eBay as well. There is also a site that will purchase MK inventory from you, but since I have never used it, I can’t 100% recommend it. However, if you are desperate it might be worth a shot! http://mkliquidator.com/

  18. kelly says

    thank you so much for writing this. reading this open and honest story gave me the strength to get out of mary kay after just signing up. I was having serious doubts but felt that I was committed and too far in, and that it would be so bad for me to back out already. But now that I have, I feel the weight of the world off of my shoulders, and I feel like 1million $$. Thanks for being willing to share, you truly helped me to realize that it was ok to say no, and to get out even when I was afraid to because of what people would think. you’re awesome : )

    • says

      Kelly, it’s SO hard to get out of something when you’ve committed and don’t want others to think less of you. I’m glad my story was able to be a little bit of an encouragement!

  19. Evile says

    Sorry to hear about your experience. You do understand that good housekeeping will buy back any product. They have a 100% mk buy back program. As far as ordering I myself have been in mk over a year. You don’t have to order the website etc thats your choice. I’ve chosen not too and yet and still making money. If you are not happy call the mk office they can give you details on the buy back program for any product you purchased

  20. says

    I also did Mary Kay. I did it for a few months after i got out of high school, years ago. I got into it when my best friend held a facial party. I love the make up and especially the satin hands! I still use it, but when I signed up I was like you, i didn’t know what else was involved in the process and I thought I covered everything with my questions. I bought the start up package, got it in the mail and then when it came time to order more they wanted me to buy in bulk…. not just the items that my customers wanted and the smallest bundle was not cheap. I ended up not buying anything else and just kept what I couldn’t sell. I don’t want it to seem like i’m bashing them either, it is a great way to make money if you are passionate about make up- which I was not. I am more of a nature girl, I like as little as possible when it comes to make up. I only use eye liner, mascara for everyday and then a little blush and lipstick on special occasions too. So I wasn’t the greatest advocate for all the different kinds of make up they had because I simply never used it. Plus I realized that with these MLM companies, if you are making money off getting your friends involved, eventually there will be too many people selling it and not enough buying it. Plus it just creates more competition in your area. So you have to decide how you are going to make your money: buy selling to consistent clients or by recruiting new consultants. My best friend who got me involved just got out of MK. She has been selling it for years, but she didn’t have time to have all the parties and had lost a few clients. I hope it works out better for any one else doing it. :)

    • says

      I love that you brought up the fact that it’s much harder to sell when you don’t wear much make-up. I found myself in that situation too. Cover up, bronzer and mascara {oh, and some gloss!} are pretty much my everyday staples!

    • Kittymay says

      Yes, Olivia, I know exactly what you mean! I had NO idea how many consultants were in the area until I went to a regional meeting in VA Beach back in April. There were about 115 ladies packed into one room, and who knows how many more were out there that WEREN’T there?? Plus, in my area, there were quite a good number as well. I realized that as I’m trying to drum up a customer base, that half the time, women were telling me that they already have a consultant!

      The other half, they’re simply not interested, or they’ll buy a small item or two. The most I’ve sold was a little over a $100, the rest is usually under $40. I think that the area’s saturated with consultants! The other thing is that some will give you their number, but then, they’re not trying to meet for a facial. At an event, I gave a Satin Hands set away as a door prize, with the hopes that the lady who won would be willing to do a facial. I got her name and number, said that she’d be there for a Girls’ Day Out event, but when I called to remind her, she said that she MIGHT come, as she had plans with her church, and she’d try to make it. Well, she never came, and after trying to call to reschedule, never could get a hold of her. Some just are unable or want to spend that much, even if the product is good…

  21. Amanda Baker says

    Hi Kayln! I am so happy you have shared your experience with us! I personally am an MK Consultant for the past few months, and like most consultants starting out, once you have done your taxes, your eyes bulge a little going, “I’ve invested HOW much?”. At that point, most people get frightened and run away- for me, I said to myself, “Well, shoot, that just means I have to work harder and get back my investment!”

    My family members all have their own small businesses, and I have seen them in the black and in the red. Having your own business means you may have to risk going through a wave of profit and debt- it’s truly the nature of the beast, as you already know. However, many naïve young women (and some elder) don’t have that prior knowledge, and if their recruiter does not explain that, of COURSE they feel betrayed. I was lucky to have that knowledge and have my recruiter confirm that.

    Also, people say you HAVE to have inventory. You don’t. I refused to buy inventory for a month until I thought I could handle it plus have the customers for. Also, it’s best to purchase things you KNOW will sell, as well as skin care, i.e. Satin Hands, Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover, TimeWise Miracle Sets, etc., but NEVER purchase inventory in makeup when starting out. You never know if it will sell! Plus, you should never go into debt over this business- so not worth it! Just buy what you can without breaking the bank or missing your bills, that’s the simplest way.

    I do agree, that MK should not target women who are too afraid to pick up the phone to call customers- there have been some great transformations of timid women to confident women, but that is not always the case.

    Most women are dreamers, “I can change my life with this!”- and you can- but not overnight. And unfortunately, many people are strangers to hard work. It’s all about promoting and networking and wanting to make a difference. The consultants who get enraged (not you, mind you! You had a more than valid reason to leave while you were ahead!) and quit are the ones who were never realistic in the first place. There has to be a balance of realism and dreams. I, for one, get laughed at a little when I go to meetings when they ask us our month’s goals. Some women say, “I’ll make $1000!”, “I’ll facial 50 people!” and I will simply say, “I’d like to make $100 this month”, or, “I’d like to facial 4 faces this month.” They say, kindly, my dreams are small- but I know I will never be disappointed :)

    I hope this helps anyone who has had issues with the Mary Kay Company and I hope this helps potential or current Consultants. In any small business, you CAN make it- but you have to have a heart strong enough to deal with the word, “No”, and you have to be willing to put the effort into it :)

  22. Katie says

    Thank you soooo much for your post! Through this and following the comment string it really shows both sides. This helped me bring me to my decision I bit off more than I can chew and will be returning my starter kit. I basically have no customer base to start as well as an unsupportive family so I’m going to try some product as a customer and maybe come back later to selling.

    • says

      Katie, I’m so glad you were able to find some clarity! As long as you feel at peace with your decision, you know it was ultimately the right one to make. I sincerely believe you have to be fully committed to make MK work, and you’re right, you may find that down the road will be the perfect time to start.

  23. Dena says

    All I can say is that, its all up to you. When you purchase a starter kit, you get all you need to start your business if you want. But nothing happens to you if you never do anything with it, they dont ask for it back. And you DO NOT have to have inventory or start with inventory. I hav the most AMAZING director! You are truly your own boss if you want. So what if you only pirchase a $200 wholesale once a year to get what you want, active means NOTHING if your a personal use consultant. Im sad & disappoint that there are those people out there(directors) giving MK a bad name. It can truly work if you put a little effort into it just like you would any job.

  24. says

    I have heard this about MK before. While direct sales businesses differ a great deal, I think there are some common threads that give them a bad reputation. (I have only been involved with one, Barefoot Books, but I’ve read about others.) In particular, many bill the opportunity as very flexible and say you can build your business at your own speed, with as much or as little time as you want to put into it. While this isn’t an outright lie, it does seem to gloss over the reality of what it takes to build a successful direct sales business.

    • Dar says

      You are what you put it! It’s great you had choices and that this company gave you that, for most when you start a business You DO NOT get your money back so the mere fact that this company does says a lot about them and PEOPLE are all different so shop around it’s the “beauty” of THIS business and it’s ashame that only bad things are posted. To be successful in anything it’s to think and be counter cultural something this blog is not but the best is wished for everyone just hoping that negativity being posted daily would come to an end. Choices WE ALL have them and should take responsibility for them. You made your choice to back out after 9 days? A wise woman said to me the other day if she would have “moved in” with her husband first they wouldn’t be celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary. I asked what her secret to success was in her Catering business and her marriage. She said commitment. Commitment gets you through the hard times when things get tough in business and Marriage. I’d just like to apply that here. It’s EASY to walk away from our dreams at 100$ when you invest and work smarter and don’t nickel and dime yourself and can have the inventory like she did or in this case MK or any business that gives you the privilege to carry inventory it’s an investment in yourself and makes it less easy for us to quit on ourselves when things get a little tough, just like getting married or starting a catering business and buying 50,000 worth of equipment!!
      So I’m not saying what this person did walking away was wrong, good for you that you saw it was not for you, but the lesson your trying to share is not factual because after 9 days you possibly could not understand the concept nor the how counter cultural this company is and hopefully one day you will give it more than 9 days to see that before sharing what you THINK someone was trying to take you for. It sounds like she wanted to give you the best possible start in a business so you wouldn’t nickel and dime yourself as you progressed but again I remember after 9 days thinking I can walk away now or give it the year and I’m so glad I gave it at least a year of consistent effort! Thanks for sharing ladies many lessons learned today.

  25. Unknown123 says

    I have recently became a MK consultant. I attended a small party and was told I could get a starter kit for only $100 plus receive a 50% discount on product. Of course I joined right away. I loved the product itself, but I’m definitely no sales woman. I figured I could casually sell to family and friends, maybe have a booking or two a month for people to come to my house and it would be some extra spending cash. After my kick-off party, I realized my directors have been VERY pushy for me to buy inventory and to book parties as much as possible. Note that I have just graduated high school and plan on getting a job soon. Today I received a call from a National Sales Director, asking how many bookings I’ve made, how many people I’ve recruited, and questioning weather I will be attending seminar. Everything seemed so legit at first, until I placed my first order, in which I had to place a $400 order. I only made $260 from my kick-off party, so I was told to order things for future parties (applicators, trays, shadows, blushes, etc.) So, my sales director has put me “in a challenge” to get 10 bookings, 2 potential team members per booking, make enough to go to seminar, and order inventory. This is all too much at once. I need some advice. My fiancé thinks this is just a way for them to make more money, and for me to be one of the 98% of consultants who loose money. HELP!!!

    • says

      If you truly love the product, and think for sure you can sell to family and friends to cover what you personally use and perhaps make a little bit extra on the side, then I would be very firm with your director and say that you will be working Mary Kay on your own terms. They like to call it incentives and encouragement, but sometimes it can be downright rude and pushy! Don’t let them control your business….YOU control it. And if you find out it’s not for you, you can always sell off the inventory and walk away. I’m wishing you the best!!

  26. Ally says

    This exact thing happened to me. I will never trust an independent sales oprortunity ever again! They don’t care about you they just want your money.

  27. Jessica says

    this exact same thing happened to me , I was told a starter kit was 100 , and when I got it then I was told oh you have to buy 600 or more worth of inventory so I just want to by the mini. amount that I have to by to become active , its crazy ,

  28. says

    This blog popped up in my search for a flyer too. ???

    I am truly saddened to read how many of you have had such negative experiences with MK because of PEOPLE. The Mary Kay brand is something I stand behind 1,000%. I just signed up to be an Independent consultant for the third time. Each time that I have let me contract lapse, it has been when I was unable to “work” my business due to other life circumstances, never because of the company itself. After dealing with a critical illness last year and being fired from my job as a result, I realized that I need to get back to making money on my own terms. When I was a consultant in the past, I had multiple levels of support, managed my own time, and had complete control over my flow of income. Plus, I love socializing, so I found myself in the perfect occupation. Now that technology is so advanced, even people who find it difficult to be social in person can utilize tools online to build a customer base. Mary Kay even advertises for free on your Facebook Page! I think I’m telling my age, but if I would have had all these tools 12 years ago, I have made it to Cadillac status. LOL

    I agree with Amanda Baker and Dar. This business, and others like it, is only for those who understand that it is a BUSINESS that takes dedication, motivation, and perseverance. I signed up again on July 11 , and I have been on the computer researching blogs, comparing numbers, Pinning, Facebooking, Googling, Tweeting, and creating emails & marketing plans every day. I have literally only been able to sleep for 4 hours because my mind is focusing on how to get my business up and running. I am REALISTIC though. I will not be driving the BMW next week, but NOT-TO-SLOW and VERY-STEADY will win this race. My plan is to be in my Red Jacket by September. :-) Peace and Blessings to all.

  29. Pinkiu says

    Thank you for sharing your story. Mary Kay is a predatory company. Your story is NOT unusual. In fact there are tens of thousands of women (by now hundreds of thousands) who know how predatory MK is. Directors are taught to not share everything up front. They have scripts for every situation and for every argument you might put up. They train directors in the DISC so that they know how to overcome your objections according to your personality. It’s not surprising to read some of the very things I’ve heard over and over, “No one put a gun to your head” “You have to treat it like a business” “We have no quotas”. All of these types of things are said to make the victim feel like they are just a loser. What you don’t understand is that MK deliberately designed a pyramid (yes, it is) that most will fail. How do you win at MK and why is it a pyramid? Just look at how you really make money – recruiting. It’s impossible to make minimum wage just by selling. To go up their career path YOU have to recruit. Then under you, you have to have recruits who recruit and so forth. What shape is that? A pyramid. If you want to feel better about what happened to you and why ALL direct sales are similar in their construction go to wwww.pinktruth.com. You’ll find thousands of women, Sales Directors, Senior Sales Directors, Executive Sales Directors and even a NIQ who write there.

  30. Dena Rodriguez says

    Thank you for sharing. At first I signed up for everything, the website Pro Pay to accept credit cards, bought the kit and tons of makeup. I have struggled with being active. When I was active, I enjoyed getting the discount to buy personally. I sold a few things to some family members, but never ventured further. I really did lose money on this one, but at least I have a stock of makeup I can use for myself for awhile. I am currently inactive and was wondering if someone could tell me how I can cancel my account and MK website?

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      I just called MK through the consultant line and they walked me through discontinuing the site and canceling my account. I’m so sorry it didn’t work out for you, but you’re right, at least you have some makeup to use!

  31. says

    Something I can agree with is that you really aren’t told everything right away unless you have a very thorough recruiter or director.

    The thing that I was told when I was considering my mk business is that it is ~My Own Business~

    And with anyone starting up a business there is going to be incidentals, extra’s to improve your business.

    What Mary Kay gives you in your starter kit is everything you need to do your first 30 faces (Give or take depending on the way you squeeze, press, and puff. It also gives you the necessary paperwork and direction to where to go for more information and business materials. This kit also gives you over $400 in full size product to utilize in your business ventures.

    Like any business, if you want it to grow, you have to put some energy into it. I try and tell my consultants before they sign up that it is a job, and they have to work it to get the rewards. The rewards are GREAT, if you do the work.

    Many people sign up for Mary Kay under the delusion that it will be free money that they get when they wave their hands.

    Wrong.

    Though I have had people chase me down in parking lots because they need their Mary Kay, the bulk of my business is getting out of my house, away from the computer, and actually interacting with people in the community.

    I know, It’s scary and every time I approach a person I don’t know I choke, shake, have a little mass crisis in from head to toe…It comes with the territory. I have never really been a stranger-person. I am very much a people person and have a great time with others. When it comes to meeting new people, especially in preparation for a business venture…that I’m not so good with.

    Mary Kay is really about jumping out of your comfort zone, finding your confidence and letting it grow. It is going to be uncomfortable and you are going to have to work hard if you want it to be successful.

    Again….Just like growing any other kind of business. You have to get your name, face, and occupation out there or nothing will ever happen for you. There is only so much your close family and friends are going to be able to supply for you.

    I give you this advise if you are thinking of starting up your mk business, or are already a consultant and on the line:

    If you treat your business as what is it, a business, and allow yourself to work it like a “job,” you will do great! The hardest part is putting your mind into the “this is my job” mindset. Make your own goals, quotas, and accomplishments. Set specific times to work your business. Mary Kay gives you the tools, use them. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

    Also, for those who have Directors or Lead Consultants who aren’t quite giving you the support or information you need, it is ok to ask for help. Talk to them. Do not be afraid to ask for references to Directors who may better feel your needs. Don’t rely on an empty cup to fill your own.

    If you are out of milk, you go to the store and get more. You don’t stare out your window hoping one day your neighbor will see you in the window and know you need milk. Seek and ask questions. It will only benefit you in the long run.

    I hope you all success in any venture you decide to go on in your lives. Mary Kay is truly the place for me and my life is nothing but better every single day since I first brought home that beautiful starter kit. At first it was hard work. Now for me, it’s play. I do this as my full time job, and I can’t imagine my life back slaving away and working for someone else. Now I work for me and that makes me want to do all the better.

    Well wishes all,

    Amanda F
    Senior Beauty Consultant – Mary Kay

  32. Victoria says

    Hi Kalyn! So I stumbled upon this blog literally because I did a google search for “Mary Kay blog”. I’ve been considering joining Mary Kay for THREE YEARS.

    I feel like now is the right time for me to get started, so over the past couple weeks I’ve been doing a LOT of research online about the company and reading tons of blogs/comments of peoples experiences. What I really really do appreciate about your blog is that even considering you were not happy with your experience with Mary Kay, you didn’t bash it and talk trash on it.

    Every direct sales business requires a talent in SALES. And that is such a tough field that it’s definitely not for everyone.

    Thanks for a great post! I like your writing and plan on checking out some more of your blog. :)

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      You are so right about having a talent in sales! I was always told that you don’t have to be a salesperson to work in MLM, but you really do. I SO appreciate your sweet comment and hope you’ve been able to get both sides here and make the best decision for YOU! Hope to see you around!! :)

  33. tracey says

    Thank you sooooo much. I am dealing with this now as a new MK consultant. I love the products and the team etc. But I feel the exact same way as you. I work a full-time 40+ hour week and mom of two and church activities and volunteering. I was looking to do this as a PT opportunity. Every single thing that you said I experienced and agree with you 100%. I do not think anything MK does is to SCAM you or anything like that but it’s diffently something I should have asked more questions on. There was times I did feel rushed and pushed to make decisions and that is just not my personality. I agree with someone earlier that said it’s a Business so there are certain ways you need to run your business in order to be successful and I completely agree with that. I just do not think I’m cut out for this type of business. :) I am a better customer with it than a Consultant, lol.

    thanks again and keep you head up…

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Thank you for your sweet comment, Tracey! It definitely takes a lot of work to make MK or any direct sales business successful. I am much happier being a customer too! :)

  34. says

    Thank you for your article. This is why I joined Avon after paying my 15 $ sign up fee that was it. You do have to place an order of your books, but websites and training and meetings are free.

  35. Janell says

    I am so happy I found this. I am going through the same situation right now. I was introduced to the product by entering a drawing at bridal show. I got a call a month later saying I had one a “Facial and Makeup Makeover” for myself and bridesmaids. She said nothing of it being MK. When we got to her house with she called her salon we started getting suspicious. Sure enough it was your typical scam party to help them male money. I have never been the type of girl to take care of my skin and i have always heard great things about the product so i decided to give it a shot. I signed up to become a consultant because the starter kit was on a good sale and I figured I could really put some time and effort into selling as soon as my life calmed down a little (I’m planning a wedding). Well my director that signed me up stated that in order to get the consultant discount I had to book my “Debut” party with her within the first 10 days of enrolling, so I did. My director did not mention anything to me again until 9:45 the night before my party. She said she would come early to help me set up and do a quick run through of what she would be doing. The whole time she knew i did not have time to devote all of myself to this company. Well she came about 40 minutes late to the party after my guests had arrived casually holding her starbucks. She proceeded to put on the party and it lasted until 9:50…. starting at 6:30 on a Thursday. She also allowed customers to purchase product with a credit card, not knowing how I was supposed to accept payment she informed me to download this free app that allowed to money to be put into my bank account. I did and now realize how stupid I am for putting all of my credit info into some app, that is not even through the company, and pay the random fees that come along with using it. Well to my surprise I had a $353.00 order to place afterwards. I then tried to place my order online the following weekend and was not able to receive the discount because I did not reach the $450.00 retail limit. I had already given this whole business a lot of thought over the weekend and decided it was NOT for me. So instead of placing the order through my name I used my Co workers account and she was able to use her discount so that I would make my money back from what I had invested ( I would send the kit back but I like the product, it’s the director that ruined it.) Everything went through fine and I thought I was in the clear. Well my director finally called me to see how placing the order went, mind you she handed me the sale slips after the party and said “The website is pretty self explainable.” I told her the problem i had run into and what I decided to do to place the order. She freaked. She raised her voice with me and told me I needed to call and cancel the order with the MK company right away. She was mad that because of what I had done she wouldn’t get credit for anything, and neither would her unit. I decided then that I did not care for this woman, she is money hungry she does not care about the consultants she just wants her profit and credit. I am very disappointed in the company. I will always use the product but I need out. I cannot believe how she treated me and that she has a title within the company. She is the worst “boss” I have EVER worked for.

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      I’m so sorry to hear about your experience, Janell! That’s so unfortunate that you didn’t know about the discount until you went to place the order — it’s exactly what happened to me too. I hope you were able to bow out without too much trouble!

    • says

      OMG that is SUCH a sad story! How unfortunate that you ended up with someone like her. I just barely started with MK and this story just reminds me that when I do start recruiting that I need to be very upfront about how the business works instead of letting the consultant find out bit by bit. So sorry you had that experience!

  36. Elaine says

    I sold Mary Kay back in the 90’s. Or should I say I tried to sell Mary Kay back in the 90’s. The directors said the products would sell themselves. They don’t. They said they would sell the products for me if I needed help. They didn’t. I spent so much money on inventory and no one bought. These MLM companies really do pull the wool over people’s eyes by flashing around the few people who get cars and make it big.

    Worse is that all these home sales companies are taking advantage of the women that are asked to hold “parties” for them, and attend these “parties.” I am so sick of being invited to “parties” where I am really being invited to buy stuff. And you know the friend holding the parties are only doing so to help the sales person out…not because they think we want or need these products.

    I got an email from a salesperson before a party that I was invited to saying she wanted to bless the hostess with this party! Who is she kidding?! Does she really think the hostess is being blessed by hosting this party? NO…the hostess was doing her a favor! The of course during the party the sales person said she would be remiss if she didn’t give us the opportunity to join the company…again…she was going to bless US with this opportunity?! Really?

    We all know you need recruits to move up and get more money. We all know you need to bug your friends and get them to bug their friends, to move this product. And please don’t try to “Close” the sale by acting as if I am going to buy stuff. Act like a human being and ask me if I want to buy something….because of you treat me like a sale I’m not going to buy anything.

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