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Investigating Mary Kay

With Wade Goodwyn in for Tom Ashbrook.

We have a disturbing look behind the record sales at Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Mary Kay Tinted Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15. (AP)

Mary Kay Tinted Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15. (AP)

What do you think when you think Mary Kay Cosmetics?  Nice ladies in red blazers selling low cost good quality make-up from their home? Pink Cadillacs maybe?

But Harper’s magazine Reporter Virginia Sole Smith writes a heart breaking piece that alleges that for the vast majority of women, Mary Kay costs them money while making them feel bad about themselves to boot.  But in this recession, more women are trying to sell Mary Kay than ever and sales are way up. So how can that be?

This hour, On Point:  Mary Kay, not so pretty in pink.

-Wade Goodwyn

Guests

Virginia Sole-Smith, freelance journalist. Her article titled “The Pink Pyramid Scheme: How Mary Kay cosmetics preys on desperate housewives” is in the August issue of Harper’s Magazine.

Douglas Brooks, a practicing attorney, over the last 20 years he has litigated numerous class action suits on behalf of victims of multi-level marketing schemes.  

Lynne,” a former Mary Kay director.

Laura Beitler, vice president who oversees the Mary Kay department of compliance. 

Joseph Mariano, president, Direct Selling Association, a trade association the represents roughly 200 firms that sell products directly to consumers.

From The Reading List

Harper’s “Most of today’s Mary Kay ladies are struggling, though, even as the company flourishes at their expense. Tracy Coenen, a financial-fraud investigator and the founder of the online community Pink Truth, estimates that Mary Kay consultants can hope to clear $25,000 per year, at best. Most who make money earn about minimum wage, while fewer than 300 of the 600,000 Mary Kay ladies in the United States net a six-figure income. The women I interviewed for “The Pink Pyramid Scheme” told me stories about struggling to patch together daycare or to survive high-risk pregnancies while working long hours scouting prospects and hosting parties without any guarantee of a sale.”

Dallas Morning News “Mary Kay independent salespeople flood into downtown Dallas every summer for the company’s annual seminars and leave millions of dollars behind. The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that this year’s Mary Kay convention, which starts Wednesday and ends Aug. 4, will have an economic impact of more than $33.”

Mary Kay You can find the homepage for the cosmetics company here.

PinkTruth.com “Compulsive consultancy brings despair and humiliation into the lives of countless thousands of men, women and children. The compulsive consultant is a person who is dominated by an irresistible urge to participate in Mary Kay. Coupled with this is the obsessive idea that a way will be found to “make it pay” and enjoy it besides. This causes deterioration in almost all areas of the person’s life.”

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  • http://twitter.com/benmarks benmarks

    Wow, I hope they aren’t making up this story.

    • Jim

      They are making it up.  Fifty years in business in many countries-they must be doing something right.   

      • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

        Or doing something wrong, like everything it depends on your perspective. How many countries does HSBC operate in?

      • Robert K.

         Yes, they are making tons of money off the misery of desperate women.  Maybe you meant, “they must be doing something good”, and that’s not true at all.

      • FreeNow

        they aren’t making it up.  Thank the good Goddess for the Internet where the lies can finally be revealed!!  the COMPANY is making the money, not the consultants. wake up.

      • Rnstcole

        Jim

        Conn people are very smart, and unfortunately Mk has been able to conn people for fifty years and get away with it.  Now, it is catching up to them..It all stems from the Amway lawsuit of 1979.  Without the court ruling in the Amway suit, MLM as it is today would not exists, and we would  not even be having this debate.  Amway was found guilty of price fixing, and making false claims on income.  Unfortunately,  they were not found guilty of being a pyramid scheme because of having a product involved.  But, there were stipulations, and because of laxed control by the FTC and DSA, Amway and most all other MLMers ignore the guidelines that were established.  This is what Dr. Taylor, and Mr. Fiztpatrick has been working so hard to get changed.  Not to put MLMers out of business, but force the FTC and the DSA to demand that all MLMers obide by the rules.  Go to “The Truth About MLM” by Dr. Taylor.

  • Sheri

    Reminds me of at home scoring for NCS Pearson standardized tests.

    • Mayacb3

      You can’t get at home scoring for professional level Pearson standardized tests unless you lie about your qualifications. 

  • Siskoe18

    Abuse of women..by women…disgusting..

  • Dr Rickortiz

    I guess all those pink Cadillacs I see are from my organic protein shake I drink in morning?

  • Pingback: Investigating Mary Kay – WBUR | MLM World Guide

  • Akilez Castillo

    Capitalism at its best.

    This is how Democratic Capitalism works. Be profitable at the expense of others. make products that are inexpensive and let the distributor pay everything with less commissions.

    Avon and other catalog products are all the same BS.

    • Guest

      Except that most people involved at the higher levels of these scams tend to lean Republican. 

  • http://twitter.com/Astraspider Astraspider

    It should be noted that the Romneys have close ties to some multi-level marketing firms, including some of the campaign’s biggest contributors: Melaleuca, a dietary supplement peddler, NuSkin, distibutors of a dubious “galvanic” skin enhancing device, Xango, a “miracle” beverage company, and 4Life Research, an MLM platform so broad they have just about every cliched pyramid-ready product under their umbrella.

    MLM is apparently a scourge in Mormon circles, which is on of the reasons a MLM subplot turned up in the series “Big Love”. They even have a joke that “MLM” stands for Mormons Losing Money. Is this the kind of economics the Romneys would prescribe for us?

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/04/mitt-romney-nu-skin-multilevel-marketing-schemes

  • AF_Whigs

    Mary Kay is no different from any other “direct marketing” company (e.g. Amway, Pampered Chef, Cutco, Avon, etc.) in that they are built on lots of talk about selling and “making your dreams come true”.   Sure, anything is possible, I guess. 

    From my experience, ultimately these companies don’t care about people selling their inventory, as long as they continue to purchase new inventory.  I’ve seen many people wind up with hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars worth of inventory that they can’t sell because they’ve already contacted every family member, neighbor, friend and friend of friend and have tapped out their known market.

    So, it’s like walking into the supermarket and buying 100 lbs of ground beef in the hopes that you can sell it to everyone you know.  You may sell some, but you’ve also got to be prepared for the eventuality that you’ll probably have 85 lbs left over to deal with.

    • Avon_lady

       PS  PS Also we do not keep inventories, unless we work flea markets, I do
      this as well. If I have stuff that does not sell, I can return it to the
      company for a refund.You cannot return Mary Kay unless you are quitting
      for good.

    • Avon_lady

       Hi, My first comment was taken off, but I pretty much said that I agree with AF_Whigs, but that I think that Avon is an exception because unlike the others, Avon has a wide customer base. Customers look to buy Avon, look for Avon reps to get a catalog; customers, for the most part, do not seek out many of the other companies listed above.

  • OnPointFan

    I’m a recovered former  brainwashed consultant.  Once I realized that the consultants were the real source of revenue from Mary Kay and that I would never be able to make any real money without going into tremendous debt, I sold back all of products and never looked back.  The only good thing is that I realized I am capable of running my own business.  

  • J__o__h__n

    I thought Opus stopped them. 

    • Tharen

       Night of the Mary Kay Commandos!

  • Vasco DeGrabya

    Let us not forget Amway, Candle Lite, Leah Sofia, and all the other pyramid schemes that are so good at sucking women in.

    • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

      They’re good at sucking people in, it’s not just women that want to play the $64K Pyramid Game.

      • Vasco DeGrabya

        I’m not aware of any male equivalency to this phenomenon.

        • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

          I wasn’t saying anything against your comment, you’ll notice that I “liked” it. I was only pointing out that being a sucker isn’t gender biased. You mentioned Amway, have you ever been approached by their disciples? I have many times throughout my life (thankfully not in the last decade or better) and each time it was by a man that wanted to be my “friend”.

          With friends like those…

        • Jan Karwecki

          One word: Amway. The majority of Ambots are men.

  • Guest

    I’m sure that that is supposed to say $33million? 

    An economic impact of $33 would be less news worthy. 

    • Rnstcole

      Guest

      Most people that go to those “rah-rah” meetings are chasing false dreams, and hope.  They hardly ever materiallize.  (maybe 2% will succeed)  The majority of people that make up that $33 million in economic boom can not afford to be at the meeting, and credit card debt is almost certain.

  • Bikehikerun

    Mary Kay does not track end user retail sales because they don’t care about that. Their real customers are their consultants who buy and buy and buy because they are told they need to, to reach some goal and get a trinket or recognition from Mary Kay (which rewards for ordering NOT selling), or because of frequent product changes (you must have current products for customers! Nevermind you have shelves full of old stuff that hasn’t sold).

    The same problem plagues all multi-level marketing companies, once people have annoyed their warm market of friends and family by giving them the hard sell for make-up, weight loss shakes, cards, magic juice, or whatever the product is, they have a very hard time finding anyone else willing to buy from them. Same goes for recruiting people, which is what MLM compensation plans are really set up to reward. Most people may recruit a few from their warm market and then no one after.

    MLMs love to sell the dream of “residual income” where you have a bunch of people in your group you recruited or those you recruited did and you make a percentage (usually 2-5%) of the stuff they sell. Then supposedly you can retire to walk the beaches of the world while the money rolls in. Well, this seems to ignore attrition rates in MLM of 50-90% per YEAR. Distributors leave because they realize they aren’t making any money and every one of those people has to be replaced–there is no such thing as retiring in MLM–unless you founded it or are the 1% at the top of the MLM pyramid and enjoy the massive money that comes in from so many broken dreams.

    • Salzburg

      Well put. If the person is associated with Amway, Avon, Tupperware, Mary K, etc., we know, avoid like the plague…

      • Rnstcole

        Salsburg

        Your are right, avoid at all cost.  If you are sucked in to attend a “business opportunity” meeting and the words “upline’ and “downline” are mentioned, jump up out of your chair and RUN like heck!  In most cases it is a “pyramid scheme”.

    • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

      Nice!

    • Bikehikerun

      You watch, when the Direct Selling Association (essentially a lobbyist organization for mutilevel-marketing companies) person and the Mary Kay corporate person comes on, they will use the line that it’s just an “opportunity” and your work determines how well you do. They love that line. MLM income disclosure statements all show 98-99% of people lose money after expenses.

      • Bikehikerun

        And the 90% return policy? That’s not out of the goodness of their hearts–they are required by Texas law to do it.

        • Debbie

          They are required to do it by law for distributors living in Texas, they VOLUNTARILY decided to do it in the majority of the other states that do not have such a law, and in some states, the industry ENCOURAGED states to ADD a 90% buyback policy.

  • J__o__h__n

    I used to fall for these scams all the time until I was saved by Scientology. 

    • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

      Thanks, I lmao

    • Vermontague

       Dare I guess that you’re being facetious?

      • J__o__h__n

        Check my E-meter. 

    • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

       ROFL

  • Dave

    This sounds a lot like Amway.  It’s essentially a Ponzi scheme.

  • ToyYoda

    Ladies!  Hang in there.  Having no money, no job sucks.  I am losing mine end of September, but I am looking forward to it, since I love sitting at a cafe with the freedom to think of mathematics, and write in my idea journal.

    I admire your spirit, but you need to look elsewhere than direct marketing.  Check out the book “Weekend Entrpreneur”.  Or go to the booktstore and thumb through ‘Entrepreneur’ magazine.  I’m not saying you should do anything suggested in these books or magazines, but they will give you plenty of ideas to spin off your own business.  

    There are other mags that can give you ideas. just browse at a good book store. Another place to look is on ebay and amazon. Do searches on ‘ebay business’ or ‘amazon business’. Also, ebooks, maybe you can write a childrens’s book, or an awesome cook bookr, or something else entirely. With Amazon’s ebook business which is open to independent authors, publishing is ‘wide open’, in manner of speaking.

    That’s the way to do it…. start your own business, bootstrap yourself up *alone*, and not be a franchise of Mary Kay boosting their sales up.  Good luck!!!

  • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

    It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who gives up a $75K job to sell Mary Kay cosmetics. Plenty of debt ridden college grads would fall all over themselves to suffer the stress of get such a well paying gig. The woman who gave up that job is not a victim but is someone whose greed exceeded her wisdom.

    • Moosemama

       its the way the scripts are written, from day 1 you are told that your JOB (my director joked that it meant Just Over Broke) was standing in the way of true success, If you are a great sales person the way Lynne was, it’s very easy to believe that you can make way more money while still being there for your family. Mary Kay plays on a woman’s fear that she is not a good mother by working a full time JOB, that you’d be a better mother that can stay home and still make a living. Here’s a link to an I-story by Sales Director Kelly Hogan, it’s called “HOW I WORK MY BUSINESS AS A DIRECTOR AND CONSULTANT WITH THREE LITTLE ONES UNDER 3″  they make it sound easy and that if she can do it you can too, it’s the ultimate manipulation  http://www.unitnet.com/servlet/newsServlet?method=getArticle&id=142232&jspURL=/jsp/news/article.jsp&ntype=2

  • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

    How does Mary Kay compare to Avon?

  • Allyson

    Not too long ago, I was studying a number of ways I could supplement my income so that I could focus more time on building my interior design business and less time on the job I had outside of my field that had much too long of a commute. Mary Kay was one of the avenues that I considered. I bought the starter kit while at a party and was quickly turned off by the pressure of the sales directors, the pressure to buy and keep inventory, the encouragement to accrue credit card debt (I currently have none and wanted to keep it that way) and the time that it really was going to demand. I didn’t even bother to schedule my first party as a consultant and I certainly didn’t make any other purchase other than the initial $100 for the starter kit. I stood by that decision before today and I think this segment is just going to set that in stone that much more for me.

  • Lyrisyee

    I find it unusual that some women have so much success and some women have a negative experience but it’s the same opportunity.  I think some women find the prizes and awards a motivator and some view that as negative.  Its sad that so many blame the company for offering a great opportunity because they were not able to make it work for them.

    • FreeNow

      Are the ‘Successful’ women REALLY successful, or is it another pretty bow?  Mary Kay has a saying “Fake it til you Make it!!” “Gotta dress for the success” etc.  I do blame the company for perpetrating the lies.  I know of one director that kept joking for MONTHS that her new Caddy hadn’t been delivered yet and she wasn’t sure WHAT the holdup was!!  Yeah, the hold up was she wasn’t making the production she needed to KEEP her ass in a Caddy.  Its an endless hamster wheel.

    • Deflated Pink Bubble

      Those women that have so much success, they are the top 2% of Mary Kay.  The rest who claim to have success are flat out lying.  There is a phrase in Mary Kay “Fake it til you make it.”  The so called successful women are faking it.  They have huge credit card debt, they have alienated family and friends and most of them have very shaky marriages.  It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  It’s basically a sham.

      • Debbie

        “The rest who claim to have success are flat out lying.”  Do you have proof of this?  The author said that the largest critic site had “over 9000 members” I have doubts as to the accuracy of this number as I visited the website after this show. For every story they posted, there are only a handful of comments which is not indicitive of a site that has over 9000 members, but for the sake of arguement, lets assume that the 9000 figure is correct.  That same site says there are over 2,000,000 worldwire consultants. 

        9000 people on a critic site/2,000,000 consultants = 0.45% of consultants, certainly not enough for the author of the story to make any broad claims. 

        Perhaps this is not fair, lets limit it to US consultants.  The number here is a bit fuzzy, but according to wikipedia, ir is estimated at 500,000 – 600,000.  I’ll go worst case
        9000/500,000 = 1.8% who hate it enough to talk about it…still not a great sample size for the reporter to make any broad claims.

        Even if we assume that only 1% of the women who quit this business because they were failing and losing money visited the largest critics site for MK and the rest were too ashamed or were not aware of the site (hard to believe), that means that 18% were unsucessful.  18% is not “the rest”, nor is it a majority. 

        Critics of this industry will state that people are too embarassed to complain (how they know this I don’t know), but they somehow “know” that 90-99% of the people fail.  How did they determine this?  Since no one complains, how did they determine that 90-99% of the people fail?  These statistics are based off of assumtions of costs and expenses, and by talking to a VERY small minority of individuals (just as this “reporter” did). 
        Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that no one will fail, and that there are no “bad apples”.  My point is, just because you talk to 1 person, or 9000 people (that represent less that 2% of a population), don’t assume that the data you find for the small sample is representative of the entire population.

        • Lazy Gardens

           Debbie – You can look at the data provided by Mary Kay, in their own magazine (Applause).

          In Applause, they list the top 100 Sales Director commission checks (that’s how you purportedly make the “big bucks”, by getting commission on all the inventory you can “pull” from your unit). So you can easily see the income for the top 500 directors in the USA. The thing to remember is that there are about 14,000 directors, so the remaining 13,500 are making LESS than what you see.

          Looking at March 2012, the directors in the #100 slot for each division
          got a gross commission check of about $6,000 … sounds good until you
          realize that the reported commissions are gross, not net. And that most of the directors are making less than that.

          Gross is before any deductions by the company for “chargebacks, “copays, and other things. Chargebacks happen when an IBC returns inventory. The commission the SD got for that product has to be repaid. “Co-pays” are the money that the SD has to pay for the “free use” of the car if their downline doesn’t order enough product. Also, all business expenses have to be paid from that commission check.

          • Debbie

            OK, so let’s assume a $6000 commission check.  What is the dollar amount of expenses associated with that income?  What is a typical chargeback?  A commenter posted above that her expenses were running at about $300/month.  Some expenses may be higher, others lower, but without looking at each individual’s expenses and comparing it to income, you can not make broad assumptions that everyone fails. 

            I also notice that you failed to mention any profit from selling the product.  I know that you will say that no products are retailed, and to that I would ask, what is your proof?  MK doesn’t track the numbers, so if you say that products are not retailed, I would ask you to provide evidence to support this.

  • John VT

    Classic Pyramid scheme. Like Selling knives… I used to work retail sales in an electronic store and I used to get approached all the time by people who wanted me to join some kind of pyramid scheme. Selling all kinds of things from toilet paper to light bulbs. I always saw right through the smoke screen… however I did get a few free lunches letting people give their pitches.  

  • injun2

    It may be a pyramid scheme, but for Wade and Ms. Sole-Smith to sound so cynical regarding having to buy inventory to sell is ludicrous. Having had a career in inventory finance, loaning money to car dealerships, RV dealerships, boat dealerships, furniture and appliance stores, etc., OF COURSE you have to have inventory to sell. 

    • Moosemama

       The problem with buying inventory in Mary Kay is that they frequently change product packaging or formulas, in fact they just recently changed the formula in the eye shadows and cheek colors, who is going to want to buy “outdated” eye shadows on your shelf when they know that there is a new formula, It forces the consultant to buy more inventory to keep up with all of the changes, Mary Kay does not buy back the “out dated” products instead they encourage consultants to give the products away, Here is a link to the most recent product changes  http://www.pinktruth.com/2012/03/mary-kay-product-changes-june-2012-lash-products-and-more/

      • ShooterChic

        Exactly Moose.  Their buyback is only for the past year.  So many women who bought inventory over, let’s say, 5 years can only send back what was purchased in the last year.  And that 90% buyback only applies to what is currently on the market.  You MIGHT be able to send back the limited edition stuff and get a discounted return.  Occasionally they will give you full refund if you show your purchase slips saying you bought it at full price.  But what about the inventory you have still on your shelves for the other 4 years?  I agree inventory is important in building a legitimate business.  But the numbers don’t add up with the MLM’s because they only track consultant purchases and not the consumers.

      • Deflated Pink Bubble

        The product packaging changes were the straw that broke the camels back for me.  My Sales Director KNEW of this upcoming change but let me order 4 thousand dollars worth of product that was about to be changed.  How’s that for loyalty? Granted the product inside had not changed but very few customers would take the product in the old packaging.  I took a HUGE loss.  

    • FreeNow

      Sure for those specific businesses there aren’t very many CUSTOM orders.  In Mary Kay you order your inventory HOPING people will buy it, but usually end up doing smaller custom orders for things you didn’t stock, and the other stuff just sits.

  • OnPointFan

    It is important to point out that success, rewards, prizes, and praise in Mary Kay is based on the amount of product purchased from Mary Kay Inc., not from sales to the consultants’ customers.  Mary Kay focuses on selling to the consultant: motivational information, sales aids, products, cds, packaging, gifts – everything someone needs for the business.  Then, they are constantly redesigning the makeup products and packaging so that there is constant pressure to have the most up to date products. The fact is that the the Beauty consultants are the main revenue source for Mary Kay Inc. It takes a while to realize this after you join.  Mary Kay also uses mind manipulation with high pressure sales and encourages consultants to avoid “negative Nancys” or people that do not agree with you are doing.  And as the guests said, there is a lot of lying.  I was heavily involved for a few years, went to Seminar, won awards, and had credit card debt too.  I was personally mentored by a National Sales Director in Dallas, who called me weekly.  But after I realized that I did not want to be in debt with inventory piling up, I sold my product back. 

  • Steve__T

    Virgina try’s to make it sound so simple….

    • RolloMartins

      Virginia? Do you mean Laura? Virginia is saying this is too complicated and requires too much time, that the business plan is working against the consultants. 

      • Steve__T

        The way she figures the whole thing out took great observation.

        No Laura was out right lying.

  • Kristen Askey

    I am a Mary Kay beauty consultant, and I work my business part-time.  Some of the statements being made by your guests, though I do not doubt are true under some directors, are not true under others.  I purchased inventory and have made my money back; but I know others on my team were unable to purchase inventory and were guided by our Director, who helped them book skin care classes, trained them, etc., so that they could sell enough product – with the Director’s inventory help – so that they could place an inventory order of their own later.  Also, regarding the $$ amounts made by directors not being disclosed or truthful – they are disclosed, and they are printed in the “Applause” magazine provided by Mary Kay to its sales staff.  My director has been listed in this magazine over time and her numbers are true – she has explained how and credits her team for her and our success. 

    What Mary Kay does not necessarily tell you is that this is NOT for everybody.  Everybody has an equal shot, but if you’re not a pound-the-pavement salesperson following their proven training techniques – which are rigorous for non-salespeople like myself – it is not easy. 

    It sounds to me like the folks who are bashing Mary Kay and investigating “bad practices” or whatever were misled and not trained appropriately to know how to take those steps to be successful, or at least determine if they had it in them to do it.  Mary Kay is an extremely positive corporate entity that – as a corporation – is supportive of all its consultants.  However, with women building their own businesses with as much or as little support they get from their uplines – alot of responsibility is on the uplines (directors, etc.) to train appropriately, be encouraging, etc., and some people just aren’t good at that, and it’s a shame when you are a new consultant and don’t see that direct support, encouragement and help to succeed from your team and director.

    Mary Kay is not a quick fix to financial freedom, though some folks really do enjoy it and do very well. It is hard work and it is a serious choice people have to make to do it well.  Kudos to those that have made it work; and, I’m so sorry to hear about those who have been misled, pressured, and financially stretched. 

    Thank you for taking my long-winded comment!  

    • FreeNow

      Think you need to dig deeper, or you are either VERY new or VERY snowed.

    • Lazygardens

       “regarding the $$ amounts made by directors not being disclosed or
      truthful – they are disclosed, and they are printed in the “Applause”
      magazine provided by Mary Kay to its sales staff. ”

      Did your director ever tell you that the amounts shown are not really what their check is? That it’s “gross” and not “net”?  They aren’t depositing that amount.

  • ToyYoda

    I’ve had a number of encounters with direct sales solicitors;  All of them were in bookstores that I frequent.  When I ask them how they make money they always tell me to attend a meetings.  How suspect is that?  

    So then they give me a little bit more information and it reeks of a pyramidal scheming:  the lowlings suffer as this show is displaying, but former lowlings move up the food chain and make money by selling products to the lowlings who must sell it to the end consumer.  So basically, it’s a giant pyramid.

    Personally, I can’t see how anyone can do this even if they didn’t know or have the radar for scams.  Direct sales is all about selling to your friends and acquaintances.  It mixes friendship with business in a way that feels creepy.  That alone is reason enough NOT to do it.

    If you ever had someone approach you and he/she seems like a friendly person and want to “be your friend”, then later tries to sell you something, well that’s direct marketing. When you’re not interested in buying, they aren’t interested in a friendship.  They are hijacking normal human interaction for corporate interest and it’s completely sad and immoral on these grounds alone.

    • Avon_lady

       That is a valid point, however, most of my customers I did not know before I sold Avon. They found one of my catalogs, or were referred to me by one of my other customers.

      I like it that way, it creates healthy boundaries between my work life and personal life. Of course, I have in-laws who buy off of me as well, but they asked me for the catalogs.

      You can have a business where you do not “hit” your “warm market” (i.e. family and friends) but it takes a lot of hard work and time to build up a clientele. I have been doing it less than a year, but through aggressive lit drops, word of mouth, I have been able to get a clientele without bugging my family and friends.

      Oh, and also I want to say: Avon keeps track of our number of customers and gives out awards for those reps who have the most customers in region or district. Not trying to recruit anyone here, lol, just want to make sure that the public has all of the information.

      We are NOT Mary Kay: Mary Kay is a SCAM!!

  • Plymartins

    how does mary kay compare to avon?

    • AG

      Avon reps distribute catalogs and may do open houses from time to time, but customers are not expected to book parties to help the consultant introduce new products or purchase items in general.  There used to be minimum sales requirements w/ Avon, but no solid inventory expectations.  Hostesses can earn free product credit w/ Mary Kay for qualifying parties.  

      As far as comparitive quality, it depends – I’ve been using one particular skincare product from Avon for 25+ years – tried other products (including MK) but still wouldn’t switch.  If it ain’t broke…  

  • John in VT

    Any thoughts on Mary Kay and animal cruelty?

    From PETA: After confirming with each company that
    chemicals are being dripped into rabbits’ eyes and that substances are being rubbed
    onto animals’ skin because of requirements of the Chinese government in order
    to market products in that country, PETA has downgraded the companies to our “do test” list.

    • LauraP

      I can tell you that Mary Kay was the FIRST company to sign the PETA pledge! The company does not conduct any animal testing on products OR ingredients, except where required by law (China – go figure).

      • kb74

        “Except where required by law” is STILL testing on animals.

        • Mary Kay is CRAP

           PETA has dropped MK and no longer is promoting MK products for being animal friendly….

          • kb74

            Yes, indeed!  :)

            Here’s to getting the truth out there.

    • Jochebed

      Anything PETA says is questionable at best, garbage more likely.

      Not that I’m some huge proponent of animal cruelty or anything, but they’re just wack-jobs.

    • Millstep

      source? sounds like hearsay!

  • AG

    Avon situation sounds a bit different.  For a short time I was taken in by a direct sales “opportunity”.  The midwest company was/is young and suffers growing pains.  They refuse to invest $ in commercials, which would greatly improve their visibility.  Instead, they dump that responsibility largely on the workforce, which is clever for the company, and, unfair to the consultant.  Too many hours, for too little return – perhaps it does work for a few, but for me, never again.      

  • RolloMartins

    Maybe I just have developed a bias against corporate managers, but I cannot believe anything Laura Beitler is saying. If you market your business plan as a potential full-time or part-time career, but cannot tell what you might earn (because of only wholesale tracking, not retail), then you’re misrepresenting this business. This reeks of a corporate profit scheme.

    • Avon_lady

       What Laura left out was that you can never again be a Mary Kay consultant if you return inventory. I did MK years ago, I couldn’t sell anything, no one wanted it.

      • FreeNow

        Actually, they’re desperate enough that they’ll letya back in if you ask nicely :)

        • Moosemama

           ask nicely and buy a huge inventory, it’s been done before

  • Keep Tom Goodwyn in the seat

    Finally, finally you have got a solid stand-in for Tom Ashbrook!  Note to editors: Keep Wade Goodwyn booked when Tom is off.

    • nj_v2

      Hear hear!

    • Millstep

       or rather, REPLACE TOM! I think he may have Asperger’s Syndrome. He is the most amateurish, rude, and inappropriate host i’ve heard on NPR.  Please send him to BBC’s “World Have Your Say” where his shallow comments will fit in nicely

      • Gina M

        I think you may have accidentally tuned in Howard Stern, because you certainly are not describing Mr. Ashbrook.

  • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

    Thanks so much for doing a great job in both Hours today at On Point Mr. Goodwyn! I hope you’ll be one of the first candidates considered when Tom needs a break in the future. Thanks again!

  • Sushi

    Unless you get in at the beginnings of a company and develop a huge downline, you are a fool to join any MLM business.  You are constantly searching for leads, which have no value unless you sign someone and they remain with you.   You will lose friends in this business!  

  • RolloMartins

    So by not tracking retail sales, Mary Kay is protecting itself against proof that it isn’t a pyramid scheme. Very, very suspicious.

    • Debbie

      One of the first guests indicated that there were some 49,000 product listings on ebay.  With over 600,000 consultants in the US, and over 2,000,000 worldwide (according to estimates on Wikipedia), 49,000 products represents just 8% of the US Consultant base assuming that each consultant had only 1 product or lot to sell on ebay.  I don’t know how many end product customers MK has, but even in a worst case scenario, assuming as the gues suggested that MK women who quit unload their wares on ebay, 92% would seem to make it to end users. 

      • Bikehikerun

        Quite a lot of consultants who quit return their product to corporate for the 90% buy back instead of selling them on eBay or otherwise. There’s no way to calculate how much Mary Kay product ends up with consumers based on the number of items listed for sale on eBay. Even if they do end up with consumers through eBay, the consultant is probably taking a loss to unload it due to excessive competition in that venue. Or they hold a fire sale on their own, also at a loss.

        Why don’t you ask Mary Kay for those numbers? Oh right, because they don’t track them. Or care. They get paid either way.

        • Debbie

          Sorry to pick on your response, I figured it would be easier that writing 10 response to 10 people:
          But the reporter said during her interview that the women are not returning their products because you will hurt the sisterhood and disrespect your “friends” who are in MaryKay (Not her exact words, but you get my point).So which is it?  Are the women returning their products to MK, or are they not returning their products to MK?
          Are these Directors in MK their friend or are they the evil ones that FORCED the consultant to purchase tons of products?

          You can’t have it both ways!

          • Deflated Pink Bubble

            Some women do return their products for the 90% buyback. Others are pressured not to.  As soon as the consultant places the call to return her products, Mary Kay Corporate calls the Sales Director and warns her.  The Director then calls the IBC and tries to talk her out of returning her product.  All sorts of guilt is laid on thick at that point.  You see, if the consultant returns her product, the director gets a chargeback for the amount she received in commission on that amount that is returned.  It is in the directors best interest to not have that product returned.  

          • Lazygardens

             Debbie – The pressure to not return products is intense, and the directors often use scripts.

            Pink Truth collects those scripts from e-mails and training documents.

            This one:
            http://www.pinktruth.com/2012/04/talking-mary-kay-consultants-out-of-returning-inventory/

            Or this one:
            http://www.pinktruth.com/2011/06/talking-you-out-of-returning-your-inventory/

          • Debbie

            I personally cannot attest to the pressures (I have never been in MK), however the author of the article said 20 minutes into the interview that there is a tremendous amount of pressure to not use the (buyback) safety net, but the website you listed above reported millions of dollars returned to MK.  People are faced with peer pressure their entire life, the pressure to try drugs or alcohol, or to ppurchase a car, or new windows for your home or…

            People need to take some personal responsibility for their actions and resist the pressures and make their own decisions that are right for them.

          • Lazygardens

            debbie – when a company is selling 2.5 BILLION, a few million product returns is a drop in the bucket.

            And as for taking “personal responsibility” – what if the person making the decision was not given the relevant facts that are needed to make an informed decision?

            What if the recruiter left out things like the amount of ordering needed to keep the discount?

            What if the company not only fails to reveal how many
            IBCs are active in the area, but has been fighting to keep that sort of information secret from their recruits?

            When you are being systematically lied to by the corporation and the upper ranks of the MLM structure … how can you make a good decision.

          • Debbie

            So very little product is returned to MK, and a small fraction is being sold on e-bay.  Where is all of this product going then?  It is either sitting in basements for all eternity or perhaps it is being sold to an end user.

            I am sure that the contract between the company and the seller details the purchase requirements that are necessary to earn commission.  And presumably the seller needs to sign this contract, so it would stand to reason that the seller had an opportunity to read the contract before signing it, so it comes back to personal responsibility.

            As I have said elsewhere, I agree that there will always be some bad apples, and not everyone’s experience will be perfect.  Sometimes the company (which could include independent sales directors) are at fault, but other times, it is the individual that is to blame.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702175115 Erica Finke

            “I agree that there will always be some bad apples, and not everyone’s experience will be perfect.”Debbie, see my response to the DSA post near the top of the page, as it addresses these so-called “bad apples.”

          • Dazzling Diva Dana

            Debbie, 

            For someone who CLAIMS not to have been in Mary Kay and has mentioned that you’re in no other MLM, you sure are on here posting to nearly every post. Why? 

            If you’ve never been IN Mary Kay, you have no idea how the culture drives decisions and NOT common sense. 

            Friends are strongly encouraged to sign-up their friends and family members, so that they can ALL ‘be in the Pink Bubble’. 

            The obvious danger of this is if one friend wises up and decides to get out. 

            If the one who is getting out was “strongly encouraged” to purchase a “profit level” package of $3600, if she returns it, her staying in friend takes a financial hit. 

            My best friend – with a Masters from Georgetown – recruited me. She was suckered in too.  She is one of THE most intelligent women I know…  I know she researched it with a business mind too. What she was told, made sense. She did the numbers she could get a hold of.

            We had already been friends for 10 years… 

            I purchased $1000s from the company following advice NOT from my own friend, but from Christine Peterson one of the tippy-top Sr NSDs in the company – to have 10 roll up bags filled and at the ready. 
            Each bag holds a Miracle Set – which at the time was worth $101, then tons of other products. I believe the bag w/product retailed at $499 back in 2000. By-the-way… not ONE women bought the entire bag. The NSDs KNEW that too… just came up with the ‘brilliant idea’ to get women to purchase tons of inventory to follow their advice. 

            Well after we both attended seminar together in 2000. Horror upon horror we chose to share a room (she was a DIQ (Director in Qualification) and I a lowly team leader)… Our NSD and her Director were PISSED by-the-way, as she was NOT supposed to room with me as she might divulge that all was not rosy in her DIQ world. 

            And in-fact my friend was not. She walked across stage KNOWING there was no-way she would make it by month’s end of her 4th month of DIQ. 

            But, she was afraid to tell even ME her very best friend. She was left-out of hotel room pre-arties/shunned by her MK sisters since she didn’t room in the DIQ wing.  Nice huh? I pushed her out-the-door to go since she had a right to. She returned in near-tears as no one was nice to her and reminded her she SHOULD have roomed only with them.  

            It all made sense to me later that the NSD and Director were trying to prevent my friend from divulging all to me… It really IS all about the money for those NSDs

            They were nervous since it turned out that I was sashed to be the Queen of Sales at our NSDs event night! 

            I thought it totally odd, were not all these successful DIQs, Team Leaders, Sr. Consultants selling too??? 

            since all I had done at that point, was have a well-attended debut party and attempt to set and hold parties off of that with no avail. 

            There IS no Queen of Sales – it is queen of wholesale ordering… 

            Just so you all know, I was not a lazy loser, I had 12 on my team legitimately ordering and working… 
              
            I am the PERFECT woman for this business. Marketing background, no fear of public speaking, love to teach others – without charge – if I bee-lieve in and am passionate about this business. 

            I bought ALL the sales tools I could – including Pam Shaws… took guests to meetings when I guilted them enough, I followed all the, ‘just do this’ plans to success. 

            And guess what, it doesn’t work. It is not meant to. 

            Just keep recruiting and convince/strong-arm/guilt them into buying ‘profit level’ inventory packages and you’ll be all set. 

            Lie by ommission when they want to get out about what they are eligible to return… 

            Thankfully, my friend and I BOTH chose to get out at the same time my FIRST time in. She was afraid to tell me and I was actually ill with the thought of telling her. two weeks went by without a call either way. What a relief when we quit. If one of had stayed in, it would have been incredibly difficult to stay friends. 

            We are BOTH intense, ‘all in’ gals.  All that to say that once friends figure into your decisions, it is no longer ‘just a business decision’ friendships are truly at stake. 

            Lifelong friendships are shattered over Mary Kay… Seriously. 

            So, Debbie, please learn more about the Mary Kay cult-like culture before you choose to suggest the woman was stupid and didn’t fine-tooth comb read her contract. 

            Most women in Mary Kay having “owned” a business before and hearing TRUST ME from a woman above them who seems successful, blinds them often to common sense. 

            Oh, and if a woman suggests taking the contract home to her husband? She is ridiculed that she can’t think for herself. It’s only a $100 decision after-all. And ask for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission. 

            Mary Kay higher-ups are manipulating liars. They simply have to be.                   

            ~ Dazzling Diva Dana 
            AKA Dana Dominey Campbell

          • DWilliams

            I used to work in a jewelry store. The pay was hourly plus commission. The store had a 100 day return policy. If they returned the item the sales person lost the commission.  

          • Debbie

            Why am I here?  I am a lover of numbers and statistics, and I have some friends who got into MLM/Direct Selling.  They asked me if I wanted to join and I did my research and determined that it was not for me (mostly because I am shy and introverted in person).  In doing my research, I found some of the critics reports that are being quoted here. In my opinion, the methodology was severely flawed.  Long story short, I am here looking for some answers to my questions about this data, but as I have asked many questions and asked several to defend their data and received no response, one has to assume that I might be right and their numbers are bogus.

            My experience with Direct selling/MLM has been through my friends.  They have joined a variety of companies, some have quit after a short time, some have won, some have lost (mostly due to stupid business decisions they made and they admit that), and some have stayed with it for several years.  My small sample size comes nowhere near a 90% failure rate, more like a 10%  failure rate (If you stand on the street corner asking people to join your downline, and when you tell them that you will pay for their starter kit you will lose money as the new recruit has no vested interest in doing anything now.  As I said, bad business decisions). 

            My personal thought is that some people will lose, some people will win.  The critics say 90% lose, and the supporters say it is risk free.  I am more realistic and think the real truth is somewhere in between, and until the two sides can put away their pride and do something about it this Hatfield & McCoys fight will continue.

            I am sorry that you had such a bad experience, and it sounds like your friendship remained.  My question for you and everyone who says MaryKay was bad.  Did you report the bad practices to Mary Kay directly? How about the DSA or the FTC?  I’m not asking if you complained or vented on a blog post, I am asking if you reported it directly to the folks that can take some action.  Realize that they will all likely need evidence to take action, but until they have the complaint and evidence, they can’t do anything.

          • Rnstcole

            Debbie

            The main reason, or reasons a person does  not report bad experiences to the FTC or the DSA is because they know nothing will be done about it, even though there were17,000 complains awhile ago were documented.  Even the head of the FTC stated they very seldom  correct MLMers  The people who got out may have been recruited by family and friends, and do not want to hurt that relationship.  And last but least, the upline comes down on them telling them they  are negative and a loser.  in reality it’s the flawed marketing scheme that is responsible for the failure. 

          • Debbie

            Such a very convenient position to take.  I won’t complain because I KNOW nothing will be done about it, and I won’t complain because I don’t want to hurt a friend or relative.  Why does the FTC do nothing, because they don’t get enough complaints!  Everything in the government works on a numbers game.  I have $X to spend and a specific number of staff available to  accomplish my mission.  In 2011, the FTC and its partners received 279,156 complaints for identity theft, but only 36,111 for “Business opportunities, employment agencies and work at home plans”, of which I have to assume (I did not see where the FTC broke it down) that a portion of those are Direct selling/MLM, so if people have a valid complaint, they should.  Keep in mind that the FTC will probably need evidence that there was false advertising or unfounded claims to take action.

            With the DSA, I do not see where they release the numbers or nature of complaints, but if they are like any other organization that I have dealt with, I assume that they can only act on complaints to violations of their code of conduct (or whatever they call it) that their members agree to.  Again, I suspect there needs to be evidince, so don’t just say “Suzy Jones said I could make $1,000,000 while relaxing the the Bahamas”, you will need to show where the company or distributor made such claims in writing or other evidence, and presumably the company will be given an opportunity to resolve the complaint or implement changes to their system if warranted.

            The more people who complain (with valid complaints), the more likely some action will be taken.   

          • Rnstcole

            Debbie

            Got to “Serious Problems with the FTC Revised Business Opportunity Ruling”  and it will speak for itself.  By the way I stand corrected it was’nt 17,000 complaints to the FTC, it was over 17,000 in 2005.

      • Deflated Pink Bubble

        Not true.  Since Mary Kay will only buy back the amount of product you purchased in the past 12 months, many IBC’s are sitting with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of product on their shelf.  I was in Mary Kay for about 5 years.  I did the whole drill.  I worked my business, I had customers.  I had probably 30 or so customers at the end of year 3…  then the recession hit.  Almost every one of my customers was either laid off or their spouses were laid off.  When unemployment checks run out, so does the need for high end products like Mary Kay.  I went more than a full year without ordering anything and still had a good 5K worth of product on my shelf.  I wound up selling it all to a liquidator and a huge loss…  but it was better than nothing.  As far as Mary Kay is concerned, the IBC is the end user.  To legitimize my statement, look at their Seminar awards.  Prizes are given for what they call “Queen of Sales” when in fact sales are not tracked.  The people who receive this award are actually the Queens of PURCHASE because the award is based on how much product they have ordered over the past 12 months.  If they used the same totals needed to achieve Queen of Sales and actually just counted sales, no one would ever  qualify.  

      • Lazygardens

        “With over 600,000 consultants in the US” and 131,000,000 females in the US between the ages of 16 and 64 (US demographics from Wikipedia)

        131,000,000 / 600,000  = WTFBBQ!!!!

        Do the math. In the USA there is one consultant for every 171 women!!!!**  If that’s not a teensy  market potential, what is?

        **actually, if you subtracted all the ex-IBCs, it’s less than 171 per IBC. 

        • Debbie

          Better buy a new calculator:
          131,000,000/600,000 = 218.333 not 171 as you suggested

          • Soon to be depinked

            ’cause that 50 additional people per consultant makes such a huge difference.  Pah-lease!

          • Debbie

            Silly me, it is only a 28% error.  I guess that many of the other “statistics” that have been thrown around here are also subject to a +/- 28% error as well right?  

  • GuestMA

    Mary Kay says it is pro- women however the chemicals they use in their cosmetics are not good for women. I sat down with a Mary Kay consultant many years ago looking through the database for the product ingredients. This was not public information. At the time, they used parabens which is found in breast tumor tissue. Since I refuse to have Mary Kay products touch my skin (the largest organ in the body), I have recently not checked their products in the Environmental Working Group (Skin Deep). http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ to see their rating.
    Interestingly, mostly old products are listed.
    Transparency of ingredients is an issue for me. If I cannot see what is in the product, then I will not buy it.

  • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

    I’m diggin’ ya Douglas Brooks and I normally despise those of the “Legal” persuasion.

  • Mayacb3

    I have sold Avon products in the past, and I agree I didn’t make much money.  Part of the issue, for me, was class.  My friends don’t buy many cosmetics and when they do they go to high end stores and buy expensive stuff.  However, speaking as a consumer I find that there are ways for folks to supplement their income with Avon, Mary Kay, or Cutco.  The representatives sell a lot of their products on-line.  When I need something I go to the person’s website and buy what I need.  I get a lot of Avon booklets, because the sales person is also Administrative staff at the place I work, but I buy from her online.  I find I buy fewer products from Mary Kay because I don’t have as regular a relationship with my Mary Kay representative.  I am very surprised that the online aspect of selling these brands of cosmetics isn’t discussed at all.  Each rep is set up with a website and that makes it much easier for them to stay in touch with their customers.

    • FreeNow

      The ‘online website’ aspect is a farce to get in the door and get your contact information.  I much prefer to get the items i still like (mostly Signature line from 10 yrs ago) from ebay anonymously.  It is NOT much easier to stay in touch with customers, that is a lie.  Most of the emails i get from Direct Sales friends go straight to my spam folder and i expect that when i was a consultant, most of MY monthly emails went straight to spam.  The Look Book is a monthly expense that comes out of pocket, the samples are out of pocket, discounts are out of pocket…there IS NO income!!  It’s all ‘catch up’ and orders that don’t come out of the actual inventory that hasn’t been paid for yet.  You eventually HAVE to recruit to help make your Inventory Credit Card payments!!  I could go on and on about the lies, but most of them have been covered in the articles.

    • Mary Kay is CRAP

       No, each person IS NOT “Set up” with a website in MK, you buy a subscription each year…just another added expense!

  • KayJay

    What an awful business.  I haven’t heard anything positive in this show.  A shame that so many women fall prey to these schemes……  but, then again, there was bernie MADDOFF and I  personally know a few of the people who lost.  They were anything but stupid.  Perhaps greedy… a little, but mostly they just fell into the TRAP!

    • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

      And the greed led them into the trap, there’s no such thing as a little greedy. Either you are, or you are not.

      • Lazygardens

        It’s not always “greed”. They hook the stay-at-home moms by promising them they can have it all: more time with the kids and a business they can run from home, set their own working hours, and make money without missing a moment of the kid’s lives.

        As soon as they sign the agreement they are pressured to get a nanny and/or a housekeeper and park the kid with relatives or daycare to “work their business”.

    • Steve__T

       The positive is that people are being made aware, there are going to be a lot of snakes out, due to the heat.(financial situation world wide)

  • AG

    In response to the guest’s statement that some only want to buy the products at a discount, fair warning: a tax preparer informed me the IRS is bearing down on people who use such opportunities as a ‘hobby’, and one cannot continue to operate a direct sales home business at a loss for long.  If I recall correctly, the limit may be three years or the govt could backpeddle on deductions taken – do your homework and beware!

    • Debbie

      That would only apply if the individual were declaring business expenses.  There is nothing wrong with an individual seeing the products, loving the products and determining that it is in their best interest to sign up as a distributor to get the products at a 25%-50% discount.  

      • Deflated Pink Bubble

        If you love the products, and trust me on this one,  there are much better products out there at the same price, buy from E-Bay.  There are Mary Kay Sales Directors who are selling on E-Bay.  Want proof?  Go look.  You will find the not yet released limited edition stuff for sale there.  The only people that have access to these products in advance are Sales Directors and Nationals.  You can buy Mary Kay on E-Bay for less than your wholesale price and you won’t have to order $200 worth.  

      • Farstrider_2

        Debbie, that is untrue!  “Declaring business expenses” is not how the IRS determines if you are operating a business.

        • Debbie

          So if I am wrong, enlighten me.  How am I wrong?  What I am saying is that if I choose to purchase a starter kit  and “become a distributor” so I can purchase a few products at a wholesale discount price rather than retail price, and I don’t sell to anyone else, and I don’t purchase any inventory, and I don’t declare expenses on my tax return, and I get a schedule C  that shows little if any income off of the sales I made to myself, why would the IRS care?  I am not taking any deductions for my “business” and I am not showing a loss.  I simply purchased a product for less than MSRP.

          • Rnstcole

            Debbie

            I think I read where you are not a MK distributor.  If I am wrong I apolozise.  But if you are not, you ought to be.  YOU WOULD MAKE AN OUTSTANDING SNAKE-OIL SALES PERSON.

  • Robert K.

    Too bad that Laura Beitler deflected the question of how much product is sold at retail and how much ends up with broke sales-women.
    Too bad that Joe Mariano didn’t tell us if his own motivation is to  meet people or to make tons of money.  Maybe if he told how much money he made last year we could figure that out for ourselves.
    Too bad that Wade let Mariano talk over him and not tell us the name of the members of the DSA that were shut down by Justice last year.

    • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

      And too bad that Wade allowed Mariano to walk all over Douglas Brooks, though Mr. Goodwyn didn’t really allow that to happen. It just happened. The show (and the public) would have been much better served if Mr. Brooks had been given equal voice during the entire discussion but sometimes the point still makes its way across. It certainly did here in my view.

      • Debbie

        Too bad Mr. Brooks started the talking over business.  Mr. Brooks had several minutes to tell his side, and as soon as Mr. Mariano spoke up, Mr. Brooks tried to cut him off, so by Mr. Mariano’s book, turnaround is fair play I guess.

        • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

          Yawn.

          Nanny-Nanny-Boo-Boo.

          That accomplished a lot didn’t it? Sorry to be such a smarta**, maybe it’s unwaranted and if so I apologize. I doubt an apology is necessary though. I get it, you support MK and that’s fine. Good for you. Not everyone shares your opinion though and all I did was state mine.

          Thanks for the reply, have a good evening (No sarcasm implied, I mean what I said.).

          • Debbie

            And I stated my opinion.  If Mr. Brooks did not want to be interrupted, then he should not have interrupted in the first place.  Mr. Mariano was simply playing by the rules that Mr. Brooks started.  I was simply pointing out the facts.

          • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

            Pointing fingers and pointing out the facts are two entirely different things.

            Let me try this again:
            Thanks for the reply, have a good evening.

  • ShooterChic

    What gets me is that it was said it was unreasonable and inappropriate to give the numbers disclosures to new IBC’s only starting out with a starter kit.  They should be it publicly available to EVERYONE, whether or not they are a consultant or consumer.  Not only that, but the buyback is only 90% of what was bought in the past year.  Look at how many years some of these women are in Mary Kay and have tons of product on their shelves.  If Mary Kay offered a 100% buyback with no purchase time limit, they would really see just how much product is actually ending up with the end consumer rather then sitting on the shelves of their consultants, collecting dust.  Or even on ebay or in garage sales just to offload all of that stuff.

  • http://feedmedaily.blogspot.com/ Julia

    Cultural Note:

    I hope we can all use it as an invitation to think about our culture. I know it may sound cliched, but women are so devalued b/c of our image-driven concepts. A) cosmetics are carcinogenic B) mortality is 12x more likely for anorexics and suicide is 57x higher given age and gender. I’M A SURVIVOR…and still its hard for me not to think of that as a failure, as if I should still be THAT skinny…important stuff, right? 

    • Farstrider_2

      Awesome post, Julia!  Live strong, live well.  Are you aware of Adbusters, or the High Country News?  Both are online, and cover your concerns (Adbusters covers how we are manipulated, and hcn.org covers the enivironment).

      • http://feedmedaily.blogspot.com/ Julia

        oooh. always love some good sites to get lost in. there’s also this documentary, 
        http://americathebeautifuldoc.com/atb.html which first keyed me in to how far the craziness goes. thanks for the support! one day at a time, i’m living strong :)

  • SF

    My mother-in-law has been a Director with Mary Kay for several years and from what I can see it has ruined her family financially. She is constantly asking me to purchase products to meet her “goals” and every time we go out to dinner, she harasses our waitress to provide her with contact information to set-up a “consultation”. My parents sold Amway growing up and I am very aware of the dark side of this type of “business model”. I’m sorry, but I have never experienced anything positive associated with this type of business as it brainwashes people to believe they can be rich and gives false hope for success. My parent’s marriage ended in divorce and recently I have seen my husband’s parents fighting over finances. Mary Kay should not be an option if people are struggling financially and it’s sad that those are exactly the types of people this company will prey on. IT IS NOT A GUARANTEED INCOME. 

  • Jon M. Taylor, MBA, Ph.D.

    Great article. As the
    founder of Consumer Awareness Institute which specializes in MLM, I have
    analyzed over 500 MLMs, including Mary Kay. Based on solid research that has
    been validated by several independent financial experts, I can assert that 99%
    of participants in recruitment-driven MLMs like Mary Kay lose money – after
    subtracting “pay-to-play” purchases and minimal operating expenses.
    All of the research reports supporting this conclusion can be found on our research-based
    web site –  www.mlm-thetruth.com.

     

    Mary Kay’s top-weighted,
    recruitment-driven, participant-financed compensation plan belies Mariano’s
    claim that many MK sales people just do it for part-time income. They may make
    some sales, but it would take an enormous investment in time and money to get
    to the point where significant net profits could be realized. Lynn, Doug
    Brooks, and Virginia Sole-Smith are the credible witnesses – not Joe Mariano
    or Laura Beitler.  

     

    And it is my firm conviction, based on 18 years’ research, that the author
    is justified in dubbing Mary Kay a (product-based) pyramid scheme. 

    – Jon M. Taylor, MBA, Ph.D.
      

    • Debbie

      So because someone agrees with your opinion that makes them credible witnesses?  That seems rather self absorbed.

      How credible was the author of this article when she chose to conduct her research and ignored all opinions or input from any individuals that might oppose her position. It seems as if the author did not believe that her “research” could stand up to criticism.  

      The author of the story alluded to the fact that “Lynn” got divorced because of MaryKay, when in fact, her husband ENCOURAGED her to quit her job and pursue the opportunity.  “Lynn” even admitted that she was able to make a reasonable amount of money.  Must have been a fluke, so we should ignore that as well.

      • Guest

        How exactly is an article supposed to cover all the intricacies on the dissolution of a marriage? Could it be that MK did in fact cast a shadow on the marriage at a different point of their marriage than at the beginning? Could it be that perhaps minds were changed because of the toll MK took o the home? Could it be that Lynn was in fact able to make a reasonable amount of money for an unsubstantiated amount time, such as her warm market making pity purchases and recruitment of her closest friends? Sorry Debbie, but John and Virginia are credible writers and researchers. It is evident that you are trying your best to seek out a loophole in their arguments rather than deal with the uncomfortable feelings you are more than likely experiencing with reading these findings. 

        • Debbie

          How exactly is an article supposed to cover all the intricacies on the dissolution of a marriage?   –  The author wrote it into her article and allowed the reader to draw their conclusions that MK destroyed the marriage, but in the interview, “Lynn” clearly said her husband encouraged her to quit her job and pursue MK full time.
          I am sorry that I disagree with your assertions about Jon & Virginia.  Virginia is a reporter, yet she sought no comment or viewpoint from the other side.  If she was so convinced that this was a scam, why not seek out alternate viewpoints and let the reader decide on their own.  One sided articles are not what credible journalists write.

          Jon’s research and statistical analysis are laughable at best.  First, his “research” consisted of asking random tax preparers if they REMEMBER ever seeing anyone who made a profit in MLM.  If the respondent answered NO, it could have been because they don’t remember seeing anyone involved in MLM, or they don’t recall seeing anyone making a profit.  Valid statistical data is not based on an individual’s recollection but based on verifiable data and facts.

          Jon also often cites Robert FitzPatrick as another expert who can attest to the accuracy of the data.  Mr. FitzPatrick in turn cites Mr Taylor.  Ironically, no one outside of their circle has verified their data as accurate.

      • Rnstcole

        Debbie

        He won’t debate you because, meaning no disrespect, you are a nobody, and obviously not the smartest cookie in the jar.

        Sometime ago Dr.Taylor challenged many government agencies to prove his research was wrong.  He offered up $10,000, most from limted retiement funds, to any agency that could prove him wrong.  Money was to be given to charity of choice.

        Guess what, Debbie, not one taker!  And, you will try and discredit Dr. taylor.  Like I said, not the smartest cookie in the jar.

        if people want to help the cause, go to “Pyramid Scheme Alert” and make a donation.  It is a non-profit oganization and tax deductible.  If 1,000,000
        people donated just $10.00. that would be $10,000,000 dollars.

        • Outdoorsman71

          cc

    • Deflated Pink Bubble

      Thank you kind Sir.

    • Rnstcole

      Thank you Dr. Taylor. You and Mr. Fiztpatrick are my heros.  Thanks for all that you do!

  • Michelle

    The difference between a pyramid scheme and a legitimate direct selling company is whether they have a viable product to sell or just selling the opportunity and Mary Kay has a very good product.  The other difference is a legit DS company, like Mary Kay and ALL members of the DSA (Direct Selling Association) provide a buy back program.  If you purchase product for sale or for demonstration and decide it’s not for you, when you quit you can resell any purchased resellable product back to the company for 90% of the cost.  If you invest in a franchise, you don’t get ANY of your money back if you fail or quit. DS is similar to a franchise but less risk and investment than a franchise.  Just like in any corporate hierarchy (pyramid) the executives at the top make the 6 figure incomes and the office employees don’t.  The difference in DS is that if you work hard you CAN be the one making the 6 figure income and not have to wait for your boss to retire to move to the next level of management.  You work hard and you can succeed.  I was involved in another Party Plan DS company and had a great time and earned phenomenal sales incentive trips in a few short months that used to require me to sell $4M in software sales from my prior corporate life before I got into DS (an the trips were equal in quality).  It’s not for everyone but direct sales can provide a woman an opportunity to supplement her income or to earn a f/t income. Your success is up to you.

    • Bikehikerun

      I’d be willing to believe that success in multi-level marketing is a matter of how hard the individual worked if the percentage of those who managed to make a decent living (say 50-100k per year full time) followed a standard bell curve, say if 10% of distributors fell into that category. They don’t. The best evidence we have–which the MLM companies themselves provide–is the income disclosures showing 99% lose money.

      That number should raise anyone’s suspicions about the fairness of MLM compensation plans, much less the vast difference between how the business opportunity is advertised by MLMs and the reality of that opportunity the evidence actually shows.

      • Debbie

        I have NEVER seen an income disclosure show a loss of income, so would you care to share just one income disclosure that shows 99% lose money?

        I will admit that some disclosure statements show little or no income which may be due to a variety of reasons (the individual joined the day the disclosure statement was made, the individual joined to get the products at a discount, or the individual joined and decided it was not for them).

        • Bikehikerun

          See SendOutCards income disclosure above. Of course you don’t see an income disclosure that shows loss of income because the number you see doesn’t include any EXPENSES.

          Expenses in MLM such as the cost to join as a distributor (often around $500, but varies), product purchasing requirements, promotional and training DVDs and books, samples to give out, magazines, brochures, endless “training” materials and seminars, national conferences. Most of those are not required to qualify to get paid by MLMs (except the monthly product purchases) but distributors are told if they don’t buy these extra things, they aren’t serious about their business and won’t be successful.

          Income disclosures from MLMs are always gross income–for those who made anything at all–in the SendOutCards disclosure, they state 72% of distributors made zero income. Read the fine print. All of it.

          • Mary Kay is CRAP

             As an x Mary Kay director, my expenses were between $3,000-$3,500 each month….Ouch! PS~I wasn’t the lazy person they talk about not doing the work…I Drove the “Pink Cadillac”! I’m telling you, YOU CAN NOT make $$ in this business!

          • mkdirector

            I have been a director for 11 years and have never had $3000 a month in expenses.  Yikes what are you spending your money on.  I even rent a studio for meetings and I spend maybe $300 per month.

          • Mary Kay is CRAP

            You obviously don’t have a NSD that lives hundreds of miles away that you are “EXPECTED” to travel to 3 times a month “to be in her space”! Rent a training center, BUY your training and other media she produces, not ti mention ALL the prize she promotes…When you have a unit of over 100, things get costly with a “CULT” leader like the one I had! Oh wait…not to mention, when you do have the “opportunity” to be “lucky” enough to spend with this type of self proclaimed “god like” figure in Mary Kay, if you didn’t buy something she suggests (I’m not talking about a $20 shirt) she would tell you that you will never have greatness or abundance unless you “shift” and buy that item…Because, by not buying it, you are telling god you don’t want abundance!! REALLY???
            And by the way, this is not just one CRAZY NSD, most of them are like this! STAY AWAY!

        • Rnstcole

          Debbie

          Apparently you don’t deal in facts.  Dr. Taylor, and Mr. Fiztpatrick has already proven the 99% failure rate, each with about 20-25 yrs of studying the MLM models.  Get off from it, or give us some of your proven facts.  Debbie, you are being deceived.  Just notice all the people on this site that disagree wth you.  This many people can’t be wrong.

    • DWilliams

      Ah, excuse me, but you can only resell your product back to the company if you purchased it in the last 12 months. And by  the way what happens to the 6.25% sales tax you paid in advance?

      • Debbie

        So I guess you would prefer that people who want to return merchandise would get nothing back like a franchise or a small business?  If Mom & pop start a restaurant and it fails in the first year, all of their assets will go up for auction fetching 20-30% of the retail cost, the rest mom & pop eat as a loss.

        • DWilliams

          My concern is that you can’t state the most beneficial terms without stating the full terms- that’s unethical.

          Regarding the Mom and Pop restaurant: There is a used restaurant supply store near my home. I suggest Mom and Pop should be a little more shrewd when purchasing.

    • Rnstcole

      Michelle

      One of the most deceptive statements made by MLM recruiters is “if you fail at this program it is because you failed to properly “work the system”.

      Truth:  The system itself dooms nearly all participants to failure.  MLM is built on an endless chain of recruitment of participants as primary customers.  It assumes both infinite markets and virgin markets, neither which exists.  It is therefore inherently flawed, fraudulent, and profitable only to founders and those at or near the top of their respective pyramids of participants.  Even with the best efforts, the vast majority will always lose money. 

  • John in Amherst

    The Mary Kay scandal has as almost as many reader responses as the hour On Point spent with Elliot Spitzer talking about the need for financial regulation?  Good grief.  This explains a lot…

    • http://twitter.com/Interloping101 Interloper

      I was just about to post the exact same comment on the Hour 1 board, it kind of freaked me out when I flipped to Hour 2 and read your statement. I’m thinking that many just chose to ignore the Hour 1 show because in their minds “Spitzer is a bad man, he did a bad thing.” It’s funny (okay not funny, terrifying) that it’s okay for our Corporate, Financial, and Governmental institutions to pimp the general population out for profit but the second someone gets a bj (hope that isn’t going too far for this venue) or lays down with a prostitute they are damned for all eternity in the public’s mind.

    • Mike Card

      Yup.  It’s the OP format; if you picture the Sunday NY Times, hour 1 is front page and hour 2 is Arts & Living.  Hour 1 features people who are truly expert in the topic under discussion and hour 2 features a topic where pretty much anyone can be a self-appointed expert.

      When the calls come for hour 2, you can just hear the, “Hey!  I eat food!” or “Hey!  I read fiction!” or “Hey!  I went backpacking in Asia!”

      The callers–and posters, here–are looking for clarity on the hour 1 topic, while hour 2 is filled with people looking for a merit badge to show their friends.

      Mary Kay?  Everyone ran from the notion that this scam operation is a scam and wanted, instead, to talk about “community” and “independence” and a number of other squishy subjects.

  • Sbuerer

    Somebody can find someone to be negative about anytime someone is doing good. Especially negative if the one giving advantage reduces the influence of the one not doing so well. O if the losers gave up before getting the job done. Look at Jesus and the Pharisees.  

    I am in no way affiliated with  Mary Kay.

    • Gary

      This is much more complicated than isolating the entire industry into whether it is positive/negative. This is about revealing economic facts and uncovering a culture of manipulation within a well known market structure. Religious analogies too have no basis of comparison in what is happening right now in a modern profit industry. 

    • Mlankford

      Sbuerer, you make as much sense as crochet diaper

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702175115 Erica Finke

        Okay, I totally sprayed hot cocoa everywhere with that one.  

        **Adds phrase “crochet diaper” to lexicon**

        • Dazzling Diva Dana

          Erica! Where did “crochet diaper” come in? Please direct me my girlfriend! 

    • Rnstcole

      Sbuerer, man, I won’t even attempt to address that.  Wow!  A lot of intelligent people on this site, but my advice to you is to do what your upline stresses, “fake it till you make it”  lol

  • Hennorama

    In my profession, I see the financial results of many direct sellers.  My experience has been that well over 90% of these sellers (whether Mary Kay, Amway, Arbonne, Tupperware, etc.) do NOT make money.  Many of them buy more products for their own use than they ever sell to others.  They often buy “sales aids” and “promotional tools” to try to increase their sales, and wind up with a bunch of unused inventory that they simply either use personally or get rid of on Craigslist.

    Beware.  Very few people actually will be successful over time.

    • Debbie

      And what is your profession?  What is your sample size? Those direct sellers that you mention, did they join to simply purchase products at a discount (I can “join” for $100 to save $150 on products I want).

      In your profession, what is the failure rate for a typical franchise or other small business? How do the investments and losses compare to what you have seen in your profession?  

      • Rnstcole

        Debbie

        I would like to explain to you and others that compare franchises to MLM.  Yes, you may pay a million dollars for a McDonalds franchise, and only 100 for a Mk opportunity.  Difference is you are paying for a protected area with the McDonald’s franchise.  Have you ever ssen two MCD next to one another? Most distributors don’realize that they are competing against one another.  Mainly people, where that and product actually becomes satuated at a pretty rapid pace.  So, at the next rah-rah meeting remember everyone there is taking food out of your mouth.  What other industries does this happen in.

  • Robert L. FitzPatrick

    The investigation of Mary Kay revealed a stark reality that contradicts all of Mary Kay’s claims and promotions. It is that the only feasible way for a new Mary Kay salesperson to earn a net profit  is to recruit more Mary Kay salespeople. Profit comes from later salespeople’s investments, not customer purchases. Those recruited must do the same — keep extending the sales chain, forever. Obviously this is impossible and unsustainable. This accounts for the huge “churn” (quitting/failure) rates of salespeople. The majority of all recruiters will always be at the bottom, where profit gained from recruits “below” is impossible.  The Mary Kay business model is based on getting salespeople to buy, and to recruit other salespeople to buy, not to sell.
    On average the salespeople buy about $1,200 a year. Financially, it does not matter to Mary Kay if they sell the goods or not. For the company, more salespeople means more revenue. The real business is the sale of the “business opportunity”, not cosmetics.
    Robert L. FitzPatrick, Pres. PyramidSchemeAlert.org

  • Sarah

    Nothing worth doing is ever easy! The majority of people are accustomed to a “9-5,” structured JOB. They are told when to be at work, what is expected of them, and when they can leave. If they are not managing people, then someone else is managing them. There is always a “boss.”

    With a Mary Kay business as well as other DS avenues, you become an INDEPENDENT business owner. You are not in business by yourself, but you are in business for yourself; you are your OWN boss. You call all the shots. This is very liberating, yet the new business owner must be willing to learn how to effectively manage their time and money to reap the rewards. Most people have never owned their own business before! This is not a bad thing, but a NEW thing.

    You only get what you are willing to put into your business. I can only speak for my Mary Kay business when I say that all of the training, mentorship and support to successfully grow my business in any- and- every way I choose is always available. I must go after it though. I must ask for help. I must have discipline because, at the end of the day, I am accountable for myself. There is no one telling me I have to sell a certain amount each week, asking me to put in overtime, or to arrive early or stay late. I also choose to surround myself with women of integrity who are truly living by The Golden Rule.

    You can make a willing person capable, but you cannot make a capable person willing.

    Show up for yourself in your own business just as you would in your other JOB and the sky is the limit.

    I love my Mary Kay!

    ~Sarah

    • Bikehikerun

      What does the schedule C for your Mary Kay business say Sarah?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702175115 Erica Finke

      It’s quite clear you have not been in the business long, Sarah.  You claim that if you put your all into your business, success shall be yours, but unfortunately, that’s not how the song goes.  

      Consider the case of NSD Allison Lamarr.  She rose to the highest position in the company in just over 3 years and claims that she made $1 million the fastest in the company’s history, so it would be silly to say Lamarr wasn’t “showing up for herself.”  

      That being said, why do you think Lamarr QUIT Mary Kay, even after constantly telling her followers that “The only way to fail is to quit?” and admitting in Applause magazine that she “…would never leave the Mary Kay life!”

      Former NSD Lamarr later admitted that she was “working extremely hard without every producing a payoff.”  For a former National Sales Director to make such a hard-hitting statement should say MUCH to those considering Mary Kay as a means of income.

      • Pamela Waldrop Shaw

        You don’t know the facts regarding Allison LaMarr.  She did not ‘quit’.  I’ll leave it at that, but again— you speak what you do not know.

        • Moosemama

           If Erica is wrong, please give us the facts, unfortunately Allison has said in her own words that she quit MK in one of her many speeches for Seacret, We all know about the lawsuit Mary Kay has lodged against her  for breaching her National Contract after she left, your statement makes it sound as though she was pushed out of MK, so please clarify

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702175115 Erica Finke

          NSD Shaw, quoting Lamarr’s own words seems like a pretty factual act to me.   Lamarr quit Mary Kay (or departed, or left, or took her leave, or whatever you wish to call it) because she was “working extremely hard without ever producing a payoff.”  And so Lamarr’s search for pastures greener than Mary Kay began, first with failed MLM Bellamora, then with personal “life coaching endeavors, then with Seacret.          

          Anyway, since you’re here, NSD Shaw, perhaps you’d like to enlighten the readers regarding your regular practice of teaching women how to load new recruits up with inventory, per one of your training documents:

          “All working and aspiring star consultants need $3600 on shelf.  If they do not begin with $3600 or get there within their first 90 days, they never get there.  Get the agreements, get the STAR order; I want you desperately to stay focused on your personal selling, personal recruiting, and commit to bringing in STARS!

          GET those agreements, GET that inventory, but it’s all a personal choice, of course. 

          • Pamela Waldrop Shaw

            “working, aspiring Consultants”
            “personal choice”

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702175115 Erica Finke

            Your cryptic reply is not helpful, NSD Shaw, although I do believe you’re trying to suggest that you only recommend 3600 packages to “working, aspiring consultants.”  I, however, beg to differ.  You recommend 3600 packages to any and everyone joining MK.

            Case in point:  Your document for New Consultants, titled, “The Business Power Plan” lists inventory packages from 600-3600 and adds, “Doesn’t it make sense to be on profit?”  Of course, you explained in your inventory CD, The Next Step” that being “on profit” means having a full store, or $3600 on one’s shelf:

            “Are you ready to begin your business as a career Emerald Star Consultant, ON PROFIT, with 3600 wholesale…”

            You also told new consultants in your “Next Step” CD:

            “If you can find a way to get $600, you can find a way to get $3600…with the $600, you’re going to be fearful and frustrated…but at the $3600 level, you’ll only be fearful.”

            How very manipulative.

          • Bikehikerun

            Or this amusing tidbit, taken from “warm chatter” scripts on your website National Sales Director Pamela Shaw:

            “‘I know that it’s weird that I am coming up to you out of know where [sic] but I had to come over and talk to you because you’re so sharp (pay her a sincere compliment).  My name is Leah and I am a Mary Kay Consultant’”

            So people know to thank you for these awkward encounters when they just want to be left alone while shopping. Creeptastic.

          • Grant

            “personal choice” must be what you repeat to yourself everyday in order to live with the fact that thousands of women have gone into debt so you can be rich. This must be what you say to yourself so you can sleep at night. 

          • Carmenramirez

            Pam, your silly, spoiled-brat comment about your parents being “money donors” to this station was revealing. Were you implying that if you weren’t issued an apology that your parents would pull their contributions? Real world reality check, Pam: You don’t have any more power outside of the pink bubble than anyone else does. You are not a celebrity. Nobody knows you in the grocery store other than “there’s that attractive older woman who comes in here for her chai after yoga”. For every nickel that you or your parents pull from this station, there are 10 others willing to contribute. Why? Because this station told the truth. And truth means something in the real world. In the pink bubble? Not so much. Because inside the pink bubble, truth = negativity.

          • The Blatant One1

            So nice of you to come back Pam!  Maybe you can bravely answer the other comments that were posted to your little invective?  Or do you not have a good answer?  Are you incapable of responding to fair questions that your own training documents have aroused?  Not sure how to handle a large group of people that aren’t the typical fawning audiences you’re accustomed to holding enraptured at Seminar and other MK events?  We’re waiting Pam!  Oh pretty, pretty, please with hot fudge and cherries on top, bestow upon us your great wisdom!!!

          • Geez

            I suspect that Pam is right about Alison….. but not anything else

        • Tsu Dho Nimh

          Oh, glad you popped in, Ms. Shaw.  Please explain why your “Recruiting for Results” document tells the IBC to have the woman who thinks she’s doing a practice interview fill out  the consultant’s agreement at the START of the interview. And sign it.

          If it’s practice, why does it need a signature.

          And this: “Touch. The one who touches is in control. How you touch is important.”  If it’s such a great opportunity, the only touching needed would be the handshake at the end of the interview. But your recruiter needs to be in control. Why?

          Please provide the data behind this claim in that document “If you held 3 appointments
          a week at the national average of $150 per
          appointment, this if $450 per week and over $20,000 per year! If each client reorders just $10 per month, that’s $36,000 per year which would be over $50,000 in sales for the year and over $20,000 in profit for you! Isn’t that exciting!!??”

          I’d be excited if you could actually back it up with real data showing it is a repeatable sales expectation, not a “best week ever” or “wild-ass estimate to get me excited”.

          OH, you can’t provide the data, because the company does not track retail sales to end users. How convenient for you.

    • Rnstcole

      Sarah, what is wrong with having a 8-5 job.  At least you are guranteed a pay check each week.  In MK, and most other MLM companies you are not.  Failure rate, based on many years of research performed by many experts in the field of marketing, is 98.5%.  Better chance of winning at the casinos.

    • Deflated Pink Bubble

      Sarah, you will find out, eventually, that you can make more money working the drive thru at McDonald’s than you can at Mary Kay.  Once you take out all your expenses, even if you are a selling machine, you won’t make much money.  Most Sales Directors make less than 20K a year.  You could make that simply by asking “Do you want fries with that?”

    • Grant

      Dropping all the same tired rehearsed MK cliches like a good programmed MK robot. I feel sorry for your family.

      • Cathy G

        fun to be so negative, and refuse to listen to any of the people who will stand up for this company.  Sound pretty lonely

        • Lazygardens

          Cathy – Try an experiment.

          Ask the next five Sales Directors you meet to show you their last 5 years of business tax returns.

          If they are really successful, they should be willing to show you their Schedule C with the expenses and income.

          Ask to see the last 5 years of pay stubs from Mary Kay. Not the checks they wave as they burble about the opportunity, but the actual checks with deductions showing the NET they had to deposit intotheir business accounts.

          Then tell me what a success they are.

          • notfooled

            I notice no sharp reply to the “ask for the tax return” question. Hmmm

        • Grant

          Lonely is getting sucked into a pyramid scam, existing solely to keep running on a hamster wheel for a company that is only interested in generating profit through frontloading. I have listened to the people who defend the company and they all have the same thing in common- worried or isolated families, debt, massive inventories, strained and dead marriages, and ALL recite the same mantras brainwashed into them through continuous ‘positive’ reinforcement. In other words, they have been thoroughly inducted into a cult. This is not negative- this REALITY. 

        • Rnstcole

          Cathy

          Do you know the difference from being “negative and being a “free-thinker?  The being negative statement is what your upline has programmed you to say to make you feel guilty.  You and your upline are threatend by “free-thinkers” as most on this site are.  Good luck in your endeavors to lose not only your money, but possibly your friends and family.  It happened to me.

    • Rnstcole

      Sarah

      What ‘s wrong with a 9-5 job.  At least in most cases you are guaranteed a paycheck each week, in MK, or any other MLM scheme you are not.

      As far as owning your own business, you own nothing.  You BOUGHT into the right to share in commissions with a long list of distributors.  The promoters, or the owners of the company pulls all the strings.  (commissions, supply and demand, media, government regulations, etc.) 

  • Pingback: Mary Kay Cosmetics The Truth Behind the Pink

  • http://profiles.google.com/mlm.consultant.com Rod Cook

    Wow the truth gets slaughtered below.  This 92% rate figure rate that people lose money is bandied about by anti-MLM liars some of which are in lawsuits or have appeals of lawsuits going.  As I have on record in testimony before the Federal Trade Commission that 92% is a fraud statement.  The recognized dropout rate average for all MLM’s is 70%.  Of that good MLM Companies return money at the 90% rate.  Good MLM companies also give 90 days up to a year to return product and sales materials for refunds.
    ROD COOK EDITOR OF http://www.mlmwatchdog.com

    • Bikehikerun

      Here’s a typical example of an income disclosure statement provided by one MLM–in this case, SendOutCards

      https://www.sendoutcards.com/media/pdf/income_disclosure.pdf

      As you can see from this form, 94% of distributors who earned any money at all (in the fine print you will see 72% of distributors earned zero–this table is a breakdown for those in the 28% who earned anything at all) earned on average less than $65 in all of 2011. It costs about $500 to join this company as a distributor, and about $372 per year minimum in purchased products to qualify to get paid anything by the company. Other MLM income disclosure statements show a similar distribution of income and have similar costs to join and ongoing “pay to play” requirements.

      Is a 70% drop out rate on average supposed to be a good number for companies that imply you can get rich by building a large group of people below you and earning a percentage of their sales? So you bust your butt and recruit 100 people, 70 of which will leave and take their volume–and your commissions–with them. That’s if you can recruit anyone. 72% of the people in the above MLM didn’t manage to recruit even one person since they made zero commissions.

    • Bob

      MLM is bad, your site is bad, and you should feel bad. Why should anyone listen to someone like you, hawking your own wares during a discussion on scammers in general?  

      • Debbie

        So By your account, Several anti-mlm commenters who have also posted links to their websites, books & videos that are being sold are also bad, and we should not be listening to them either?

        • Bob

          Debbie, you are the most circular and presumptuous poster on here. Read my comment- it says Bob’s site is bad because MLM is bad. Yes, your attitude is just as terrible as your logic.

          • Debbie

            I do apologize, I did misread your comment.  My edit follows:
            So By your account, we should also not be listening to Several anti-mlm commenters who have also posted links to their websites, books & videos that are being sold?  I am sorry you think my comments are presumptuous.  Most of my comments have simply been looking for verifiable facts and data.A great number of people on this site have made comments like “Everyone loses”, or “the majority fail”.  I am simply trying to point out that  the majority do not necessarialy fail.  Without looking at the individual circumstances, you can not paint with such a broad brush.  Others here (and elsewhere)  cite failure rates in percentage (I have seen 80%, 85%, 90%, 92%,94% & 98.5% failure rates), and I believe that most of these “statistics” come from the work of 2 individuals who point to each other for confirmation that their data is correct.  However, when you look at their reports, they fail to provide their raw figures to allow individuals to verify the data, or, they make the assumption that everyone (regardless of whether they sell $10,000 or $1 in products) has the same expenses.  Making such broad assumptions because the researcher can not find, or is too lazy to obtain reliable data is simply wrong (but they feel it is OK as it skews the numbers in their favor).  A number of Pro-MLM people have critiqued the data produced by these two individuals, and have done a reasonable job of raising doubt as to the accuracy of the data or shot it so full of holes that it simply doesn’t float.  I will let the individual reader here do their own research.  Let them read these reports, and then read the critiques of the reports.  I think that most people who read the reports and the critiques of the reports with an open mind will come to a similar conclusion that the variety of failure rates often cited can not be stated as applying to every MLM company. 

          • Bikehikerun

            It’s true that calculating expenses for MLM distributors can be difficult, and it does vary from company to company. Here’s a guide on how to calculate basic expenses in a MLM before you join.

            Basic expenses found in most MLMs

            1. Cost to join as a distributor. This is often around $500 in many MLMs

            2. Costs for any additional special program tracks or tools. Many MLMs charge a monthly fee to distributors to have a company website for example. Others have separate programs that cost money in addition to the cost to become a distributor. SendOutCards for example, has a “Certified Trainer” program which costs money in addition to the cost of the distributor license.

            3. Monthly required product purchase costs. Most MLMs require distributors either sell a certain amount of product per month, or to make sure you don’t fall below the amount required each month, buy product yourself. This is often called a “monthly autoship”, meaning you are charged automatically each month for the product and it is shipped to you. This amount can vary significantly, but usually falls in the $30-300 range (per month). Also described as “pay to play” expenses.

            4. Renewal fees. Many MLMs require distributors pay to “renew” their distributor’s license each year.

            Other potential expenses:

            1. Child care. Many stay at home parents are attracted to MLMs because it seems like it will give them the freedom they need, but working at home with kids is difficult so if they decide to pay for child care so they can work their business, that is an expense.

            2. Costs to attend any meetings, training events, and national conferences. Generally attendance at these things is touted as “optional” but distributors are heavily pressured to go and told “you’re not serious about your business” and “you won’t be successful” if they don’t. MLMs generally have a lot of these events, including a national convention every year, smaller regional training events, and often a national training event. Distributors pay for the ticket to attend, hotel and food costs, and gas or airfare costs.

            3. Tools and training materials such as DVDs, magazines to give to prospects, and books. MLMs push these items heavily. Past lawsuits regarding Amway have shown these items produce a significant amount of income for the MLM and the top promoters.

            4. Cost of samples, prizes, and similar giveaways to prospects.

            5. Costs involved for home parties such as refreshments

            6. Your time. Your time has value. You should consider the “opportunity cost” which is the money you could make if you chose to spend it in another money making venture.

            Not all MLMs produce an income disclosure, but for those that do, you can work up your estimated yearly expenses and then look at the percentage of people who gross more than that number per year–it’s almost always 1% or less. What does that say about your chances of even earning a part time income from MLM?

          • Douglas M. Brooks

            This is an excellent analysis.  It should be studied by every prospective MLM distributor.  It demonstrates why MLM is going to fail for 99% of participants, and also why the 90% refund policy is inadequate.

          • Debbie

            Mr. Brooks,

            While I agree with the summary that “bike” as provided, and I agree, before entering into ANY opportunity, or job, or considering any major purchase etc., one should consider the pros and cons and estimated costs and expenditures and income.

            You cite the 99% loss rate and I assume your source will be Mr. FitzPatrick or Mr. Taylor.  As you have cited this statistic as fact, would you care to address the accusation I made above that they look at a group of individuals assume every one has the same expenses, and assumes every person is in it to make big money which is not true. 

            I have “joined” a couple of MLMs.  I saw their products, liked their products and considered making a purchase.  I looked at their starter kit and realized that I could get everything I wanted in the starter kit at a nice discount by “joining” as a distributor.  I spend $200, made no money, but I never intended to make any money. 

            By Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Taylor’s viewpoint, I failed because I made no money, and they assume that I wanted to be a distributor and therefore had an estimated $4000 in expenses.  I am sure that I am not the only one who has done this.  This artificially skews the data.  This is just one small example of how their logic is flawed.  I look forward to your response.

          • Cool One

             Debbie, how does MKCorporate give you so much free time during the day to post here?

          • Debbie

            Sorryguess again. I am not affiliated withMary Kay, nor is anyoneI know affiliated with Mary Kay.

    • Rnstcole

      Rob

      A 70% failure rate, that’s great!  (sarc)  That means I win only 30% of the time.  I’m no mathematical genious, but most people would consider this % a complete failure.  I challenge you to prove what you are saying!  What you are doing is deviating from the truth.  Tipical MLMer.  As stated by Robert Fiztpatrick, you have a better chance at winning at gaming in Las Vegas than succeeding in MLM.

    • Rnstcole

      Rob

      Keep selling that deceptive crap you try and sell to desperate and uninformed people.  MAKING MONEY SELLING THAT DREAM to most who are desparate and uninformed, a dream that in most cases will never transpire.  In my opinion, and I’m sure the opinion of a lot of people on this site, feel  that some day you will be burning those tapes, and books you sell at the dump.

      But like most MLmers, you will just change you name, move around the corner and strat selling anti-MLM materials.  Do you know what the word integrity means!

  • GMG

    This is an old-fashioned pyramid scheme, each person depending on roping in more people who in turn must rope in more.  I understand this is not exactly illegal, but it sure sounds awfully shady, and guaranteed to fail for most people.    

  • Angelina Libby

    I was briefly a MK Beauty Consultant, drawn in by the opportunity to have my own business and help my family by bringing in a second income.  My husband supported me wholeheartedly.  My excitement began dissipating when, after signing up & paying my $100, I was hit up to purchase my inventory.  I was told I needed to purchase at least $700 worth and was discouraged from ordering for my customers and having it delivered to them directly.  I was told before I signed up that I could go to as many or as little sales meetings & training classes as I wanted yet once I became a consultant it became clear I was expected to go to all the meetings/training classes.  I was told that I could build my own business my own way yet everything you go to stresses that MK has found what works and not to recreate the wheel.  

    I was never blind to the fact it was a numbers game and I would have to bust my booty to accomplish the big things.  For me all the baubles, trinkets and rewards were of little interest.  I was looking for a way to help my family and help other women.  I ultimately realized that being a MK Beauty Consultant was not for me.  My biggest issue was simply that the information they use to recruit you is not what you find once you become a consultant.

    There are people who make a living at it and God bless them for it.  It isn’t for most of us… 

    • imewise

      actually, most of the people claiming that they are “making a living” are lying so they can get their next recruit. 

  • Pingback: Investigating Mary Kay – WBUR | MLM Grind

  • Steve Hassan

    My comment is about the social influence pressures, in combination with the misrepresentation that manipulates intelligent, educated individuals into destructive cult-like groups.

    While I have not be asked to counsel victims of Mary Kay specifically, I have been asked by former distributors from Amway and other mlm organizations.

    I had a brief meeting with my congressman Barney Frank with Doug Brooks and Robert Fitzpatrick to ask for help with legislation and enforcement. He referred us on to Elizabeth Warren who was at that point hoping to be confirmed as director of the new Federal consumer protection agency.

    After that meeting the three of us sat down in my living room to chat and the video of that conversation is at http://vimeo.com/freedomofmind/multi-level-marketing-network-marketing-exposed

    • Geez

      Posting just to hawk your book? No better than MKC.

    • Dazzling Diva Dana

      I’m good with him posting his book if it helps folk get the courage to get out of MLM. It is SO destructive to individuals, their marriages, and family life. 
        

  • DWilliams

    “Sales is accurately described as the world’s easiest high paying job for some, and the toughest low paying job for others.”

  • J Wilson

    I’ve seen at least 4 MK salesladies come and go in my area. Only one, Pat has ever done well enough to drive that pink Cadillac. Another of my friends represents Arbonne and I was involved with Amway’s Artistry. All in all, these companies practice very little oversight over their “independent consultants.”
     Each of these companies also has an Ethics department. Good luck getting any of these companies to live up to the lifestyles that they espouse. The real money in Amway/Artistry (and whatever they call themselve now) was made in selling their “support system” that consisted of tapes and books.
    Behind every pyramid direct sales business is the shadow business. Behind every one of these pyramid schemes is the shadow agenda.
    Every one of these businesses has represented themselves as being Christian, Republican and positive thinking. And by God, they are right! Very far right.
    Good luck to anyone that ventures into those shark tanks. You will spend a lot of money, go to conventions in some cool places and who knows, you might be the one that makes it.

    • wiser gal now

       Like you I spent several years in the 80′s in Amway.  It was definitely politically and religiously motivated, delivering a Republican mindset (we were encouraged to see Reagan give a speech).  In fact, my “sponsors” advised that my boyfriend and I should get married (because we were living together).  We didn’t have much money to start with and we had nothing to show for it after 2 yrs.  I didn’t like sales, and was miserable, trying to fulfill the ‘female’ model of Amway in the early 80s.  Our marriage ended shortly after we left Amway.  I am not blaming anyone, but looking back, we were young and naive.  I thought I had to buy it all, hook, line and sinker.  We spent much of our “spare” income driving to conventions, spending money on gas and hotels and you are made to only outfit your house in Amway products.  They were much higher priced than other conventional products. 
      I can’t speak about M.K.  I have friends that sell it, but have never heard them speak about their experiences.  One of these has stuck with it for years, so I assume she is doing well enough to stay in the biz.

  • Eclegg247

    My sales director did not inform me that you could return the product u purchased. In fact she was incredibly deceitful. She was very nice to me in the beginning that is, once she talked me into getting the credit card and purchasing products to sell. I had the hardest time selling anything especially after having several parties with my friends. The product is too expensive which makes it harder to sell. What set me off was that I had to spend $1800 on product and even though I was selling my products, because I wasn’t BUYING any new products online, they considered me inactive after a month. So in order for me to become active I had to purchase $200 more of product even though I had an entire inventory of $1800 at home. When I brought this up to my sales director who recruited me the mask came off. She didn’t care about anything but making money off us. When I realized I had been schemed I told her I wanted a refund on my products. She told me that wasn’t an option and hung up on me. I ended up with unneccessary credit card debt that I didn’t pay off until 7 Years later bc the interest was so high! There is no profit. Only debt. I would have been so much better off if I never met any mary kay rep and people should know how deceitful these people are!

    • Carol

      If you have purchased anything within a year, you may send back 90% of that purchase amount. The product does not have to be exact, just the total. Pink truth. com has a link that will answer any buyback questions you may have. MK offers the 90% buyback is because it is required by the state of Texas. Directors will be required to return commission made from inventories sent back. Therefore, they often do not directly or correctly inform consultants about the buyback, but it is in the agreement. Often, directors will tell consultants to “give MK a full year” just to avoid a large commission chargeback.

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit

    Most Americans want to own their own small business…most will never accomplish that because they lack the drive, intestinal fortitude or the focus necessary to achieve success.  The ladies that were interviewed unfortunately failed (yes, it’s still ok to say in America) and now are blaming their failure on a company that never guaranteed them success…only an opportunity towards success!  Thank goodness On Point had a balanced approach and interviewed folks with business acumen and more common sense.  We (Amercians) need to take more responsibility for our own actions and spend less time criticizing  those courageous enough to change their destiny…

    • De-Pinked

      We didn’t fail. We were good at it. What intervened was conscience.

    • imewise

      when I decided to leave nobody expected it because i was considered “successfull”… the company called me and asked me to stay when they learned that I was leaving.  In fact.. I left because I realized my goals in Mary Kay were taking over my life and I had no free time to spend with my newborn baby and my 3 other children.  I left for my family, it was after I left when I realized what I was doing.  I was not able to see the corruption because I was a big pawn in that game myself.

  • Jcampbell05

    This piece of investigative journalism, as well as the spontaneous commentary of the author of the study, was OUTSTANDING.  Never before had I heard the lone voice of the individual speaking TRUTH to POWER like this.  The corporate voices ring hollow.  Very, very impressive and encouraging.  Shows that what you regard as the truth derives from who’s paying you.

    • Danalcampbell05

      Hi Honey! This is my husband… who went on the MK rollercoaster with me TWICE. We lost $1000s… And reflect that I lost the first year of parenting of my son wrapped up in this dream.  I’m a GREAT salesperson and just could not make it work. 100s of us created on-line communities to share ideas… overtime we became disenchanted and left MK. Many of those gals became the first core of ladies on http://www.pinktruth.com... Tracy has created THE website exposing Mary Kay. 

      • Dazzling Diva Dana

        Turns out this is NOT my husband, but this man’s post could have been my husbands.  His screen name is just like his and the 05 represents my anniversary when I use my DCampbell05. Odd.

        • Deflated Pink Bubble

          In any case it’s good to see you Dana!

  • Jim

    Amway, please investigate it. the structure is very similar to Mary Kay. does the regulators know anything about Amway? Thank You

  • http://www.facebook.com/monica.dove.12 Monica Dove

    I have been a MK Independent Consultant for 15 years.  The way I see it, the people who got severely in debt buying products just didn’t think through what they were doing.  Yes, there is some amount of pressure but the bottom line is, it’s your own business.  If you don’t have the means to spend $1800 on products when you first start, you shouldn’t do it.  I’ve always bought what products I feel I will use or sell.  There are a certain amount of products you will find you end up “writing off” as they get old and you don’t sell them, but that is part of the cost of doing business.  As with any business, it takes a lot of work to get started and if you want to “move up the ladder” you need to continue to work at it.  The opportunity is there in MK if you want it badly enough.  The products are great and are in fact quite reasonably priced.  The other reason to not over-buy in any given month, is if you don’t order at least every 3 months, you are considered inactive and in addition, you just won’t be keeping up with the newest products. We are not a Pyramid Scheme, and we are nothing like Amway.

    • Deflated Pink Bubble

      Monica, your logical way of looking at this is not the norm in Mary Kay.  There is CONSTANT pressure to order more.  To S-T-R-E-T-C-H so your Sales Director can meet her goals.  Then there is guilt laid on you if you don’t “help the team”.  

      And then there are those “Limited Edition” products that are only release quarterly and once they’re gone they’re gone.  There is a HUGE push by the upline to order these in large quantities because they will “fly off your shelf” and you don’t want your customers to be disappointed when you don’t have them.  

      When I sold off the last of my products to a liquidator, I had a ton of limited edition and discontinued stuff.  In my 5 years in MK, I made only 3 large orders.  One for $750 when I first started, another for $2,000. about 6 months after I got in and another one for $4,000. about 2 years later.  In the interim I placed 200 dollar orders quarterly to stay active.  When I ordered to stay active I did not need product.  

      I bought into a dream.  It became a nightmare.

      • DWilliams

        I think people’s experience varies depending on their director. I never had any pressure to place orders.

        • DWilliams

          I take that back, I was high pressured to place my first couple of orders (to “have inventory”) but not subsequent orders.

          • Deflated Pink Bubble

            I was going to say you are the exception and not the rule.  If you weren’t pressured for subsequent orders your SD didn’t think you’d go very far.  

      • Cathy G

        Only purchasing a few times, and just ordering to maintain an active status are generally signs of someone who just did not work their business.  I have personally been with the company for 18 years and believe, to this day, in what the company has as an opportunity.  I did work hard as well as recruit for some years, and regularly attended training and weekly meetings.  All practices which help to keep us connected to the potential of what the opportunity holds.
        Blaming others for our lack of success is a sure sign you should be working for a boss, and at a J-O-B.  As any entrepreneur worth their salt knows, it is not an easy path out there, but rewards come with consistency and hard work.

        It is always easier to blame someone else for our failures than to take a good look in the mirror and own up to our own responsibility for our personal success.  

        • imewise

          but the odd thing is that most of the people posting here are former directors.. we were not considered failures until we decided to leave…. hmmm

        • Deflated Pink Bubble

          Only purchasing a few times and just ordering to maintain status?  No, that’s NOT what I did.  I made 3 LARGE out of the ordinary orders.  I ordered consistently throughout my time in Mary Kay.  

          I worked my business.  Then the recession hit.  Every one of my customers either lost their jobs or their spouses did.  My customers were so loyal that they continued to order from me until the unemployment checks ran out.  Do you want to know what ruined my business for me?  It was Mary Kay Corporate changing the packaging on the TimeWise line.  Going from white to pink.  This change was announced exactly 2 weeks after I placed a $4,000 order which was mainly TimeWise products.  Customers then started seeing the pink packaging in the Look Books and they thought the white packaging meant old product.  I got STUCK with a lot of that TimeWise.  Mary Kay is consistently changing packaging and/or products but the upline will tell you it’s because Mary Kay is such an innovative company and they are on top of the new trends.  It’s not because they are innovative or on top of things, it’s because they know if they change things the consultant is FORCED to buy new product.  

          Mary Kay doesn’t believe in the adage “If it’s not broke don’t fix it.”  Mary Kay believes in changing things regularly to stick consultants with dead products.  THAT is how Mary Kay makes it’s money.  At the expense of others.  

          • Colin Brunton

             I thought I read earlier that MK would refund 90% on purchases. Would they not refund on the purchases? I have been in traditional business for 30 years and any stock not sold I sell off at sale price meaning usually a loss on puchase price. 90% refund on 11month old non sold stock if honoured sounds mimimal risk.

        • notfooled

          Cathy G – in the immortal words of Allison LaMarr, “Let’s dig a little deeper” shall we? First, I must tell you that I was never in MK. I am one of those entrepreneurs that is “worth her salt”. I started a business when I was 17 and sold it 20 years later (I could do this because it was my actual business) and have a life time of annual 6 figure income from residuals.  I say this because my perspective in evaluating MK is from a pure business perspective. I built my business without taking “God as my business partner” – I didn’t whine about someone “icking my wow” when things were tough.

          I’ve been pitched the MK “opportunity” many times over the years, and I still haven’t figured out how anyone can make any money unless they can find and frontload new recruits on a revolving door basis. There is no need for anyone to buy inventory – except to line the pockets of the up-line. There’s no way, with all of the MK offerings, that you can have whatever you need in your “store” for retail orders. If Mary Kay was interested in the consultants retail sales, they would do something called “stock balancing” which allows retailers to send back non-selling items and replace with selling items. But MK doesn’t do this. Why? Because the point of changing packaging is to generate new orders from consultants.

          If this was a legit business, then there wouldn’t be all of this hocus pocus about it. Sure it’s nice to get sales awards, but at the end of the day, it’s better to get cash. The dollar store trinkets that are passed out when someone springs for an $1800 “emerald” order are laughable.

          But more telling to me, than anything else, is the refusal by any of the MK reps who claim “executive income” to actually SHOW a tax return that demonstrates / proves earnings!  It is STANDARD practice in the real world! When I sold my business, I provided 5 years of tax returns so show the potential buyers how much I was actually making.  I have yet to see any MK rep willing to provide financial data to back up their claims. When the hammer comes down, what I hear is “well I was making big money years ago but now my health is bad” or “I just decided to be a personal use consultant because I am busy” yada yada.

          So tell me Cathy G – will you be the first one? Will you share your Schedule C and back up your income claims?

        • cbbgreat

           J-O-B – MK calls it Journey of the Broke and I say Haw Haw Haw! Since I left MK 7 years ago (during which time I was working full time as well as “growing my business”) I have gone from a mid-5 figure income to a mid-6 figure income. AND receive paid vacation, matching retirement funds, very nicely subsidized health insurance, discounts for places to take my family, tuition reimbursement, paid time off for family needs, and other little perks from my JOB. And I only work 40 hours a week, and sleep at night without worrying about how to make production, who is going to drop off, how to sell product no one wants. When I attend company-sponsored training I return to work a better employee, versus MK training/Seminar where all I returned was tired and discouraged that it was taking me so long to join the big girls club. I think I am in the big girls club and I don’t even have to “think pink”! I am grateful for my J-O-B !!!!

    • rnstcole

      Monica

      Here is the point, if you are focused more on recruiting than direct selling to customers outside your organization, your company would be a prime example of a pyramid scheme cleverly disguished by a product, or products.  The Amway suit by the FTC opened up a ‘pandora’s box” for you and most other MLM to perform business as such.  Most experts agree MLM is the most deceptive business practice ever.

    • De-Pinked

      At the consultant level, you will never see the abuses that on targets, DIQ’s (Director in Qualification),  Sales Directors and up, endure to maintain production, re-qualify for cars, or “achieve” manufactured benchmarks. Mary Kay is not “your own business”. Try doing anything independently to advertise it, sell it, market it or re-merchandise it. You are independent contractor. Units do not thrive on selling. They thrive on recruiting and frontloading Star orders. The bait is the “free” product given for each increasing level. Mary Kay could just as easily give you free product if you accrued sales (during the quarter) at those levels, but they don’t…it is all upfront, all at the first purchase, to bait 1200.00 to 5400.00 orders. Go to your meeting this week ladies…see who stands for “high sales”…and how much. Do the math. For the vast majority of consultants, retail sales to consumers are negligible and or inconsistent, and do not fit the bait of, “executive earnings for part time hours” that Mary Kay loves to tout. Not even for Cadillac Directors.

    • imewise

      Monica, Not only did I think through everything, I was teaching it at the fall retreats and at running my local meetings as a Mary Kay sales director. *Note to readers*  it is classic Mary kay training to plant the belief that they are just around the corner from success. The whole system is dependent on the hope that “if I work harder it will happen for me”.  And If you look you will find countless documents from the directors and National Directors suggesting that you should step out in faith and order inventory, prove that you are determined to reach that goal by placing a big order (so your recruiter who gave you said document can get commission on that order).   I was a director and considered “successful” and I am here to tell you that it is NOT what it is cracked up to be. We HAD to leave our team with the impression that we were successfull otherwise we would risk our team members leaving, and having to re qualify for our position.   One other important note… the company knows that the sales force IS the customer.  That is why they constantly change products.  They get $$ when the consultants stock up on the new stuff. Consultants who do not keep up to date products are pressured and shamed because they are “not serious about their business”.    SO monica… I DID move up the career ladder. MOST directors I knew had thousands in debt. 

      • Carman Gavit

        You do make a good point, imewise. “Don’t buy more product than you can sell.” That should be common sense, but apparently not so common.

        Mary Kay is not for everybody. I do hope you find happiness in your career. Truly I do.

    • Rnstcole

      Monica

      Two questions:

      1.  The MK program you are promoting looks and feels like an illegal pyramid scheme , with pyramid scheme investments merely laundered through product purchases.  How can you prove it is not a cleverly deguished pyramid scheme?

      2.  If-in order to qualify for commissions or advancement-the distrbutors are expected to subsribe to minimum purchase requirements that are shipped automatically each month and paid  for by automatic bank draft, isn’t that merely making an investment in a product-based pyramid scheme?

      • Carman Gavit

        #2 totally not true. Mary Kay does not automatically send anything. There is NO regular purchase required, no quotas. If no order is placed in 12 full months, the consultant status is terminated. Mary Kay does not automatically draft your account, you have to give express permission each and every time you place an order…putting in the full card # every single time.

        There are two types of commissions. 1) Sales commission (buy for $1, sell for $2) every consultant earns that. 2) Team-building commission for those who WANT to recruit. In order to receive your team-building commission, your own status must be “active” meaning a $200 wholesale order.

        The fact that every person who sells Mary Kay buys it from the same place and pays the same price…then sells it directly to a customer, not to another Mary Kay distributor, means that Mary Kay (by definition) is not a pyramid scheme.

    • Jenny

       Hrmph.  Yeah right.  I was pressured into buying that $1800 kit.  I bought into the whole line, “you wouldn’t go to a store that never had anything you wanted in stock”  and all that garbage.  Well my upline director ordered me foundation in a wide variety of shades, including some uh, very dark foundations.  Like a ridiculous amount in each of the “ethnic” shades.  Seriously???  I live in Iowa.  There are like 5 African American people in my town.  I am not being racist.  This is really how it is here. 

      So Monica, don’t tell us it’s full of stuff that WILL sell.  What a load of garbage. 

      It’s really too bad you are so brain-washed.  I hope you have a back-up plan for when MK goes belly-up.

  • Cosmiccrone

    Thank you for doing this show. In 1979, my husband and I were recruited into Amway and my short-lived experience with it was similar to that described by those involved with Mary Kay. The money wasn’t so much the problem for me, I guess because I wouldn’t dish too much out but the false value system really disturbed me. When he and I were going through marital difficulties and none of our so-called friends in Amway called him to see how he was doing, the scales fell from my eyes. 

  • Captain Obvious

    The quick math that the attorney did was very telling.  Namely that when you dived the total sales by the size of the sales force it makes for a very paltry salary.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NAQ3DAWTSNDWDUON7H2ZEBWLFA Robert

    Well… as a FORMER companion of women who suddenly was obsessed with this MK stuff I have to agree with the article. My ex-girlfriend got carried away with making this her priority without thinking and wasting money. This is a good piece for anyone to learn from.

  • Pete

    Sorry I can’t link this, but if everyone would go to an article wriitten by Dr. Jon Taylor, head of the Consumer Awareness Institute titled, “The Truth About MLM”, it will answer most all the questions you may have about MLM.  It is an article you can pass on to your friends who have been burned by MLM, or those thinking about getting in to it.

  • Pamela Waldrop Shaw

    part 2

    inventory.  This product the company crushes and absorbs the loss.  NO other business risk provides that safety net of support.  Mary Kay the marketing plan, the product and the opportunity ‘work’.  Sadly, there are those who ‘blame’ their lack of results on ANYTHING other than the fact they didn’t show up for education, remain accountable with their Sales Director for quality coaching, gave hap-hazard efforts or simply never went to work. I’m a former High School English and Dance teacher.  Since I left, does that give me a voice to slam all public education?  Do you know other professionals who have left jobs or shut down small/large businesses?  Does that mean the Company was rotten?  I have a 26 year tenure with this amazing Company.  As a widow of 5 years, the success from Mary Kay has provided my family with great flexibility to grieve and parent;  to put my Faith first,  my Family second and my Career third;  to stay in our home.  The generous commissions available, bonuses, the sale of the product (buy it for $1 and sell it for $2), the women-helping-women philosophies have been a blessing beyond description.  That you would give air time to disgruntled people with short tenure, low knowledge and little experience;  that you would assume ‘their’ representation of our Company is valid–is VERY unprofessional of you and very disappointing to me.  I look forward to a public apology.  Sincerely,Pamela Waldrop ShawSr. National Sales Director, MKI

    • Carol

      Classic denial coming from someone who has created an empire by working on the emotions of women to frontload thousands of dollars of product onto women with NO education on how to sell. Your own training documents suggest manipulating women into purchasing product inventories immediately upon signing the consultant agreement and before they are given any ‘training.’ You tout education, but MK meetings are nothing more than glorified pep rallys with cult-like grooming and pavlovian trinkets. Your words in your rebuttal are as shallow as your actions and NPR has no business giving you or any other SCAM an apology for accurate reporting, and to suggest otherwise is preposterous. 

      • Carmen

         Carol, brilliant! Especially this line: You tout education, but MK meetings are nothing more than glorified pep
        rallys with cult-like grooming and pavlovian trinkets. Your words in
        your rebuttal are as shallow as your actions and NPR has no business
        giving you or any other SCAM an apology for accurate reporting, and to
        suggest otherwise is preposterous.

    • Ginger1819

      Hmmmm…I don’t think I would hold your breath waiting on that public apology, Pammy.  I think the issue here for you is lack of control, right?  You have made millions by getting very good at controlling women in one way or another.  Mary Kay has always been able to put this “amazing,” “perfect” and “wholesome” face out there to the public and it has taken a long time for anyone to push back or ask the tough questions.  Now when someone has (and a BIG someone, like NPR), you don’t quite know what to do.  So you resort to what Mary Kay has taught you to do best – try to CONTROL the situation and DEMAND and apology.  Well…as BikeHikeRun stated above, “it’s not slander if it’s true.”  Mary Kay is going to have a tough time proving that these issues aren’t true.  And sometimes…the truth just hurts. 

    • Carmenramirez

       Pam, the classic Shakesperean line “Methinks the lady doth protest too much” comes to mind when I read your comment. Your response is over the top! If you believe so strongly in your company as a viable opportunity for financial success, surely you wouldn’t have to respond so defensively!

      And why must you categorize anyone who disagrees with Mary Kay as “disgruntled people with short tenure, low knowledge and little experience”? Very presumptuous of you! I was in MK for YEARS. I earned the use of MANY “free” cars. I had a HUGE unit. In fact, you know me. Hmmm…. The truth is, Pam, MK works for the few, the very few, who dare to frontload the life out of countless women’s bank accounts without batting a false eyelash! Your rise to “excellence” was done all in the name of ‘god’ and on the backs of thousands and thousands of naive, good-hearted women who believed your spin and bought into your broad-smiled manipulation. You should be very embarrassed by your comment. It may have motivated the masses under you who are still blindly following your lead, who are still inspired by your own success, but you’re not fooling the rest of us. The rest of us who worked HARD in this business. The rest of us who finally jumped off the hamster wheel to save our lives, our families and our bank accounts.

      Please, save your twist and spin for those who still believe it.

    • Tsu Dho Nimh

       Pam –
      How do you explain this … a training document from your fellow NSD, Kathy Goff that clearly shows that the income comes from fresh recruits, not sales.

      1.  Determine your Wholesale Goal for the Month

      2.  Multiply your unit population by .33  (one third) 
      That represents the number of consultants you can predict that will
      place orders this month.

      3.  Take the resulting figure and multiply that by $400. 
      $400 is the national wholesale order average. 

      The resulting figure is what you can project that your
      consultants already in your unit will do in wholesale production for
      the month. (NOTE for outsiders: “production” is “what they order”, whether it is sold or not)

      4.  Subtract that figure from your goal figure.  The
      Difference is what needs to come in with new recruits.

      5.  Divide the figure you determined in #5 by $1,100. 
      That’s the national new recruit order average.

      6.  You now know how many women you need to recruit this
      month to reach your goal.

      ==============

      Can she be any clearer that the current unit is going to be ordering damned little (1/3 of them will order $400, which is just what it takes to stay active for the discount), and that the real money comes from new recruits?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702175115 Erica Finke

        Yep, you better believe the most production comes from brand new consultants!  In NSD Pam Shaw’s document, “Finding Unit Production: There is a Win-Win Way,” Shaw lists the areas production comes from, highest to lowest:

        1.  New Consultants
        2.  New Consultants who ordered last month and who need to be cajoled into a second order
        3.  New Consultants from the past 2-3 months who didn’t place an initial order
        4.  Base consultants who don’t have $3600 on shelf
        5.  Base consultants with $3600 on shelf
        6.  Hobby/Personal Use Consultants
        7.  Former Consultants

        Isn’t it messed up that base consultants – the consultants who are supposed to be seasoned sellers – are clear down Shaw’s list at #4 and #5?  I thought that Mary Kay products sold themselves!

        Later in the document, NSD Shaw shows us how she teaches her followers to push the $3600 packages just like she does:    

        “What you talk about, you bring about!  Make getting to and remaining on profit [i.e. $3600 on shelf] a consistent and repetitive training.  Make it special.  Make it elite.  Your consultants cannot reap the ABUNDANT rewards of this opportunity if they are working from scarcity.”

    • ShooterChic

      I would just like to say I am personally offended that you used your status as a widow to try and make MK sound like it has essentially saved your life.  I became a widow when I was 26 with three small children at home and Mary Kay ruined me financially.  The only thing that saved my bum was the fact I was in the military and still got benefits.  Since leaving the military I have built my own business and am doing just fine.  So just because the MK business model doesn’t work, does not mean that consultants are lazy or don’t know how to do sales, etc.  As noted, actually, quite a few of us are very good at sales.  So maybe we weren’t the ones that failed, rather it was the business model that MK is based on.

    • The Blatant One1

      Pamela, your opening remark concerning your familiarity with the station and the fact that your family has donated money is immature and patronizing.  Second, if you’ve spent more than a few days listening to NPR, you probably know that, when they publish something, they mean it, and are not going to apologize for it, publicly or otherwise.  Third, had you bothered to read the article that inspired this one, you’d have known that the author researched her subject thoroughly and conducted interviews with women who were involved in Mary Kay from as little as a few months, to several years: hardly what one could consider “disgruntled people with short tenure, low knowledge, and little experience.”  I’ve read many training documents that you have posted on your own website, several of which have already been quoted here, and if that isn’t blatant manipulation I don’t know what is.

      Finally, I find it incredibly amusing that you found the spine to come on here, prattling about the money that your parents, not YOU have donated to NPR and arrogantly demanding a public apology, yet for the dozens of responses that have called you out, you have remained silent.  How very, very brave of you, Pamela.  Why, it’s every bit as brave as a hit and run flamer on a  posting self important vitriol in a vain attempt to compensate for the fact that he’s a “30 something” recluse who still lives with his mother.

    • Tsu Dho Nimh

       Pam – Your most recent newsletter says this to your new
      consultants … “You have chosen to be part of a Fortune 500
      Company which is one of the top 10 companies for women to work for in
      America.”This is an example of the egregious
      misrepresentation that permeates all the recruiting and so-called
      training material I have seen from any Mary Kay source. They
      were on the Fortune 500 list at least once, but haven’t been eligible
      for the list since the company bought back the stock and went private
      in 1984. You started as a consultant in 1986, so you have never
      worked for a Fortune 500 company … you just pretend you do.

    • Jenny

       Just keep spinning it til it sounds good, just like your sales pitch to new recruits. ???  I think your game is OVER.  I hope you had a nice ride.  When your pink Cadillac gets repo’d I hope you see all the faces of the women who you’ve duped over the years.  MK caused me to go into debt, have numerous fights with my husband…all in the name of this “glorious” carreer.  WHAT A JOKE.  Mary Kay execs GET OUT NOW.  Those of you who are not consultants.  MLM never works.  Look at Longaberger.  What?  Oh yeah, that’s right.  No one buys their stuff anymore either.  Just give it time.  It will happen with 31 and all the other new ones too.  

  • Pamela Waldrop Shaw

    I was most disappointed to hear about the broadcast yesterday where you gave voice to such false and misleading information regarding Mary Kay Inc.  I grew up on your station as my parents are lifetime, money donating patrons.  You might want to do a little research before you slander and falsely accuse any company where many people would be affected by the tone and accuracy or lack thereof your broadcast.  The terms “Multi-level and Pyramid” don’t even apply to Mary Kay.  We are a part of the Direct Selling Industry, but we have a duel-marketing plan.  (Do your research.  The differences are vast).  The impressive awards and recognition for the fairness of our marketing plan has a long list of qualified endorsements as we enter our 50th year in 2013.  Women who open their Independent business with Mary Kay have the OPTION of starting with just their Starter Kit for @ $100 + tax (valued at over $350 with full size product + sales aids) or they can add inventory from $200 wholesale up to fit their business goals.  You wouldn’t shop at a grocery or department store who had nothing to purchase right then and there, so in the interest of great customer service, many of our Sales Force DO CHOOSE to start with and carry inventory so as to provide superb customer service.  The Company offers a 90% repurchase for Consultants who choose to terminate their relationship and SELL back their

    • Bikehikerun

      It’s not slander if it’s true.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702175115 Erica Finke

      NSD Shaw, again, you can attempt to play with words and throw around different terms, but the fact still stands that Mary Kay IS an MLM.  As Mr. Brooks explained, direct selling is person-to-person sales away from a fixed retail location, while MLM is a kind of direct selling where recruiting is involved.   Direct sales doesn’t generally require the individual recruit others, but in Mary Kay it is REQUIRED if one wishes to move up the career ladder.  I find it disturbing that a woman could be an ace saleswoman in MK and sell truckloads of makeup, but she will NOT get promoted for that.  If she recruits one body, however, Mary Kay promotes her pronto.  That shows where the company’s priorities lie, and being little more than a master hawker of the opportunity yourself, it’s only natural for you to react with name-calling and even more laughable, the attempt to play the “My mommy and daddy are lifetime patrons!”  card instead of putting on your big girl panties and facing the music.  

      I can see you’re scrambling to cover your rear-end after it’s been revealed how you push 3600 inventory packages onto new consultants via manipulation, but truth is often difficult to swallow, isn’t it?   You can call inventory an “option” and claim that people “do choose” to get inventory, but in your Next Step Inventory CD, you croon, “I’m sharing with you what I know for fact works best.  I want you to be successful,” and “…we consider 3600 wholesale a profitable level to have on shelf and it makes sense.”   You better believe that if a new consultant chose the “option” of no inventory, you’d be preaching a speech a mile long as to why she needs that full store.  Consultants who do not order do not help you one bit.  Consultants with big orders do.  That is how Mary Kay Cosmetics is set up.  And actual retail sales do not matter because actual retail sales are not tracked by the company.  

      NSD Shaw, I do find it quite amusing that you’re looking for NPR to issue a public apology (for what, telling the truth?) but I think it’d be more fitting for YOU to do so.  So is there any reason why you can’t apologize to all those women you pushed those 3600 inventory packages on in your lengthy tenure, while knowing full well that the odds are stacked against them?  Whatever you decide to do will be fine with me.   

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702175115 Erica Finke

        For clarification to the readers: When I say “3600 inventory packages,” I do not mean there was 3600 inventory packages pushed by NSD Shaw.  I mean that inventory packages for new consultants, EACH in the amount of $3600, were pushed.  $3600 is the highest inventory package in official Mary Kay literature, however, I have seen inventory documents in which NSD Shaw pushed $4800 and even $5200 inventory packages.  

        Tell me, why does a brand-new MK consultant who knows no one, doesn’t know how to sell, and who’s only looking to do MK for some extra spending money need $5200 worth of makeup stacked in her hallway?  Talk about things that make you go, “Hmmmm…”

        • Rnstcole

          Erica

          Remember, Ms. Shaw is your tipical MLMer.  It is part of the deception of throwing around words, and using different terms.  This is only one of the ways they breed on people.  You have to be smart to be a conn person.

    • kb74

      Pam, I — not my parents — am a WBUR donor and membership holder.  I stand up and applaud them giving voice to this point of view without being clouded by the pink propaganda of Mary Kay.

    • Cindy

      This is how Pam ‘educates’ her directors to recruit and build inventories. I have included a snippet of her scripting right off of her own website. This is emotional manipulation and Pam reinforces this as good methods to recruit women into MK:

      2. Find her Hot BUTTON
      “What do you value most in your life right now?”
      “What do you need in your life right now?”
      “What would you change about your life right now?”
      “If I can show you how to keep what you value and get what you need, is there any reason why you wouldn’t consider MK as yes in your life?”
      3. Over come Common Objections (Time/$/husband)
      • “Barbara, I know how busy you are; if you were going to add something to your life right now, what would the benefit need to look like to cause you to do that?”
      • “The required investment to begin your business is @ $100. If this is something you decide to do, how would you take care of that—cc or check?”
      • “If this is something you decide to do, is it a decision you will make on your own or do you need to get your husband’s approval?” 4. CUT TO THE CHASE and customize!
      “What would you need to know about Mary Kay in order to make a ‘YES’ decision?” Answer. Repeat Question. Answer. Repeat Question. Answer. Repeat Question.6. Overcome any unforeseen OBJECTIONS
      She objects. You listen. You repeat. You respond to the objection, and then you add…”if it weren’t for that, what would keep you from getting started?” (inviting another objection). When she is out of objections (4-5), you ask again, “Is there any reason why we couldn’t get your STARTER KIT ordered? How would you like to
      take care of it, MC/Visa, Discover, check….”***The method is to find a person’s hot button and hold them hostage until you manipulate them into feeling guilty for not signing up. These methods are also used to purchase product inventory and to keep a consultant in MK. The next step is to push them to attend meetings touted as sales training but in fact are nothing more than to guilt newly inducted women into further team building and recruiting. They use documents like these to convince women to ignore rational outsiders, to find another woman’s hot button, and to ‘overcome objections’ until their family and friends are either recruited into MK or ostracized. Everything- from how to overcome the skeptical husband to how MK can work for a shy introvert who is not the sales type- are scripted, memorized, and repeated. These are the methods in which Pam Shaw and others support to increase their areas and profit. Only a fraction of 1% of the women in MK will make anything remotely close to what Pam does. Sales directors driving MK cars barely make minimum wage when the hours are assessed and too carry gross amounts of debt while trying to achieve statistically impossible carrots NSDs like Pam wave before them. All are encouraged to ‘fake it until you make it’ and speak only in positives so that nobody sees everyone suffering or questioning. An average of about 8 NSDs making the executive income are inducted each year. Only those women receive any health care or retirement benefits through MK. Yet in Pam’s own rebuttal, she knows she needs to keep spouting tired mantras as ‘proof’ in an effort keep her income level rolling in. The truth is, MK corporate only tracks the sales to their consultants and never to end users. They have no idea how much is or is not actually being sold by consultants. Yes this is a glorified pyramid scam designed around the purchasing of large quantities of product using emotional manipulation and near-cultish recruiting tactics. Is it legal? Yes. Is it moral? Just look at how defensive Pam is to determine the morality of the industry.

    • Tsu Dho Nimh

       Pam –
      In a document from your training pages called “The Business Power Plan”, you state that a skin care class would have “$250 average sales”.  The document goes on to paint a rosy picture of the income you are leading the recruit to believe they can reasonably expect to attain.

      Can you prove that “average sales” figure is actually being achieved by the average IBC?

    • Dazzling Diva Dana

      So Pam, you said you, “heard about the broadcast,” did you actually LISTEN to it yet? Did you read the article the show was based on yet? Oh, that’s riiight you AREN’T supposed to listen to or read ANYTHING negative about dear Mary Kay. So… what to do, listen and read, or not?!? Hmm… I spent over a $1000 on your DVDs, CDs, your ‘Focus Folders,’ goal setting planners, frankly ANYTHING I could get a hold of that you had out there. I looked to YOU as the honest, Jesus-preaching woman you claim to be. You’re no different than a snake-oil salesman now… only you’re much prettier and you’ve had a nip and a tuck or two. People outside of the Mary Kay Pink Bubble didn’t even know who you were until you stepped into the light and made your statements here. Ya know, it might have been wise to keep it that way for YOUR sake. Now, because you didn’t contain yourself while at the MK Pearl Seminar (one you get to star in, you’ve helped pull the curtain back on the GREAT OZ! Now the WORLD can all find out how you, the NSDs and Mary Kay Corp REALLY do business behind the scenes… Everyone paying attention to these comments is WELL AWARE of Pam Shaw, Sr. NSD now! How’s fame feel to ya now that you’re becoming well known outside of the Pink Bubble? Are you frantically scrubbing your SHAWTIME training website? Hmm? You’ve got a LOT of DVDs, CDs, and documents out there Pam… Frankly WAY to many to contain. Great evidence! Ya might as well surrender now my dearest Pam… The jig is up! Mary Kay is going down…     

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702175115 Erica Finke

      News flash:  The New Consultant section of NSD Shaw’s website is now password-protected.  It appears that someone has something to hide.    

      Here’s a link to all of NSD Shaw’s inventory-related documents regarding inventory that’s supposed to be optional, along with the hawking of the $4200 “Shaw Order of Excellence”:  
      http://www.pamelashaw.com/new/newcproductdecision.htm

      If this link happens to bid the Internet farewell in the future, all one need to do access the information is a bit of creative Googling.  Mary Kay documents get passed around quite a bit in the business, so documents not accessible on one site are often easily acquired on another.

      • Geez

        Interesting. 

        Also, Erica, Pam’s links all open into PDF documents, people can save those, merely hit “save as” when the pdf page comes up, like I just did. 

        Pam can password-protect all of her pages, it will do her no good. The truth is all over the internet and NPR is picking up on it. 

        Thanks NPR. Peace.

    • notfooled

      Dear Dear Dear Ms. Shaw. I bet this Harper’s article “icked on your wow” – how thoughtless of them to release this “negative” article during Seminar for Pete’s sake! At a time when princesses strut down the stage, exposing their armpits for the world to see, this should be a time for glory, not accountability.

      But sadly, for Mary Kay, and for you, the spotlight of mainstream media is upon you. Intelligent, unbiased people are asking mean questions. And it’s all just icking on your wow. 

      I’m curious, Ms. Shaw, about the whole “inventory” thing. On the one hand, you say it is optional. On the other hand, you preach that women must have inventory in order to achieve “profit”.  I don’t doubt that profit is involved, namely yours, but I fail to see how a new rep can make a profit being saddled with a “full store” before she even starts out of the gate.  It’s obvious from looking around sites like Craigslist and EBay where all of that “profit” ends up. My sinking suspicion is that it is not with the consultant, but rather with the likes of yourself and MKC. And the cut EBay gets. Thank God Craigslist is still free.

      So it stands to reason that you would speak out against a news article and NPR piece that threatens to expose how Mary Kay really empowers women, well that may be just a very few women.  I’m sure NPR is shaking in their boots that your parents could potentially pull the plug on their donations. But just curious here, since you are making so much cake, why aren’t you a b$G contributor yourself?

      You want an apology – I’ll give you one. I am so sorry that Harper’s and NPR have exposed the truth about Mary Kay (which in reality is just scratching the surface, they didn’t go into the cult like aspects and religious manipulations amongst others) WAY too late. This should have been out there years ago.  Your days of glitz and glamour, fancy trips and the like are coming to an end. Maybe not this year, but not too far in the future, because once the truth gets aired, just like in the story about the Emperor With No Clothes, countless little boys and girls will shout “There’s no profit except for the Pam Sham’s”.   Yes it will be a sad day, but then again, you’ll just have to put on your dancing shoes and find a new face.

      Sorry to ick on your wow, honey.

    • Jenny

       Choose???  More like pressured into buying a ridiculously huge inventory.  It’s all lies.  MK is such a scam.  I am so glad I got out when I did, and got out in time to send all my “inventory” back to the company and didn’t have to unload it all on ebay. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/natasha.hedlund Natasha Hedlund

        Never once was I pressured into buying any inventory what so ever. I have how ever choosen to build my inventory as I have built my business. I am sorry you had an over zelous director that forced you into buying inventory. I have never been forced to do anything with my business that I did not want to.

  • Sushi

    “Successful” women in this business are succesful only because they prey on other women.  Not pray, but prey.  And the companies encourage this.  I go to parties still, but never buy anything, I eat the appetizers, make myself a drink, and feel utterly sorry for the rep.  

  • De-Pinked

    Mary Kay is an endless recruitment scheme. As a Senior Sales Director myself, 15 years in the business, Top Ten Unit, Six vehicles, I will attest that we were instructed that production comes from new recruits, not the “successful” selling activity of veteran consultants…meaning that new recruits sell their friends and family initially, and then slowly drop off to just personal use. Otherwise, they are urged to move up the career path which only happens by recruiting others into the same scenario. Mrs. Shaw can protest all she wants…because she must fiercely defend Mary Kay, Inc. to protect her “family security program” which decreases yearly as women find out the facts. Full disclosure laws would close Mary Kay down in a New York Minute.

  • Steve

    Interesting article.  I don’t doubt that there are large numbers of women who get involved with Mary Kay and leave with little to show except for credit card debt and a pile of inventory.  My wife joined Mary Kay several years ago and lasted maybe a couple of years.  She had no illusions of great wealth–she just liked their products and wanted to get them at the best possible price and to supply her friends and relatives with great products at great prices.  Her Senior Director constantly was harping on her to go out and build a team and increase her sales.  Although she did not like the seeming constant reminders, she did not cave to the pressure and get in over her head. 

    What I find the most interesting, however, is the complete lack of discussion about the Beauty School Scam.  The author and Kim met at beauty school and by the end of the article, no mention is made of Kim pursuing a career in that field.  Instead, she is back to tending bar.  Why no discussion of the at least $10,000 (and possibly much more) that Kim invested in that venture?  Odds are pretty good that she financed her tuition–maybe she is still paying that off.  At least Kim got some personal development out of her participation in Mary Kay and so did Lynne.  In fact, Lynne credits Mary Kay to some extent for her success in Real Estate sales.

    • Steve

       I should have made clear that my comments above are about the article that Virginia had published in Harpers and that is linked from the OnPoint website.  It is a very interesting article and I encourage all of you to read it.  Just disappointed that the article did not explain why Kim is not working at a salon or the like.

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  • Mlankford

    Mary Kay Corp. has always been a multi-level-marketing company. They’ve perfected this business model over 5 decades without much “pushback” from those that have been victimized by its predatory schemes.  MK preys on women so well that I’ve seen some of the same tactics and scripts mirrored in other MLMs.  I’d like to address some of the lies of ommision you and many others have perpetuated throughout the years.
    First, I’d like to counter your claim regarding the 90% buy back.
    Ms. Shaw you stated that:
    “The Company offers a 90% repurchase for Consultants who choose to terminate their relationship and SELL back their inventory.  This product the company crushes and absorbs the loss.  NO other business risk provides that safety net of support.”

    This is a lie by omission.  The 90% repurchase is required by Texas law, not out of the goodness of Mary Kay Cosmetics’s heart.  Also, you conveniently left out the fact that it’s only the last year that qualifies for the 90% return on product, not any other years before that last year.  Let’s be honest, when a consultant makes the move to try to quit and take advantage of the buyback, her recruiter and sales director will do back flips to prevent this from happening. They know if a consultant returns her product, that recruiter/director will have to pay back any commission they received to MK Corp.  Knowing this, how can you make the claim that Corporate “absorbs the loss” when in reality, it’s the recruiter/director getting the shaft?

    You’ve also stated:
    You wouldn’t shop at a grocery or department store who had nothing to purchase right then and there, so in the interest of great customer service, many of our Sales Force DO CHOOSE to start with and carry inventory so as to provide superb customer service.

    That’s a very convenient statement, however, it flies in the face of successful businesses in which many customers don’t mind waiting for their orders by mail or otherwise.  The companies that come to mind are ebay, amazon.com, overstock.com  etc. Any reputable company like Loreal, Estee Lauder, MAC will invest in inventory.  However, they don’t invest in inventory ad nauseam so they can prance on a stage to receive some gawdy gift and recognition.   Reputable companies purchase inventory  based on demographics, knowing what they sold in the past, and knowing what their customers want and not turn their customer base into their competition by recruiting them.  Let’s face it, the main reason you and many of the sales force at the top of the pyramid encourage unsuspecting women to purchase inventory is for your commissions.  You don’t get paid or promoted unless someone orders inventory…and your own teaching ads via your website encourages this practice.

    You stated:  Sadly, there are those who ‘blame’ their lack of results on ANYTHING other than the fact they didn’t show up for education, remain accountable with their Sales Director for quality coaching, gave hap-hazard efforts or simply never went to work.

    The fact is that there isn’t any quality education in MK training.  The meetings are nothing more than brainwashing and rah rah events that capitalize on the emotions of women.   “Just believe” is a mantra, not training.   The upline in reality, who is up to her neck in credit card debt, is trying to “fake it till she makes it”.  She has to project an image of success in order to convince her downline that this business can bring you riches beyond believe.  Mixed in with all this “rah rah” training is the religious dogma which is a long topic by itself.

    There is so much more but the main point I want others to know is that you Ms. Shaw has personally benefited in the last 20 plus years in the destruction and financial ruin of many women.  It is you that owes an apology to all the women who have been victimized.    You and many others on the top need answer for your actions.

    • Rnstcole

      Mankford

      You ought to write a book on this subject!  I personally would buy it.  Everyone that has been scammed by any MLM company needs to join ‘Pyramid Scheme Alert” and stand beside Taylor and Fitzpatrick in protecting our consumer rights, and to put pressure on the FTC and the Attorney Gen. Office of each state to do the right thing.  As a matter of fact we all need to send a letter or e-mail to these respective organizations.  LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD!.. THIS IS AMERICA!

    • DreamChaser0285

       You know, I can really understand where you are coming from on most of this post…I was blessed with a director that was honest from the get-go…”I suggest inventory, but you don’t HAVE to have it”, and “the 90% buy back is valid for the LAST 12 MONTHS (highly emphasized!)”… We are focused on honest marketing, and trying to “Do away with the Crazy Mary Kay Lady”!  I enjoy doing Mary Kay, and no, it hasn’t made me enough money to quit my day job yet, but the part about your comment that I dislike is the last paragraph.  Long before I even thought about doing Mary Kay for extra cash (which it has nicely provided), I believed in self-reliance, and self-accountability.  And I still believe in that.  I oppose the “blame someone else for your problems” mentality that is taking America by storm!  You make what you get, you get back what you put in, and if you fall for a scheming Director who isn’t honest with you…shame on you for not doing your research and making an educated decision.  Mary Kay is just like any other business in America–Promoting and Selling a Product and Hiring Skilled Marketers to Increase Revenue.  How is that any different from any other American Dream Chaser? 

  • LynnC

    Excellent article.  There is something deeply, deeply flawed with any business model that forces you to turn your customers into your competitors.  It would be like walking into a Subway restaurant and, instead of them selling you a sandwich, they tried to convince you to open up a Quiznos next door.  Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.  
    Also, the idea that you need inventory on hand to better serve your customers is nonsense.  Mary Kay has hundreds of products; you could have thousands worth of inventory on hand but then get four women who want the same shade of lipstick (assuming you even have four customers) that you don’t happen to have.  Oops, time for another order!
    It’s funny  to hear defenders of Mary Kay talk about how hard this work is and how “it’s not for everyone”- that’s not what’s on their training materials!  “All you do is squirt and smile!” Teehee! So easy! Not.

    • De-Pinked

      Love how the DSA chimes in, to declare the legitimacy of multi-level marketing. By their own admission, the majority of those hooked into these scams are “making hundreds of dollars a month”…(as in Two)…with most earning less. Once expenses get deducted..we get the picture.

      If anything about Mary Kay was legitimate, it would be RETAIL sales that would be awarded, not wholesale orders. Everything that will be awarded this month in Dallas is based on wholesale…including “qualified” recruits who have ordered 600.00 worth. It is one enormous charade, as smiling Directors walk across stage, buried in personal debt for having “stretched” to finish “retail selling courts” and Unit Sales Courts, pressured by their upline, that have NOTHING TO DO with actual sales. What is legitimate about any of this? It is a farce, staged every year, for the sake of the newest recruits to tie them into the scam. And everybody, including the DSA knows it. Mary Kay is notorious for Doubling Wholesale contests, just magically, and acting as if the retail was real. Imagine any company in the world, just “declaring” everything that comes in this month counts double! Its laughable…but it has a purpose. It promotes that “stretching” to reach goals that otherwise would have been let go…just to get the bucks. Lots of concealers for hidden flaws in this pink world…how perfect.

      • Geez

        If people are going to join Mary Kay, they should NOT buy inventory and only order the products that they get orders for. End of story.

        • http://www.facebook.com/natasha.hedlund Natasha Hedlund

          That would actually cost the consultant more in shipping. There is an understanding that you have to have. If you run your business on a credit card or a loan then yes you will be in debt until you can pay it off, but if you run it on cash you will have to make sales in order to buy more inventory. This is how I believe you should run a business like this because in this way you will increase your inventory to what you want based on what you sell. Yes the rewards based on your wholesale order is a bit un-nerving but it is suppose to be prizes based on you expanding your business because you you do not make the sales the logically you can not afford to expand, like any other business. Unfortunately those that go into debt are too focused on winning prizes then treating this as a business that needs to grow.

  • imewise

    There are a few key things to point out when reading through the reactions here. First, It is common director and national director procedure to claim that the people who expose the corruption simply had a bad experience, didn’t work hard enough, or didn’t know what they were doing.  This should put up a red flag in itself to show that the second somebody leaves they are given a bad lable and are “pinklisted” (notice what Pam Shaw just did to allison lamarr).  In my personal experience, when I was a mary Kay sales director and decided to leave for family reasons I was worried that people would look down on me but I thought it through and decided that I was working my business, left on a high note after holding a 16 show month and directly after coming home from seminar.  I was actually heavyhearted about my decision to leave. IT was AFTER that I realized people were claiming that I was a negative influence because i “gave up” and they said that i “made myself look like a loser” because I returned my iventory for 90% repurchase.  People are treated horribly when they leave, and shamed by the very people who were eager to take notes when we were speaking at the company events. 
    Secondly I would like to go deeper into the math just a bit.  Going on the calculations in the article (the average consultant in Mary kay makes about $100 per month/ $1200 per year) A sales director is required to have 24 consultants in her unit when she qualifies, (it was 30 when I was a director) and $4000 wholesale production to keep her status as a director.  That would average about $2400 per month from the current team (average mary kay unit) .  How do you suppose she is coming up with the rest of the $4000 wholesale production? She is either talking new people into inventory, begging/selling the idea of more product on the shelves to her current team, or running in a hamster wheel in attempt to sell it herself.  Many directors will order the balance with her credit cards to keep her status as a director.  This is how directors get into debt.  This is proof that the company knows that their sales force is in financial ruin.     Talk about high stress to keep up the facade and high pressure to get her people to recruit.   Third, I would like to point out that if the average unit does $2400 per month (based on the actual math not the claims of corperate) The director gets 13% of that and 13% additional if they are her personal recruits.  Lets just say half are hers to make this simple.  We are looking at a monthly income of $468 for an average director.  (mind you, this is before expenses)  Lastly, the company knows that the only customers are truely the sales force.  That is why they change the forumlas and packaging of the products. Every quarter they change a current product, introduce a new one, and offer ltd ed items.   Consultants are put under pressure by the directors to stock up on these things and “take their business seriously by keeping stock for their customers”.  As a former director, (i was in the company for 10 years, 5 of them as a director, recruited hundereads of reps) I can honestly say that I was the only director I knew that worked my butt off to sell and didn’t accumulate debt.  I can also say that there were girls in my unit that would keep ordering product when I knew they were not selling.  I urge each mk rep to look at her income at tax time and ask themselves honestly if this is what they work so hard for?

    • imewise

      the $4000 wholesale production is the montly requirement to maintain status as a sales director.

      • Geez

        Each consultant should be doing at least 4k in sales if it “flies off of the shelves.”

        Obviously, it does not.

        • imewise

          I agree… its amazing that hte company has that as the requirement for 24 collective people.  The numbers don’t lie.. if it was easier to do more than that, the requirement would be higher.  $167 wholesale per person means that the company wants the consultant to sell $334 and not have any expenses whatsoever. That also means that they are expecting consultants to make $167 per month.  We know that it is below the average based on the numbers.. its all quite eye opening. 

    • Been there done that

      It sounds more like a religious cult than it does a business!

      • http://twitter.com/orianastarfish Sarah

        My thoughts EXACTLY. 

  • http://www.directselling411.com/ Direct Selling Association

    Like anything, direct selling will be a fit for some and not others, but painting an entire industry with a negative brush is overlooking millions of hard-working people who sell quality products and earn much-needed income. There are a lot of perspectives represented in the comments on this article — too many points to be addressed in a single response — so I encourage anyone who wants more information about the myths and facts associated with direct selling to visit http://www.directselling411.com where you’ll find plenty of information that addresses these issues frankly and directly.

    Nearly 16 million Americans work in direct selling. Most of them work part-time and earn a couple hundred dollars per month or less, but a small percentage (about 10%) pursue direct selling full time and earn significantly more. The range of income for direct sellers is in indeed very wide – everywhere from the busy stay at home mom who joins a company because she wants to get her favorite kitchen products at a discount (i.e. has no income from the business, but is completely satisfied), to the entrepreneur who works 60 hours per week and earns a substantial income. (Incidentally, that stay at home mom and millions like her are considered by critics of direct selling to have “lost” money even though she saved money on products she otherwise would have paid full price for.)

    There is no doubt there are people whose expectations for direct selling aren’t met, either because they decided they didn’t like it, changed their mind about their goals or because they were not given proper information. All things aren’t for all people and there are bound to be a few bad actors in every crowd (especially when that crowd numbers nearly 16 million). That’s why more than 200 direct selling companies are members of the Direct Selling Association which puts standards in place to make sure customers and sellers are protected from unethical business practices and can be confident that trying direct selling isn’t a risky proposition. Anyone who has had a bad experience with a DSA member company can file a complaint with an independent Code Administrator who will investigate the situation and prescribe an appropriate remedy. Check out DSA’s website for more information.
     

    • Bikehikerun

      The Direct Selling Association does not represent the interests of consumers–they represent the multi-level marketing companies that comprise their membership. They do public relations and lobbying for the industry. The DSA was instrumental in lobbying the Federal Trade Commission in 2006 to not apply a proposed rule–The Business Opportunity Rule–to MLMs. This rule would have required MLMs to provide disclosure statements to people signing up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1702175115 Erica Finke

      I can’t speak for other MLMs, but with regards to Mary Kay, I’d like to take a closer look at your claim that “there are bound to be a few bad actors in every crowd.”  At Pink Truth, we like to call that The Bad Apple Defense, because when  deceptive recruiting tactics are exposed for the manipulative slime that they are, pro-MK visitors to the site will often protest with, “But that’s just a few bad apples!” Unfortunately in Mary Kay, the slimy recruiting tactics taught by National Sales Directors on down are more widespread than a herpes epidemic.  Consultants are taught not to reinvent the wheel, don’t question, and to use what works.  It’s been made clear that the only way to have a shot at the bigger bucks in Mary Kay is to recruit like a banshee, load those recruits up with fat inventory packages, and get them doing the same. Now if MK’s top leaders and Corporate are claiming that inventory is optional, yet those top leaders are actively teaching women how to frontload brand new consultants with $3600 inventory packages and doing it themselves (see the comments regarding NSD Pamela Shaw further down in the thread), what does that make them?  Are they “bad actors/apples?” What if I can prove that NSD Pamela Shaw isn’t the only one saddling new recruits with big inventories?  What if I told you that several other National Sales Directors (and countless lower-level leaders) are doing it, too?  Are they ALL bad actors/apples?  If they are, why isn’t Corporate telling them to knock it off and start putting God First in their businesses in accordance with the company motto?  Then again, maybe it’s a different god they’re referring to; Christ did refer to the devil as the Father of Lies, after all.     There is no such thing as a “bad actor” or a “bad apple” in Mary Kay.  There are only good women who have to do bad things in order to move up. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/natasha.hedlund Natasha Hedlund

        I have never been pushed to “frontload” any product. Period. This is my second time trying this and now my 3rd Director (adoptee program) and no one pushed me to stock up on inventory. I purchased inventory because I want to run my business like a business. If you went to any retailer and wanted to purchase a product and they did not carry it you would go to a different store would you not? Well I did not want to be in a situation where someone wanted to buy a product and because I did not have it they found a different consultant. This is just one small part of giving good customer service.

    • Rnstcole

      Direct Selling Association

      Can’t seem to get away from the fact that 99% of participants in MLM fail!  That number is not just pulled out of a hat, but from extensive, and years of research performed by Dr. Jon Taylor, and Robert Fitzpatrick, two of the most well known advocates against MLM.  Can you prove how many people actually make better than minimum wage at MLM.  Most make less, or nothing after expenses.  Need to do your homework.

      • http://www.directselling411.com/ Direct Selling Association

        I think that number was put in doubt as soon as the guests and callers on the radio show said they made money – one caller even said he has the tax returns to prove it! And he’s not alone by far. Notwithstanding the simple fact that many people DO make money in direct selling, the number perpetuated by critics relies on the false premise that everyone who joins a direct selling company wants to earn a lot of money. As just one example of the flaw, many people join a company to buy products at a discount and don’t ever intend to sell a thing. They are perfectly happy with their experience and they certainly wouldn’t feel like they had lost money, but because they expended money, even if for products for their own use, they are put in the “lost money” category by critics. It’s a convenient way to spin the numbers but no one should be fooled because it absolutely misrepresents the truth.

        • Rnstcole

          Why would a person want to join a MLM company just to buy their products.  This does’nt make sense since the products are usually way more expensive than going to your local Wal-mart outlet and buying the same product.  Remember they are over priced in order to pay the many different levels of the organization.  Even at that,in most cases, you have just opened the door to be harrassed by distributors of MLM companies.  Call me stupid! lol

          • Debbie

            One possibility is that the product is unique and only available through one of these companies.  I own several kitchen products and fashion accessories that were only available through a direct selling company.  In some cases, I just bought the one or two products I wanted, but in other cases, I liked everything in the starter kit so I “joined” to get the product at a discount.  This may have prompted a couple phone calls or e-mails, but I was honest in my intentions and made it clear that i was not interested in selling the product and that was the end of the “harassment” as you put it.

          • Rnstcole

            Debbie

            I understand there may be some specialty items you may only buy from MLM companies.  I am speaking mainly of soaps, washing items, lotions, some health products,  weight-loss products and vitamins., just to name a few.  Similar to most Amway products.  Everyday products.

              Careful with those knives and keep them away from MLM people.lol

        • Bwdyer

          No, the number wasn’t put in doubt. I you look at the reports, Taylor and Patrick have the numbers exactly. These numbers were pulled from tax reports. The direct selling industry doesn’t track it.

          • Debbie

            Here is what those tax stidies you site say:
            “We performed a telephone survey of over 200 tax preparers in Idaho and Utah”

            OK, not necessarially representative of the entire United States, and because the “researcher” says that there were a high concentration of distributors from certain companies in these areas it could skew the results.

            “A manager of H&R Block in northern Utah, told me that during his 25 years of doing over 12,000 tax returns a year between he and his group, they could not remember a single client who had reported a significant profit ”

            Notice a few key words.  He could not REMEMBER, not that he had not seen, simply that he could not REMEMBER.  I can’t remember what I had for breakfast last week, or how much money I made last year.  When you process 12,000 tax returns in a few months, the numbers will likely blur together and you really are not paying attention to who worked where and how much they made, so asking someone what they REMEMBER is not a valid way to collect reliable data.  But let’s continue. “had reported a significant profit”.  Note they did not say loss.  The H&R block manager suggested that people made a profit.  It may have been small, but it was a profit.  I believe the DSA says that the average seller makes a few thousand a year, which some would equate to a small profit. 

            “It was tricky to get tax preparers to give out the information I sought. Since it is considered unethical for tax professionals to divulge confidential tax information of their clients”
            Exactly, and because of this, the researcher had to rely on anecdotal evidence and what the tax preparers he contacted recalled.  I will often get calls from people conducting surveys or asking me questions that I am not comfortable answering, or that would be unethical for me to answer.  In such situations, I will either hang up on them if I am at home, or if I am at work (where hanging up would reflect negatively on my employer), I might humor them and agree to what they are saying just to get rid of them.  Unfortunately as the “researcher” has not released the exact script that he used when conducting the survey (I hope he used a script as an off the cuff conversation could skew the results) so it is impossible to say if the questions were leading the respondent to a particular response.

            The faults with this research continue, but I think you get the point.  Reliable statistical data is verifiable.  If conducting phone surveys, a script is used, and the person collecting the data sticks to the script. The questions are as neutral as possible and asked in several different ways to ensure the respondant understood the question.  Based on the summary that the researcher provided, and the lack of any published script or questionaire, The data is not reliable.

          • Rnstcole

            Debbie,

            What you are saying is not quite true.  Go to “The Truth About MLM”, and read it real close, and open your mind  How much money do you make? Unless you are at the top of the food chain,(top of the pyramid) I bet it is not more, and probably less than minimum wage.  Most make nothing.  Tell the truth, because most MLMers I know have a hard time doing that because the whole industry evolves around deception.

        • Rnstcole

          Show us the tax returns!  Bet you $100 you can’t.  People’s incomes in MLM is always exaggerated to pull in that recruit, sadly enough who is uninformed and usually desperate.  These to elements are what MLMers breed on, uneducated, and desperate people.  SAD!

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  • Dave

    Wade Goodwyn is awesome!

    Way to go figuring out THE QUESTION:  how much product is being sold to contractors, and how much to customers?

    What a coincidence that this multi-billion dollar company “can’t” keep track of this particular figure.

    I might add that the increase in MKC numbers may be economically counter-cyclical for the same reason as payday loans.  It indicates predation.

    But my main point is ‘go Wade.’ 
    Man, he is one good journalist.

    • http://www.facebook.com/natasha.hedlund Natasha Hedlund

      MKC does not need to keep track of how much is being sold to customers because at the time it changes hands from the company to the consultant it is now the consultant’s inventory and his/her job to track what his/her business sales. Do you think the companies that distribute to Walmart care about how much is being sold to the customer unless it starts messing with there production? That is all MKC really is. It is a distribution center and the consultants are the stores.

  • Douglas M. Brooks

    I appreciate the opportunity to appear on this program, and I am impressed by the comments by former Mary Kay distributors.

    Mary Kay and the MLM industry in general, including the MLM industry’s lobbying organization, the Direct Selling Association (DSA), have been very successful at preventing disclosure of accurate information about the performance of MLM distributors.  It should be emphasizeed that the DSA is not a reliable source of accurate information about the MLM industry.   In recent years a number of DSA members have been found by the Federal Trade Commission to be pyramid schemes, including Equinox, Trek Alliance and Your Travel Biz.  Going back a bit further, another DSA member, Nu Skin, was found by the FTC to have engaged in deceptive earnings claims.

    Indeed, there are two distinct legal issues which should be considered by every potential MLM distributor.  First, is the company a pyramid scheme?  Second, even if it is not a pyramid scheme, are the earnings claims made by the company or by the recruiting distributor deceptive?

    The key issue in determining whether an MLM company is a pyramid scheme is whether the inventory purchased by distributors is actually retailed to customers who are not also distributors themselves.   You should be suspicious of any company which pushes you to purchase large amounts of inventory, regardless of whether such purchases are considered to be “voluntary.”

    As to earnings claims, you should be aware that there is no assurance that any information you receive from the company or high level distributors is accurate or reliable.   Based on the information I have obtained in litigation, as well as educated guesses based on what little information is publicly available, the vast majority of MLM distributors drop out in a year or two and lose most if not all of their investment.

    The MLM industry and the DSA spent millions of dollars lobbying to exempt MLM from the very modest FTC disclosure regulation which applies to other types of business opportunities.  I would encourage everyone who has had adverse experiences with MLM to contact the FTC and let them know what happened to you.  http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/contact.shtm

    • Outdoorsman71

      I find it interesting that Mr. Brooks, who has made a career out of filing class action lawsuits, dares to try to discredit direct selling when his chosen profession is one of the most reprehensible of all. I think some of his
      colleagues doing similar work are called Ambulance chasers. I wonder if he would like to post here how much each of the plaintiffs in his class actions received
      versus the fee he received.

      • Outdoorsman71

        cc

      • Verity

        Deflection + ad hominem attacking = Nope. Nice try, though.

    • Jemicia Olivia

       Mary Kay is NOT and I repeat not a MLM company we are a DUAL LEVEL marketing company because each consultant is offered the same advantage that the manufacturer is paid for producing the products, and we don’t get a percentage of our teams sales…..The Mary Kay corporation gives a thank you check as a commission of the amount of inventory we purchase so your info is way wrong!!! LOL

      Try it before you knock it!!!! 

    • Carman Gavit

      I do not believe you will find any such class action matters associated with the Mary Kay Corporation. The dual level marketing in Mary Kay means…one sale from the company to the distributor….and one sale from the distributor to the customer…period.

      Every person who sells Mary Kay, whether it be a new consultant, a director, a national director….I mean ANYbody who sells Mary Kay buys the product directly from the company for the same price. The next (and only) sale that occurs is directly to the customer…never, ever, ever to another consultant (except for even trade).

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  • Bikehikerun

    People often say in defense of MLMs–if it’s so bad, why is it legal?

    A reasonable question. “Bad actors” in MLM are almost unnecessary because currently it’s completely legal to imply in advertising distributors can get rich when the income disclosure statement (if it’s even provided that is, and you can decipher it) shows 99% won’t make back what they put in. SendOutCards’ income disclosure is an excellent example of this. Legal however, does not mean ethical. You’ve done your job very well DSA. If only the American consumer had such an effective lobbying organization, and the political connections of the MLM industry. Alas, as with everything in American politics–money talks.

  • Rnstcole

    Ever since the FTC filed the lawsuit against Amway in 1979, the ruling opened a “pandora’s box”for MLMs to operate barely legal today.  Most are just pyramid schemes cleverly disguised by a product.  For some reason, and it’s pretty obvious why, the DSA and the FTC both look the other way.

  • Geez

    If the DSA were serious about protecting comsumers, they would throw MaryKay, Amway, NuSkin, Herbalife, and that damn pre-paid legal services company out of their organization.

  • Douglas M. Brooks

    Your quote from the January 14, 2004 FTC Staff Advisory Opinion is deceptive.  The letter goes on to say the following:”…Absent sufficient sales of goods and services, the profits in such a system hinge on nothing more than recruitment of new participants (i.e., fee payers) into the system.”My characterization of the FTC’s position was correct.  Moreover, the Staff Advisory Opinion goes on to explain how high inventory purchase requirements can render an MLM to be a pyramid scheme:”The Commission’s recent cases, however, demonstrate that the sale of goods and service; alone does not necessarily render a multi-level system legitimate. Modem pyramid schemes generally do not blatantly base commissions on the outright payment of fees, but instead try to disguise these payments to appear as if they are based on the sale of goods or services. The most common means employed to achieve this goal is to require a certain level of monthly purchases to qualify for commissions. While the sale of goods and services nominally generates all commissions in a system primarily funded by such purchases, in fact, those commissions are funded by purchases made to obtain the right to participate in the scheme. Each individual who profits, therefore, does so primarily from the payments of others who are themselves making payments in order to obtain their own profit. As discussed above, such a plan is little more than a transfer scheme, dooming the vast majority of participants to financial failure.”

  • Tsu Dho Nimh

     “Anyone who has had a problem with a member company is encouraged to file
    a Code Complaint – member compliance is mandatory and is enforced by an
    independent Code Administrator who is not affiliated with any company
    nor is he on the DSA staff.”

    So if Erika, for example, were to file a complaint against Mary Kay for all the false claims and inventolry buying pressure that has been documented straight from the materials produced and/or distributed by those NSDs and their downlines… would the DSA get Mary Kay to make them clean up their act and stop lying?

    Or would Mary Kay be able to say “not our problem, nothing we can do about it, they are independent businesswomen”?

  • Louis Gudema

    Do the math: the representative of Mary Kay says that they’re a $3 billion company, and they have 2.4 million salespeople worldwide. That comes out to an average of $1,250 per salesperson. Not exactly a career opportunity…

    • Jemicia Olivia

       That is bogus, I make way more than this and I have only been in the company for 5 months, lets try $3,000…..and do not include consultants that barely work their business, I have some on my team that has never purchase inventory, so your math is Waaaaay off!!!! 

    • Carman Gavit

      Some people only join so they can buy 1/2 price for their own personal use.

    • http://www.facebook.com/natasha.hedlund Natasha Hedlund

      If you average it out like that, sure. But you aren’t taking into accout those that join for personal use or those that have not take the opportunity seriously or the ones who are slammed for time and may only be able to work a couple of hours a week. You get out of your business the effort you can put in.

  • Rnstcole

    Could someone explain to me how I could write a repsonse to a poster, have 28 likes in minutes, then check later and none.  Is something  going on here.  The response was to Debbie who never responded.

    RNSTCOLE@yYAHOO.COM.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1257927046 Tina Shontz

    “… which starts Wednesday and ends Aug. 4, will have an economic impact of more than $33.”  REALLY? 33 whole dollars?

    • Jemicia Olivia

       Well that is funny because I book 2.5 hour parties once per week that bring in about $1200 in sales so with a 50% commission I make about $600 per party (take home) doing what I love and I don’t have any other job, so I don’t know who is force feeding yall this crap!!!  LOL

      I don’t know may jobs that will pay $300 per hour….but I do rather well for myself and I am a professional makeup artist on top of being a consultant in MK

      • AFewQuestions

        So, with a party a week, making $1200 in sales, -$600 for initial inventory costs and $90 for shipping and handling (15% +/-) from MK, can I estimate that you’re bringing home $510/week? I get that you’re making a good overall wage during the hours that you’re working (booking and hosting parties), but I’m only seeing about $26k/yr. from these numbers, before expenses for samples, literature, gas for extra deliveries, etc., assuming you never go a weekend without a $1200 party.   I want to understand the business, but I don’t see the potential for enough profit to live on without pretty regularly recruiting people, which is how the FTC defines a pyramid scheme. There are a myriad of other names for MLM companies, since they each choose their own name for MLM, but “dual-level marketing” only works if it’s two levels, not MaryKay > NationalDirector > Director > you > Downline > More Downline to make a good income as a National Director.

        • Carman Gavit

          Shipping is only $8.95 to any domestic destination, no matter how many boxes.

          PLUS, every single independent consultant/director/national orders the same product straight from the company and pays the same wholesale price. Everybody makes the same rate of commissions on sales. The directors are paid bonuses directly from Mary Kay Corp. based on several things, not just sales. But, those bonuses do not come out of any other consultant’s money.

          Congrats, DIQ Shakir!

        • http://www.facebook.com/natasha.hedlund Natasha Hedlund

          We can make really good money because we get a ton of tax write-offs at the end of the year for all of those expenses.

  • Sherry Adams

    i am happy to get this critical thinking view of MKC and get both sides of this issue but there is something else which is absolutely correct and is not anyone’s ‘view’ … i witnessed it last night at one of their parties.  first, someone said a prayer with christian references.  i am an atheist, the gal next to me was jewish and, if anyone of my friends had come with me, they would have been all different religions and also atheists.  this was very disturbing as religion has no place in businesses … i found it horrifying and discriminating.  i do workshops and i never put my beliefs in any way onto my students.

    next, i was asked to fill out one of their forms and give personal information … which included my ‘wedding anniversary date’.  i am divorced and live with a domestic partner.  again, several of the women present were single.  this is dark age stuff.  do they assume that all women who buy mary kay are married and christian and pray in public?  yes. 

    i have emailed mary kay asking for a phone chat but they have not gotten back to me yet.  wonder if they will?  during this meeting, i was also subjected to many verbal references about husbands and ‘our husbands’. 

    is there a way to sue them for religious and marital status discrimination?

    i will not purchase any of their products and i love skin care and makeup and the new consultant who invited me.

    • Jennifer Patterson

      Hi, Sherry.  I’m always sad when someone has a bad experience with a Christian.  You have a right to your beliefs the same as the next person.  The beauty of Christianity is that God is a gentleman, he doesn’t demand that you follow him on earth, or die like an infidel, or be cut off, or be…well anything short of the person you are – unless you delight yourself in Him – I’ve seen that change someone authentically.   

      If you are turned off, please always feel free to say something to the person who says he/she is a Christian.  I would much prefer to know more than to proceed without the knowledge.  

      Walk a mile in my shoes, though, and you may give the person a touch of empathy.  People hate(d) Jesus, and Jesus said they would hate his followers.  I have a right to express my own views, but I can obviously make poor choices about when that will make Jesus look like someone I’m selling, versus someone whom I’d sell all I own to have myself (I’ve given up a lot to follow Jesus and love others, but not all my belongings, yet).  You are unobligated to buy what she was selling, especially when she has offended you, but she has probably had to sacrifice for her faith if she’s expressing it that boldly, and that was never easy for me – not in middle school, not in college, and certainly not today.  No place I’ve ever been could I bring up my beliefs, outside my church, where I could have an honest discourse without posing risks of at minimum offending someone.  Every solid Christian I’ve met knows that.  And she certainly doesn’t mean to give you one more reason to hate Christians.  How does one even bring up the subject today in our society?  Perhaps you have some suggestions.  That’s an honest inquiry.  I’d be glad to know your thoughts.  I’ve been the proverbial beggar who found some bread, and I presume that someone else in my shoes might like to know where I got it.  That doesn’t mean you want it, but it won’t stop me from mentioning it.  Does that cause you offense?  Again, I’d like to know your thoughts.  Jenn 

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PI3B6HTHZTST72ZUB4HCPCQH6U SherBer

        This is SO unbelievable. What does makeup have to do with Christianity?  My God!  Get a life.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1158313052 Kelly Childers

          So – you don’t believe in God..or Christianity..Yet you call on his name? We, as Christians, have a life and will have a life after this one is over – what can be said for yourself? You are so self-righteous in your convictions that you can sue someone because they prayed in your presence. Are you going to sue me because I’m telling you now that I’m going to pray for your soul? Out loud? In my front yard?

          • http://twitter.com/orianastarfish Sarah

            Please, please I know I already responded to you but this kind of message is only pushing people further from God! Our goal is to bring people TO God. The Holy Spirit is the one to convict people, NOT YOU. The only thing we, as Christians, should impose on non Christians is love! If you want to bring people to Christ (as I would hope you do) it starts with a relationship. 

      • Angelina Padilla

        As a Christ Follower and brand new Mk Cons. I will comment on one of the two entries the Lord wanted me to comment on.Because it begins and always ends and begins again with Him,Jesus Christ.

        Whoever is ashamed of me and denies me,I will deny Him before my Father.

        forget the scripture reference but heres a few points that are in my spirit to share with you Jenn. Offense is normal when witnessing,telling others about Jesus.If you havent told people about Jesus it doesnt mean you dont love Jesus,it means you still have the fear of man because church..going to a building for corporate  worship is all practice..if you are ashamed of Jesus outside of the walls of church everywhere you go…ask Him to bring you out of the spirit of fear and into His boldness to minister.There is no fear in His love…his perfect love casts out all fear.Now….Im saying this to you because I personally,for example,will walk up to who God tells me to and tell them “Jesus loves you so much” ….some scoff,most laugh,some say He loves you too,some say not a word.then I go about my day. Sometimes people need to hear just that,sometimes people need to hear other things such as correction or rebuke or an encouraging word from God. I am not fearless.I am honest with you in telling you The Holy Spirit of God has removed fear of man from me to preach with boldness like it was spoken about in acts 4. Why else would boldness be mentioned if it wasnt needed.

        When I shrink back and find myself not speaking with who He wants to reach or dont say exactly what He wants about Him to someone else…I find there are things in my mind or life keeping me from flowing freely in and through His Holy Spirit to accomplish this task called…….The great commission.

        It sounds as though you are seeking answers and trust me,the atheist that you responded to is not going to have the correct answer for you.trust me..I know..I use to not believe in God,definetely didnt believe in Jesus Christ.

        The only answers you will receive are going to be through reading His word,finding and growing at a bible based church)preferable one that believes in speaking in tongues like spoken about in Acts,it is still relevant for today and gives you power in your walk with Jesus to witness),and most importantly……begin to ask God to have the heart and mind of Jesus,a flame for Him,a hunger and thirst for Him like youve never had before.That is what I still do now.

        when it comes to being afraid of “offending” people….many in our particular nation are offended by everything that directs to Jesus Christ only,not God,not faith,not goodness and morality,but Jesus Christ because yes you are right…it was written that the world(unbelievers,and those who profess to be Christians but deny Jesus by their lifestyles,they hate on fire Christ Followers ) will hate those who peach the gospel of Jesus. Notice no one hates someone who says they are a Christian secretly,and doesnt live it.They are of no harm or danger to the threats and increasing evil that is arising now. Anyways…I could go on and on about that.

        Blessed are He that are not offended by me. Thats what Jesus said to john the Baptists disciples when they came to ask Him questions..while john was in prision about to be beheaded for preparing the way for Jesus.

        If you believe Jesus is coming again,believe that you are to prepare the way for Him just like john the baptist.Surely persecution will come in the form of humilation and snares and scoffs,hurtful words etc…Ive experienced that but you know why I endure for the sake of the gospel because JESUS  has healed me,JESUS  has set free, JESUS has given me a fulfilling life that excites me more than when I was “atheist and foolish”,and JESUS has truly loved me with a love my mind cant comprehend…….He died for me,so I die daily and take up my cross and bear it daily for Him.

        Secondly,Im about to start mary Kay and you better believe this is something Jesus has placed into my life not only to make money(thats secondary)but to spread the gospel to women…to tell of how He has changed my life and got me to where I am today.I would be dead,broken,addicted,abused,and in darkness on my way to hell if it werent for Jesus.Thank you Jesus for saving my soul and healing me though I had tried everything to heal and be self reliant…you came through and touched me,and gave me a life worth sharing and proclaiming to all that WILL hear..so that you can do the same for them!
        THose who refuse you..I pray for them,those who deny you,I love them,those who persecute me with words,I bless them…why?Because its what you did.

        Jesus is love and ministers love,but He is also the truth…and He corrects and rebukes when He has to,and He expects us to do the same.Not hypocritcally but in right standing with Him.

        May Jesus bless ALL who read this,for you are special in HIS eyes and in HIS heart even if you have no place in yours for Him.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=17301760 Nikki Fultz

      I am soo sorry that this happened and that you felt this.  Although there are a lot Christian women, who sell MK.  We are NOT a christian organization.  The saying goes faith first, family second and career third.  That means ALL faiths or belief systems or in your case atheism.  I like to think of it like that bumper sticker with all the symbols.  Family is what you define it.  I would like to apologize to you.  The purpose of asking for the anniversary date, is because many consultants like to give special gifts or discounts around birthdays and other special times.  I have a customer and we celebrate her divorce date.  Again, I just wanted to say that I am truly sorry.  No one should ever feel the way you do after leaving an MK event. You should have left feeling empowered and absolutely beautiful.  Finally, I apologize.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1158313052 Kelly Childers

         Nikki – I’m sorry, but you are wrong. Mary Kay was built on the Christian faith. I can’t believe that you would apologize to someone because others prayed. You should be ashamed or yourself, seriously. Would they apologize to us if we were in their presence and were saying things that were offensive to us? No. I’m tired of Christians always having to apologize to non-believers. Grow a pair and stand up.

        • Scrib

          Mary Kay is about as Christian as Playboy magazine.  The motto “God First” is nothing but a hollow claim, a piece of recruiting bait meant to get the masses thinking, “Oh, what a wonderful godly company!  I simply must join!”

          Look what former Mary Kay CEO John Rochon had to say about Jesus Christ:
          “…after Mary Kay’s illness took her away from the company, [Rochon] did for her what he believes the disciples did for Jesus—created the perfect persona for the rest ofthe world to identify with.
          “The idealization of the person was completely in my control,” Rochon says. “I could create it. Mary Kay never made a mistake after she left the company. She only said powerful things, because we could be very thoughtful about creating imagery that was sustaining.”
          Mary Kay’s then CEO – whose company motto begins with the words “God First” – told the press that Jesus Christ was nothing more than a CRAFTED PERSONA.   No truly God-fearing company would make such an appalling claim.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1158313052 Kelly Childers

      That is YOUR right Sherry, to believe in what you want to. It is also THEIR right to be able to pray if they want to. It’s alright for a Football player to drop to one knee and thank whoever he prays to for his touchdown, but it isn’t alright for Christians to be able to pray when we want to? Who are YOU to tell us that we can’t pray when we want to. It’s a meeting, not a place of business. Mary Kay representatives run their business out of their homes. You people just make me so angry. Everyone has a problem with how Christians pray and where we do it. You all want us confined to our homes, or our churches, or our vehicles, or want us to pray in silent. Well, the time has come for Christians to stop being silenced. We need to take a stand for what we believe in and what we love. Mary Kay herself was a Christian. The company was built on a Christian foundation and on Christian fundamentals. You knew that going into the meeting, I’m sure. If you didn’t, then that is your own fault for not doing your research. They ask you for your anniversary, not to make you feel bad or to get into your personal business, but because for those of you that are married, they like to do something special for you on your anniversary.There isn’t anything bad in it. You take out of it what you want to. It’s okay for everyone to dictate to us Christians what we say and where we say it, but I’ll be DAMNED if I’ll let you people stop us from praying behind closed doors whether everyone there believes it or not. They don’t make you pray. If you don’t want to pray, then don’t. No one is holding a gun to your head. Unlike YOU – we love all people and we pray for EVERYONE’s soul daily – including our own. I find it humorous that you want to sue them because they prayed at a meeting. Get a life. Stop trying to find a quick fix to your problems. Not everyone feels the way that you do. Stop trying to be a modern day Madeline Murray O’hare. No one was discriminating against you or your religion. Not everything is about you. You will have a FIGHT on your hands if you tried to sue them because they prayed and asked for your anniversary date. Mary Kay is an independent business and they owe no one money. Good luck with that.

      • http://twitter.com/orianastarfish Sarah

        Kelly-  I pray this doesn’t offend though it might…but- I am a Christian so Christian to Christian, I feel that in this response you are portraying a bad example of Christianity.. Full of grace, seasoned with salt. People will know we are his disciples by how we love.  Do you feel that your response would draw a non believer closer to God or push away from God because of how His people respond to them? Romans 2:24. 

    • http://twitter.com/fadelessd Barbara Thomas

      The wedding anniversary request is to be able to tell your husband/significant other your wish list in case he needs help finding you a gift and Mary Kay items are on your wish list but you just couldn’t buy them when you wanted…not everyone in MK is a christian and Mary Kay herself was a Christian with the company philosophy being God first, family second and career third.  This is what she founded her company on.  Sorry you were offended.  I’m sure they weren’t trying to convert you to Christianity nor are people at a football game that pray before hand nor is the President of the United States that prays at events…

    • http://www.facebook.com/natasha.hedlund Natasha Hedlund

      I agree that at a party there should not have been a prayer because not everybody has the same beliefs but as far as the wedding anniversary date and husband’s name and number on the profile card, it is for if you are married the consultant can call your husband for those special days and help him with gift giving if you have something on your wish list.

    • ProudUSAgal

      Wow!!! This is way out of hand. The bottom line is MK is a great product, that is what drives sales with the consultant. The rest really doesn’t matter. I love Pampered Chef too. Great product. I have used Mary Kay for over 20 years. I am 53 and I got carded in the grocery store by a women last month (they have to if you don’t look over 28). I do but it was still great. I don’t really care. Here in the US we are free to make a choice of how and where we work. And as far as the MK Christian thing. OH please, I am so sick of politically correct. Ahh, Your business, your decision. And a side note, just like Mary Kay, this country was also based on Christ, just read the Federalist papers as well as the Constitution. If you don’t like it, move!. Nobody is forced to worship. Just don’t pray. Don’t participate. Opt out, like any other thing you don’t want to do that so many others in the group want to do. Do you think as a Christian I want to go to a restaurant or public event and hear and see things that are against my faith….no, but guess what, that’s called FREEDOM! Stop trying to strip the Christians in the US of our heritage and beliefs, we have every right to it. The beauty of it all is that we even put up with and care about you non-believers too….you know the whole Freedom thing. 
      I went to a MK meeting a long time ago and realized it wasn’t my thing, I didn’t want to do it….guess what, I didn’t, go figure. 

    • ProudUSAgal

      Goodness……that’s called Capitalism. I can spell it for you if you’d like. If you owned a business would you not try and project your product in the best light, would you not try and expand your sales to include the spouse’s market as well, to sell more??? Are you sure you are from the USA?  Did you come from the USSR? Oh wait, they don’t exist anymore, because their non-capitalist system failed!

    • jmart0718

      hi Sherry, the reason they ask for your anniversary, If it applies of course, is to provide a service that we have for husbands.  The service is to recommned gift ideas with products that usually ladies who attend a skin care party write down on their wish list. :) In my case I always make sure to tell them to feel free to skip any information they chose not to share or to skip it if it does not apply! As far as the prayer, I have never heard of a Beauty Consultant starting out a skin care party/class with a prayer…that was her personal choice to do that!  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5E6LDFIF2BYD2DJIASC7IAMFDY michelle

    I my am myself a buyer of Mary Kay products and l really love there products.  You pay for what you get for.  Mary Kay has been in business for 49 years and know there products.  There products are made the US of America for which stand and one nation under God.  

    I attended 2 meetings w/ Mary Kay and they do believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins on the cross.  There motto is God comes first, family and then there career.  That is why God has blessed them in their business.   

    I believe in Mary Kay and there Mary Kay products.    My name is Michelle Hayes from Lafayette, LA 

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PI3B6HTHZTST72ZUB4HCPCQH6U SherBer

      Michelle:  “there products”  The “there” is a possessive word:  It would be “THEIR” products.  “I love THEIR products.”
       I am SO tired of the illiteracy in the United States.  Do you sell Mary Kay products?  I don’t want to hear people come roaring back on this post that grammar and spelling don’t matter.  IT MATTERS!  Especially if you are running a business!   Yes, this is about Mary Kay.  So represent Mary Kay and learn common grammar and spelling.

      This isn’t an attack on you Michelle.  This is an attack on our educational system in the USA.  It’s at the bottom of the list of civilized countries.  If you don’t know it, go to your local community college and take a basic grammar course.  Please.

      • http://twitter.com/DebraJeanTw Debra

        It’s weird but I got stuck on that “there,” too.

      • Angelina Padilla

        that was an attack her on her.There are many other ways to correct in love without attacking. I pray that you allow Jesus to free you from frustration but giving you revelation of where the frustration and need to attack comes from.I pray that He heals you deeply from your past and especially from the times where others spoke harshly or belittling to you…

        He did it for! = ] so i understand where you are coming from honestly.

        may Christ Jesus bless you with His love and truth!

      • MsLorain

        My God SherBer, you must be perfect. You must have never made a grammer or spelling error in your life. I think you attacked Michelle. Truth is we “All” make errors in our grammar, typing and spelling. It has nothing to do with the education system in this country. The fact is that “you” are a nick picker. You may have pick away at people possibly all of your life and at this point it is a habit. You must have found out early in your own life that you were not measuring up or (were making mistakes), and so your mission in life is to point out everyone else’s mistakes, to divert the attention from your own.

        There are many things wrong with our education system, as well as, many things which are right.  However, one of the things that it does not promise is that we will always used the correct form of a word in a sentence. Chalk the error up to human error.

        We “All” make those, and I’m sure you do as well.

        It’s sad to think that you have led this type of life, whereas, you seek to highlight the mistakes of others. 

        People live what they learn. Lucky for you, this can be unlearned. Seek to find what the person is saying, not how they spelled it. Get the message without killing the messenger.

        By the way, this topic was to be about Mary Kay Cosmetics. I have been a MK consultant 3 times and am considering a 4th. The reason being is that there is no other cosmetic company that can offer you the commission opportunity and high end product with a well known name.

        In the end, every day it is about you, your personal drive, your own goals and you putting in the work. The company awards your efforts. However, the greatest reward is that you are trained, and have the opportunity to take your business as high as your dreams and hard work will decide.

        As working people we spend many hours at our desks working for jobs that we cannot take off from. As a divorced parent I missed events my children were involed in because I couldn’t take time off without missing the much needed pay or it affecting my attendance. With being self employed within the Mary Kay family, you get to claim a piece of your life back and it won’t affect your bottom line.

        This to me is priceless. So yes, being your own boss may cause you to spend countless hours in the field. But it is “your” choice as to which hours you will spend. Do not buy into the sob stories these women tell you about how they missed this or that with their families. At the end of the day, they made the choice about the hours they worked, not Mary Kay.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002234965357 Cerra Bellum

         She clearly said she was a buyer so picking at her grammar was unnecessary. She also didn’t say she was from the US but that she attended 2 MK meetings here. Reading and comprehension are just as important as spelling and grammar.

      • bobwadas

        I wonder if you have read your own post Sherber. How can someone who criticizes someone’s spelling make so many sentence structure mistakes. You must be one of the victims of te educational system based on your horrible errors in your post. Start with the person in the mirror before you judge someone else. Go back to you community college and learn how to write a sentence correctly !

    • Scrib

      “There motto is God comes first, family and then there career.  That is why God has blessed them in their business.”

      First off, do not slander the name of God Almighty by associating Him with this filthy company.  Mary Kay Cosmetics follows God about as much as Satan himself does and their motto is a hollow piece of recruiting bait, nothing more.  Going by your logic, how would you explain Hitler’s or North Korea’s “successful” reign of tyranny?  Is it because God’s cool with what they’re doing?    
        
      Secondly, not even Mary Kay Ash could put family second and career third, so why should we expect any of her consultants to be able to do likewise?  

      “[Mary Kay Ash] was on the road three weeks a month, recruiting salesmen during the day, training them at night…unable to look after her son Richard (her two other children were already grown) she enrolled him in  military boarding school. When I asked her if she ever got lonely during those days, she said with a slight shrug, “I didn’t have time to be lonely.”
      “Well, spending all that time on the road, how did men treat you?”
      Mary Kay pasued, and her eyes moved towards her lap.  “They said, “You’re too busy for me.”  That’s how men treated me.

      Ash was too busy for the things in life that REALLY mattered, like her family.  Don’t be fooled into thinking she had it all, because she didn’t, and neither will anyone who gets tricked into joining this dangerous company. SOMETHING takes the hit in the end.

      Source:  http://www.texasmonthly.com/content/hostile-makeover/page/0/3

       

  • erinmsoren

     It’s interesting reading all of the comments positive and negative about Mary Kay the company, it’s sales force, whatever.  Before you make a judgement call on Mary Kay, get the facts right (for instance my mom has done Amway, Melaleuca, NuSkin, Scentsy, direct sales galore and did they inventory requirements?  Yes.  Does Mary Kay?  Yes and no depending on how you run your business.  You don’t HAVE to have inventory but you do need to place at lease a small inventory order of $600.00 initially to become active (point given….you are going to work your business, right? So you are going to sell your inventory, right?)  So what if it blows up in your face.  NO OTHER COMPANY, including the companies above will buy back your inventory at any cost but Mary Kay will buy back your inventory at 90% so you are making a low-risk investment.  It all depends on what your goals are, how much you want to work.  I’m sure there are millions of stories of horror but my life is changing for the better as an Independent Beauty Consultant.  Independent.  I’m the one who calls the shots for my business.  If you visit http://www.pinktruth.com, you’ll get all the negative stories you ever wanted to about Mary Kay, but first, why don’t you pick up a copy of first, Miracles Happen and The Mary Kay Way Timeless Principles From America’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur both my Mary Kay Ash.  Then, if you still are ticking, let’s think that maybe they have fabulous products and that they work (I’ve done my homework of personal “try this skin care product, it’s great” and then not having it work.  This whole article was not researched well, one-sided, tugging at people from one angle.  GET THE FACTS!  Go to a Mary Kay unit meeting.  Read the fine print.  Or just buy into pinktruth.com.  Whatever your emotions tell you to.  Facts or emotions.

    • Scrib

      Gee, and MK recruiting interviews certainly aren’t one-sided or tug at people from one angle, do they?  And of course, recommending that people get all their information about Mary Kay from Mary Kay Ash’s books isn’t one-sided in the least.  And go to a unit meeting?  Why?  Consultants are told to present an emotional (and false) image of happiness, enthusiasm, and success at these meetings so women will be hooked and want to join, and what’s more, consultants are told if they DON’T act happy, they’re negative and to be shunned.  

      Honestly, your logic is embarassing.  You claim to have all the facts, but if you did, we wouldn’t need a site like Pink Truth now, would we?  

      Let women investigate BOTH MK and Pink Truth and THEN make a choice as to whether or not your precious pyramid is in their best interests.  Shalom.

      • jmart0718

        LOL..Looks like you have your mind set to be Debbie downer! Love your passion! Imagine what the world would be like if people like you actually used all this energy on things that actually mattered! All that you are stating here are just your opinions, in the end, everyone makes their own choice! In the end, MK has lovers and haters, just like everything else in life!!

        • Scrib

          Only in Mary Kay would researching both sides of the company refer to someone as a “Debbie Downer.”  How unbelivably silly.

          JMart, I’ve written well over fifty articles about the company, the culture, and all the disgustingly unethical teachings that infect it.  My sources are the websites, CDs, and training material coming straight from MK’s top leaders.  You can’t make this stuff up, and such information could hardly be considered an opinion.

          Remember, I’ve never been in MK, so you can’t write me off as a disgruntled consultant, either.  I’m just someone who did their homework beyond the overhyped cotton-candy fluff the recruiters shove down everyone’s throat.

          • jmart0718

            Actually, It is Silly! Its Silly to see how people are taking advice from someone who hasnt even been a consultant to actually consider your opinion! I bet you would be a great consultant! Everyone has different experiences in this company just as much as they do elsewhere. You may have written fifty articles about the company but your main focus has been to write negatively about it. A story always has three sides, your side, theirs, and the Truth! My truth is that mary kay is my business and I make it work! It doesnt work by itself, I make it work! So, maybe you should become part of the sales force so you can state Your facts about your experince, whether is a negative or positive one. I have come accross a lot of similar sites about ex-consultants, Directors, national sales directors. To be honest none of them affect me in any way, we all have values instilled in us, they may have worked their business selfishly, or with no ethics, or joined with someone who worked that way and taught them to work the same way.. everyones situacion is different. But again those are indivual choice we make! So, until you try it for yourself we’ll be reading your opinion, not your facts! But at least in my case I have never learned from someone else’s expiriences whether they’re mistakes or successes.

          • Scrib

            Heh, “I’d be a great consultant.” Tell me, are are you basing that assumption on my energetic personality, my passion to help others do the right thing in life, or just my good credit score? :D

            JMart, when I come across an NSD teaching her consultants to lie to their own customers (as NSD Dacia Wiegandt does), I question how one could write anything positive about such disgusting behavior. I quote directly from NSD training material in my pieces, which means that the material I provide (minus my commentary, which is based on my interpretation of the quotes and other information I’ve gathered) is FACT, You can choose to discard that or take to heart.

            Interestingly enough, it wouldn’t matter if I’d done time as a consultant, because it still wouldn’t be good enough for the MK cult mindset. I’ve seen how many MKers treat women who spoke against the company and its practices; former IBCs are often belittled and shouted down in forums and threads and told that their views don’t matter because they didn’t work hard enough, didn’t take God as their partner, didn’t do this or that, are just disgruntled, and so on.

            Mary Kay’s leaders teach unethical garbage are are about as godly as a pornographic movie, so why would I join and subject myself to such filth? I don’t have to smash my hand with a hammer to know it’s going to hurt. :D

          • jmart0718

            lol, no.. it was merely a suggestion to help you have a little more relevant content in your “I hate Mary Kay” essays. As far as personality, hmm hard to say. Your “passion” to helping people?… Really?… Do you really believe you are helping people by writing your opinions, I mean dont get me wrong… Its fun to read on. You obviously are passionate about your subject! But in reality the only people you are helping are those who share your Passion for waisting time creating hate groups. You
            are wrong not becasue you have failed to find evidence of people whom in your opinion
            are doing wrong to people, but because you are generalizing the company and
            everyone who is in it!

          • Scrib

            JMart, speaking the truth about something does not constitute hate. If MK’s leaders weren’t doing wrong to begin with, then people like me wouldn’t have to call it out in the first place, right?

            If Mary Kay’s top leaders are teaching garbage and telling their followers to abide by that garbage in order to succeed, what chance to the consultants have? More disturbing still, MK Corporate knows this is going on and yet they do nothing about it.

            Granted, lower-level consultants will not be exposed to the level of buggery that the directors and NSDs are neck-deep in, but they still have to abide by the same rules in order to get promoted. True, they can choose NOT to follow that guidance, but they won’t move up and be hailed as successful disciples of Mary Kay.

            Maybe you take no issue with women being taught how to manipulate others, lie, and go into copious debt, but some of us do. The evidence is out there if you allow your eyes to see and your mind to think outside the Cult of Mary Kay. Give yourself a chance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/k2mee Kay Toomey

    Jemica, please email me at kaytoomey71490@yahoo.com  I just became a consultant and I want to do exactly what you just described! Please email me and offer me some tips and so forth!

    Kay

  • http://twitter.com/DebraJeanTw Debra

    Let me jump in here. I buy MK products. Honestly, they’re good products. I have no investment to write in favor of the company. Other than to say, they work.  I have allergy issues and MK doesn’t bother them.  I also have older, dryer skin, and I’ve used many costly products over the years without the same results. I used to have blotchy, aging skin, and used skin bleach and laser to remove them–costly doctor appointments, but after I started using TimeWise Even Complexion Essence, I threw the bleach out and haven’t had any laser since.  Hands down the best lip glosses and mascara, and eye shadows.  My biggest complaint is many of the products become seasonal and unavailable too soon.  But seriously, whatever the business practices, can they be any worse than the sales women in department store who spray perfume on asthmatics and pollute the mall air? Or the product inserts in magazines that make people unexpectedly sick from the stink?  Or the animal testing these companies do? Or the cheap labor in China to produce these products and the secret, undisclosed ingredients? I will say my consultant doesn’t believe I don’t want to sell MK products. She never gives up! But, so what? She’s a nice person and committed to her work. She’s a high seller in this company, and I believe one needs her personality to do it.  There are abuses in every industry. Perhaps the women who felt abused by MK might have some personal boundary issues or no sense what it takes to have your own business.  I’ve seen cultist behaviors in churches, work places and even in writing groups I belong too–where women were damaged by forces they couldn’t handle. Stop blaming MK and take some accountability for getting into this business in the first place if you couldn’t handle some upfront costs and commitment to the job you accepted.  If it’s not a fit, quit. No one made these women join this company, and if they didn’t do any homework before, then they get what they deserve in terms of disappointments.

    • Scrib

      If you see a cultish behavior going on within your church/workplace/writing group, wouldn’t you take steps to call it out for the wrong that it is instead of pointing the finger at the victims?

      That’s why I speak against MK, and I’ve never even been a consultant.  In Mary Kay I see filth, I see deception, I see blatant unethical garbage being taught, and I see it being done with a “Oh, we put God first!” label slapped across it.  As a Christian, I refuse to sit back and watch so many women be hurt and deceived like this.  It’s WRONG. 

      The MK world loves to squelch any information outside of what they use to hook their potential targets, and you can even see that behavior in these threads when a “other side of the coin” site like Pink Truth is mentioned.  You do need BOTH sides in order to make an educated choice, do you not?  Then why are so many MKers hell-bent on telling people to stay away from Pink Truth (and thus, telling them NOT to do their homework beforehand?)  What are they so fearful of?

      For the cherry on top, here you come along writing in favor of the company (when you claim the opposite is true), chastising women for not doing their homework, and telling them that they “get what they deserve.”

      Are you SURE you’re not in MK?  Because insensitive attitudes like yours are quite common in their highest ranks, so if you’re not in MK, perhaps you should join, as you’d probably do quite well as one of their master manipulators.  Shalom.

    • Erika Schaadt

      There are lots of abuses in many industries right now. It’s horrible, I agree 100%. So many articles are being written about it, and workers are coming forward. It down right sucks.

      But, in Mary Kay, the same things are happening, and unlike McDonald’s, Walmart, and many others, their sales force is faking a smile and trying to convince everyone of how wonderful it is.They became a private company again to HIDE all of the problems (MK Canada is public, and those numbers don’t look too great). They are an abuser. They have convinced the women they abuse to love them, and in turn, abuse them more and call it love. They have convinced these women that being treated like this is what love is, and they HAPPILY come back for more. But these other industries? Workers are resisting, making demands, and no longer standing for the abuse. THAT is the difference.

  • atingospiritualtemple

    ‘My name is Dora I am from United States, I was I a relationship with Ben and we loved and cherished ourselves for 3 good years and every thing was going on smoothly but February 14, 2012 a day I can call a lovers day we both had misunderstanding because I answered a call from a guy that is asking me out for a date but I refused, and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and I begged him because I love him so much but he refused me I was so down cast and I felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back, a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first I was scared but I have to give this man a trial because I love Ben very much and I am not willing to loose him to any woman, so I ordered returning my love spell from this great spell caster that made me a happy woman again to say it all my ex came back to me with much love and a caring heart…i am testifying to this great spell caster ATINGO TEMPLE. if you need his help you can contact him on atingospiritualtemple@live.com

  • http://twitter.com/fadelessd Barbara Thomas

    Mary Kay today has men and women of all types of religions as consultants and is an international corporation in over 30 different countries worldwide…just another fact…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002234965357 Cerra Bellum

    This story is ridiculous. I was a Mary Kay consultant for a few years before I had my children and fell away from the business. No one ever forced me to do anything or work long hours. The money you make is determined by the effort you put in, by going to the training that enhances your business and doing the work – like any business owner would have to do. I’m about the join MK again, guess why; because I made money when I worked for it and the products are fantastic.

    • Erika Schaadt

      No one forces you to work long hours necessarily. You are right. But you are ALSO promised that you don’t need to work as hard at this as you do any other job you could have in sales, and profit as much, if not more. Women find themselves doing that same amount of work, or even more, with FAR less of a payoff.

  • Hillary O’Callaghan

    This is absurd. Nobody is forced into doing anything and of course there’s no guarantee of a sale – is there ever?? If so, there’d be no need for sales people! Ridiculous. I was a =n active consultant for 3+ yrs and absolutely loved the experience. I didn’t make over $25k/yr – that’s because I only worked about 2 hrs/week! And I consistently made $50/hr of work spent on my business. Anyone who is unsuccessful at selling MK products is going about it in the wrong way.

    • darkangel7090

      Did anyone use the term “forced?”  We know no one was FORCED but heavily encouraged and manipulated. As far as the “no guarantee of a sale”, would be nice if the Directors and Uplines told prospects that before they signed on the dotted line?  Huh? But not only do they not, they paint an exceedingly different account of a world of glamour, sisterhood and success.  But that prospect doesn’t know that all those “I-stories” are gross exaggerations and lies. I’m betting that the $50 an hour that you made was BEFORE all the expenses, gas, and time that you had to put into that Skin Care Class. Even moreso, according to MK, you should have been able to retire to Tahiti off that mere two hours a week. 

      • jmart0718

        Here’s the thing, No one should be so ignorant to think that they are signing an agreement to heaven and that life will be flowers and butterflies. Its a business, you have to work in order to make money. No one is manipulated, heavily encouraged?.. YES!! If you are happy with what you are doing and you see results, you will encourage someone else to do what you do! To TRY it for herself. MK is a lifestyle, glamour, sisterhood, success and much much more, but again, its totally up to you!

    • Scrib

      You did not make $50 per hour.  You are conveniently forgetting to factor in all the time you spent warm-chatting, calling, booking, pre-profiling, confirming, traveling, setting up, conducting the class, tearing down,  managing any sales, recruiting interviews, and so forth.  Once you’ve factored in all those tasks, THEN divide that $50 across the board.

      Yes, it’s a smaller number and doesn’t sound as impressive as your original claim, but at least it’s the truth.

      • jmart0718

        what? are you serious?… this is the same as saying you make $20 and hour and having to subtract all the expenses to make it to work everyday!?…. i mean you have to invest time and money to make money?..Don’t you? If you dont let me know where you work so I can join you!  

        • Scrib

          When you tell people that you make $20 an hour from your job, you’re not trying to recruit them, JMart.  

          In MK, claims like “I made $50 an hour for two hours!” is meant to be more recruiting bait as opposed to a casual statement.  It’s designed to get women coveting what the company claims to be able to provide them and to get them signing the dotted line.

          The issue is that such an act can be considered fraud, because people are being recruiting via false income claims.  Nobody likes to talk about those nasty expenses that come right out of what little the consultant profits, if any.  

          Definitely not “God First” behavior, that’s for certain. 

          • jmart0718

            Scrib: Regardless,
            you are saying she didnt actually make that amount! You’re listing the time she
            spent doing other activities that come with the job, and you list it as if its
            that difficult! I can sit here and list all the
            resposibilities that come with 9-5 jobs or other self-employed jobs. In fact its a given that the more you
            earn the more responsibilites you have. MK is a customer service job, therefor
            you have to work with people and all that comes with it. Actually, it is used
            as to say I just worked today for a period of 4 hours and in that tme frame I
            sold say $400.00 regardless of the effort it took to make it to the skin care
            class or facial, I sold $400.00. Therefor my profit was 50%, or $200.00. Thats
            makes me $50.00 per hour?! So, I dont get where this is false information?..
            Its a way to make a comparison so that people can get an idea of how much you
            earn! I dont get why you refer to that as “recluting
            bait” or its cosidered fraud. Neither Mary Kay or the sales force guaratees anyone any x amount of money… They provide you with products, which you buy at wholesale price, tools, and trainings. The rest is completely up to you..whether you Invest or you dont invest, whether you do it full or part time..ect. I can continue to go back and forth with you endlessly, my point
            here is that with ANYTHING…Mary Kay, other companies, owning a business, such a hair salon, restaurant, etc. You will have to commit more so than you would in a job. “nasty expenses” what expenses… ah you mean business expenses…yeah no one likes to discuss those! Im glad for the tax deductions… and as far as profits go, you definitely see profits, I have! That last sentence I wont comment about bc i am no one to judge I can only speak for myself on how I am appliying those principles…thats with each individuals values.

  • TCathG

    My ex husband who was stalking me and was finally put in jail on numerous domestic violence charges posted on pink truth about how MK had ruined our family. He did it to retaliate against me because I notified the police every time he violated my protection order.  He was a violent alcoholic with multiple drug arrests and has assulated two women receiving criminal convictions.  Tons of people on pink truth posted they would “pray for him” and our daughter, and that I would get out of the “pink bubble.”  I even took it to to the police investigator for slander. I was told the problem with the internet is that anyone can post anything without evidence or facts.  He claimed I was making less then $10K a year after taxes.  I found that interesting since I paid our $1600 month mortgage as well as all our other bills since he couldn’t hold a job. I guess you don’t need to check your math on the internet either.  Changed my whole view of the internet. You can post whatever you want even it’s it not true and there is virtually nothing the other person can do to protect themselves.

    • darkangel7090

      TCathG, your ex-husband can be sued for slander, if that’s indeed what it was.  If he were telling the truth about your annual income from MK, its not slander.  Also, for a man that’s a violent, alcoholic, stalker, substance abuser, it’s odd that he would try to hurt you by making a post on a website…..  Kinda passive-aggressive, more like the behavior of a childish ex best female friend. How did he even know Pink Truth existed? Wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to have posted that to Facebook? I wonder if your ex just made it up to bug you and never posted anything.  Cause – it just don’t make sense.   

      • http://twitter.com/zombiebreakfast Emma R

        Sorry, I just came across your comment and thought I’d give a little info – I have known a few women throughout my life who have been with abusive men/stalkers, and going online and posting slanderous messages is *exactly* the sort of thing that an abuser will do. I’m not familiar with this site (pinktruth), so I can’t speak to that, but I can say that an abuser will often try to destroy a victim’s reputation and/or humiliate them, and the internet is a very easy way to do that. As for an alcoholic abuser, they may also have delusions that attacking a victim’s “employer” or other type of relation will hurt the victim as well.

    • Scrib

      I’d enjoy seeing YOUR math, actually.  What rank are you in Mary Kay that enables your business to pay for so much?  

      Your claim is HIGHLY suspect.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WRPTCDJ7D5JCHWXLXGYQCTMBSU John

    AMEN !!  We are gathered here today to axe Mary Kay to bless my business and to make sure that I makes lots of money in my Mary Kay business !!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WRPTCDJ7D5JCHWXLXGYQCTMBSU John

    Love the new song by Kasey Musgraves “Mary go Round” !!!  I laugh every time I hear “Momma’s Hooked on Mary Kay”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WRPTCDJ7D5JCHWXLXGYQCTMBSU John

    Momma’s Hooked on Mary Kay
    Brainwashed with it every day…..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WRPTCDJ7D5JCHWXLXGYQCTMBSU John

    come on, everyone join in and let’s write a new song !!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001133496409 Elena Caple

    This message goes out to people who listen to websites such as Pink Truth. I was very shrewd about how I invested money, in both the starter kit and inventory, some over $300 altogether. I held one party, where I made slightly over $100, and sold about the same from catalog sales my first month. Though I decided to drop out after the first quarter, I got to keep what I didn’t sell from both my starter kit AND the inventory purchase, which was mostly for myself to begin with. I ended up ahead by a few hundred dollars’ worth of product. Maybe not cash, but the full value of product I was able to keep and use far outstripped my initial investment in the starter kit and the $216 I spent on inventory to become active. That’s it. 

    As for recruiting members, I can only say that it’s fun, and gives people something to do. It’s much better to be proactive than sit around hoping for a callback from however many resumes you’ve submitted in a 75-mile radius from your home, hoping, praying for a callback. What I received in retail-value full-size makeup product more than made up for what I invested. I have not seen one person here mention what they kept and were able to use from their inventory after they dropped out. Even if you were fed up from the whole situation, it’s perfectly acceptable to substitute money one would spend on holiday/birthday gifts to one’s friends and family. 

    I’ve read the books, not just on Mary Kay, and it’s not the job of the representative to educate you or train you. That is your job, and yours alone. I sympathize with those who were guilted into this, or couldn’t stand up to peer pressure, but really, blaming a company for one’s own unpreparedness doesn’t make much sense. I see Mary Kay as a perfectly viable way to spend time. I like making people happy. I like to help people (not only women, by the way! :) find confidence and feel “pretty,” even if only for a few hours. I fully intend to start up Mary Kay again; it’s something for young women to do to build business and marketing skills, as well as older women, or women who just like to use makeup and would spend their dollars somewhere, but chose to just buy this particular brand instead. If it’s made out to be all about the money, then yes, people will get hurt emotionally and financially. It’s really tough when people play off your conscience, and it’s okay to be upset for a while, but in the long run, it shouldn’t bend your mind to the point where you must get even, no matter what the cost.

    And I’ve never posted on a forum like this before, but I hope just getting it out there that paying for product isn’t wasting money; you get to keep the product. Be wise about what you’re buying! If you actively kept track of company literature, blogs, etc., it would have been easy to discern when a new line was coming out, especially as a consultant, and buy your product then. So I know people will continue to make talk, and trash Mary Kay, but I’ve heard enough! Hopefully you can get cooled off to enjoy your weekend!

    • Scrib

      You’ve failed to state what exactly Pink Truth has said that you’ve found to be incorrect.  I’ve written for the site for over six years now and I would be glad to issue retractions to anything I have written that you can prove to be inaccurate or false.  Also, I have never been in MK myself, so you cannot accuse me of having been lazy or not having worked my business.  I’m merely a typical MK target who had longer than 24-48 hours to research the racket.  

      Mary Kay Cosmetics is stocked with leaders whose sense of ethics is eroded away on a daily basis.  These leaders teach women how to lie, how to manipulate, how to deceive their own husbands, and how to look at God as some sort of materialistic genie and a business partner instead of the Almighty Creator of the Universe.  Knowing this, I could never recommend that any woman of any faith join MK just for a discount on lipstick, the acquisition of marketing skills, or the chance to supposedly “enrich” other women.  How does teaching other women how to lie “enrich” them?  

      Nobody’s trashing MK, love.  We’re simply revealing what they really are underneath all those layers of lip gloss.

      • ProudUSAgal

        Wow!!! This is way out of hand. The bottom line is MK is a great product, that is what drives sales with the consultant. The rest really doesn’t matter. I love Pampered Chef too. Great product. I have used Mary Kay for over 20 years. I am 53 and I got carded in the grocery store by a women last month (they have to if you don’t look over 28). I do but it was still great. I don’t really care. Here in the US we are free to make a choice of how and where we work. And as far as the MK Christian thing. OH please, I am so sick of politically correct. Ahh, Your business, your decision. And a side note, just like Mary Kay, this country was also based on Christ, just read the Federalist papers as well as the Constitution. If you don’t like it, move!. Nobody is forced to worship. Just don’t pray. Don’t participate. Opt out, like any other thing you don’t want to do that so many others in the group want to do. Do you think as a Christian I want to go to a restaurant or public event and hear and see things that are against my faith….no, but guess what, that’s called FREEDOM! Stop trying to strip the Christians in the US of our heritage and beliefs, we have every right to it. The beauty of it all is that we even put up with and care about you non-believers too….you know the whole Freedom thing. I went to a MK meeting a long time ago and realized it wasn’t my thing, I didn’t want to do it….guess what, I didn’t, go figure. 

        • Scrib

          See, that’s where you’re wrong.  1.  I’m a Christian myself and 2. The bottom line is that the rest DOES really matter. 

          Women join Mary Kay all the time because they’re told it’s a “God First” company.  Unfortunately, the leaders exhibit behavior and teach teachings that are very, VERY far from being godly.  Lying, manipulation, disrespect of husbands, encouraging debt, encouraging materialism, the list goes on.

          Your anger should be directed at Mary Kay’s corrupt leaders, my friend, as they are the ones who are taking the Bible and defecating all over it.  

          Unless, of course, you don’t mind seeing fellow believers being led astray by a false gospel.  But hey, that’s entirely up to you.

  • ThinkingGame1

    Most opportunities in life (employment, education) protect you from potential failure, humiliation etc. through a selective application process. In the case of a business with a high start-up cost where loans or investors are needed, you also see selective screening processes in place. In the case of Mary Kay, there is no one else deciding whether you should be given a chance. Imagine if Harvard admitted anyone who applied but kept their standards the same- many people would end up in over their heads, failures, burdened with student debt for an education they were not capable of completing and humiliated. Yet, many who might not have been accepted based on an admissions officers assessment of their ability, would be given a chance and end up with a Harvard diploma and all the perks that follow. 

    This is the trade-off. Direct Sales companies could move to some sort of application process to ensure those ‘admitted’ are likely to succeed…but then some would loose the chance to prove themselves. 

    There is a risk in not being exclusive. 

    • Erika Schaadt

      You have a very good point. I think the hard part is though a lot of MLM companies pretend to do just that, to give the air of legitimacy, and then people buy into it (because they trust the interview process).

      Though, it would be interesting to see how a legitimate interview process would impact how the system works.

  • ThinkingGame1

    Ok, I just started the article and was a little surprised that the “investigative journalist” was an unhappy former consultant. Still, a well written personal essay but journalism…?? hmmm…

    • Erika Schaadt

      She joined to do research, not the other way around. It’s what most any investigative journalist does (think Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo Journalism as the best example of this). She didn’t just shot off her mouth because she’s a bitter ex consultant. She left after she gained experience enough to talk about the subject intelligently.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tamika.monroehudson Tamika Monroe-Hudson

    Hi Jemica! I am an Independent Mary Kay Senior Consultant and I have made the decision to start working my business on a full-time basis and give myself a promotion and a pay increase. Please email me at mikohudson@yahoo.com. I would love to get some advice from you!
     
    Tamika

  • jmart0718

    LOL, this is Funny!

  • Scrib

    Heh, somebody flagged my links to Shaw’s website for review.  Got something to hide, do we?

    If you wish to learn more about what NSD Pamela Shaw teaches (and see why she seems so intent on hiding this information from you) Google Pamela Shaw Pink Truth and check out the articles there.  

    You won’t be sorry.  You’ll be shocked.  :)

  • Scrib

    Lofty claims, but here’s an interesting update:  Even though 10 months ago Jemicia claimed she was “about to debut as a MK Sales Director,” a 20 Jul 2013 check of her Facebook page reveals that she is NOT a Sales Director, but a “Team Leader.” That’s a considerably lower rank on MK’s career ladder. 

    That means one of two things:

    1.  Jemicia made Sales Director but was demoted because she failed to maintain the production quotas.  (So much for that whole “You’re in charge of your promotions” the MK world likes to claim.  Are you really in charge if you can be demoted by the company?)

    2.  Jemicia never made Sales Director in the first place.

    So which is it, Jemicia?  And I’d like to kindly request that you not insult the readers by claiming that your low position on the MK career ladder is your only source of income and is keeping things paid, because – unless you live in a Kenyan squatter town – it’s not.

  • Scrib

    If I supposedly have no idea what I’m talking about, tell me where I am wrong and I shall gladly correct it. Do provide specifics, because Mary Kay catchphrases like “You get out of it what you put into it” are simply not helpful.

    If I was a former IBC writing these things, you would accuse me of being disgruntled or of not having worked hard enough. People who have never been in are told that they should join before having an opinion or that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    I’m willing to bet that you believe in order for someone to become an oncologist, they have to have been diagnosed with cancer in the past. :D

  • Erika Schaadt

    I hate the “only God can judge” statement in any context. Not because it is or isn’t true, but it’s used to escape being put under the microscope for one’s actions.

    When someone claims the title of being Christian, there are expectations (good ones) people have. When those expectations are not met then people become disappointed and rightfully so.

    Mary Kay claims so much from the Christian faith, and says that they put God first, as faith is of the utmost importance in life. Expectations come with that. When women join and realize their faith is being exploited, and they cannot have the time to give to their spiritual well being they believe necessary (when promised they would), they get upset. Anyone would.

    So, only God can judge? No, I think anyone scorned by the deception has a right to judge. And it’s not even judging, as people are looking at it based on their expectations and perceptions. That is not being judgmental. It’s being analytical.

  • Scrib

    Tell me what lies I am supposedly spreading and I’ll gladly retract my statements. Also, did you know that people who know they’re doing something wrong are generally the very first ones to scream “Judge not!” to the individuals calling them out? It’s cute, isn’t it?

    You may find this piece to be of assistance:

    http://www.pinktruth.com/2013/06/thou-shalt-not-say-%E2%80%9Cjudge-not%E2%80%9D-until-thou-readest-this/

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