November 3, 2006

The Big Pink


I went to my first Mary Kay party last night and yes, my checkbook fell victim. I was egged on by all the comments you guys left on my make-up post a few months ago to actually spend more than $5 on cosmetics. If I get leprosy from this goop, you guys owe me some big bucks. Keep an eye open for a Paypal Tip Jar on my blog if my skin has all fallen off by Christmas.

The Mary Kay party was not at all what I expected. The rep spent the first hour indoctrinating us about how working for MK was the dream career. I discovered later that if a rep recruits me she gets some of my commission so it's just as important for her to sell products as it is to recruit fresh blood. She had only been working for MK for 6 weeks but seemed totally convinced that it was the pink path to exaltation. She threw some interesting tidbits at us - like that Mary Kay is the most profitable direct sales make-up company in the world. That they have a huge market in Asia and Russia. That the sales representatives make a 50% commission of any sales or reorders they engineer. You are under no pressure to perform, it's all what you feel like doing on any particular day since you are your own boss. The cars aren't ALL pink. You get really nice cash and gift rewards all the time. I admit, I was interested. I'm a trick seal at heart and love being rewarded for hard work. I probably work harder for a candy bar than I would for a ten dollar bill.

For a few strange hours last night I dreamt of being a Mary Kay saleswomen. Luckily, my brain woke up and begged me to do my research. After a quick peek online I found enough negative feedback from saleswomen to deter me from this bizarre aspiration. I don't even wear makeup let alone push it on the weak and ugly. Heck, I'm lucky if I remember to brush my teeth in the morning. One summer I worked at this garden store, Smith and Hawken. My main job was to sell overpriced teak furniture to rich women but I didn't sell a piece the entire summer. In fact, I secretly talked a few women out of wasting their money on our pompous products. Not only did I fail in sales, but I accidentally broke one of their expensive teak display pieces. My boss didn't encourage me to come back the next summer. Shocker. If you don't believe in a product, you simply cannot sell it. And I don't yet believe in makeup. I would like to, but don't. But as I said earlier, I did buy some products last night to improve my skin and maybe I'll have a revelation in a few weeks when I start looking 15 again and decide I want to hawk the stuff. Maybe, but not likely.

I was surprised at how loud the voice against working for Mary Kay is on the internet. There seemed to be way more sites dogging the gig than there were supporting it. I know that this isn't a fair way to go about "research," but the fact that I was so easily talked out of this new career suggests that I wouldn't have been a good rep in the first place.

The representative said that 10% of women use Mary Kay cosmetics. I found this very hard to believe given the cost of their products. Can I see a show of hands out there from women who use Mary Kay products and testimonials as to how "worth it" they really are? My checkbook needs some affirmation that it did the right thing. Spike, baby, if you are reading this post, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. But honey, I do have my own job now.


A Payne said...

...the pink path to exaltation.. tee hee hee.

I was a Mary Kay investigator. I had party, went to one of their pow wow's and decided that the make-up and the gig was not for me. I did win a hundred dollar drawing though, I split it with my big sis.

Anonymous said...

the reason there are more people talking about how bad it is then ones talking about how good it is, is because the ones making money are out there working and the ones who are not are sitting on the computer complaining that no one is knocking on thier door to buy the product when they havent told a soul they were selling it...
its an awesome co. Ive been in it for 9 years, totally self supporting at 27. 100% on my own working only Mary Kay.
It is what you make of it, you put your 40 hours a week into this as you would any other job, however the opportunity for success and money is far greater than any company out there. It does take a little discipline to work the business as I do, however most women dont come into Mary Kay for the career, they want extra money to make in a fun way in thier time.
so go for it, what do you have to loose?
It only costs 100... I am sure you have spent that on a pair of shoes youve that spent most of the time in a closet.
(ps incase you are curious, I get alerts in my email when MK is mentioned and it brought me to your site, kinda felt like i should share, something i never do anyway, so go for it!

Samantha said...

Wow, that's a weird comment - somebody you don't know reading your blog. That creeps me out but shouldn't suprise me, being that this is the internet. Especially when they are very obviously selling you something. (Even though they'd respond and say 'hey I don't even know this person, I wouldn't get anything out of her joining!')

Sales I think can be for some people. But I'm not that person. I tried it this summer at a furniture store and I liked the job a lot but I don't think I could have been a salesperson for very long. This is mean, but most successful salespeople I've met have a lot of fakeness in them. Correct me if I'm wrong, b/c I'm totally willing to change my mind on that.

I went to an MK party before when I was like 17 and they did the same "work for us" shpeel. I had a friend who sold avon and it brought in a little extra money. I think it could be a career if you worked hard enough.

As for the makeup, I am a HUGE makeup person. I swear on Clinique. Spending a little extra money on makeup is totally worth it to me. But...not THAT much. I don't know how much MK is and I don't have enough experience with it to say much. I had some lip gloss of theirs one, and face wash, and it was fine but I don't remember being blown away.

Also I wonder with many people who work at makeup counters and for mary kay, etc., do they have any makeup knowledge other than that one or two training meetings? B/c in my experience like 50% of the time they don't know s about makeup.

Sarah said...

Hey, don't dog the anonymous commenters! I love comments in any form. Probably because I am one of those people who goes around to random blogs leaving piles of unsolicited comments in my wake. Why else would I put it all out there on the internet if I didn't want strangers reading and reacting? In fact, over half of the people who leave comments on this blog I have no real-world connection to but am so glad they left a comment to start a connection (a payne, you're great!)

But the whole MK thing comes down to me being lazy I guess. I'm not in dire need of the money, already have a pretty acceptable part time job and am expecting baby #2 so there's no real drive to get into something new.

payne - my silly rep didn't get the memo about giving out checks at the party. Who do I talk to?

Lisa M. said...

Oh goodness.

J-Rod said...

Sarah, you should do what this girl in my ward did. Just start your own cosmetic line! There's way more money in that than selling someone else's stuff. You can check her out at

AngelaM said...

I think some people are salespeople and some aren't. And some can be good salespeople because they really believe in what they are selling. Others aren't so good because they can't bring themselves to use persuasive measures to get friends to spend $100 on something they don't really want or need. Most of my Mary Kay purchases have been out of guilt for taking up my friend's time...getting her hopes up.

Anywho. I am a Clinique girl although I have dabbled in Lancome and Estee Lauder and even Loreal (their Volumious mascara is as good as any $15-$20 tube). I have used Mary Kay cleansing products. They made my skin feel nice and the eye makeup remover works very well (but, Clinique still wins out for me). And I have used some of their make-up. The colors don't last as long as the Clinique but cost almost as much. The eyeshadow creases kinda fast. And nothing beats my Estee Lauder Intense Lip Creme.

Also, it is a pain to have to order. I usually head to Macy's when I have scraped the very last drop of product out with a Q-tip. When I need it, I need it NOW!

Wow. I didn't know I had so much to say about Mary Kay! This might be longer than my response to your first makeup post!

stacey said...

haha, my mary kay sales-chicks have been so low-key. or apathetic.

actually, i think it was a lot closer to apathetic. the first chick i dealt with pretty much acted as her sorority house's resident crack/makeup dealer, so she never had to worry about business, but her "supervisor" wanted her to get new leads. so my roommates and i invited her over and figured we'd at least get to give ourselves facials.

since then i've discovered the best foundation in the whole world as far as i'm concerned, because it actually matches my skintone.

but yeah. when you get right down to it, it's just makeup. AND. i found this journal/blog/whatever through the NaBloPoMo randomizer.

Anonymous said...

when i was in college there was a lot of MLM stuff going around. i was very happy when a good friend of mine taught me that you will be a lot happier in the long run if you never NEVER try to make money off of your family and friends. I think that Mary Kay is one of the more low key MLMs, but still, your friends and fam always wonder how much of their money you are pocketing and what your intentions are when you invite them over.

amanda said...

I think that Mary Kay is better than the grocery store stuff because you can try it out and see if you like it, not to mention make a better match on foundation products. But I would choose an experienced department store lady over the 6-week Mary Kay semi-trained saleswoman anyday.

Anyway, it is nice to support your friend and you will most likely be happy with your products. I always think that it is funny that first they tell you how much money you can make on all of your levels and THEN sell the high priced product to you right when they told you they were getting half of that in commission and their supervisor is taking her cut too. It doesn't take long to wonder if the product is a little overpriced.

that first anonymous lady was right about comment boards though. they are only for the complainers. but go with your gut instinct.

Dalene said...

Hi Sarah -- here from Wayward Waif. I am working my way up through the NaBloPoMo blog list and have not gotten to the Hs yet but am glad to have found your blog ahead of time. I cannot help you with Mary Kay but I did vote. I want to know the REAL reason you left Utah because I like knowing the REAL reason any of us do anything we do and I appreciate someone who has taken the time to figure it out. Your answers to Christian objections to Halloween made me smile. The link to the Al Queda recruitment video made me laugh. Truly enjoyed my visit.

Suzie Petunia said...

Yes, I use Mary Kay products: the FREE SAMPLES that I nab at parties! ...until they run out.

It takes a special kind of person to do multi-level marketing. I guess I'm just not that special. I could never do it in a million-billion years!

Jippy said...

Ok, My mom gives me some gift box of bath or face stuff and it's still unopened in the pink box it comes in. HMMM I wonder if I can re-gift them this holiday season? I am having a cash only Christmas this year. I hear Avon face cream rocks and they have some lotion that keeps mosquitos away. LOL
Thanks for commenting on the jippyjabber.

Adrienne said...

Dude, I like MK, but stay FAR AWAY from the foundation. It made the skin under my eyes peel.

The mascara is the bomb, though.

kaff said...

I'm a Lancome girl... when I put make-up on. Go with what feels best, you always look great!

bethany said...

wow, huge response here. ok, i love the mk foundation. i have tried every highn priced variety out there and the mk one is the best i have found. as for regular makeup... i SWEAR by bobbi brown. it is fantastic! you can get it at neimans or nordstrom. hmm.. funny that we are all talking about this sarah for your benefit when you wont even convert to the five minute make up treatment daily, well, then again, neither will i

chronicler said...

Doesn't that picture of MK kind of look like Robin Williams in drag?

s'mee said...

O. MY. HECK! Mrs Doubtfire!!!! You're totally right! LOLOLOLOL

Janell said...

I dispise Mary Kay. Their face line (which many women tout as the best in the world) first completely dries out my face and then with the next product completely greases out my face. I used really small dabs of the product to!

Personally, I'm a fan of the Arbonne facial cleansers. I was a consultant for them for awhile just so I could sell stuff to myself. (They never reminded me to renew. I guess they prefer people to pull in money.)

When it comes to make-up, though. That's another story. I like to go with dept store counters for foundation because they help me match everything nicely (while trying to sell me more stuff) for the same price as the party sales people. Lipstick, eyeliner, poweder, blush, and eye shadow all come from the evil empire of Walmart. It's less expensive and I consider the product quality good enough. It doesn't hurt that I can find coupons and sales for those product either.