Tune in to 20/20 on ABC on Friday October 2 for a story on the truth behind Mary Kay’s multi-level marketing “opportunity.” MLM is not a business opportunity, it’s a clever scam that has been made to look like a business. Host Rebecca Jarvis takes a look at long-time multi-level predator Mary Kay Cosmetics. Those on the side of MLM say you can make “unlimited” money on your own terms, while those who are on the opposite side have found that 99% of distributors actually lose money.
Over 9 years ago, I started the website “Pink Truth” to help educate consumers about the truth behind Mary Kay Inc. Four long-time Pink Truth members were interviewed at length for they story. They were all sales directors, and therefore part of the “top 2% of Mary Kay.” These women are part of the Mary Kay Cosmetics success story. Or are they? The truth is that the majority of the sales directors are barely making a minimum wage living, while some of them are actually losing money.
This story digs into the Mary Kay con that has been crafted and refined for over 50 years. Please take the time to watch this story. And if you have any friends or family involved in multi-level marketing, please encourage them to watch too.
All good multi-level marketing companies have one thing in common: They fail to disclose enough information to allow consumers and regulators to determine if they are in the business of recruiting or selling products. They disclose just enough facts and figures to make it appear that they are being transparent. But they hide enough information that no one could ever determine definitively if they are running pyramid schemes.
MLMs cleverly avoid the pyramid scheme issue by making it impossible to determine the level of retail sales of products to consumers. The companies effectively use the technique of plausible deniability: They purposely do not track retail sales, so when the business model is challenged with the assertion that few retail sales occur (and therefore they are recruiting schemes), executives can claim that they know no such thing!
Usana Watchdog has released a report on Usana Health Sciences, challenging the company’s failure to reveal meaningful facts and figures that would allow consumers and law enforcement to determine whether the company is running an illegal pyramid scheme. Continue reading
For more than a week, I have been enjoying the discussion ignited by Virginia Sole-Smith’s article on the pink pyramid scheme, Mary Kay Cosmetics. Naturally, Mary Kay Inc. has come forth with some flimsy excuses that do nothing to help them save face. These excuses included things along the lines of “most women don’t want to make money in Mary Kay!” and “we buy back the products if they want to quit!”.
Sadly, these excuses don’t even scratch the surface regarding the problems with multi-level marketing. The gigantic problem is that MLM is a system designed for failure. A tiny fraction of 1% of distributors make a respectable living, but only do so because the 99% below them are losing money in the scheme. Continue reading
Times must be tough over at Mary Kay. Instead of focusing on “enriching women’s lives” as the company is so fond of saying, they’re instead busy running around suing all kinds of people. A couple of weeks ago, Mary Kay filed suit against Yahoo for including advertisements with Mary Kay keywords in their email service. Continue reading
The Salt Lake Tribune
By Steven Oberbeck
In the world of Mary Kay cosmetics, Gladis Camargo of Riverton is a superstar. During the past 13 years, Camargo has built up a marketing organization of nearly 40 sales directors who in turn are responsible for leading, training and motivating more than 3,000 independent beauty consultants.
Later this summer, she will be recognized at Mary Kay Inc.’s annual seminar in Dallas for achieving the position of “independent national sales director” – a ranking only attained by about 500 women during the company’s 44-year history.
“I fell in love with Mary Kay the first time I came into contact with it,” Camargo said through her daughter Karen Borquez, who translated from Spanish. Camargo said her first experience with the company was in 1994 when she attended a skin-care class offered by an independent consultant.
As a result, she quickly embraced the business opportunity the company offered. Continue reading
This is outrageous! Touch of Pink Cosmetics is a company that buys excess inventory from current and former Mary Kay consultants and then resells it to their customers. They basically help these people who were frontloaded with tons of product, purchasing it from them at a discount and then passing those savings on to consumers. It’s a win for everyone: consultant unloads useless overstock, customer gets a discounted product, and Touch of Pink makes a little money in the process.
But Mary Kay wants to stop the whole thing! Details on my consumer awareness site, Pink Truth.
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.) Continue reading