Ask the Mary Kay Consultant!

In this thread, we are describing our jobs. I’ve seen a thread or two around regarding other direct-sales home-based businesses (Discovery Toys, Avon), and I decided to open up one of my very own.

FYI: I signed my agreement in April of this year, and haven’t done a whole lot with it yet. I’m poised to have a few good weeks here soon, though.

I’ll get two questions out of the way right now: No, Mary Kay is not a pyramid scheme. Yes, she is dead (11/22/01).

If you’d like to know anything else, just ask!

What is the business deal with the cars? When you get one, is it yours to own, or does MK keep the title? I ask because you never see a used one, and I always thought it would be fun to get one, scape the logo out of the window, and drive around in a pink car named Floyd…

Where are the commandos trained and HQed? My penguin wants to know…

What Seminar are you in? Who’s your national?

Does the Mary Kay distribution centre in your area have pink loading doors too?

vunderbob: First off, consultants don’t win cars - you have to earn them. You have to have a certain number of team members (recruits) and maintain a certain level of production in order to keep your car (yes, they will take it away). The cars are all on a two year lease, so you get a new one every 24 months. They pay for the plates, registration, and about 80% of your insurance (depending on your rates) as well as the full lease payment. FYI, there are three cars that can be earned: a red Pontiac Vibe (used to be a Grand Am), a platinum Grand Prix, and The Pink Cadillac (it’s a GTS with every single option available). The color’s patented, too. Oh - and if you don’t want the car, you can take a cash option, which is what my recruiter/director did at first. She’s going to get her Grand Prix pretty soon!

Oddly enough, I had a gal at a class in June who got a Grand Am that was off-lease - the sticker was indeed in the window! I don’t know what they do with the little logo on the trunk, though. And the Grand Prix actually has a PINK logo on both doors near the bottom. The Caddy actually has a brass name plate on the passenger side of the dash, stating when the car was made and for whom!

The commandos are trained at various sites throughout the country. Personally, I attend meetings at an office park near the airport. I’ve been to training in a country club as well. It honestly depends on the director and what arrangements they have.

Alan: I am a member of the Linda Toupin national area, Diamond Seminar Division.

Sunspace: Can’t help you there! My stuff gets shipped from Illinois. They’re actually moving towards white/clear/“platinum” packaging with pink accents now instead of all pink all the time.

"You have to have a certain number of team members (recruits) and maintain a certain level of production in order to keep your car (yes, they will take it away). "
That does seem to be a little pyramiddy, don’t you think?

Who is Mary Kay’s biggest competitor?


Caricci, the difference between Mary Kay and a pyramid scheme is very distinct and important. I’m going to use a whole lot of italics here, because this one phrase is really important: from the company. Why? Because that’s the difference between a true pyramid scheme (which is highly illegal) and Mary Kay’s set-up.

We are what’s called a dual-marketing company. We have two avenues of income: sales and recruiting. When you sign up, you do not purchase your “starter kit” from your recruiter - you get it from the company. I place my order online at, pay them with my Visa or MasterCard, and received my product within three business days from the company. I’m not telling Suzy what I want to buy and giving her my money so she can give it to Jane so she can give it to Donna so she can order it from the company. When my recruiter receives a commission on my sales, she receives it from the company, not me and the other girls on her team. Money never goes from me to her or vice versa - EVER. You would be booted from the company for that. Besides, do you think that the Harvard school of business would teach a business plan that was illegal? :smiley:

As far as the car situation goes, you don’t have to get a car. You will be encouraged to set the goal to earn it and keep it (who doesn’t want an almost-free car?), but if you choose to earn one, you have to keep earning it. It’s not a gift or a right - it’s a privilege that must be earned. You don’t want one? OK. Whatever.

Sure, we are encouraged to recruit. But you don’t have to. We’re a direct sales company, and I certainly can’t service all 700,000 Indianapolis residents by myself. The idea is to find other women (and men) who would like the opportunity to work for themselves, set their own hours, and earn a little or a whole lot of money. And yes, we receive commissions from the company based on our recruits’ sales. That’s our monetary incentive to share the opportunity. What is your job? Would you like to get paid for teaching other people how to do it well? I don’t have any recruits yet myself, but I’ve seen just how proud these ladies are when their recruits go from scared hostesses at a program to top-earning directors over the course of a few years.

I’ve got a CD in my car right now from my NSD (National Sales Director) that is a compliation of recordings made while she was in England this spring at an international Mary Kay summit. One of the Chinese NSDs put it perfectly: she realized that the size of her commission check was in direct proportion to the number of peoples’ lives that she changed, whether they were recruits or customers. Does that make sense?

I hope I don’t sound defensive here. It’s just that “pyramid” is a word we don’t like (because it doesn’t apply to us), and I really want people to understand the difference. If I’m not being clear enough, please ask as many questions as you need, and I will do my darndest to answer them.

Our “biggest” competitor? There isn’t one. :smiley: Mary Kay has been the #1 selling cosmetics and facial skin care company for eleven years running ($1.8 Billion in wholesale orders worldwide for the most recent year that records are available). The #2 company isn’t even close (and they don’t even tell us who it is). Seriously.

How do you sell the products, do you go door to door?

Why would people buy from Mary Kay when they can just go down to their drug store or department store and buy it immediately? What is different/special about Mary Kay products that require it to be sold in this way?

Why doesn’t Mary Kay sell its products in stores?

What is a starter kit? How much does it cost you? How much money can you make doing this?

Have you heard about that semi-scandal of Mary Kay in China refusing to hire members of the religous sect known as Falun Gong? Do you think it’s right for a company to refuse to hire members of a (pretty weird) religion simply because it has been outlawed by the Chinese government?

So, since you’re on the ground floor, do you get pinkRollerblades®?

Typically, no.

[Chipper Consultant Voice] We market our products in five ways: On the Face, On Paper, Online, On the Go, and On with the Show. [/CCV] On the Face refers to classes and facials; On Paper is when you show someone a brochure; Online is self-explanatory (you have the option to purchase your very own website); On the Go would be a quick get-together after work or at lunch or just anywhere you can sit down for 15 minutes and see new products; and On with the Show would be any party other than a skin care class (pedicure party, Luscious Lips, Eyes Cream, etc.).

I do know one consultant who goes door-to-door because she lives in a very rural area. Usually, when you start your business, you hold a Business Debut. You invite friends, family, co-workers, church members, etc. and they come to your home and hear a bit about the products and the company from your recruiter. From there, you begin scheduling your appointments (Skin Care Classes, one-on-one facials, pedicure parties, etc.) They used to call it a Grand Opening, since you were opening up for business. The goal is to hold classes of 4-6 people and then get bookings from those classes. Now why would these other folks want to book? Because we offer incentives to our hostesses such as free products or discounts.

You’d have to ask them. :slight_smile: Really, it’s a personal preference. Most of our customers love our service as much as our products. As a Beauty Consultant, I will come to your home, show you the products, let you try them, and give my advice. Plus, we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. (Don’t like a color? Try a new one. Still don’t like it? Here’s your money back.) This does not cost the consultant a dime - the company replaces the product for you. How many colors of lipstick do you own that you’ll never wear because it’s just not the right shade? Also, if a consultant doesn’t have a product with her or at home, she can borrow from someone else (and make an even trade - you CANNOT buy from another consultant) or order it. We also offer to-your-door delivery.

When Mary Kay Ash started the company in the 1960’s, she wanted to give women the opportunity to be in business for themselves, and cosmetics seemed like a great thing for women to sell to other women. Sure, the company could’ve put stuff on shelves and made boatloads, but instead, they pay very little overhead for the sale of their items and offer a way for people around the world to be successful. Also, she started the company with two core beliefs: Keep your faith first, family second, and career third; and business must be conducted by the golden rule. Sounds cheesy, but women love to know that they’re working for a company that understands personal values and priorities and really wants you to be happy and satisfied with your life.

The starter kit is your sales kit that you get when you sign your agreement. The price is $100 plus local tax and shipping (mine was $113.95). It contains $264.50 worth of full-size product (cleanser, moisturizer, day and night solution, foundation shades), as well as samples (eye/cheek/lip colors) and sales aids (the little mirrors we use at class, the foam trays that we put your products on). You get a carrying case as well. It’s what you use when going to someone’s home to do a class or facial.

As much as you are willing to work for. My NSD made over $300,000 last year, but she’s been doing this for 22 years. My goal is to replace my income from my day job, taking into consideration that I’ll have to pay for insurance again. So I’ll need to make about $30,000/year to do that.

Ravenman, I personally know nothing about goings-on in China regarding Mary Kay and the Falun Gong. (Technically, we’re all independent contractors, so I don’t know if that makes any difference to you.) I do understand that the Chinese government is ridiculously scared of anyone fomenting discord, and I’m sure the company kept that in mind when they made their decision. Just because it’s an American company that doesn’t mean they can flout the laws of the countries in which they do business. It sucks, but you’ve gotta placate the Communists in power. Consultants still get arrested anyway, and meetings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

AskNott, I’ve got pink nuthin’. :smiley:

PHEW! That’s a whole lotta typing. We’re going to be gone this weekend, so I’ll be back to answer questions on Monday. Thanks for your interest.

Here’s the company mission statement from the website (

"Mary Kay’s mission is to enrich womens’ lives. We will do this in tangible ways, by offering quality products to consumers, financial opportunities to our independent sales force, and fulfilling careers to our employees.

We will also reach out to the heart and spirit of women, enabling personal growth and fulfillment for the women whose lives we touch.

We will carry out our mission in a spirit of caring, living the positive values on which our Company was built."

This is not a question, but indeed a Mundane and Pointless thing I Must Share.

I still have a Mary Kay facial kit (four bottles, with which I’m supposed to maintain a regimen every day) that my Mom gave me as a gift upon my departure to Basic Training. True, it was Air Force basic training, but even the Air Force doesn’t let you apply toner to your face when you’re falling out at the crack of dawn, let alone a mud pack.

OK wait, I do have a question. How important is it for a 33 year old with no wrinkles yet to have a proper skin care regimen…that means something more than washing my face with noxzema in the morning? Can I delay onset of wrinkles with preventive measures?