(A) Mary Kay PRODUCTS; (B) The Mary Kay marketing APPROACH to retail consumers; (C) The Mary Kay RECRUITING process "Independent Beauty Consultant"; (D) The many DISAPPOINTMENTS and PITFALLS of a Mary Kay consultant; with approx. 1.5 million Mary Kay consultants worldwide, most ladies in the U.S. will come in contact with a Mary Kay consultant and Mary Kay products sooner or later.
It can be very helpful to be informed about the facts of the Mary Kay MLM marketing system before you accept a "Free Facial" or attend a "Free Spa Event" or if you're approached by a Mary Kay consultant about becoming an "Independent Beauty Consultant" with Mary Kay regarding the Mary Kay business opportunity.
(A) Mary Kay PRODUCTS: Pros- at first let us say that based on personal experience and research it's a fact that Mary Kay products for the most part are actually very good quality products. Some MK skin care products are very helpful and are often superior to products from competitors, especially for individuals with sensitive skin. True, some individuals may be allergic to this or the MK product and in such a case the product can be returned to the MK consultant for a full refund. Mary Kay also offers a very nice and extensive line of cosmetics products.
Cons with some positives- Mary Kay products are officially only available through the so-called "Independent Beauty Consultants" of Mary Kay. Therefore MK products are not available in stores. This can create a problem for some customers as they are dependent on a particular MK consultant to supply them with product.
For convenience sake, orders can also be placed via each MK consultant's MK website or by calling the consultant. While new MK consultants may not have the requested products in stock, most established MK consultants will have most frequently requested products in stock. MK consultants offer a personal service with the possibility of returning items in case of skin allergies, etc.
Warning: Mary Kay products are also often sold by unauthorized resellers on auction sites like e. g. eBay and other websites. In general it's difficult to trust such unauthorized resellers regarding product quality because such items could be dated and the buyer can't find out where the product really originated, and also such purchases from auction sites cannot be returned for a refund. So, if you do buy Mary Kay products its best purchase such directly from a truly authorized Mary Kay "Independent Beauty Consultant."
(B) The Mary Kay marketing APPROACH to retail consumers: As described above, Mary Kay sells their products through their extensive network of independent Mary Kay Beauty consultants. Such consultants may use various marketing approaches from little classified ads to postcards and personal invitations to a "Free Facial" or a "Free Spa Event" etc. to get in touch with new customers. Often a Mary Kay party is conducted in a home and a friend may invite you to such an event. Such an event can be fun, but you need to be aware of the purpose and the true intentions behind e. g. a Mary Kay party at a friend's house.
(1) The friend who invited you to her house for the MK party will usually receive a small Hostess gift from the Independent Beauty Consultant who conducts the party. Such parties can last from 1-3 hours depending on the products introduced and how the event is conducted.
(2) Free? Yes, you're invited to try out products at such parties for free in hopes that you will purchase this or that item and that you will become a faithful customer of these products. As mentioned above, most Mary Kay products are really good quality products and are fairly priced and in many cases MK products are even priced below comparative products from competitors. Sure, in many large retail stores you can find a whole array of skin care and cosmetics products from popular name brands at perhaps lower prices, but often the quality won't compare and if it does the prices are pretty much the same or even higher priced than MK products.
(3) While psychologically people feel obligated to purchase something at a MK party, there's never any obligation to purchase anything at such events. Many MK consultants put a lot of effort into these parties and it is rude to cancel shortly before the event or to be a no-show. Most MK consultants are hard-working ladies and they really put a lot of effort into their presentations and in acquiring new clients. So, there might be some pressure to purchase something at such a MK party at your friend's home.
(4) But there's much more to the MK party system than what meets the eye in the beginning. The real intention for most MK consultants is that they want really recruit so-called "Team members." This is what the whole Mary Kay marketing approach is, that the more people who sell MK products the more products the company will sell. We'll discuss the MK recruiting process next, but to give you the basic idea, the Mary Kay marketing systems is nothing less than a MLM (Multi-Level-Marketing) system as MK consultants will only advance to the next level of directorship, etc. if they have a certain number of recruits and a certain amount of sales over a certain period of time.
(C) The Mary Kay RECRUITING process "Independent Beauty Consultant": (1) As mentioned above, most ladies will be first invited to attend a MK party at a friend's home... maybe it's called a "Free Facial" or a "Free Spa Event." The hope is that some guests will become interested in the products and in a sense also to find new friends.
(2) The second step is that MK consultants may find out a bit more about the guests at the MK parties including about their jobs, lifestyle, etc. The purpose for this is to evaluate if one or the other lady could become a potential "Team member." So while at the MK party products are sold and the MK consultant can generate a nice income at such parties if enough products are sold, the next step is to find new potential team members... new recruits.
(3) After potential team members are identified the MK consultant will schedule a phone interview. Usually, the MK consultant will say that she just wants to practice her phone skills or if she (the potential team member) would be available for a no-strings attached practice phone interview. The fact is that the MK consultant's team director will conduct the conference call. In this phone call the local MK director will explain all the benefits of becoming an "Independent Beauty Consultant" especially that the new team member will receive 50% off of the retail price of all Mary Kay products... and that's usually the hook.
But in this phone call the director will also explain also the "great" potential in selling Mary Kay by conducting such MK home parties and that MK consultants can earn a "free" car, etc. The initial suggestion is that the new team member will get at least the huge 50% discount on her purchases and that she will be able to supplement her income rather easily by conducting MK home parties, and perhaps also Win or rather "earn" a free car after some time.
It depends on the particular MK director how much pressure is applied. After the phone call, the MK consultant and the MK director will discuss the score of the conference call regarding the actual potential of the new possible team member and evaluate how they can recruit her specifically.
(4) Another approach is the invitation to the local MK center for the weekly team member meetings which we consider to be a type of hyped up cheer parties. Such weekly meetings, usually in a rented retail space or office space, are here to motivate the MK consultants, as well as to bring new potential team members there to finalize the deal to have them recruited, as well as to sell product to those who are potential new customers, etc. While the guests will usually not have to pay anything, most local MK "centers" will charge like e. g. $5 or so to cover rent, etc. for each weekly meeting.
(5) The conversion rate of potential team members to actual team members depends on the sales techniques applied by the local director and consultant. The starter kit is currently only $100 and is actually worth a lot more in retail value as it consists of products and product samples as well as some presentation material and a nice bag. The hook in the beginning is always that it's a business that can be started for only $100.
(6) It costs only $100 to start a MK business? Yeah right. The fact is that right after sign-up and the purchase of the starter kit and perhaps after the first arranged house party, the new MK consultant is quickly confronted with the fact that she perhaps should stock an inventory of certain products in order to serve her new customers at parties. Of course, the established MK consultant or MK director will have already a pre-packaged suggestion list of products for the new consultant's first inventory order. This suggested order or inventory package will run usually approx. $2,700 to $5,000 or even more.
The new recruit will be told that there's no risk to the order as at any time the products can be returned to Mary Kay for a full refund at any time. What they often don't tell you, if you return product and give up your MK consultant opportunity, you can't become a MK consultant ever again or you may have to wait 10 years or so to get started again.
As a result once MK consultants are informed about that fact down the road, it is already too late and they've purchased their initial inventory for thousands of dollars. If MK consultants decide to quit, then they often won't return their unsold inventory, but instead they will keep it so that they have the option of restarting their MK business sooner or later again. Some may rather sell their MK inventory on eBay or other such sites instead of returning it to Mary Kay.
(7) Once a lady is sucked into the Mary Kay marketing system and she has signed up and has ordered her inventory, etc. the promise of a "free" car is constantly put in front of her, as well as the potential to win "free" cruises, "free" jewelry and lots of other rewards. Also, there are so-called "Career Conferences" and the annual MK conference in Dallas, TX who every MK consultant should attend. These seminars, conferences, etc. will cost many hundreds of dollars and perhaps even over a $1,000 annually which many MK consultants see as necessary to attend.
Of course the promise of becoming a director to those who work hard will also always be presented to them. And also the biggest reward of becoming a "National" will always be put in front of MK consultants in order to keep them motivated week after week. A "National" can earn currently approx. $600,000 a year and after a certain time will receive a nice "pension" and of course can choose to have the top of the line Cadillac's (those are usually silver with a shot of pink metallic in it, but are a more attractive color today than once a long time ago when they were candy pink).
The problem is that there are supposedly only approx. 100 "Nationals" out of 1.5 million MK consultants, meaning the chance of becoming a "National" is extremely slim (only 100th of 1%) just like the chance to be at the very top of any organization/company is always very slim. But that potential of becoming a "National" is always put in front of MK consultants with the various stories and/or accounts of how the famous "Nationals" became what are.
(8) Failures are looked down upon if discussed at all. Sadly, along the way the failures of many MK consultants and even MK directors are rarely ever discussed and when such failures or former consultants or directors are discussed, there's always an excuse and the blame is usually put on that failed consultant or director and/or their husband/family, etc... It's always their fault. So there's no objectivity as what caused the failure of this or that consultant and/or director and therefore new MK consultants don't learn about the many pitfalls and hurdles of a career as a MK consultant.
(D) The many DISAPPOINTMENTS and PITFALLS of a Mary Kay consultant: With the great potential of making a good living for a relatively small number of MK consultants, there are also many dangers of disappointments and pitfalls for Mary Kay consultants about which not much is said at MK meetings and of which many new potential recruits are not aware of.
(1) The first disappointing issue could arise from the step-by-step "revelation" process of how the Mary Kay marketing machine really work or the revealing on a "need-to-know" basis when becoming more and more involved with Mary Kay.
Meaning first you're at a MK party at your friend's house to have a "Free" event with some pressure buy products, then the lure to be recruited as a MK consultant, then that it's not only $100 to start as MK consultant once signed up and started but that an inventory will cost several thousands of dollars, then the constant dependency of attending meetings and the need (in order to be successful) to be constantly on the phone with the local director to talk often for many hours every week with that director.
(2) The potential danger of not being able to sell the acquired inventory, although it can always be returned for full refund to Mary Kay Inc. But often failed MK consultants that thought that the MK business affords only a few hours of work a week, have thousands and thousands of dollars worth of product in their basement/garage and only have the option of facing the reality to give up their MK business. A true MK consultant will need to work at least 40 hours a week to just make a somewhat decent living, but it ain't easy considering all the work that is involved in the process of becoming successful.
There's also enormous stress/pressure to succeed as the local team director will only keep her car when her team members perform and generate appropriate sales. We've seen team directors that received their Cadillac only to have it taken away from them after a while as their total team sales slumped. Then the pressure starts again to achieve the "free" car and so on.
So, although it is said that when giving up the Mary Kay business a consultant can return her inventory for a full refund, the reality is that there's a huge financial risk involved in doing the MK business in the right way. We've seen consultants who in the process of having their MK business ran up their credit cards to tens of thousands of dollars for inventory purchases, all kinds of marketing efforts, establishing a home office, distribution of free product samples and catalogs, etc. (which MK consultant need to buy), and to attend MK meetings, seminars, etc., etc.
(3) The third category can be a huge human toll and stress on a marriage and the family. Mary Kay directors even offer seminars, etc. for MK consultant's husbands so that they can support their wife in their new business and perhaps even become involved. MK consultants will often blame their failure in the MK business in not getting proper support from their husband. The idea is that the whole family should support mom in her MK business by distributing business cards and looking out for potential team members, etc., etc.
It becomes a lifestyle as everything Mary Kay becomes the life of a MK consultant instead of the MK opportunity to be used as a source of income to live the life many wish for. So the whole thing can become a huge drag on relationships and may often result in alienation between spouses. The weekly team member meetings (who are often cheer parties and mutual society appreciation meetings) together with the frequent phone calls between MK consultant and her MK director produce a type of almost cultic co-dependency that can be very harmful.
The numbers speak for themselves. How many of the approx. 1.5 million MK consultants are really successful to some extent and how many earn their "free" car and how many are even able to make a somewhat decent living from their MK business? The reality is not many. Most MK consultants only make a few hundred bucks a year for a lot of work and a lot of effort.
Bottom line: it's only worth to get involved in the MK business opportunity for certain types of outgoing people who as usual are at the right place at the right time. Yes it's possible to succeed in the MK business but often at a huge cost and the price is often not worth it, and the MK business most certainly is not a walk in the park. Only a very few will be truly successful in the Mary Kay MLM marketing system just like in any other MLM business.
Unless you're single and you want to work at least 40 hours a week and you're determined to make this career a success, the MK marketing career may not be for you as the pursuit of success in the MK business will often put tremendous pressure on your marriage and family.
The best thing is to pick your favorite MK products and just buy them from your authorized Mary Kay consultant and for most ladies it may not be recommended to engage in any "MK opportunity" discussions as the MK marketing systems works like a vacuum as ladies are sucked deeper and deeper into the involvement step-by-step, and at least you should be prepared about what you can expect if you do proceed with the MK opportunity.
Getting involved in the MK business opportunity may truly change your life, but in most cases not for the better, instead lots of heartaches and various difficulties may arise and alter your life over time dramatically. We consider the Mary Kay MLM marketing system to work similar to a religious cult and many marketing techniques that are found among Mary Kay consultants and directors seem to be somewhat deceptive to say the least.
Much more could be said about Mary Kay, especially the "MK opportunity" and books could be written about it, but we hope that the above provides a bit of an overview what to expect when confronted with Mary Kay as a retailer customer and/or as a potential new Mary Kay consultant.
THIEF RIVER FALLS, MINNESOTA -- I had a friend that sold Mary Kay! I got her 50% discount which was GREAT at times when I needed something. (Which was not very often) twice to be exact... But she kept asking me If I would sell under her and I said NO NO NO NO many times! When asked why I told her straight out that with 3 kids all in activities that I was way to busy. Then without my knowledge she and her director called me... Yeah was that a joke! But they told me how I could get the discount myself and take out the "middle man".
I asked pretty much all the questions about selling... How much to start? What is in the starter kit? How much do you need to spend to get the discount? etc... Well I was told that it was a 100 dollars to get the kit and it was worth much much more... I did not have to sell to anyone. I could get all my stuff 50% off WHENEVER I needed it, just by buying the kit and signing up.
Then when asked about having to spend so much $ a month or every so often to get my discount, I was told NOTHING... They said you just order what you want when you want... Sounded great until I was told after, that you DO NEED to spend so much MONEY to get the discount!!! Yeah that would be the catch!!! I was so disappointed in the director and my friend that me and my friend of 15 years are no longer friends cause she knew the rules of this pyramid scam and did not tell me the truth!
I was also told many times from my friend that if you don't like it you can just send the starter kit back and get a refund! So I contacted the company and WOW was the lady RUDE and very full of ATTITUDE! I was very nice and told them that I wanted to send the starter kit back and get my money back and she asked if anything had been used and I said just a little cause my director told me to give samples to a few friends to have them try it, so I did. But most everything was unopened and unused! NO NO NO I could not get my money back cause I gave a few samples!
Then the lady sat there telling me that I knew what was expected of me when I started and I said NO THEY LIED! Well that got me NOWHERE! SO I WILL let EVERYBODY know how "great" their customer service is! And how they LIE LIE LIE to get you to sell! Because remember the more you sell the more money it is for whoever signed you on and their director! REMEMBER IF IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE-- IT IS! I will never buy anything from Mary Kay ever again! And I will let my friends and family what a EXPENSIVE joke it is! Just remember anyone who sells to you, if you pay full price they are taking 50% of your money and putting it in there pocket!!!
IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO -- First of all, I bought $238 in Mary Kay products, and I was treated worse than I was never before. This consultant, named **, sold me the products. I trusted her because I really didn't understand almost anything about make up, and she seemed so convincing because she said she has worked at Mary Kay for 25 years. That was when everything started.
She sold me the wrong color, darker than my skin color. The wrong formula and she didn't even want to bring me the right ones. She wanted me to work with her schedule. She said she was too busy to help me, and if I wanted something I should go to her house which was in another city far away from mine. But that was what I didn't understand, because she was always here for business and she could not stop by for a minute to give me the products. And the worse is that she was treating me like an employee.
She was rude and abusive. She would demand things from me as I was obligated to do. Just to clarify I'm not a Mary Kay employee, I'm the client, and I wasn't treated as one. She was awful to me. I ended up getting upset about the way I was being treated and decided to give everything back, and get my money back too, but she refused to bring me my money, and wanted me to first send her the products and then she would give me my money.
She even told me she would put me in the small claims, and for what? Because I wanted to be treated as a client and wanted the right products. She blamed me for her mistakes. I'm so frustrated. Having met this woman was the worse I have ever done in my life.
ALLSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- Hello. My name is Stephanie and I work at a hotel near the Cape. The other day I was approached by a girl who said "I'm so sorry, this might seem a little forward, but I really need a model for a Mary Kay make-up presentation this Sunday, would you be interested?" Of course I said yes, totally flattered. She said if I wanted to bring friends along I was welcome to do so. I was so excited I told my family and friends, and even invited a few of my friends along, thinking innocently, that I was going to be a "model" for a make up presentation, like the girl had said.
First of all, the location was WAY out of the way, by over an hour and a half. We got lost but ended up getting there 15 minutes late. I was nervous that I had messed up their schedule and that there were lots of people waiting on me, as the "model" for the day. I walked into the room, and was immediately mortified and embarrassed. It was immediately apparent that not only was I not the "model", but I had been duped into a Mary Kay party with 3 strangers.
I was SO embarrassed, because I brought friends along and they thought they were just going to sit back and watch someone put make up on me, LIKE I WAS TOLD. I just wanted to run and hide. I was tricked, and of course was pressured into buying something at the end of the party. If I was told I was going to a Mary Kay party, I would not have gone. She told me I was to be a model instead, lying to me. I was SO upset. I will NEVER buy Mary Kay because of the conniving ways of this Mary Kay beauty consultant.
I won a Mary Kay makeover party from Oktoberfest and was pretty excited about. However the representative that hosted the party really didn't and still doesn't have it together. I had to send out the invitations which they normally do this. I had to be the one to contact her to confirm that the party was still going to happen she did not contact me. Then once the party was over I order almost $100 worth of products from and was told that she would have to ship them to me because she did not have them with her. I was a little annoyed that she had come to the party unprepared and had a month to plan for it.
Then it took almost two months to get the items that I ordered. During the time that I waited for the product I had no communication with her I emailed and emailed with no response. It was not until a month went by and I emailed her to get my money that she responded and she never even apologized for not informing me as to what was going on. She simple told me either she could send out the product or refund a fraction of my money. So of course I would have to wait for the product or I would lose out on money.
So finally two weeks after this the product arrived I emailed her to inform her that she sent me the wrong color for one of my items that was about a week ago and still have not received a response for her. I will never EVER order anything else from Mary Kay. Not to mention that one pf the guest from my party set up a party with her the party was supposed to be this past weekend but the representative never called to confirm or cancel the party but she never showed up.
BEWARE!!! Even though I love Mary Kay products, selling it is a whole another story. I started to sell Mary Kay about a year and half ago. WRONG. You have to pay out the buy to make any money. I maxed out two credit cards to buy stock but I'm not a people person. I get shy when it comes to that. With Mary Kay you either have to have a lot of money to spend to start up the business or no work and do it full time or both. But luckily I was able to sell my products back to the company and get about $5000.00 back for my stock and be done for good.
One of the mother's at my son's school asked me buy from her so I did in good faith. The products are crap and did nothing but break my face out. I ordered lipstick, press powder and blemish control, and she threw in a few other things along with a large invoice. I returned the unused items and kept the ones I ordered. She didn't give me a new invoice but asked me for the money at a child's birthday party and had me make check out to her.
She charged me $55.00 for items that cost $42.00. I've been requesting a new invoice and the money she overcharged me. She has ignored my emails for the past two months. Unbelievable. How can Mary Kay support this type of business? I will never buy from her or Mary Kay again.
Mary Kay promises to be a honest and true company however its representatives surely don't honor that. After contacting [snip] several times after I ordered over $100 dollars, she soon started to ignore my calls and emails. I clearly stated to her that she should either pay me back or send me the product. It would be the right thing to do. Altogether, it's very sad that a person such as she has claimed to have such a wonderful success story but has now retreated into stealing money from others while cutting off all contact. She has clearly shown that she has become a con-artist for Mary Kay and is a disgrace to its name.
MORROW, GEORGIA -- This related to my other review for David's Bridal. In short, we were duped into a Mary Kay party by DB saying we'd won a spa day. Against our better judgment, we stuck around for the party even after we knew what we were in for. The women were so incredibly rude. The lead woman in particular was the worst. She was all up on her soapbox about how great it was that she sold Mary Kay because she could be a stay at home mom. Another said her kids were in the "accelerated" program at school because Mary Kay allowed her to raise her kids herself. This was incredibly offensive to me and I don't even have kids. It was doubly so for my friend's mom who was a working mom.
This woman would also not stop touching me. Every time she got near our table, she would grab my shoulder. It took everything I had not to swat her hand and tell her to back off. Unless I ask you to touch me, hands off. I did my best to be polite during our "independent consultation", but I know my displeasure with the situation came across. Avoid the Mary Kay consultants at the Pink Cadillac Success Studio in Morrow, GA. They're awful! If you really want to buy Mary Kay, I'm sure you can find a friend of a friend who won't insult you with every word that comes out of their mouth.