What Is Mary Kay MLM?

By Strahinja | Not Recommended

Aug 28
what is mary kay mlm

If you like pinkyou may like Mary Kay cosmetics.

If you haven’t heard of the company and their pink Cadillac rewards, you may be asking what is Mary Kay MLM? This company is a multi-level marketing firm that uses independent dealers to market and sell their Mary Kay cosmetics.

Pink is their trademark color. Just about everything comes in the color pink. Then if you like cosmetics, you may like the Mary Kay brand. It is found throughout the world and is about the 6th largest MLM company in the world.

Becoming Successful In MLM Company Is Really Hard

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A Little History About Mary Kay

This company was founded by Mary KayAsh in Addision Texas in 1963. Along with her son, Richard Rogers, she set up the company using the MLM or multi-level marketing business plan.

what is mary kay mlm

This business plan helped Mary Kay market her cosmetics quickly.  The late Mrs. Ash called her sales representatives beauty consultants and they are to put on a mini beauty pageant in potential customer homes.

In a short 10-year span from their inception, the Mary Kay brand went from having 318 beauty consultants to over 21,000 representatives. With over 3 ½ million beauty consultants working for them today, Mar Kay Cosmetics earns about 3 ¼ billion dollars every year.

Like other MLM corporations, the bulk of Mary Kay revenues come from their overseas operations. Foreign countries are more receptive to MLM style business plans than America is.

Right now, Mary Kay is in about 35 different countries of the world 50 years after their humble beginnings.

The Pink Cadillacs

This is something you may find hard to believe, but Mary Kay did use pink Cadillacs to help promote her products and reward her sales representatives.  She bought her first one in 1968 and since that time the company has leased out over 100,000 of them. But there is a catch.

what is mary kay mlm

It is a little difficult to explain but the use of the pink cars came through 2-year leases. In 1969 only 5 of the top sales reps were awarded a new 1970 model. If the representative decides to sell the car after purchasing theirs, they can only sell to authorized Mary Kay dealers. But the cars have to be repainted.

Over the years, the company has introduced a variety of car models as incentive to their beauty consultants to sell. Or they can get a monthly cash reward. The catch is they have to keep their sales up to keep the use of the cars or cash.

While there are these options, the pink Cadillac remains the top prize for those beauty consultants who sale $100,000 of product every year.

The Mary Kay Products

Like any cosmetic company, Mary Kay targets women. Their product line up focuses on helping women look their best all the time. As you look over their product offering, you will see a nice line up of skin care items, color cosmetics, and body care.

what is mary kay mlm

There are also products for sun protection, nail care and perfumes. The prices for these beauty products can range and an example of that range would be between $5 and $35. Some products will tip the price scale at over $110 dollars and your cost will depend on which one you buy.

The company does have a web page dedicated to special offers, so you can get some of their products at a discounted rate.

Signing Up At Mary Kay

Like all other MLM companies, signing up at Mary kay is simple and easy. But there are a few twists to be a beauty consultant for the firm. After sign-up, you must purchase your starter kit. This kit costs $100.

what is mary kay mlm

This is normal for most MLM companies, yet there is a twist with Mary Kay. After purchasing your starter’s kit, you have 3 months to purchase $200 more of products. We should say that you need to purchase that amount of product every 3 months if you want to remain with the company.

If you don’t and your membership is suspended, you have to spend $200 on product just to get reinstated again. For this you get retail sized products to show your friends, samples to help turn potential customers into paying ones and sales tips.

Also, you get access to the following items: “your very own Mary Kay® Personal Web Site, your digital personal assistant myCustomers®, the Mary Kay InTouch® website just for Independent Beauty Consultants, the Mary Kay® Virtual Makeover App, eCatalogs, social media tools and more!”

Can You Make Money At Mary Kay?

What is Mary Kay MLM without the opportunity to make money? Nothing. So, the opportunity is there if you work hard enough and do not have a lot of competition. Also, you can make a lot of money if you recruit a lot of beauty consultants who recruit more beauty consultants and so on.

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But they all must come with the same desires, drive and passion you have. If not, your are not going to earn that money Mary Kay superiors have said could be earned if you worked hard.

The company does state that you could earn up to 50% commissions on sales. But like everything else about Mary Kay, there is a catch to that. You need to submit $400 in sales in 3 months to get that much commission.

Some people pay that much money just to earn access to that commission level. They are out about $500 even before they make a sale. On top of that, you may have to pay an annual renewal fee to keep your membership current and active.

There are other hidden fees that we will not go into here, but you can do some research to find out what they are. Making money seems to be only accessible to higher ups who have been with the company for many years.

The Upside Of Working At Mary Kay

Even an MLM company like Mary Kay cosmetics has its share of upsides. Here is a list of some of those to give you the idea of why working for this company is so attractive:

  • You get to be your own boss
  • No experience is needed
  • No educational standards to meet
  • No hiring or firing of staff or other employees
  • You have a high-income potential
  • You get to work from home
  • You get to work your own hours
  • You get some training
  • You get some support

The Downside Of Working For Mary Kay

If there are upsides to a company, then there are some downsides that should have you thinking twice about joining. Here are some of those downsides:

  • You have to recruit more beauty consultants to make money
  • You are recruiting your own competition
  • You have to pay an annual membership fee
  • You have to pay for a starter’s kit
  • Your commissions may not be paid the way you think they will be paid
  • You may not get your commission due to regulations and requirements
  • It is an MLM company
  • You have a lot of competition you didn’t recruit
  • You must meet monthly and quarterly sales levels
  • And more

Also, about 98% of Mary Kay beauty consultants leave the company. The downsides are the main reasons why. The hype told to them did not match up with the reality and they did not profit from their hard effort.

One of the big turn offs to Mary Kay and other MLM companies is that you spend a lot of time seeking out people to recruit, buying expensive product to sell, and going to events and you get nothing in return.

You may leave the company losing more than you made. A lot of what you experience in this company and other MLM corporations is brainwashing.

The Atmosphere At Mary Kay

This is an important point to discuss as it can affect your work environment if you sign up as a beauty consultant. As you know, the atmosphere at any company comes from the top down.

what is mary kay mlm

The culprits at Mary Kay will be the higher ups as they have set the no negativity zone mentally in the company. In other words, the bosses have stated that negative thoughts and words are banned.

This all positive, all optimistic attitude can be a bit disturbing especially when beauty consultants try to express real concerns or constructive criticisms. What happens in this type of atmosphere is that problems and other negative issues get ignored, swept under the rug or dismissed without a concern.

what is mary kay mlm

The lack of level-headed thinking and common sense is that those beauty consultants who raise their concerns are accused of trying to poison the company. Or you could be accused of trying to steal someone else’s dream of reaching financial success.

This is not a healthy environment to work in. But it is found in parts of the Mary Kay corporation and other MLM companies. While you do need a positive attitude, that attitude should not ignore real concerns but instead, help to solve those issues as they arise.

Mary Kay Does Have A Good Side

Like Avon, there is a charitable wing to the company. Their main giving interests lie with cancer research. They also give money to anti domestic violence groups to help stem the flow of violence against women.


How much is given is not known but it should amount to a large amount of money. If you can look past the company’s animal testing practice then you might see Mary Kay Cosmetics in a good light.

Also, Mary Kay Cosmetics fired a director for not meeting her sales quota for 3 months. The reason the director didn’t meet her quota was because she was suffering from cancer. Mary Kay won the eventual lawsuit.

A Better Alternative

Mary Kay as described sounds like a very stressful place to work. Even after purchasing your starter kit, you still have the pressure to sell or you get booted from the company. Beside the no negativity zone pressure, this attitude causes a lot of stress.

There is some good news though. You can shoot for financial freedom, be your own boss and avoid a lot of the stress and negativity that comes from working for Mary Kay. You can join a growing affiliate marketing industry that takes a lot of stress out of making additional income.

affiliate program

You get to be your own boss, set your own hours and other benefits that come with working for an MLM company. But, without the high upfront costs, the cost of training, the lack of return on your time investment and without purchasing starter kits, etc.

Affiliate marketing has a growing audience and it can be done in most countries of the world, including America, without being accused of being involved in a pyramid or MLM scheme. You do not have to recruit anyone to make more money either.

affiliate marketing

All you are is a salesman who represent other people’s products and you can do that through your own website. Once you are set up and employ the right strategies, you have hundreds of thousands of products and niches you can represent.

You can even make money while on vacation. You still make a commission, but that money is yours to keep and you do not send apportion of it upstairs to supervisors, etc.

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer

There is a lot to consider when thinking about starting a new career as an affiliate marketer. That is why we are here to help.

If you want to see how affiliate marketing works and feels like, start your free training from the button below.

Affiliate marketing is a lot easier to do than MLM employment and without recruiting anyone, you may keep your friends and have a great social life.


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Thank you for reading.


About the Author

Hi there. I'm just a regular guy that worked many different jobs before finding out about affiliate marketing. Decided to give it a try, followed the instructions, worked hard and started making money online. Here to help you achieve same thing. Working from home is possible if you have the proper training and people.

  • Mike says:

    Thanks so much for this detailed review.

    I do see that Mary Kay is a legit opportunity but I’m not a massive fan of having to recruit people to make it work.

    Like you say there are much better alternatives out there so I will be sure to check out your recommendations.

    Thanks again

  • Kevin says:

    Great website and superb review!

    Seeing the downsides of MLM, I’m not going to be trying it out. However, it’s good to see you’re recommending something else, which I might check out.

    Have a great day, Strahinja!

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