What's the Straight Dope on Mary Kay?

Yesterday I went to one of those dreaded “parties” where you get a facial and a makeover and then they try to sell you a bunch of stuff. I had been dreading it (my future sister-in-law won the opportunity at a bridal fair, and as her matron of honor I felt kinda obligated to go) but it actually turned out to be a lot of fun. But I digress…

Anyway, the Mary Kay consultant was really pushing the whole, “you could be a consultant too! You can win a pink car! Work as little or as much as you want! The product sells itself!”

It all sounded really good. Too good, in fact…I kept thinking, “yeah, and what’s the catch?”

So I ask all of you…what’s the catch? Any current or former pink ladies among us?

It is multi level marketing. The products are very good, as is the support to the sellers. You can spend a lot of time getting trained, then you are on your own.

The people who make money are outgoing, willing to ask everyone in the hemisphere for the sale, and never stop.

May Kay is one of the firms which wants the “independent consultants” to hold inventory. If you don’t flip the inventory, you will dumping it at a flea market.

The products are very good. The company itself is not, in my opinion. I found that Mary Kay corporation only cares about getting it’s consultants to purchase as much product as possible even encouraging going into debt and keeping it secret from spouses. They have no interest in you actually selling your “inventory”. You will be encouraged to go to training at your own expense and to purchase outlandish amounts of “inventory” because your sales director doesn’t want to have to make a payment on her free car. Visit The Pink Truth and do some reading.

It’s a legal pyramid scheme of sorts, except that people actually make money at it. Mary Kay and other marketing schemes of their ilk owe their design to Brownie Wise, the woman who developed the marketing strategy for Tupperware back in the 50s. It was absolute genius, and has made millions for a lot of people. You really need to have the drive and personality to do well at it, though.

Shoot. I was hoping the thread would be about the products themselves. A friend of mine is a “consultant” or whatever. She lives too far away for me to see her for a demonstration but if the products are good I’d support her efforts by buying from her.

Former consultant here. I loved their products, especially the skin care. I just found it to be a major time suck. Group meetings, meetings out of state…the cost of travel and your time really adds up. You can make money, but I think you have to commit your entire life to selling, recruiting and attending meetings. It was just way too much time away from family.

My best friend has been a consultant for years and years. She loves it. I’ve been happy with some of the products she’s given me for various holidays, but not enough to ever spend the money they are asking.

I haven’t tried the makeup, but I have tried the skincare line. It was fine, but over-priced. I like Neutrogena just as well and it’s cheaper and easier to get. So, as a consultant, you aren’t offering your buyers a bargain, which would be a problem for me.

A friend of mine is a part-time consultant. Because she has to buy everything up front and she isn’t overbearing with pushing the products, she is losing money. I think she’s hoping it will turn around someday, but I doubt it. Maybe as a full-time job, it works. But it’s not a good side-job.

My wife did it for awhile before we got married. It also helps to have a lot of friends, family, co-workers, etc., willing to regularly to buy the stuff from you. My wife was good at pestering co-workers to buy the products, but as she was new in the area when she was selling it, and thus didn’t have any nearby family or close friends outside work, she didn’t really make much off of it.

As far as MLM companies go, Mary Kay is far more reputable and offers greater potential to make money than, say, Herbalife. I know, I know, that sounds like I’m damning it with faint praise. But I never saw anything particularly scammy about the company when the future Mrs. Buck was a consultant, and I never heard anything bad about the products themselves.

Keep in mind, though, that you have to work your ass off and pester pretty anyone within arm’s reach if you want to make any real money at it.

A close family friend has sold Mary Kay for eons. Pink Cadillac and everything. Wonderful woman. She’s gotta be pushing 80 now but looks 20 years younger. I’ve known several other MK ladies but she’s by far the most successful.

shrugs From what I can tell from the people I’ve known that have sold it, it appears that what you get out of it is what you put into it. Which is probably true of most sales jobs.

The place where I used to work was next to the Mary Kay headquarters and warehouse. Yes, the MK building had pink loading doors.

I had managed to forget that until I saw this thread.

I lost a friend because she would not STFU about Mary Kay.

(what I was going to say was already said :smiley:
UT

What if you’re not looking to make “real money?” What if you just want to bring in an extra couple hundred a month? Can you do that without being obnoxious and working parties? Like just pointing people to your website and handing out pamphlets, etc.?

Not a Mary Kay maven, but I have been in sales for over 25 years. As a general rule it is VERY difficult to make money being a part time salesperson at anything unless you are a world beater at self organization and self motivation or you have some fairly exclusive product or a captive population of sales prospects.

I belong to a couple of different MLMs, and in each case the products are great but the prices are high (in order to pay all of the upline). Many people (myself included) join these things because they love the product and want the consultant discount. PLUS they figure they might make a few bucks selling it. The thing is, just like any other sales business, you really only make decent money if you commit yourself fully to the job, and the folks with longevity and top success figure out a way to network out of their “friends and family” ASAP so they don’t ruin those relationships. Sales is a special skill. Some of the companies train their consultants much better than others.

Never have I been to a party where the guests weren’t cajoled and guilted into hosting a party of their own. Individual sales mean very little to these saleswomen. Rather, the money is in casting the net wider and wider.

I refuse to host parties because I don’t use my friends like this. Nor do I appreciate being invited to a “party” where I’m pressured into hosting a party of my own. It’s awkward, it’s distasteful, and it’s rude.

I agree.

The best salespeople (the ones who have long-lived careers in MLMs) don’t do this. The present it lightly, if the customer wants more of the product than they can afford it’s an opportunity for them to be able to get more, and if the customer isn’t at all interested they move on.

Unfortunately, most people aren’t the best salespeople and they are shortsighted about their businesses.

This. This is nothing but a sales job - and they’re not selling makeup or jewelry or whatever, they’re selling parties.

A good salesperson can do that without being a jerk. But, keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with simply asking you to have a show. If they keep going, that’s tacky, but at least have the grace to give a simple “No.” I have run into too many guests that were total bitches from minute one.

Also, sales requires a certain personality. I don’t have it. I’m not sure I’d do well either in MLM or a 9-5 sales job - it’s just not me.