Thursday, November 15, 2007

Your Money - A series: Part I.

Because it seems that one of the most common complaints regarding being involved in Mary Kay is the financial element, I thought it appropriate to make a regular part of this site advice regarding keeping your money and making more. I often see questions about Mary Kay like, "Can you really make money with Mary Kay?"; "Is Mary Kay a good way to make money?" or "How do I make money with Mary Kay?" My simple answer to those is, "You can, it is, and... well... I don't think there is an easy answer to 'how'. I hope this blog will become a place where ideas can be shared among consultants and future consultants.

As a series, I will post from time to time about this subject and label it "Your Money". Make no mistake, I am neither a financial adviser or a business genius. These are simply the observations of a simple man. Hopefully these tips will help you avoid trouble and find your business to be profitable. Anyone that has some tips or recommendations, please chime in.

Tip One: Going into debt does not equal making money!

This is one that is often harped on at other sites. Apparently there are people that try to 'buy their way to success' in Mary Kay. This is not a good idea. Here are some tips for avoiding this.

1. Don't buy product you can't sell in a reasonable time.
This is one of those things that will vary from person to person. Your ideal inventory level may be zero. Or it may be $12,000 retail. It depends on how much you can sell. If you are just getting started and you are not sure how many people you are going to get in front of, you should probably start slow. If you have a lot of start-up capital (I imagine this will be rare), and you are confident in your ability to move product, it may be worth going big.

2. Don't buy product just to earn prizes.
There are certain prizes and incentives for meeting certain sales levels. I know many of you will not even understand why this point needs to be made, but buying these prizes or incentives is NOT the same thing as earning them. Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that more than a nominal amount of people have attempted this, accomplished it, and convinced their recruits that it was an acceptable way of achieving. Don't do it.

3. Don't buy product to keep your unit or level of leadership.
As you grow your team of consultants around you there are levels of leadership that you achieve. These levels (Team Leader, Director, National Sales Director... to name a few) are conferred on you as a direct result of you recruiting new members of the sales force and helping them get to certain levels of sales. If buying product just to earn a prize seems ludicrous, wrap your brain around this. Allegedly, there are directors that buy product (sometimes to the tune of $1,000's of dollars) just to keep the label of 'director'. This is not only a bad idea, it is wrong. Don't do it.

Here it is, plain and simple. This is YOUR business, you and only you should make decisions about how you run your business. It does not make sense to buy (more) product if the ones you have are sitting on a shelf. Invest you money, don't throw it away.

Please drop your two cents here. I would love to post the ideas and discoveries that all of you have made in your own MK businesses, please leave a comment here. Also, feel free to leave any questions you have stumbled upon. I believe that Mary Kay is a great opportunity to make money. I hope you can learn a little bit more about how to do that here!



  1. You make it sound so easy! Just don't buy more than you can afford! That does sound easy. But there are so many elements to it. Here's your director telling you that if you want to make money you have to have inventory. How many times were we told you "can't sell from an empty cart!" Do you know how many CDs I was given to listen to about how much inventory I needed? Many. And all from Nationals. People that I was lead to believe had MADE it. You can't know the PRESSURE you are under once you sign up. I told my director that I could order $1800 worth of product. She told me that she would choose what to order since she knew what would sell. She ordered $2400 instead of $1800 and a lot of it was soon either discontinued or the packaging had changed so what was shown in the Look Book was different than what I had. No one wanted that.

    That said, I do think you can make money in this. If you are willing to put in the time. I personally didn't find it was worth the time. If you follow MK's numbers, you have to talk to 10 people to get 3 people to book a party. And of those 3 people chances are only one will hold. And of that one, you may sell $100. That's a lot of talking for not much reward. Once you deduct your time and the hostess gift and the gifts when the customer buys over $40 then you aren't left with much. I personally didn't think it was worth it. When you do book a party it is usually in the evening or the weekend. So either your husband is left to tend to the kids or you have to get a sitter. Either way, you are away from you family. My director told me that I was a good way to get out of the house. Get some time away. My husband really appreciated me leaving him in the evening to feed the kids, bathe them, get them into bed, all after he spent a long day at work. Simply so I could get out of the house. It wasn't appreciated. And I could totally understand that. Especially since there weren't too many dollars left over after expenses.

    My advise to any who want to start on the MK road is to not order ANY inventory until you see how it will pan out. For the first few months you will have contacts from your family and friends. Wait to order any inventory until all those contacts have run out and you are on your own. Then see if you can get enough bookings to warrant inventory. And people don't mind waiting. Look how big Ebay is. You can wait up to 2 weeks to get your stuff. In MK it doesn't take that long. I've gotten shipments in less than a week. No one minds waiting.

    I love the skin care that MK has. I still use it. I still order it. I offer my discount to my family, my friends, and anyone else. I don't think it is worth paying full price for.

    For those of you who do make money selling - not recruiting - I would love to know how you did it. Selling to strangers. I don't want my family to buy full price from me. I think that is just wrong. But how do you get bookings, for one. And how do you get them to hold. I've done the fish bowl, I've done warm chattering, which feels like stalking. I've cold called beauty salons and other businesses in the beauty industry. I would like to know what has worked for others. And how much you made after expenses and taxes. I am really curious. My youngest child is getting older and I would like to try MK again, if I can find something that works.

  2. Hi Judi,

    I am really glad to see you adding your experiences here. This is exactly the kind of interaction that I hope we can get started here. If people that had experiences warn others of where they got in trouble, and people that are doing well explain how they got there, new consultants and people considering MK will have an incredible resource to help them make their decision and lay out their game plan!

    I know that I make it sound easy and at the risk of offending you, I will say again, it is your money and you should make your own decisions about how you spend/invest it. There is always value in receiving advice, but ultimately, you should not allow someone to manipulate your finances. I am especially disturbed by the overspending of the limit you gave her. I am sorry to hear all of these horrible things that you had to endure. I do think that buying a large inventory is appropriate for some people (esp. after establishing a pattern of sales) so it is not wrong for a director to suggest the idea of placing large inventory orders. There are many schools of thought regarding sales, and one of them is the importance of committing fully to your endeavor. The theory is that if you take a 'try and see' attitude your enthusiasm and passion for what you are selling will be mediocre. If you invest a significant amount of your money into something you will be more passionate about making something happen.

    This is why a lot of people have a better experience with exercise programs if they have spent their own money. Naturally this does not work for everyone, but if someone is in a position to have a large initial investment, it is often worthwhile.

    Regarding working the numbers, there is not much that you can do to change the ratios. Yours may be better or worse than the MK average, but your area will dictate how many book and how many hold. My wife has a really excellent ratio of people that are initially interested, but the booking and holding is far less than the average. I think they balance each other out, but it just goes to show you that your experience may be different than others. No matter how good it is, you will ALWAYS have to hear a lot of no's before you get the yes. Most sales training suggest that you embrace hearing "no" as it means that you are one "no" closer to your yes. If you don't dwell on the no, it really isn't all bad. It does not take very long for someone to say no! The thing that slows the process down is when you try to talk a "no" into a "yes".

    For people getting started, your plan to only place orders is excellent advice. My wife got started that way, and did just fine. She has always had some inventory, but early on it was always a bare minimum. She only once or twice had someone complain about not getting their product immediately, and once they realized it would only be a day or two delayed, they were fine!

    I hope that as this site grows, you will find some good advice from other consultants, in the meantime I think that 'Shades of Pink' has a pretty good site that offers advice about the MK experience. I think if you describe your experience and ask advice there, you may get some good feedback. I believe that her goal is to have primarily positive MK feedback on her site, so I would request that if you do stop by that you focus mainly (if not only) on your request for advice.

    Again thanks for stopping by and good luck!

  3. Its.obvious why thwy want u to buy all the inventory to try n sell it......ur the customer!! There making money off of u trying to make money. Its a scam!! They r onlg nice to u so u can buy everything n never sell it.. They dont care if u sell it or nit cause u already bought it

  4. mimi, you have the right to have your own opinion. but I will disagree with you. it doesn't serve anybody if a consultant buys a ton of inventory and then doesn't sell it and then returns it to the company with her 90% buyback. With the buyback anyone who received commission on the product purchased is chargeback because the product was not sold, hence commission can't be paid.

    I think an inventory should be built though and a consultant should not start with too much and be overwhelmed.

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  6. This is my first visit to this site after only finding Google results from PT for about two weeks (probably thanks to Harper Bazaar's recent article). Thank you, so much, for providing a balanced view of MK and the opportunity. I am a new consultant and am not planning on buying inventory. My director and recruiter (and pretty much every other woman in the unit) are pressuring me to purchase a "full store" inventory or to reinvest profits to maintain a store, but I am sticking to my guns, especially after reading this post. I do not want to buy inventory until I have a clientele base and I know what will sell, even then, I don't know that I will keep any inventory.
    *I also will not borrow money out of my 401K, life insurance, or any other accounts like that. That suggestion just seems ludicrous to me.*

    I will have to show this post to my friend (we joined together), who seems to be a little more gullible about the initial inventory purchase.

    Thanks, again!

    (Sorry, accidentally deleted my first post)

  7. I have always been a firm believe in starting where a consultant is comfortable with inventory, but I still strongly believe it is def. an advantage to have some, my sales are absolutely higher because my clients do not have to wait for anything.

  8. and Welcoem to Sassy Fras Sam -- thank you for the comment and I am very glad you were able to gain something from our site :)

  9. I think the director can make or break a consultant. I am very fortunate to have signed on with a director who is supportive in all the decisions I make. I just recently began selling and she was completely fine with my decision not to bring in a ton of inventory. She has even allowed me to borrow from her inventory to fill orders until I feel comfortable placing another order. So, in my opinion, do your homework on your director. I have a cousin who signed up two months ago and did not have the money to bring in any inventory, her director has not called her back since...

  10. Some very good comments here. I have actually experienced both as far as enventory. My first time, I ordered enventory to stock. My director picked the products. Probably 50% of what she picked sat on the shelf and after several years, went in the trash. Gave it another try some years later, but never got anywhere. Now, and solely because I love the product so much, I am trying again but I and only ordering for my personal use. Or I was. I recently moved to a new state. I'm putting together my kit and want to try to promote my products, not only to sell product, but to meet people. My biggest complaint is the restrictions on consultants to advertise and promote. Two lines of acceptable language to use on Facebook and Twitter, really? In that case, our business is not REALLY our business. Even the website, you get a dorkey web name. I think MK ties our hands too much to promote. A few years ago I sold Southern Living At Home products. In 2009, I was top sales in my team. We were not restricted as much on promoting. Also, the company paid for hostess gifts! I understand the need to "teach" skin care, but I am a sales person. I would like to see more less restrictive ways to promote my products.


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