Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The trouble with Mary Kay - Is Pink Truth on to something?

There is a common consensus, it seems, that Mary Kay is not perfect.

Recently, "objective1" pointed out:

"I never believed Mary Kay should "implode" but I did believe that the injustices, such as those that Judi and Blessed's wife encountered, should be addressed.


"I know there is still work to do but this blog and each of your involvments in it is a beacon of hope to finally resolve the issues"

Well that got me thinking.

I guess one way of looking at this blog is that it is the product of me being a guy, and as a guy, I feel the need to fix things.

Maybe that is the case, maybe not. Maybe this is meant to be a place where people can get together and air their differences, maybe it is meant to be more than that.

Maybe, over the course of getting things out in the open and having some genuine back and forth discussion, we have come to a place that we can identify what the problem (or problems) is (are) and fix it (them). Maybe not.

My response to "objective1" was (and still is):

"However, we are still quite a way off.

First, we need to determine exactly what the problem is.

Then, we need to determine a course (or courses) of action that could fix the problem.

Then, we need to get mass support. A few hundred people on a blog is a good start, but 70,000 beauty consultants all saying, "we want _______" is a much stronger voice!"

So, I put it to all of you.

This blog is not even a year old yet. Is it time for us to start "figuring out" some problems? Or do we still need to have open conversations? Do we need more structure? Or is our current style working out well?

What does this website mean to you?

What do you like? What would you like to see? Would you miss it if it was gone?

Digging deeper, what would it need to look like for you to tell your unit about it? If I said, "I want every consultant in Mary Kay to know about this site", what would it need to look like?

If Pink Truth can (effectively) accuse Mary Kay of harboring great secrets because of an unwritten policy of always thinking positive, there must be some truth to it. It would not register if it didn't have an edge. What would it take to create a niche that everyone knew about, where ideas, concerns, and even criticisms could be shared without fear of ostracism?

Think carefully, because, obviously, a free-for-all forum where anyone can say anything is no more the answer than a closely guarded forum that reflects only the opinions of the guardians.

Please, please, please, do not think that you have to wait until you have the perfect solution to comment on this. Please realize that your idea may be shot down here. I am not proposing that this will be easy. Say what you feel. Allow other people to say what they feel. The internet is a powerful tool and I believe we can utilize it to effect some real positive change.

The question is, "How?"

Monday, July 28, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Is Mary Kay Broken? How can it be fixed?

On the most recent post, "Pink Truth: How much inventory does Mary Kay require? an interesting point was raised.

"Speaking the Real Truth" suggests:

"I am convinced that we need to "take back the company" from some of the craziness that we have seen the past few years. If that means that we lose some consultants and directors along the way, then so be it. We need to "weed" the garden for lack of a better term. We only need to debut directors who are READY for directorship, who are established in their own personal businesses and ready to lead others with commitment and integrity.

If that means a little less recruiting, debuting, etc. for a while, then again, so be it. I see it as trimming off the unhealthy parts so that the healthy part can thrive."

Now some people probably think that there is nothing wrong with Mary Kay the way it is! Some of you may think that Mary Kay is so broken that nothing can be done to fix it. Still others probably agree with "STRT" on this and think that "something" needs to be done.

Sort it out here.

Can Mary Kay be saved? Does it even need to be saved? What, oh what, can be done... if anything?

This is your chance to tell the world what you would do if you were in charge!

The lines are wide open... Take a crack.

And be sure to thank STRT for inspiring this one! (Perhaps it is not too late to convince her to be an author for this site?)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pink Truth: How much inventory does Mary Kay require?

There has been some considerable conversation on one of our recent posts "Are ALL Mary Kay ladies scary?" about how much inventory a new recruit should come in with and how much a director (who is supposed to be helping the recruit) should recommend.

The way I see it, the level of inventory that a person thinks is good will vary from person to person. So while mk4me, strt, or others may think that $6,000 wholesale is too much, the director that is recommending this seemingly insane level may actually think that this is a good level to get started with. So, if she really believes that it is in the best interest of the recruit that she is recommending this level to, is she really an evil, master manipulator bent on destroying someones finances just so that she can pocket a few hundred dollars, or is she just painfully unaware of the fact that not everyone can expect to sell that much merch. right out the gate?

On another note, a "who's to blame note", it seems that there are some that are so desperate to "get rich quick" that they eschew the advice of their director to "start small" and they "get crazy with the cheez-whiz" and find themselves in a world of hurt. Is it possible that there is a large "middle ground" of people that desperately want to put loads of cash in their pockets, and when the conversation about inventory comes up, their "eyes are bigger than their stomach" (or in this case they think they can sell more than they really can) and they, essentially, convince the director that they should buy a certain level of inventory because they "know" they can sell it?

I don't doubt that there are some directors that put pressure on their recruits to buy more inventory than they should. I am sure that some of these are selfish people that can't see past today to realize that this will hurt them in the long run. I am sure that some of them are not selfish at all and genuinely think a large inventory is the best thing for their new recruit. While some may fundamentally disagree with that position (and good reasons certainly exist to disagree) I don't know that it makes them wrong.

I also don't doubt that there are some recruits who, despite every warning from their director, throw caution to the wind and buy enough inventory to make the UPS man cry. I am sure that some of them do this because they know they can sell product quickly and efficiently and don't want to waste any time "finding out" something they already know. I am sure that some of them are just WAY too optimistic in their own opinion of their ability to sell and soon find themselves massively regretting their headstrong disregard for their director's advice.

But what about the others? What about the ones that were not this extreme?

Were you happy with the inventory level you started with? What did you like about it?

Were you unhappy? Why?

Did you feel pressured? If you were pressured (either to buy more or to buy less), were you glad you were pressured? Did you wish you listened to the suggestions and gave in to the pressure?

If you are a director, do you strongly recommend a certain level? If so, do you try to get people to "rise" to that level? Do you try to convince them to lower their expectations to that level?

Ex-consultants, were you "gently suggested" or "heavily pressured" to place a large inventory order? OR, were you told that a large order was mandatory?

"bonus points" to anyone that can accurately tell the group the answer to the question posed by the title of this post... "How much inventory does Mary Kay require?"

Happy Weekend all.


Directly from the "Ready Set Sell" brochure

Congratulations to "Blessed" for being the first to accurately answer the question! You get 10,000 bonus points. And since I have never assigned bonus points before, that puts you in the lead. Congratulations!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

?? on Packaging Changes & Off to Seminar!

I had one of those moments when I wondered if I have a unique experience with something or is the response I get standard. I have heard complaints from others that feel it is unfair when Mary Kay changes the packaging the product comes in (not the product – the box) . Complaints such as: they can not sell outdated product or the director knew of this change and unfairly overstocked the consultant with packaging that was soon to be changed to stick the consultant with product and thus requiring her to buy more.

I have never had a client turn down or not want to purchase a product because it doesn’t come in the same box as the picture. I do not discount it either. (Which by the way, I just double checked and looked thru the Look Book and honestly, I didn’t see one picture of our packaging. If I ever have a client order 2 of something and I happen to have one left in the former packaging and one in the new packaging, I simply tell them we are in the process of updating our packaging, do they mind?? I have had them laugh at me, and the most common response is: “who cares, we throw the box away anyway”.

Does anyone find the packaging changes detrimental to you business?

And you won’t hear from me much for the next week, I have got to go finish packing and I leave tomorrow for Seminar!! Woo Hoo, I am so looking forward to it this year.
I will have an update when I get back on how things were in Dallas!


The following is an edit from David Shepherd

Sorry for the intrusion... hold the presses... all that.

mk4me has asked me to inform everyone that she is not just talking about the packaging that gets thrown away. We all realize that the complaint about packaging also refers to changes like lipstick tubes, compact trays, etc... Obviously one will (or may) have more of an impact on your sales than the other.

The point of this post (per mk4me) is (partially) to "...generate conversation on how to move "changed" products..."

Please proceed as you were, with the realization that conversation (comments) on this post can (and should) include all aspects of the changes to packaging and how it impacts you as a consumer or a distributor (or neither!).

Again, sorry for the intrusion!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Are ALL Mary Kay ladies scary?

I recently stumbled upon an image that captured a concept about Mary Kay that I have often considered, but have a difficult time summarizing simply.

I found the following political cartoon on the Time website. I am not really sure how to give credit to a cartoonist that has been published online... so I have just replicated the credit they gave... hope that is enough. (If you are having trouble seeing the image, go here

John Cole / The Times Tribune / Cagle Cartoons

So, what incredible revelation about Mary Kay was I able to draw from that?

Glad you asked.

You see, as with anything in life, there are always the ".....maniacs". In this cartoon, there are the "Islamaniacs" and the "Obamaniacs". In Mary Kay there are the "MaryKayniacs", lovingly referred to as KayBots. There are religion nuts in every religion, health nuts, animal rights activist nuts, athletic nuts, car nuts, and on and on.

Most people that belong to a certain subset of society (religious, business, political, etc.) recognize that there are people that take their beliefs or opinions to an extreme. The Christian must suffer the consequences of the abortion clinic bomber's claims of "doing it for Christ". The devout Muslim is plagued by the choices of the "radicals" that plot and execute acts of terror "in the name of Allah". Health conscious people everywhere feel the effects of their "extreme" counterpart's outrageous claims.

To an extent, the vast majority of "us" (the populous of the world) realize that the "freaks" don't speak for the "whole". Religious zealots are not an accurate representation of that religion's beliefs. The "nuts" are a frustrating distraction from the message that the "silent" majority wishes to convey.

Take cliff diving. Most people that cliff dive would probably prefer that very few (if any) people join their sport. It is dangerous and is really a unique specialty sport that is arguably enhanced by the fact that so few people participate. While it could be argued that anyone who leaps from a cliff is a "nut", for the sake of this illustration, let's assume that there is a cliff diver that is "extreme" in his passion for cliff diving... to the extent that he thinks EVERYONE should try it at least once in their life. To spread the "good news" of cliff diving, he is constantly on an aggressive campaign to find new "believers". His zeal drives him to beg and plead with everyone he meets to "at least just climb up to the top of the cliff with me and watch me jump a few times...". When this proves to not really "convert" anyone, he takes it a step further and begins pushing people from the precipice he has lured them to.

I know that is an extreme and unlikely scenario, but we can all imagine how frustrating it would be to the "regular" cliff divers as this guy would probably become the "face" of cliff diving. The ones that prefer to just dive in peace don't get attention from the press.

So there are freaks in every camp. So what? We all knew that already right? Why bring this up?

Good question.

I don't think anyone has a problem with the "freaks" of their particular religious, political or other affiliation get caricatured and "poked fun of". In fact, I think most people will laugh right along. After all, an Obama supporter is not neccessarily an Obamaniac. Also, most people can deal with and tolerate their beliefs being criticized. "It is my belief, it is my opinion. Make fun of it if you will, I will not be moved."

The problem comes in when people start confusing the ".....maniacs" with the (relatively) normal people that believe similarly. A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square. If someone that is a rectangle (but not a square) gets called a square, they will naturally protest.

Obama Supporter.

Yes, I support Obama. Yes, the Obama supporters that are offended by a silly cartoon are outrageous and extreme. No, I am not one of those. And in fact, most of us are not.


Yes, I believe in God and in salvation through Jesus. Yes, the abortion clinic bombers (and all the other zealots) are scary and wrong and in deep need of professional help. No, I am not one of those. And in fact, most of us are not.

Mary Kay Consultant.

Yes, I love Mary Kay. I like selling it, I like representing the company, I like finding other people to sell it as well. Yes, some people representing the company get out of hand and have caused some serious damage to innocent women. No, I am not one of those. And in fact, most of us are not.

The question then, is, are most Mary Kay people "MaryKayniacs"? Or are most Mary Kay people just like sales people in any organization? Passionate about their product and always on the lookout for solid business partnerships?

If any of you have the answer, please let me know. I personally don't think we can know. How do you measure something like that?

Does God Exist? See the results of our poll

Naturally, whether or not we believe that God exists has little (if any) bearing on whether He does or does not.

But of the readers that voted in this poll, here are the results.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Guest Post on Franchise Pick (dot) com

I recently posted a question, "How would you like your business opportunity? Well-Done or Raw?"

The first comment came in the form of the following question from "Kaybots R Coming"

"Question for you and your readers:
Is resistance to Mary Kay futile?
Are Kaybots coming for my daughters?
Or are the Pink Truthers just lazy whiners looking for someone else to blame for their own lack of motivation?
I appreciate balance, but what's the answer?"

I followed "Kaybots R Coming" to Franchise Pick where I was offered an opportunity, by that blogs owner, Sean Kelly, to write a guest post.

So, I got to work and sent over a considerably comprehensive breakdown of what Mary Kay is, what Pink Truth is, and what THE Truth is. It is long. So he split it into four separate posts and has been posting it over the course of this week. All four pieces are now up, so I thought this would be a good time to ask all of you to go check it out.

You can find the posts:

Mary Kay Cosmetics: Hot or Not? (1 of 4)
Mary Kay Cosmetics: Hot or Not? (2 of 4)
Mary Kay Cosmetics: Hot or Not? (3 of 4)
Mary Kay Cosmetics: Hot or Not? (4 of 4)

Please take a look and let me know what your thoughts are. There have not been many comments on any of them, so it would be great is some of you wanted to get some conversation going over there. I believe that that site does not look too kindly on MLM style organizations, so please try not to be "obnoxious tourists"!!

Thanks to Sean, and everyone please have a great weekend!

Monday, July 14, 2008

New Sales Director Oath

I have said before that when I became a director, I took the decision seriously and also realized I was taking on more responsibility. I knew it was far more than wanting to wear the suit and look important. I also knew it meant I would have to get more training on working with people and how to be a good leader. I was willing to do these things. I often say, I do all I can to lead by example. I also feel as corny as it sounds, that when I accepted the position I took an oath. An oath or vow or a promise, is something I take very seriously. In case some have never seen it, or don’t really remember it, I thought it would be a great piece to have on our site. Now, as a director, I work my business, to uphold my oath. I wish all directors would read this and hold it dear, because I think it would elevate some of the stories we hear.

New Sales Director Oath:
Believing that the Company is built on the concept of the Golden Rule, I solemnly pledge to uphold and project the Mary Kay image.I will always conduct myself with dignity.I will be the essence of dependability, Honoring all the commitments that I make.I will uphold and support my sister Sales Directors In the daily practice of the Golden Rule,To do unto others as I would have them do unto me.I will always strive for a positive attitude, a clean spirit and a warm heart,Setting the example for others to follow,And dedicating myself to perpetuating the true Mary Kay go-give spirit And enriching women’s lives.This I pledge as an Independent Mary Kay Sales Director

Friday, July 11, 2008

Is "profit" a dirty word?

This comment was posted recently:

"My issue with mlm is that, even if you fail, it is likely someone else will have profited from your efforts."

Why is this such a bad thing? And why do people act like it is unique to MLM??

When I worked in retail, I was in management. I earned a commission on my sales, plus a commission on the sales of my team. My supervisors earned these commissions, plus bonuses for things like reaching goals, increase in sales over last year, low inventory shrinkage, etc.

My supervisors and I had quite a different point of view, and that may be due to how our checks were earned.

You see, I trained my people to ask questions and meet needs. They told my people to push the higher ticket items. Period. (This was in different types of retail - not just one store, BTW.)

Bonuses for meeting certain goals are pretty standard in any type of sales - oriented industry. Some of them will do anything to reach said goals. All in the name of profit.

Sales-oriented companies aren't going to change the way they do business and reward their employees. It is a profitable system for them, and it rewards results. They don't necessarily care how the results are achieved, either. As long as there are no laws broken or tons of customer complaints, they really don't care. (Trust me - I have been to enough "rah rah" sessions and have heard this in more than one corporate event.)

So, what does this have to do with Mary Kay?
  1. While IBC's are not employees, the structure that MK has in place to reward their people is not evil. Or unique. To give a percentage to an IBC or Director is not out of line.
  2. Abuse of the system happens. It happens in retail. It happens in MK. It happens in every business known to the free world. There are not-so-nice people everywhere. It doesn't mean the system is flawed - it means that flawed people are in the system.
  3. The key to getting rid of the bad apples is speaking up. I don't mean whining on a message board or blog. I mean a real, signed-with-your-name complaint to Corporate. Then follow up with it. (There is nothing wrong with wanting to know what has become of your complaint!) And keep in mind that one complaint will probably not have much effect (unless laws have clearly been violated), but a lot of complaints by different people will have an effect.
  4. My ex-mother-in-law has a saying that I still use to this day: "When in doubt, don't." If your Director or anyone else is telling you to do something and it feels "hinky," trust your instincts. Take some time to think about it. I can't tell you the number of times that I have had supervisors ask me to do something shady in order to boost sales or increase profit margins. It is not always easy to say, "No," when it might cost you your job (and it did, more than once), but you sleep better at night.
  5. Learn about the MK system. Learn how it works. Learn how you get paid - both on your sales and those of your team - and then do your business the right way. Be an example.

MK has not come up with some off-the-wall way of paying people. They have taken a system that was already in place (remember that Mary Kay was in commission sales for so many years?) and then adapted it to suit the MK company.

Thoughts? Comments?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How Long to Directorship??

This is a question that does not have an exact answer and will leave a lot of room for discussion. I am going to base my explanations on my personal experience. I will start with this part and then as the discussion takes place, I will add more because I could actually write a book if I wanted to include everything that I would want to share.

In this business, there is a lot to learn. A new consultant has to learn about the products, how to present them in a knowledgeable manner, proper color application, learn good people skills, and sales techniques, how to book, how to present themselves in a professional manner, how to separate business and personal emotions. This will take time, depending on how many classes/presentations a consultant does, the more they do, the faster they master their techniques and skills – the more confident a consultant becomes, the better the results.. I personally like my unit members to master a skin care class before they begin team building because as you decide to build your team, you now have to master how to present the Company opportunity and how to support a team member. How are you going to do a good job at this if you yourself haven’t mastered the basic presentation yourself? My view has been: you learn to walk before you learn how to run and the same principle applies to developing your business.

With a consultant working fulltime and with a family, I find it takes about a year, to get confident in your ability just doing your presentations. (Please note –this is just my opinion and it is not every case – I am speaking in general). Then once the class is mastered, building your team will also take time to figure out how to do it well. Earning the car and learning how to work with a team and continue to do a good job with your bookings and personal sales is a great way to find the balance before you jump into the responsibility of directorship.

Can it be done faster?? Of course it can. Can it take a lot longer, of course it can. But from all I have witnessed and experienced – investing 2 -3 years before becoming a director is going to benefit the person becoming the director. There is a heck of a lot more to being a director than “wearing the suit”. It adds a whole new dimension to your business. You don’t only deal with your ups and downs but also your units and that can take a lot of energy at times.

The numbers are spelled out. I had always heard to be a unit, it takes 30 and only 1 of the 30 will be a super star and that will be you – the director. That probably explains why we are required to have 30 to become a director, working with less than that is going to cause one to struggle. So if you become a director on “fake” consultants, you are hurting yourself because you don’t have the numbers that you need to produce the volume you need. – This is just the way it is. The Company tells us that a unit of approx. 75 will produce a Saturn unit. Why?? To maintain the production – doing it with fewer people will cause you to struggle. Doing anything with enough consultants working, can be achieved and maintained without headaches. For Cadillac you are looking at a unit of at least 125. Can it be done with fewer people, yup; does it also leave you in a position if “life” happens to a few of your top producers you are going to be wondering what to do?

Doing things too fast seems to be the downfall of many units. Once we become a director, we want to be a Senior director, but if you remember the numbers, if only 1 in 30 is going to be a superstar and you have a unit member become a director and take 30 out of your unit and leaves you with 30, you are back to really only having one superstar and will go from enjoying your business to struggling. I know many say fast is easy, slow is hard – but there must be a balance between doing it too fast and taking too long.
Often doing it too fast leads to weak units and instead of production coming from selling consultants having to order product to service their clients, the work ethic changes to find a newbie and bring them in with a big inventory and the unit managed to make production for the month. So what happens the next month? The same thing, so as long as you can find someone you can talk into starting with a large inventory – your unit will make production, what happens the month you don’t find someone?? You miss production because now even your selling consultants have too much product so they don’t need to order and you end up on the hamster wheel that some directors complain about. Imho, this is setting yourself and your unit up for failure. It will cause burn out – it is probably why many end up charging product they don’t need because they don’t want to give up what they have worked for. Pride gets in the way, because who wants to go from a Cadillac unit, to a Saturn unit? - You know what, I would have way more respect for a director that realized her unit wasn’t supporting the Cadillac and she dropped down to a Saturn unit. This is a smart business move. There is no disgrace. Hey, it is an “earned” car. I have been a senior director, guess what, I had two directors stop down – no they didn’t have too, life changes caused them to go a different direction and they are both still consultants. Was their a little ouch for me going from an almost “future executive senior director” to a director, yup… but it wasn’t because of anything I did or didn’t do. I am still just mk4me and those that respect me still do, and well, those that didn’t, didn’t any way so who really gives a hoot what they think anyway.

Now my theory… build selling consultants, allow them to build their inventory while they build their customer base. If your unit is selling, they will need to order. Production comes in naturally. Promote selling not ordering. Reward activity not ordering. Understand what you need and do the work that is required to get it. Don’t try to shortcut the system, it isn’t going to work. Set yourself up for success, not failure.

May I share a little personal note…. I have shared that do to medical issues with a child this year, I had several months that I couldn’t be the director or consultant I like to be, we fell short of finishing up the $300,000 unit club and we didn’t miss it by much. Could I have begged every unit member to put in an unneeded order and finished, I honestly think the answer is “yes”. Did I? – No. The reason is simple. I am still very proud of where we finished this year. With everything that happened in my unit, I think the figure is awesome. Now did I encourage my unit to work until the end? Yes, as long as they were selling and needed to order, I was happy to see them put in their order.

But if I had gone the other way, where exactly would I be this month? Historically, July is never a great month. Not only because of the after June fallout, but many people are on vacation, it is hot, it is harder to get groups together, so I would imagine trying to have a decent July if you pulled everything into June, leaves your July looking pretty dim. (I also didn't give up, we all worked until the last minute). Generally because we work for the month we are in, our July is almost as good as every other month of the year. Call me to0 analytical or practical but if one uses good business sense, many of the obstacles and problems that we hear about could be avoided. My conclusion: Conduct your business as a business and you will produce good results, you and your unit members will be happy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The MLM Failure Rate??

The following is a post I ran across on by Tony Rush. (I took that name of his company out - but you can see it on his website if you want to go look.) I thought it was an excellent explanation and I hope to hear your thoughts about it:

"The problem with the 99% so-called "failure" rate is that it's misnamed. The fact that the majority of people don't succeed has nothing to do with them "failing".

Let's say a person wants to be a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. They want to know how many people take Tae Kwon Do classes and -- of those -- how many people achieve the black-belt level. Say that figure is 1% (I have no idea). In their minds, this represents a 1 out of 100 possibility for them. And so this person will assume that their personal "odds" are 1 out of 100.

And this is their mistake. The 1% figure doesn't exist because 99% of people "fail". It exists because most of the 99%ers are just taking up room.

Tae Kwon Do is one of those things that have an easy-entry. You can show up on a Tuesday night, pay some money for a uniform and technically be "in" Tae Kwon Do. But that doesn't mean you're committed.

On the other hand, if you're someone who is seriously passionate about becoming a black belt and you're willing to commit the time, effort and energy to do the work....then your "odds" of becoming a black belt are about 100%. Seriously. 100% success ratio. For every person who says "I'm going to be a black belt" and then actually does what is required to achieve it.

And it's the same thing in our business. I don't regularly see people who who are doing exactly what we teach in XYZ Company who are not getting results. And when I DO run across someone who says, "Hey, why am I not getting results?", I can usually ask them five questions and find that they are skipping one or more basic principles that we teach in our business.

And when they correct their activities and actually start doing what we teach....then the results show up.So, success is not a matter of "odds". It's not a slot machine. It's not a lottery. It's a CHOICE. And since anyone can choose to actually do the things that create results.....then anyone can choose to be successful.

Make sense?"

Although Tony is not with Mary Kay, I thought his post gives an excellent explanation about the supposed failure rate of MLM that we hear so much about.

Thoughts? Comments?

Monday, July 7, 2008

How would you like your business opportunity? Well-Done or Raw?

There has been some talk lately here about the differences between MLM and so called, “Conventional” Corporate America. (CCA) In this scenario, I am comparing (primarily) the “entry level” of CCA (as in “team member” or “employee” – not franchise owner or CEO) to the entry level of MLM (as in buying the starter kit or signing the contract).

I think that the differences between these (at least for the purpose of discussion here) can be boiled down to the direct effect each has on the individual.

In the "CCA" companies like Wal-Mart, the distribution of rewards and penalties is pretty even. The person that shows up early every day, sweats out a hard day, offers phenomenal customer service MIGHT get a quarter of a dollar more than the lazy person that is late everyday, never makes an effort and talks nasty about the customers. That is only if the hard working person gets "noticed" by the right people in management. Otherwise, the lazy one (who for some reason always seems to be better at about how hard they work) is often likely to get the raise/promotion.

Similarly, a really talented sales person, someone that really knows the company inside and out, knows the product, and is always creating great matches between the product and the customer is not likely to see a penny more than the person who just shuffles over to a shelf, grabs the first product their hand finds, and says, "here". (or better yet, just points and mumbles something about "over there")

Welcome to retail, right?

But seriously, in that world, you could say that the risks and rewards are "socialized" to all of the bottom level employees. The huge nationwide sales force creates a "norm" and the upper management decides how much they collectively will receive for their effort. It is safe. But fairly unrewarding.

MLM on the other hand is much crueler. Each person involved will have their own unique outcome. In many cases, the "problem" with CCA that I mentioned above is "fixed". The really good, hardworking, friendly, representatives get rewarded for their persistence and diligence. The lazy slacker gets nowhere. (please, please, please note that I am not saying it the other way around... as I am about to explain)

But, because not all who succeed are the hard workers, and not all who fail are lazy losers, you have some very polar extremes.

In the pink corner, you have the ones that have learned how to manipulate the system impeccably. They are so good at it that it is impossible to tell them apart from the ones "doing it right". To speak ill of them directly is blasphemy of the worst kind. They are nearly untouchable. You have met this kind of person in other parts of your life. They are the kind that can say something without actually saying it... so that if you come back later and say, "You said xyz", they can say, "no, no, no... I would NEVER say that, I actually said, "yzx"... you must have misunderstood me". With great care, they spawn miniature versions of themselves. The "mini-me" of course is not AS careful and will get herself in trouble by saying things like "executive pay/part time hours". When (and if) this ever makes it back to the originator, they claim they never said that... and that the person who did say it, 'must have misunderstood'.

In the other corner, you have the "Crusaders for Truth". These are the ones that, unfortunately, were the victims of those in the "pink corner". Some of them were close to the "source". They were seriously manipulated from someone that "knew all the rules" and did a real number on them. Most likely, they were not only burned, they were led into burning others. Others were further from the source. They either got little burns or barely escaped getting burnt, but felt the flame nonetheless... and, understandably, want nothing to do with the flame. The problem is, for these people, this is the only Mary Kay they know. For them, that is not "a part of Mary Kay", it IS Mary Kay.

Between these two extremes, you have everyone else. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people that simply did not work hard enough. Building a client base and/or a team is hard work. Some people simply got overwhelmed and decided that a minimum wage job was a better match for them. (Some, obviously, do much better than minimum wage. I am using minimum wage to say that in some cases even the "worst case scenario" in CCA is better than MK for them) Some decide that they just don’t like sales, or recruiting, or both. Some find the “always on” aspect of things to be undesirable. But on the other side of the coin, some have found great enjoyment in being "personal use/friends and family" consultants. More skin care for less money. Some wanted a "hobby" and lost interest. Some started a hobby and turned it into a thriving business. Some started out with the intention of building big… and have done just that.

In the middle of the two extremes, you find a lot of people that feel (as I do), that Mary Kay, "is what it is". It is a business model. An opportunity. Some see it as a perfect fit for them. Others see no fit at all.

It really all boils down to you.

If you are happier in an environment where you show up at a specific time, do a specific set of things, and get a specific number on your paycheck every other week, may I recommend something in the “CCA” section?

If you prefer to blaze your own trail, and are willing to take the risk that you may blaze a trail that gets you lost or in trouble in exchange for the possibility of discovering something new and exciting (not trying to oversell the opportunity here, just trying to stay in the vein of “trail blazing”!) than I have something in the “MLM” section that you really need to see.

*Note. I am sorry if the title of this post was misleading. I know that I did not mention "well-done" or "raw" in the post at all. And I "created" the title AFTER I wrote the article, so, yeah.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fair or Unfair?

Wow! 43 votes!!! Wait a minute...


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Rent or Own?

Results from the most recent poll.

Do you rent or own your home.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Conman and the Salesman

One day, two men stroll into your town. They both need to make money to survive.

One has discovered a product that he believes will be so beneficial to the people in your community that he can establish a decent customer base. In fact, he is so confident in his product that he hopes to find a handful of people that he can train as salesman to continue distributing when he moves on to the next town. He starts out by seeking a busy corner of town. He starts up conversations, introduces himself to people, and (more importantly) introduces his product to people. Some are not interested. Some are. The ones that show interest get demonstrations. Some are impressed and place orders. He asks every person that places an order to, “please tell your friends”. As more and more people become familiar with the product he is offering, and point more and more people to him, he is able to move off the busy street corner. He keeps track of the people that bring in the most referrals. When he feels that there is sufficient interest in the product, he brings together the people that seem to be most interested in it and tell them that he is moving to the next town. But he wants a few people to continue servicing his customers in this town and expanding the customer base. He trains them how to “sell” the product, how to resolve potential problems, and how to get referrals from customers that are happy. Once he is satisfied that they will be successful in his absence he moves on to the next town.

The other man has discovered the same product. But the amount of work involved in developing a customer base is quite unsavory to him. The idea of demonstrating the product over and over again is beneath him. Dealing with objections, complaints and other customer service issues seems to big a burden to him. But he does have one talent that he doesn’t mind using. He is very persuasive. As he enters the town, he starts looking for people that might just be susceptible to his brand of persuasion. He finds a handful of people that are looking to make easy money, convinces them of the merits of his product, promises all kinds of things (training, leads, customer service support… anything they ask, he promises that they will get it), and talks them into taking out substantial loans to cover the cost of becoming distributors for him. As you may have guessed, once he has the money in hand, he is gone. Never to be seen again. Remember? The “work” is not worth it to him. There are thousands of towns in the U.S. and, as the saying goes, “there is a sucker born every minute”.

Now let’s just say that the product they were both offering was Mary Kay. Let’s further say that after both men leave town, a crisis develops.

It seems that the handful of people working for the salesman and the handful of people working for the conman have a few disagreements about the product they are selling and more specifically about the support that they get.

The bottom line is that the conman ought to get dragged back into town and forced to repay the money that he (essentially) robbed from these hapless victims. Unfortunately, the only person that can be “reached for comment” is the salesman. The one that actually cares about the product and the success of his team is forced to “answer” for the actions of the conman.

The handful that got conned blast the salesman for being a part of a company that allows “these things to happen”.

He counters, “I didn’t do these things and I don’t support them, but I do really believe in this product.” He also mentions, “The company that manufactures these products will allow you to return your product for 90% of your original investment.”


It is an unfortunate truth about human nature that some people will try to “get something for nothing” and will use any opportunity they can to do so.

It is also unfortunate that people that have been burned, because they need to ‘blame someone’, will assign the blame anywhere that it will land. The conman is long gone (or has a bulletproof defense) and so can’t be pressured into making restitution.

The moral of this story?

Same as my purpose for this site.

This is a place that the collective representation of honest salesmen (for MK) can be informed of the tricks of the collective conmen by those that were conned and do their best to resolve the problems created by the aforementioned group of conmen.

Happy 4th of July... Again!

mk4me got to say it early... but NOW it is officially the 4th. Time to celebrate our independence.

To all of my fantastic readers, thank you for your participation and have a wonderful 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Oh what a world we live in.

How incredibly complex a subject is racism.

The fanatical, bigoted, passionate beliefs of some people still shocks me.

How incredibly and unfathomably ignorant is it to hate someone you don't know, based on a trait as innocuous as the color of their skin.

Yet here we are, in the age of "enlightenment" arguing over what should or should not be considered offensive.

Consider this recent report from CNN's Political Ticker.

Also, check out this video about the same controversial situation.

I hope you will follow the links above to get a better idea of what I am talking about, but in case you don't have time, I will summarize.

CNN reports:

A Japanese cell phone company has pulled one of its television ads that used a monkey that appears to portray Sen. Barack Obama.

The commercial opens with a crowd rallying behind a well-dressed monkey speaking from a podium. The supporters are cheering and waving signs that say “Change.” In the ad, the monkey was encouraging users to change providers.

CNN adds:

The company behind the ad, eMobile Ltd., insists it had no idea of any racial undertones and says the ad was just a nod at Obama’s worldwide popularity.

Eric Gan, president of eMobile, points out that their company’s mascot is a monkey – an animal revered in Japan — and has been used in previous ads.

“When we saw the idea for the first time, it was ‘Hey, you're copying the idea from the presidential election in the U.S.’ Yes, but, you know, that's how you make a presentation. How you make an impact. We thought it quite was interesting,” he said.

Bloggers immediately voiced their disapproval of the ad and accused the company of being racist.

Gan says the company was unaware of how the ad might be interpreted, but “now, of course, we know.”

You really should visit the article, and look at all the comments about this. It is unbelievable. Comments ranging from, "I don't see what the big deal is" (If you watched the video, most of the Japanese people that saw the ad didn't even connect it with Obama at all.) to "Karl Rove must be behind this".

Here is a snapshot

William Ayers July 2nd, 2008 11:19 am ET

Ironically, the monkey has more executive experience and more solid stances on issues than Obama.

W.H. Thomas July 2nd, 2008 11:20 am ET

After spending 1.5 years in Japan, I can honestly say as an African American, that Japanese citizens know very little about racism. It is good to know that Obama is popular in Japan.

Tom July 2nd, 2008 11:20 am ET

Karl Rove nonsense is baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

lil July 2nd, 2008 11:21 am ET

Believe me they knew that their were racial undertones they just didnt
care or was trying to make a startment. Either way I dont like it.

not important July 2nd, 2008 11:21 am ET

Maybe they should do an ad about Pearl Harbor? Just rude and stupid ad. Obama should sue them.

joe July 2nd, 2008 11:21 am ET

Karl Rove and republicans must be stooping a new low!

How does something like this get turned into such a big deal? An ad made in Japan, designed for Japanese consumers and aired in Japan accidentally has racial undertones to it. The Japanese company is informed that some people might see it that way. In order to NOT offend anyone, they pull the ad off the air. Done. A little embarrassing, maybe, but does it really call for international finger wagging?

I genuinely think they were paying Obama a compliment. I see nothing in that ad that would suggest that they were trying to subliminally undercut his accomplishments by comparing him to a monkey. Especially when you consider that the monkey is highly revered in that culture.

Now that I have taken the time to "set the stage", I don't have much time to really rant, so I will try to keep it short.

Few things irritate me as much as seeing people that are out there trying to accomplish something take cheap shots from people that apparently have nothing better to do. In this case, it is a cell phone company trying to be creative in their hopes to convince consumers to switch to their company. I am not saying that it is a noble cause or anything, just that they are out there "doing their job" and made a slight misstep. When it was pointed out, they rectified the situation. Why continue to harass them about this?

Some of you may already know where I am going with this.

For those of you still scratching your heads, there is a little website that we talk about here from time to time. It is called Pink Truth. SOME of the people on that site seem to just LOVE to do this very thing. For instance, when Mary Kay donated some items to a holiday gift drive at Christmastime many joined the chorus of criticism suggesting that the gifts were no good, or not genuine enough, or not admissible because they reported the retail value instead of the wholesale value.

So what does the international criticism of this poor Japanese mobile company have to do with Pink Truth and Mary Kay?

Glad you asked.

Today, amidst the usual clatter of unintelligible drivel that is based on conclusions made from bizarre logic, there was this critique from The Scribbler:

Now I am pretty sure that I have seen some very intelligent stuff from "The Scribbler", and in fact would LOVE to have her join the discussion over here. Further, this comment (as with most of her comments) is actually a refreshing shift from the "norm" that you come to expect. Quite well done, really. Quote in italics, picture used for emphasis, makes it clear that pic was not altered, and then makes her point clearly and concisely... something I could even take lessons on.

Nicely done.

But is it necessary? Does it help any of the readers? Does it really accomplish the mission of saving women from the MLM monster? Does it really do anything to demonstrate that MLMs are monsters?

I don't think so. I say if someone wants to appeal to people that share a certain ethnicity by inviting guest speakers OF that ethnicity that is their prerogative. Perhaps a white consultant that is curious about the perspective of a black woman that rose to NSD will want to attend. It does look kind of funny AND it WOULD be deemed racist if it said "and other WHITE NSD's!" Double standard? Maybe. Something to "get up in arms" about? Probably not!


It gets better.

"magenta" says:

"OH OH!!!! Is that a RACIAL SLUR or WHAT????!!!!! AHmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I'M TELLING!!!!!!!!!! discrimination!!!!! Does this mean that only her "sistahs" can go to this event??? this is one to send to corp and ask them about their discrimination policies!!! off with her head!!!"

" with her head!!!"....??????? WHAT? Are YOU kidding me?

"pinkprisonbreak" adds:

"...Honestly, the double standard just kills me!! So her eyes, black NSD's are better and more desirable than white....unbelievable...why does the race card get pulled?"

You got the sense that she thinks that

" NSD's are better and more desirable than white..."

???? From THAT???? Seriously????

And by the way, the "race card" gets "pulled" when someone accuses someone else of being racist or using racism. Which is what you guys are doing. So you should ask yourself... and all your friends... why YOU are pulling the race card over this. Not the other way around.

Queen of Section 2 intones:

"It is reversed discrimination. But white people better not complain or they'll be viewed as a white supremacist. "

Uh, maybe you are right... YOU shouldn't be complaining. It says that there will be other Black NSD's there. It doesn't say "White's not welcome".

"chaine2" (who refers to herself as "AA") says it quite nicely:

"...I think it does matter to AA consultants. I was recruited by a lady that was in several MLM's before she got started in MK (she was recruited by an AA national that was recruited by GMB). She confided to me that she didn't like the other MLM's b/c there wasn't a lot of product and/or advertising geared toward AA and also that there weren't a lot of blacks in 'management' positions. She quoted to me that about 20% of the NSD's in MK are black. To an AA that represents a great opportunity to achieve success..."

I severely summarized her comment there, but I think she makes a good point.

Long post, I know (what else is new), but I really want to know what you guys think about all this.

Obviously, racism is not dead. It probably will not be for a long time.

Why (or how) do people find such hate and contempt for other people? (racism question in general)

Was the Japanese ad offensive?

Should people be wasting their time pointing their fingers at this kind of innocuous stuff? The Japanese ad? The "8 hours of power with GMB - and other Black NSD's" concept?

Should I be wasting my time complaining about people that waste their time pointing their fingers at this kind of stuff?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Hello everyone, just wanted to wish everyone a very fun and safe Happy 4th of July.
Make sure you don't forget your sunscreen.
I am leaving on a few days vacation so I will rejoin everyone next week.
Now, play nice. TTFN mk4me

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!
If you want to email me:
But you are probably better emailing mk4me: