Monday, March 31, 2008

Let's talk about it.

For general discussion.

Is Mary Kay:

  1. A pyramid scheme
  2. A Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) plan
  3. A Dual-Marketing plan
  4. A Direct Marketing plan
  5. Something else

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Most Recent Poll

The first poll on this site (click here) asked the same question.

14 people responded then, and it is interesting to see where the balance lies now.

This poll had the largest response of any so far - hopefully a sign that we are growing!

Thanks to everyone for participating.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Enriching Women's Lives?

Eversleigh brings up a good point (among many).

"I must ask..." " what way has MK enriched anyone's life? I ask in all sincerity. I see it as a company who sells skin care and make up and perfumes, amoung other things. How does this truly enrich anyone's life? And please don't say self esteem. Self esteem can be gotten from any other company where someone succeeds. What is it about MK that makes it so wonderful?

I had a horrible start with MK. I was lied to, manipulated...."

For the sake of this post, I will ask that everyone refrain from describing their personal experience. We will assume (and suspend discussion about) that some people have had excellent experiences while others had horrible experiences. The vast majority most likely fall somewhere in the middle of the two most extreme scenarios. That is NOT what is at stake in this conversation.

The company most definitely makes the claim, "Enriching Women's Lives". It is on every box that gets delivered to the house. It is on the website. It is without a doubt, a "core value" of the company.

But in what way is it meant to be interpreted?

Does this meant that the aim of Mary Kay Corporate is to Enrich Women's Lives?
Does it mean that the Consultant's aim is to Enrich Women's Lives?
Are both of the above statements accurate?

In either case, in what way is this achieved? Exactly which Women's Lives are being Enriched? In what way are they being Enriched? Do THEY realize their Lives are being Enriched?

Before you get started, I would like to point to one very important observation.

Eversleigh, speaking about self-esteem, says, "... can be gotten from any other company where..." as a reason for NOT citing self esteem as a way in which Mary Kay "Enriches Women's Lives". It is my opinion that this criteria should be thrown out.

Arguably, there are many qualities of any company that may be reflected in other companies without it necessarily being the express intention of those other companies. In other words, the fact that one company calls attention to a characteristic that is emphasized in its operations does not automatically disqualify other companies from embodying that same characteristic merely because they do not call attention to it.

Think for instance about BMW's claim to be the "Ultimate Driving Experience". Their goal is to create a vehicle that is exactly that. The Ultimate Driving Experience. It can't be said that it is NOT their goal just because someone else is also trying to create the ultimate driving experience. I would feel pretty safe in saying that any company that endeavors to create a car or a line of cars (Mercedes, Lexus, Toyota, Honda - not to mention Ferrari or Lamborghini) has the high-minded goal of providing THEIR customers with the ultimate driving experience.

As evidenced by the plethora of publications (Motor Trend, Car and Driver, etc) that analyze and expound on which vehicles THEY feel are the best, it can certainly be argued that BMW is NOT always and in all situations the "Ultimate Driving Experience" they aim to be. Sometimes someone else is better. Some people could indeed express encountering horrible experiences with BMW. Perhaps brought on by mistakes made by the Bavarian company in its manufacturing plant, its distribution centers, its showrooms, or its service departments. Or potentially brought on by user error. I am sure someone out there, unaccustomed to the handling or the braking of a more powerful vehicle, drove their shiny new 'bimer into a ditch and, because the CAR was the only thing new to the equation, blamed their accident on the "feel" of BMW. Subsequently, they may never drive another BMW and will likely tell everyone they know to, "avoid those death traps".

Back to Mary Kay and the question at hand.

" what way has MK enriched anyone's life? I ask in all sincerity. I see it as a company who sells skin care and make up and perfumes, amoung other things. How does this truly enrich anyone's life?"

This is an excellent question, and I hope to get some excellent responses.

Laying down the Law

It has been some time since I have been able to personally welcome everyone that leaves a comment on this blog. As such, allow me to say a BIG welcome to all!

I know that I have said this before, and I will say it again – I don’t want this site to be MY opinion about Mary Kay. Consequently, those of you that are reading and leaving comments are the VIP’s or MVP’s or whatever you want to call it. You are the ones that make this site what it is. Thank you.

Having said that, it seems to be in everyone’s best interest to lay down some sort of guidelines for keeping the conversation on the same page.

The rules and regulations governing leaving a comment on this site are as follows:

1. No Personal Attacks. If you disagree with someone’s point of view, do so as passionately and vehemently as you need to. Sometimes the only way to get to the bottom of something is to let both parties vent all their frustrations so that the other side can see things from their perspective. However, there is no need for self-indulgent, juvenile attacks such as name-calling, unfounded accusations, criticisms of child raising decisions, etc.
2. Only Comment What You Know. There are two ways that you can know something (for the purpose of this conversation anyway).
  1. You experienced it yourself.
  2. You have a source that is recognized as an authority on the matter that you can quote and give references to. (preferably in the form of a link so we can easily follow)
    1. Examples of GOOD sources
      1. Census information.
      2. A study published in a reputable publication.
      3. An article in a News Publication.
    2. Examples of BAD sources
      1. Your friend’s cousin’s sister-in-law’s neighbor’s story.
      2. The Enquirer.
      3. A comment that you read on a blog one time.
3. No “Anonymous” comments. Please realize that almost everyone that comments here is using a “screen name” and not the name that they go by in “real life”! I am not suggesting that you leave comments with your real name. Please realize that one of the primary reasons this blog exists is to ENCOURAGE conversation about Mary Kay. Using the moniker “anonymous” DISCORAGES conversation. I am simply requesting that you use some way that we can identify you. You can use a letter followed by numbers for all I care. A-3214 for instance would be just fine. I am beginning to seriously consider blocking anonymous comments from being used – which would mean comments would need to be approved – and would potentially discourage commentators that would have otherwise chimed in. Hopefully we don’t need to go there.

These rules naturally are subject to change over time and should be viewed as guidelines that may or may not cover EVERY possible scenario that could cause a comment to be removed. Nor does “breaking” these rules guarantee that a comment WILL be deleted. Comments will still be removed or kept at MY sole discretion!!!!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Women in a man's world - Part II

For many years, men did not allow even the thought of women running a business to enter their mind. When women did enter the “work force”, they were secretaries, assistants, nurses, maids, etc.

The logic (if you could call it that) was that they were incapable of handling the “big boy” parts of business. Ironically, one of these parts of business would be thinking logically instead of emotionally.

Another crucial element that men seemed convinced women could not handle was the crushing blow of utter failure and all that goes with it. You see many business endeavors fail. For a woman who processes things in a more emotional way than her male counterpart, this would be devastating.

You have heard the saying I am sure, “It’s not personal, its just business”. Because women tend to me more relational than men, it followed that they would not have the necessary ability to separate “business” relationships from “personal” relationships, and so would be more likely to ruin the business to save the relationship.

Also, as we learned in Anchor Man, “their periods attract bears”.

So here we are, years later and what are the most common themes on Pink Truth?

“Mary Kay Corporate (mkcorpse as they maturely refer to it) is just trying to make money off of us”

“Now that I don’t sell as much my director/recruiter NEVER calls me”

“I ALWAYS read contracts before I sign them, but it just FELT SOOO good to be “one of the gals” that I just went ahead and signed it”

“I never made any money because I just couldn’t charge FULL price to my FRIENDS and FAMILY”

“SHE told me it was going to be easy and I TRUSTED her because she was my FRIEND”

“How DARE the company that I am a distributor for tell ME what to wear”

“Updating product is not to remain relevant in a demanding market, it is a SCAM to make me buy more inventory”

“No one can sell Mary Kay because the market is saturated”

Times are changing and many women are competing and competing well in what was once known as a “man’s world”. However, if you want any chance of being taken seriously, you MUST distance yourself from the continuous ignorant drivel coming from Pink Truth. If you read between the lines of what is being said over there, the message is that women can’t succeed so they shouldn’t even try.

For those of you “just tuning in” to this blog, that may be wondering whether Mary Kay is “right” for you. Let me give it to you as simple as possible.

1. You are signing up to be a distributor for a company.
2. That company (Mary Kay) is NOT a non-profit. They are in business to make money.
3. Although they are UNIQUE in the quality of wanting to “enrich women’s lives” WHILE making money, this is NOT their PURPOSE. Their purpose is to make money. (As with any business)
4. Although the company places no restrictions on the level you can reach, the fact of the matter is that you have a very small chance of making it to the “top”. The good news here is that anyone CAN make it. The bad news is YOU may not.
5. It is going to take work. A lot of work. Hard work. A lot of hard work. And then more work. Please do not think that it will be “easy”. If someone is telling you it will be easy, you are a fool to believe them.

I know that most of my readers do not subject MK or its assigns to these inane criticisms but I wonder if perhaps some of the readers from PT would care to comment on this. What do you call yourselves? Lurkers? Care to “come out” and play?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Women can't survive in a man's world...

It is interesting to me that the majority of the comments that come in on any site - pro-, anti-, or otherwise - demonstrate a total lack of understanding of how business works.

It is sadly ironic to me that the one thing that Mary Kay Ash aimed to do - offer women an opportunity to compete in a predominantly "man's" world - is the one thing that participants and ex-participants balk at.

To sum it up, it sounds like this to me:

- "I am woman, I am strong, get out of my way..."
- "I am going to crush the competition..."
- "Wait, what? I have to make how many phone calls?"
- "I did AAALLLLL this work, and nobody is buying from me..."
- "The problem can't be me... I am great.... it must be something else..."
- "It's my directors fault"
- "It's Mary Kay's fault"
- "I am going to go back to what I was doing before... it was easier - at least there if I don't get results I still get a paycheck"

Sorry Mary Kay Ash, despite everything that you and your company have done to demonstrate that woman CAN compete in the general market, women are still copping out.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

There are two kinds of people in this world…


If you look at the entire 6.7 BILLION (aprox.) people that currently occupy our globe you can split them into two groups.

Curious how I can make such a claim?

Click the link and find out.

This is actually a trivial exercise that hopefully will strongly illustrate a solid truth.

The TRUTH is that you can divide the population into two neat categories in many different ways. Those that are younger than 30 and those that are 30 and over. (pick any age) Those that are currently married and those that are not… you get the idea.

There are also tendencies that we all have. Some of us get stressed because of something as small as a shoelace breaking while others can amass $100,000 in debt and sleep like a baby every night.

Some people make decisions based on how the wind is blowing that day while others can’t pick a soda (“pop” for some of you – “coke” for the rest of you) from the vending machine without weighing the “pros” and “cons” of the decision.

Naturally, when we (generic we) bring our myriad various nuances into a venture (say, “Mary Kay” for instance) they don’t just “go away”.

Selfish people that join Mary Kay will most likely be selfish in Mary Kay.
Greedy people that join Mary Kay will most likely be greedy in Mary Kay.
Stressed people that join Mary Kay will most likely be stressed in Mary Kay.
Dishonest people that join Mary Kay will most likely be dishonest in Mary Kay.

So for those of you out there that claim that Mary Kay corrupted you… talk to me. What were you like before? In what way did Mary Kay lay its spell on you? How did you realize it? In what way were you different than before? How did you manage to get out and what steps have you taken to go back to the way you were?

Does it sound like I don’t believe that Mary Kay is a soul-sucking, false god-worshiping, cult? I don’t. But I am open to hear all cases. Do you really mean to tell me that a bunch of “pink” loving ladies turned you into an evil, manipulative, conniving psycho? Please… do tell.

I am all ears.

Most Recent Poll

Interesting results! We will have to do this again when Dem's get their nominee figured out.

Leave your nominations here if you will be voting independent.

While we are at it... if you have any thoughts about the ongoing political scene unfolding (I am sure some of you do) and don't have anywhere else to ventilate some of those feelings... feel free to share your political insight on this post. We are not a political blog by any means, but I am sure that we could discover some interesting differences amongst our little group here!

They say that you should never discuss politics or religion in _________ settings. We have discussed religion (a little) lets hit politics (a little)! Remember to keep it civil! And of course, we should all agree to disagree if we must.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Priorities vs. Career options

As a homeschooling mom, I have certain time constraints that most people don't have.

Educating my kids myself is my #1 priority. This comes before anything else. It has meant turning down jobs offered to me. It means saying "no" to certain activities. It means that before I commit to something, I have to ask myself if it fits with my decision to homeschool.

One criticism I have read over and over is that those who go above Director - NSD's for example - is that they do so by sacrificing family.

I don't have a problem saying no to things that interfere with my family time. With the constraints I have put on myself, I know that I have pretty much eliminated my chance of working for anyone - I need too much control over my time.

Realistically, I doubt I can be anything more than a Team Leader with the restraints I have set for myself, but that is my choice. When the kids are older, then I can decide if I want to work more hours.

I believe that if you have your priorities straight, you keep balanced. It doesn't matter if you are in MK, working a J-O-B or whatever.

So here are my discussion questions:

  • Do you feel/were you told that you could go as high as you wanted to go in MK while only working 10 or so hours a week?
  • Did you believe it? Why?
  • Is Mary Kay to blame for the "stress" on families when in the higher levels or is it the fault of the consultant? (In other words, is the stress level is what you allow it to be, or is it inherent with the position?)
  • Have you stepped down from Director to consultant in order to have less demand on your time, or is being a Director no big deal when it comes to time and stress?
  • Do you have no desire to be anything more than a Consultant? If so, why?

Nothing follows.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Can we "fix" the problem?

Lookingforanswers made the following point recently:

"A type of thing sounds like it would be good to have but for MK Directors and above so that new people coming in could choose the unit they'd like to work with."

Around Christmastime I made a similar suggestion on the forums at Pink Lighthouse.

I am not saying that it would be simple... certainly would need a lot of work in the logistical department, and many, many people will "cry foul" when they find themselves on the proverbial "naughty" list.

Not to mention we have all observed where someone (or corporate themselves) is BLASTED for using standard business operating procedures, so there would have to be some things that are off limits in the "scrutinizing" department!

Considering all that, what criteria - if such a service were available - would you want to be able to rate directors you had worked with?

What criteria would you want to be able to see before you signed with a certain director?

If you had a friend (or even a casual acquaintance)who had invested significant time and energy into recruiting you, but worked in a unit with a "shady" (not to be confused with Shades!) director, would you bail on that friend in favor of a "better" unit? Or would you stick it our regardless?

Obviously the problem presented in the last question would need to be addressed as well as many others. I am NOT suggesting that it would be easy! But I do think there should be SOME form of accountability that directors are held to and this MIGHT be one way of doing it.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Real time comments?

Could it be?

Is it possible?

For those of you waiting with bated breath for a "big move" to wordpress... you may have to wait just a little longer. Because now - BIG THANKS to Shades of Pink - our comments will be shown in the side bar in - wait for it - REAL TIME!!!!

No kidding! Try it yourself!! Just leave a comment and BAM! your comment is shown to the right. As if you needed a reason to leave a comment!

Thanks Shades!

Wordpress fans - don't lose heart. This does not automatically mean that we WON'T be switching... just a little less likely!

P.S. You still need to refresh (F5) your screen to see other people comments in real time. Blogger doesn't refresh automatically.

Let's talk about the dress code.

Hopefully I won't be sent to some sort of Mary Kay Purgatory for this post. If so, I'll repent later. (Maybe.)

I am not dressing to the hilt when I go out and work my MK business. Period. (My makeup will be done and I will present a neat appearance.) I don't usually wear jeans, so that's not an issue. However, I am not dressing up in heels and a skirt every time I go to Bi-Lo. It's not gonna happen. I am not wearing a skirt when I do a facial. I am going to wear something that looks good on me and that I am comfortable in.

Pantyhose? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I'm not saying I never wear it, but here in Mosquito Heaven and Humidity Central, wearing pantyhose is like wearing longjohns - ick. Still, I can wear a long skirt or pants and no one will notice. :D

I have changed since I joined MK. I make sure my makeup and hair are fixed nicely. I love it!

But I am NOT going to go to Target with a 3-year-old in a skirt. Not going to happen.

And you know what? I still get leads. I still get a warm reception. I still make sales.

What do you think? Do you follow/did you follow the dress code? Love it? Hate it?

Share your thoughts.

Monday, March 17, 2008

New Commentator - Your take on this

A new commentator has joined us - Dazzling Diva Dana. There were enough elements in her comment that I felt the discussion would best evolve as its own post.

I have reposted the majority of her comment here (with my responses bold and in italics).

I would love for everyone to get involved with this discussion as many of the things brought up here are important to our discussion of Mary Kay.

Click the link below to see the comment and my responses. Thanks

Unfortunately, you ladies are in truly in the pink vortex.

There truly is NO way to do MK in the "right way."

The system is broken.

What does “pink vortex” mean? Are you telling us that the above “facts” are SO well established that anyone who believes you CAN do MK with ethics is in a vortex of ignorance?

Yes, old school training is to book, sell, recruit - working "full circle."

How well is that working for you really?

Are women calling you begging to hold skincare classes? Hmm?

Here is where some “pro-mkers” have the tendency to want to call “anti-mkers” lazy. You can’t expect women to call YOU begging for anything… it doesn’t work that way. YOU have to call them… lots of them! If someone told you that they would call you… I am sorry to say… they lied to you. No one on this site has said that this is easy (too my knowledge!)

Are you having $1000 weeks on a consistent basis? Making $400 profit with the 60/40 split?

or are you plowing all "profits" back into the MK business either attempting to pay off a credit card or purchasing even MORE inventory?

I will let the consultants answer these questions individually and not speak for the group but I will point out that everyone will have different goals in mind. For some “plowing profits” into their business is good. (I am NOT advocating debt though)

Even if you build up your selling business, you will at some point be encouraged by your Director, Sr. Director, or NSD to gouge your sales, but recruiting your best customers.

You will be encouraged to become a Red Jacket, Team Leader, on-target for DIQ, etc.

These things are all good… but you are making them sound bad. Care to elaborate?

The ONLY way you will move up in the company is recruit and frontload.

Simply not true. Recruit yes. Frontload no. In fact, I think frontloading is the quickest “ticket” to failure in Mary Kay.

HUGE thousands in "Production" is a requirement to move up and "win a free car" (with a co-pay by the way).

Achieving new levels and EARNING a free car are awarded when you are making the company money. If it didn’t require HUGE production it would be kind of pointless… don’t you think?

It has nothing to do with SALES, MK rewards women because of product ordered by them or their team members.

The intent is still for you to SELL. It is illogical to me how someone would decide to pay for thousands of dollars of product they have no intention of selling just to earn something that MAY be worth a few hundred dollars. Nonetheless, the fact that some people do/have done this does not mean that it was ever the company’s intention. MK (like most product based companies) offers its distributors awards based on the inventory ordered. Trying to “cheat” a company the way you are describing does not make sense for anyone. The company should not be held culpable for this sort of imprudence.

You WILL learn to frontload - but you will be told that you're setting the women up for success with a full store.

Again – ticket to failure. Hopefully no one on this site is doing this or will “learn” to ever.

Hmm... Are you really?

No, frontloading is not setting women up for success.

MK is all about greed. It's a Pink Cult of greed and until you ladies realize that, you're caught up in the lie.

Is it POSSIBLE that the MK you experienced and witnessed is a small part of a picture that if seen in its completeness turned out to be different than what you have seen?

Most people on this site have come to terms with the fact that their experience (good or bad) may or may not be the TYPICAL experience. Can you at least acknowledge that possibility with your experience?

You'll find out soon enough when you stop ordering excessive product that is not immediately needed, just to reach a star level order - that you hear from your Director much less often.

If you are not regularly producing for any company what purpose would they have to stay in constant touch with you? Do you want them to call you to chat? This IS a business. Can you imagine the district supervisor of distribution for (say) Pepsi daily or monthly calling a distributor that orders once a quarter? Not likely.

If you stop ordering for a few months, be prepared for a guilt trip that you're not being a team player.

This is being discussed here

Then, either the pink friendship fade-out will occur, or you will get kicked to the curb with thier "required close-toed shoe."

Sorry to hear that excuses needed to be made. This doesn’t really make sense to me…perhaps because I am a guy! If you were not producing I would have one conversation about it with you. Are you done? Yes, okay… thanks for everything, call if you need anything down the road. No, okay… what do we need to get you back “in the game”. I see no reason to make excuses for why I am not calling you.

They will step over you and say, "NEXT."

Why shouldn’t they? Again, it is a business.

If you think my "NEXT" comment is too harsh, have you listed to Pam Shaws cassettes? Or the offical MK DIQ training cassette from early 2000, where they talk about MK being a "numbers game afterall."

Why is this “harsh”? All sales jobs/occupations boil down to a numbers game. That is the nature of sales. Mary Kay is unique in that it allows for “half hearted distributors” OR Personal Use Consultants to get a discount. They don’t have to do that. If you fall into this category (NOT operating a BUSINESS style operation) how much time do you expect someone that IS trying to operate a profitable business to spend on you?

I pray for all of you that you get out now, while your family finances don't take more of a hit -

and you can save your marriage from the distruction that has happed to SO many in Mary Kay.

Just listen to the NSD I-stories and see how many women are married to their original husbands. It's quite telling...

I will continue to pray for you. I'm not "being negative" although you will probably label me as such.

Why would you take the energy to point out that you are “not being negative” immediately after making three negative statements? It seems that you want to make negative generalizations but not back them up with facts. How many (percentage) NSDs are married to their original husbands? Do you know? How many (percentage) of those who have been involved with MK had their family finances devastated as a result of MK? Do you know?

I'm just speaking the truth about this MK business with a BIG warning to you all.

Considering everything you said… I am left asking, “Of what ‘truth’ are you speaking?” I really didn’t see anything in that long comment that could be construed as TRUTH based on any of the definitions of truth that I am aware of. Please elaborate.


Ok, enough from us... Thank you for your candor Dana.

What do some of those IN Mary Kay think about this?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Caution – the beverage you are about to enjoy is HOT

Is it just me? Do we have to be warned about everything these days?

Everyone knows about and talks about the McD’s thing, but it is everywhere.

Peanut containers have a “caution – contains nuts” warning.

Hair dryers scream, “don’t use in the shower”

My iron warns me, “don’t iron clothes on body”

The toner at the office reminds me, “warning, don’t eat toner”

(there’s more… click the link below to read more!)

The piece of cardboard my parents threw in the windshield to keep the car cool in the sun warned, “Do not drive with sunshield in place”

Are we really this ignorant? Do we need these warnings? Considering that most of these were born from either a lawsuit or fear of one, the sad answer to that question is yes. Because apparently if every company that has ever created a product for us does not warn us of every possible way that we could possibly injure ourselves using that product – some opportunistic, unscrupulous moron is going to sue them.

So – you tell me. Should a recruiter disclose every possible outcome of you joining Mary Kay BEFORE you sign up?

Look, I agree that anyone who says, “you will make millions guaranteed” OR “you can make an executive income working part-time hours” or anything similarly misleading should be shot on sight. (figuratively speaking) But even if some recruiters ARE saying these things… who’s fault is it that you just believed that at face value?

You mean to tell me (and by you, I mean any generic person out there that is whining that they would have “never joined MK if they had known ‘the truth’”) that you were so greedy and desperate for a quick buck that you just believed that you could BUY more money by placing progressively bigger orders? It doesn’t even make sense. You obviously were “had” by a professional con(wo)man. That does not mean that MK is a con. It does not mean that the majority of directors and consultants are working the ultimate con on you.

It is no surprise to anyone anymore to say that we live in a litigious society (read: we are “sue hapy”). And now with the advent of the blog-o-sphere, any ONE person that has a bad experience can band together with the other 300 or so other “mistreateds” and make a scene.

That is where this blog (hopefully) comes in. There are some people on some blogs crying, “foul” about Mary Kay. It is their stance that there is more bad than good in Mary Kay. In other words, there are so many people working a con in MK that there isn’t even a real business going on. However, with a sales force of 700,000 in the US alone (plus or minus) it does not seem likely to me that the experience of 300 or even 3,000 people can really speak to the “common experience” that can be expected in Mary Kay. ON EITHER SIDE of this discussion.

Nonetheless, it is important to air concerns and allow for complete answers/explanations to them. When someone feels the confidence to air a grievance on this site – because of the anonymity offered or because of the (relatively) non-hostile environment – everyone wins. When that grievance or complaint can be satisfactorily resolved – everyone wins.

Thanks to everyone that has continued to make this site what it is. It is greatly appreciated. Special thanks to Shay for all the great posts!

I hope you guys don’t mind me getting all “political” with the poll this month. Keep in mind that I have no way of knowing who you vote for… it is truly anonymous, so give it a go.

Can you succeed in Mary Kay without ethics?

I can't help it. I have to write about this. I can't keep my fingers quiet any longer.

This post on another blog discusses the use of fishbowls in businesses and getting leads.

Please read the full post and the comments for the full effect - it is priceless.

Basically, this former consultant lied her way into being able to place a fishbowl in a local establishment (promising to buy a gift certificate for the winner of the drawing - which, by her own admission, she never did), and then called all of the leads and they all won the same thing - a free facial. Maybe some products. But everyone "won" the same thing.

This consultant goes on to say that she had over 500 customers this way! 500! But she wasn't making money.


In all of the comments on the blog, no one says ANYTHING negative about her dishonesty! "Poor, poor, lying former consultant....thank you so much for baring your soul....." Gag me.

It's not like she gave her NAME or how wonderful is her confession? Whatever. I'll guarantee that she really messed things up for any other consultant who approaches those same business owners. Great. Thanks.

Her last few sentences sum it up nicely:
  • "So, just to summarize, I stole from the store I had my bag or box in, I lied to over 500 people, I ruined the lives of all the people I recruited, and I didn't really make a dime.

    Wow. I'm so proud of myself. I wish all you consultants out there who are fish bowling the best of luck, because I know it's hard to look yourself in the face when you are robbing yourself of dignity and innocent people of money and time."

So, IF I were allowed to post a comment on that blog (which I can't - been banned, don't ya know), it would run something like this:

"You lied. You stole. Does it surprise you at all that you did horribly as a businessperson? Does it surprise you that people did not want to hear from you? Does it surprise you that you were unable to form a lasting business relationship with people?

I've got news for you: I sleep well at night. I won't cheat people out of what I promised.

Don't blame Mary Kay for your problems - your issues are a lot deeper and are purely yours.

Raisinberry says in a comment on the above post: 'Isn't it amazing how easy it was to lie to customers?' Um, Raisin, the only way it is easy to lie is if you are used to doing it and have gotten good at it. Congratulations."

Running your business with integrity is a must if you ever want long-term success.

Okay, let's hear it. What is your opinion on this post?

Director Emails

It is the 26th of the month and you are placing your order on the 27th. You have figured up the amount you need in order to restock your inventory and service your customers.

Then you get an email or a phone call from your Director.

"We are so close to our goal! Can't you help the team? Dig deeper! Hold one more class! Order just a little more!"

So what do you do? Now you have a decision.

  • Stick with your original plan and only order what you had intended to?


  • Order more than you really need so you can "help out your team"?


  • Have any of you faced this decision?

  • Have you ordered more than you really needed because of a Director's request?


  • What advice would you give to someone receiving this kind of request from a Director?

  • What is your perspective on this kind of request from a Director of her Unit?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Should initial inventory purchases be limited?

It is interesting to read the different comments about initial inventory purchases.

Let me throw a few ideas out there, and then let me know what you think.

What if.....
  • ...consultants could only order a maximum of $600-1200 in their first order.
  • ...the time limit for the initial inventory bonus was extended from 2 weeks to 2 months (or some other time frame)
  • ...there were a "waiting period" between when the application was submitted and when a consultant could purchase inventory (such as 5 days or longer)?

What do you think? Are there any other limits or suggestions you would like to see?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Can Corporate control their Directors?

I really wanted to limit my posts to one per day so people could have the chance to discuss and not be overwhelmed, but Eversleigh made a comment that I thought deserved a post of its own. Thanks, Eversleigh, for sharing your point of view!!

Eversleigh said:
  • "I know that consultants are not "employed" by corporate, but I find it hard to believe that MKC does not know what is going on with all the frontloading and buying dictatorship. And if they DO know and choose not to do anything . . . I just can't get excited about that kind of company."

I will give my view of this and then I encourage you all to voice your opinions.

  • First, MKC may or may not know what some (not all) Directors are doing in this regard. If they don't know for sure, how can they do anything without proof?
  • Second, there is "legal" and there is "moral". If a Director is doing things legally and not breaking any laws, then I really don't see what MKC can do about it.

Let me give 2 examples:

Let's say I am a Director and I go over your inventory options with you. At no point do I tell you that a certain level is "required" - but I strongly suggest that you open with a "full store". However, the final choice is yours (which it is). What can MKC do about this if the new consultant regrets her initial inventory choice (other than offering the 90% buyback)? Ultimately, it is HER choice, right? Personal responsibility comes into play here.

Let's say a Director is "buying" her Directorship. Unless she is doing something illegal (such as activating a rep without her knowledge), I still don't see what can be done.

And, no, I don't think that all consultants should be punished/micromanaged because of some bad apples.

Okay, ladies (and gents) - let's hear what you think!

Is the party plan business model "dead"?

I frequent a lot of WAHM boards (translation - I have no life. LOL), and there seem to be two very different groups of people. They are the following:

  • The party plan model is dead. No one wants to go to a party so they can buy stuff. You will never find hostesses and people always cancel. No one has time for it and no one likes pretending to have fun at one of these stupid parties. After paying for hostess gifts, samples and gas, you don't make any money, anyway. You are better off getting a regular J-O-B.


  • Ladies love coming to a home party because they are fun. There are prizes and food and people enjoy getting away from the kids for a while - especially when makeup and other "fun" stuff is involved! Hostesses love to get the free or reduced price products and guests are motivated to book when they see the hostess' gifts. They are profitable and worthwhile because I can write off the mileage and make a nice profit, even after paying for samples and hostess gifts. It sure is better than a regular J-O-B. Jobs suck.

So, what do you think? Share your experiences!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Inventory discussion

Before I even begin, let me start off by saying this post will be controversial (to put it mildly), but this is the Balanced Mary Kay blog, and I think this is a very important issue.

I saw a reference to how Dave Ramsey counseled a Mary Kay rep about inventory debt on a WAHM board I visit.

You can see the original source here. Please be sure to listen to the live recording because the written part is not complete by any means.

The consulant in question has about $4000 in inventory. She is selling, but she is using 50% of her sales to restock her inventory. She and her husband have a lot of debt (not just from Mary Kay). Her initial inventory purchase was $3600 and she also bought about $1000 in marketing materials, the carrying case, etc.

Her husband wants her to sell through her stock and use that money to pay off her MK debt.

There are a few points I want to make about what Dave Ramsey says:
  • Dave says several times what a "wonderful" company Mary Kay is.
  • Dave says he believes Mary Kay is an excellent opportunity.
  • Dave advises to keep "a few hundred dollars worth" of her "best sellers" and then for other stuff order often enough "to keep the UPS man busy." Since it only takes a few days to get products, having a fully-stocked store isn't a problem.
  • Dave says that "some leaders" have the "mistaken process" of loading up their consultants with a garage full of stuff so they can get their pink cadillac, and that is the problem - not with Mary Kay the company in general.

So, what do you think?

Mary Kay is one of the few Direct Sales companies that encourages inventory.

On the other hand, it is one of the few companies that hands customers product as soon as they purchase it. Most other companies have a wait of up to 2-3 weeks for orders.

I know we will have people on both sides of this issue, and that's fine. Just keep it civil, folks. :D

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mary Kay Jewelry - Do you love it or hate it?

I was looking at some of the jewelry available for consultants as prizes.

I don't wear rings, necklaces, earrings, etc., so it doesn't affect me one way or the other. If I win something, I will probably give it away anyway. (I only wear my wedding ring - and even that took some convincing for me to wear.)

What do you think about the jewelry offered by MK? Like it or not?

Is/Was the jewelry a good motivator for you?

Did you ever strive for a prize?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Facial boxes and fishbowls

Okay, Ladies! (Gents? You, too!)

Let's talk about facial boxes and fishbowls for getting leads.

Love 'em? Hate 'em? Never used 'em? Used 'em but never got good leads? Got leads but never any sales?

This is your chance to tell about your results (or lack of results).

Talk about where you placed them, how you followed up and anything else you want to share.


I had heard over the years about how MK does not allow advertising. To be honest, that is one thing that concerned me about joining MK and doing it for profit instead of just personal use.

This is simply not true.

I am holding in front of me 19 pages of approved ads from the Mary Kay InTouch site. There are ads for skin care, color, gift-giving, bridal, Velocity, prom makeovers, etc., etc., etc. 19 pages!

Does it surprise you to know that NONE of the ads are for recruiting? They are all for finding retail customers. (If someone isn't interested in the products, how can they be a successful consultant?)

There are 3 pages of suggestions on how to USE the ads to your best advantage - frequency, choosing a publication, etc. They also suggest using them for fliers, order stuffers, etc.

While running an ad in a daily newspaper can be expensive, weekly local newspapers can be an inexpensive alternative. There is the added bonus of being in your immediate local area (as opposed to daily papers, which can cover a much larger area).

Running ads for several weeks in a row is the best option. Running an ad just one week will not give the best results. See if you can get a discount for multiple weeks of advertising.

I would love to hear the results of everyone's advertising!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Flexible scheduling

Hubby got a new job and is now working 2nd shift.

If I had a J-O-B, I would be scrambling for child care and trying to figure out if I could even be able to keep working. Actually, I would not even be able to work because I don't WANT to put my kids in day care.

As it is, I am completely stress-free. LOL I get to spend most mornings with Hubby and I can schedule my facials/SCC's around his schedule. I answer emails and do other "busy work" when the kids are in bed and Hubby is at work.

"Mommy Time" is important to me and Hubby, too. I can take my Mommy Time whenever I want - again, not possible if I have a J-O-B.

I love it. If I had a 9-5 job I would never see hubby! As it is, I get to spend lots of time with Hubby and the kiddos and still get to work my MK business.

Expenses and tax write-offs

Disclaimer: The following is for general discussion. If you have specific questions about your tax write-offs or legal issues, please consult your tax preparer or attorney.

One of the things you may hear from the anti-MKers is that the commission checks for Directors are "misleading" because that is what they are paid "before expenses."

Employee checks are "before expenses" as well, aren't they? I mean, the employee has to pay for gas, food, clothing, pantyhose (if female) and a whole lot of other things from that check. However, if someone asks "How much are you paid?" the employee would never say, "$45,000 - but that is before expenses." Of course not.

Anti-MKers say that when figuring your average hourly commission you should take your travel time into account. I don't. I have never been paid for my travel time to and from work. It is just assumed that you have to drive in order to get to work - your commute is your problem.

HOWEVER, you can (generally) write off your mileage as an independent contractor (for business-related travel).

Let's look at some comparisons between employee vs. independent business person. But first, let's look at some qualifications for tax breaks. You must:
  1. Operate a legitimate business, not a hobby.
  2. Demonstrate that you have an intent to make a profit.
  3. Work your business like any other real business (not just on your lunch hour or the golf course)
  4. Show regular and consistent activity. (For example, one hour a day, 4-5 days per week. This is why MKers are encouraged to block out "Mary Kay time" each week to consistently work their business.)
  5. Be able to demonstrate your expertise in your business category OR your efforts to gain expertise by learning from others.
  6. Document your business income, expenses AND ACTIVITY. (Notes in your daily calendar usually are sufficient.)
Write-offs are not automatic, and each person is unique. Be sure to consult with your attorney or tax professional (not your Uncle Bobby John) to discuss your tax situation.

Now let's look at your expenses.

Employee (generally cannot write off these expenses):
  1. Gas/wear and tear on car/mileage
  2. Car insurance
  3. Rent/Mortgage
  4. Travel
  5. Meals
  6. Car payment/Lease

Independent Contractor (can write off these expenses if qualifications are met):

  1. Mileage
  2. Car insurance
  3. A portion of rent/mortgage
  4. Travel (if business-related or if business is done during the trip)
  5. Meals (again, if business is conducted)
  6. A portion of the car payment/lease
  7. And more

Businesses write off every single penny they (legally) can so that their tax liability is as low as (legally) possible. Why? So they pay less taxes (legally)! You WANT your taxable income to be as low as possible (legally) so your tax liability is lower!

So if I travel 100 miles round trip for a SCC, I can write off whatever the IRS says I can per mile (let's say 50 cents). So in this example, I have 100 x .50 = $50 in a tax writeoff for mileage!

Did I pay $50 in gas for the trip? No. The IRS mileage takes into account gas, wear and tear on the car, etc.

So can you see how putting miles on your car can quickly reduce your taxable income? And that is just one example. I can't do that just for driving back and forth to work.

Directors do have expenses. IBC's have expenses. The great thing about it is that these expenses are tax deductible!

Employees have expenses, too. They just don't usually get to write them off.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

New advertiser - for you movie buffs (or freaks)

I don't normally call attention to the advertising on this site... and it shows! (not a lot of clicks)

I thought I should give this one some attention though because if you like movies - and don't already have a movie rental plan - you should really consider this deal.

If you feel like this site already has too many advertisements, don't click on the link below and the scary, mean ads will stay safely out of site! If you want to see why I think you should sign up for the new advertiser, click below.

I have been so impressed with blockbuster for the last few years because of this program they have right now. I know it is off the normal subject for this site, but sometimes you just have to take a break, order a pizza and a coke, and watch an old classic - or new hit - and just tune out the world for a couple of hours.

Check out Blockbuster's mail program. I love it. You get your movies in the mail (like netflix) but when you are done watching it, you just drive to the nearest Blockbuster and when you hand them your movie THEY GIVE YOU A FREE RENTAL. Right there in the store. You just pick out your next movie and straight exchange it for the one you just got in the mail. AND as soon as they scan the envelope for the exchange, they alert BB online to send you the next movie in your "Q". It usually takes a day or two to get there, so unless you are watching two movies a day - every day - you should be good to go.

They have three options. One, Two, or Three DVD's at a time. You can check out the pricing online. If you use the link on this site, you get 50% off for the first month as well!

If you love movies... give it a try!

Blockbuster - 50% off your first month with code perf999

Your MK Business This Week (3/1/08 - 3/7/08)

It's a new week!

Share what is going on with your MK biz!

It's a new month!

Can you believe it's March already??

What are some of your goals or plans for your business this month?

Hubby started a new work schedule (2nd shift) that will make doing evening SCC's challenging, but I am going to focus on morning SCC's and for SCC's on his days off. My goal is for 2 per week.

Does anyone else want to share their plans for this month?

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 (here) (there)
If this is your first visit please leave a comment here. I would love to hear from you!
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