I was recently given the opportunity to post my feelings about my wife's experience with Mary Kay and my opinions about whether or not it is a good opportunity. I have reposted it here because I think it goes a long way to explain what this site is all about!
First of all, I would like to thank my good friend Scam for this opportunity to present to all of you, his faithful readers, what I hope will be a balanced view of the Mary Kay opportunity. My motivation for submitting this article is simple. My wife is a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant. I have experienced great joy seeing the level of enthusiasm and excitement she has for her role in spreading the delightful Mary Kay experience to others. Realizing that there are both valid and invalid criticisms of this company that my wife so greatly loves, I felt it appropriate for me to create a place where the pros and cons could be seen in one place. That place is here. I feel honored to be given the opportunity to explain myself and the site I started. What follows is (hopefully) a balanced view of the Mary Kay Opportunity.
Mary Kay (for those of you that have never heard of it) is a company that produces and distributes cosmetic and skin care products. These products are competitive in their own right. Although some may disagree with this assertion, I am quite confident that these products can hold their own among their competitors. Why? Two reasons. First, real people like it. Second, numbers don’t lie. Mary Kay’s products are at least equal to (if not better than) anything else that you can get your hands on for a similar price.
Real people like it?! Yes, they do. My boss is a perfect example. My boss is an incredible woman. She is the CEO of our company which is a small marketing/advertising agency in Los Angeles. She is sensible in every sense of the word, has run a successful business for over ten years and (like Scam) does not LOVE the concept of Multi-level Marketing (more about that later). However, as a professional women, she has concluded (and confided in me, apart from our ‘work’ relationship) that Mary Kay is the best product she has ever used. She is one, among many, of the women that my wife provides these cosmetics and skin care products to. They all love these products.
Numbers don’t lie? Here is an interesting subject that I won’t spend an inordinate amount of time on. Mary Kay takes great pride in offering high quality products to their sales force, and ultimately to their end consumer. I won’t get into the details of the numbers that Mary Kay puts up on their website. Check it out here. The bottom line is that I have seen first hand the factory where they produce their products (in Texas) and I have seen what comes in the mail that my wife sends to her clients, and these are real products that real people use.
If there is one thing that I have learned so far in life, it is that it really does not matter what you have to offer, if you cannot get it in front of the people that could benefit from it, you might as well go home, because you have nothing. There are two primary ways to promote your product/service. The one that we are all familiar with is advertising (and PR). You pick your audience and pay the price to reach them with your message. For a national (or international) campaign, a cosmetics/skin care company WILL spend millions or more likely billions of dollars on ads and PR. The other method of promoting your product is this (not so) new method known as multi-level marketing. Rather than paying out BIG bucks to an Ad Agency and TV/Radio Stations for non-guaranteed results, MLM’s drop (almost) all of that cash on their high earners, in the anticipation of getting a better ROI (Return on investment)
The biggest contention against/for Mary Kay (or any MLM) lies in this question. Traditional Advertising or Direct Marketing? Both points of view have equally strong arguments and as such, it is really a preference thing. If you prefer to plow your own trail, sign up for an MLM. Going this route affords you the possibility of really big payoffs. If you prefer traditional advertising, and people coming to you already wanting to buy your product, get involved with one of the many companies that put their money there. The trade-off is obvious. When YOU generate interest in the product, you make more money. When someone else generates the interest, you make less money. My wife REALLY loves Mary Kay, and generates a lot of enthusiasm in the people around her for this product. I fall more into the latter category. Send people to me, and I will help them out. I don’t mind making “less money” as long as I don’t have to persuade people of anything. One is not better than the other. You must do what is best for you.
The benefits of being involved in a company like Mary Kay (as far as I can tell) are many! There is big money to be made if you are aggressive, and make it into the upper echelon. Cosmetics/Skin Care is a big industry, count on regular re-orders and clients that trust you, love you, and often become good friends. If you run your business with integrity, stick to your values, and treat everyone around you with the respect they deserve and you would like to be treated with, you will deepen the relationships you have and earn the trust of a strong client base.
On the relationship front, there are many opportunities to be had. First, my wife has met many wonderful women in her unit. In addition, many of the people that she meets through appointments and referrals have become close friends and excellent contacts. If you like people, this gives you a great “excuse” to get together and talk about something you both have in common. I don’t get it personally (because I am a guy I guess) but my wife and her new friends will spend hours talking skin care, and they are both (or all) so happy when they are done!
The negatives of this sort of thing can almost be worse than the positives. I must preface this section by stating that while what follows is a sad and unfortunate truth, it is even sadder that most of the negatives could be prevented with a little common sense. As with any good thing, unscrupulous people have taken a good thing and twisted it into a mortifying sordid “version” of the original, and sailing under the once spotless name of that thing have led many astray and into a trap. This defiling of the pure concept is carried on as those that were manipulated attempt to dig themselves out by manipulating others. This vicious cycle, unfortunately, perpetuates itself.
Some of the warning signs that you should look out for are lies, manipulation, and debt. If you have to lie to your spouse, friends/family, clients, potential recruits, or (especially) yourself, you are inviting trouble. DON’T even get started. If you have started, get out. Deception will never pay off. It will come around full circle and hurt you and the ones you love. Similarly, if you are manipulating (or using any ‘sneaky’ tactics) to “get your way”, you will end up regretting it, get out while you can. Don’t use the fact that you feel that you were “manipulated in” as an excuse, you made a mistake, get over it and get out. Manipulation and Lies are no basis to start any endeavor with. Don’t do it.
Debt is a unique problem. Many people borrow money to start an entrepreneurial endeavor. So when is it balanced and healthy, and when is it insane? That depends on you. I recommend that you consider the following as a guide. Any venture is going to require an initial investment. Decide what you are willing to risk and what you are willing to risk it in exchange for. In other words, “I am willing to risk $100 in exchange for the possibility of making $1,000/month in 2 years” OR “I am willing to risk $1,000 up front in exchange for the possibility of making $6,000/month in 5 years”. If you invest the money, and the payoff doesn’t come in the time that you realistically set for yourself, chalk it up as a loss and move on. It baffles my mind to hear of people that CONTINUE throwing money at something that is obviously not working for them. I have started several endeavors that failed miserably. I weighed the risk, and when I lost, I knew that I was not in over my head. It was calculated BEFORE I invested in it. You should never get into debt that you can not get yourself out of in the event of failure. This is like going to Vegas with a loan for as much as you could get from you bank, dropping it all onto one table and making a bet. If you lose… well you get the idea.
Mary Kay may be the greatest thing you have ever done. My wife is a stellar example. She loves it. She has maintained her integrity and values throughout her experience. She has started to make enough money to SIGNIFICANTLY help with our finances. If you are interested in finding out more about Mary Kay Products or being a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, Click Here for my wife’s website and to get in touch with her!
Mary Kay may not be right for you. If this is not a fit for you (and you may not find out until you are into it) you will be miserable. If you are not sure, and have an extra $120 laying around, give it a try. If you are involved, and have decided it is not for you, don’t throw more money at the problem. An alcoholic does not recover by drinking away his problem! Get out. You can return the product you bought at 90% of what you paid for it. Or you can just sell it at its retail value. If you have space to hang onto what you have, I say why not? Who cares if it takes you ten years to sell it all? Just stop spending money on stuff you don’t need!
I hope that I have presented a balanced view here. Mary Kay is obviously not a scam in and of itself. However, beware that there are unscrupulous representatives out there that may try to scam you in any of several different ways. These people give the “good MK reps” like my wife a bad name. Mary Kay (like ALL MLM’s) is something that should be approached with great caution. It could be the greatest joy or greatest frustration of your life. But, if you use COMMON SENSE as your guide, and don’t get in over your head, you have nothing to worry about. Check it out for yourself.
If you have something to say about this topic you have many options:
If you are strictly Anti-Mary Kay – visit Pink Truth
If you are Pro-Mary Kay or neutral/balanced – visit The Truth About Mary Kay
If you don’t feel like going anywhere else, OR could care less about Mary Kay, OR have a crush on our good friend Scam – leave a comment here!
If you want more information about Mary Kay, please visit my wife’s site, and contact her there.
Please have a peek around the site, leave a comment if you like what you see (or if you don't)! If you want to read some other great reports about whether certain things are scams or good business opportunities check out ScamTypes.com
Saturday, October 20, 2007
For Further Reading...This Week On Pink Truth - Click Here
Pros and Cons of Mary Kay - Read or Contribute or Both!
First Post - Why I Started This Blog
The Article I Wrote For ScamTypes.com (here) (there)
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