To many, my fight against Mary Kay Cosmetics is puzzling. Why would I want to waste my time with it? After all, they’re only selling lipstick. It’s a harmless company started by a little old lady 45 years ago who wanted to give women an opportunity.
WRONG! Mary Kay Inc. is anything but harmless, and that’s why it’s so important for me to continue to educate people about the company. They are running a scam that brings in $2 billion in sales to headquarters each year.
Where does this money come from? Often from those who can least afford it. The name of the game is recruiting and frontloading. Bring her in and get her to buy an inventory package of $600 to $4800 right away. (If she doesn’t buy within the first couple of weeks, the chances that she will buy anything at all go down exponentially.)
Start with the largest package and work your way down. All the while, tell the new Mary Kay consultant that she can’t be successful without a “full store” of products. Tell her that if she wants to be at “profit level” and really start bringing in money for her family, she needs a lot of products. After all, you can’t sell from an empty wagon!
Mary Kay is a recruiting scheme. The vast majority of the products sold to the consultants is never resold to an actual customer. Is it because the consultants really don’t try to sell? No! It’s because the products are of mediocre quality and are overpriced. Besides that, women have oodles of choices on the internet and in the stores. There’s just no need to go through the hassle of dealing with a Mary Kay lady, especially when you know that she’ll eventually try to recruit you and never let up!
Here are some numbers and facts that I pulled together for Pink Truth, my consumer education site about Mary Kay. Word on the street is that recruiting figures are way down in the past year, but the below numbers are the most recently reported numbers from Mary Kay Inc.
From Pink Truth:
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some real figures regarding Mary Kay and consultant turnover. We often hear pro-Mary Kay women (and their brainwashed husbands) rave that there are millions of women who have had wonderful experiences as consultants, so the company must be fantastic.
Now here’s my theory. Are women quitting Mary Kay because it was everything they wanted and more, and because they were making money doing it? Or do they quit because they are dissatisfied and are not making money? I submit to you that the reason women quit being independent beauty consultants for Mary Kay Cosmetics is by and large because of failure in the business.
I do understand that some may be perfectly happy in Mary Kay, but quit because of family circumstances or other reasons. I’m just saying that the vast majority likely quit due to a negative experience.
Over time, Mary Kay has been increasing its beauty consultant count. Now it’s important to note that this is the count of consultants at any given time, such as the year end total. The number disclosed by Mary Kay does NOT include all the women who may have come and gone during the year. Mary Kay simply picks a point in time and says “Today we have X consultants.”
In the United States, there were 500,000 consultants in 2001. In 2005, that number was 715,000. Worldwide the numbers have been growing quite a bit faster. (Hence the push to open new markets like India and the Czech Republic.) In 2002, there were 950,000 consultants worldwide. In 2005, that number was 1.6 million.
Here’s where it gets interesting and where we find out the truth about the number of consultants that Mary Kay Cosmetics churns each year. I’m using United States figures below, because of the disclosures that Mary Kay made last year.
In 2006, Mary Kay disclosed that the company had over 700,000 independent beauty consultants in the United States. This was similar to the 2005 reported figure of 715,000 consultants in the United States. This implies that at the current time, the number of consultants is staying relatively stable. (i.e. For every consultant recruited, one drops out.)
Mary Kay stated in its response to the FTC’s proposed Business Opportunity Rule , that there are 2,400,000 “disclosure opportunities” (meaning interviews) per year. That’s 200,000 women interviewed per month. Mary Kay Cosmetics further stated that there are 40,000 new recruits per month. (Thank God those other 160,000 per month said no… a total of two million women per year who turn Mary Kay down.)
At 40,000 new recruits per month…
That means that during 2006, Mary Kay Inc. recruited 480,000 women in the United States, and 480,000 women in the United States quit. Add the 480,000 quitters to the 700,000 (or so) U.S. consultants on the books at the end of the year, and we’ve got a total of 1,180,000 (yes that’s over 1 million) women in the United States who were “in” Mary Kay at some point during 2006.
What a staggering churn rate, though, isn’t it? Depending upon how you look at it… 41% of the 1,180,000 involved during the year quit. Or of those 700,000 on the books at the end of the year, 69% of them will quit in the following year. 480,000 women churned and burned in 2006.
During 2007, Mary Kay will burn through another 500,000 American women. And in 2008, they’ll burn through another 500,000. And so on every year….
Mary Kay, destroying half a million women’s lives every year.