Is Mary Kay Worth It?
Nearly everyone has heard of Mary Kay, but is it worth becoming a Mary Kay independent consultant? In this Mary Kay review we’ll find out if Mary Kay is worth signing up to as a consultant. We will answer the question ‘is Mary Kay a scam or legit’?
Mary Kay is a multi level marketing (MLM) company in the cosmetics niche. In most MLMs, there are two main ways you can earn money:
- By selling a product that is not sold in retail stores. In order to obtain the product you must order through a consultant, or on a consultant’s website, and
- By receiving commissions from the sales of your downline (i.e. people you recruit into your network)
What this means is you need to able to sell loads of products to people. If you genuinely want to be successful in a MLM company, you need to be recruiting new distributors who are also selling a lot of products – so the people you recruit need to be great at what they do. As well as selling products, you need to be able to sell the ‘lifestyle opportunity’ as well.
Let’s take a look at Mary Kay.
Some basic information about Mary Kay:
- Website: https://www.marykay.com/
- Founded by: Mary Kay Ash
- In operation since: 1963
- Price to join: $100 for the business kit plus tax and shipping
- Recommended: Yes, but only if you like MLMs, you know exactly what you’re getting into and have extensively researched the ‘opportunity’, and have previous experience and success in MLMs
My Mary Kay review will take you through the following sections:
- What is Mary Kay and how does Mary Kay work?
- How do you get paid with Mary Kay?
- Is Mary Kay legit?
- My recommended way of making money online
What is Mary Kay and how does Mary Kay Work?
I remember hearing about Mary Kay when I was younger. It must have been in the 90s. There was a piece about them on a lifestyle type show, and I remember seeing these absolutely gorgeous women with big hair, all made up and looking fabulous, with their pink Cadillac and I thought ‘wow – they must have an amazing life!’ Little did I know how hard they would have worked to get to where they were in the company.
Mary Kay has been around for decades and is well-established in the cosmetics industry, and is one of the most well-known network marketing companies internationally. In fact, Mary Kay makes it into the top 10 best makeup brands according to consumeraffairs.com. That’s impressive given that the 9 other brands listed are all sold in retail stores, and Mary Kay is the only one sold through independent consultants.
Their product line covers:
- Skin care
- Make up
- Body and sun
- Men’s range
The products have a reputation of being high quality, and they are a very affordable price point in the market. In fact, Mary Kay spend millions of dollars each year in product testing, research, performance, and safety. There is a money-back guarantee on their products, which can be an exchange, a substitution or a complete refund if buyers are not satisfied. They are proud to stand by their products. I’ve never actually used a Mary Kay product myself (it’s not big in my part of the world) but I am led to believe that the quality is top-notch.
See here some tips for success from Mary Kay’s top salesperson Gloria Mayfield Banks:
The Mary Kay Compensation Plan
With Mary Kay, you can earn via selling product, commissions, dovetailing, and awards.
I could not locate a compensation plan on the Mary Kay website. This is not a good sign. In my view, any decent company that relies on their consultants earning commissions needs to be crystal clear about what they are offering. How can anyone reasonably sign up for a job without knowing how and when they will get paid, and what the requirements are in order to actually earn money?
Some information I could find (not on the Mary Kay website but by trawling the internet) is as follows:
Independent Beauty Consultant
- qualified once you paid for your $100 starter kit
- get paid for customer orders and reorders of 50%
Senior Beauty Consultant
- need 1 to 2 active personally sponsored reps
- you must be active
- earn 4% of personal team commissions and from orders and reorders
Star Team Builder
- need 3 to 4 active personal team members
- you must be active
- $50 will be paid as a bonus when you sponsor your 4th team member
- 4% personal team commissions
- need 5 to 7 active personal team members
- you must be active
- earn 9% or 13% personal team commission and team-building bonuses
Future Independent Sales Director
- earn the exact same as the team leader, with non monetary perks like recognition
- need 8 or more personally sponsored reps
- you must be active
Independent Sales Director-in-Qualification
- 4% 9% 13% on all personal team commissions, and from customer orders and reorders
- you must be active
Independent Sales Director
- get paid a bit more with a leadership bonus
- all prior earning possibilities plus a Sales Director unit volume of sales generated from all sales directors at 10% but for a qualifying level (I’m not sure I really understand what I just wrote!! But I can’t look up the source compensation plan to verify this for you.)
- you can qualify for the Cadillac car program and extra bonuses that are paid out when your team advances
Independent National Sales Director
- you are qualified for monetary perks like the car bonus and company pools, and more (see this pdf – note that it is dated 2014)
Then the levels are:
Independent Senior National Sales Director
Independent Executive National Sales Director
Independent Elite Executive National Sales Director
Thanks to the following sources for this information:
To be eligible for commissions, consultants must be active themselves and have at least one active recruit during the relevant period. Consultants are considered active in a particular month (and two months after) when they place at least $450 retail orders ($225 in discounted wholesale orders) for cosmetics intended for resale during the month.
Is Mary Kay A Scam or Legit? It’s LEGIT! But…
Mary Kay has been in operation since 1963. In 2018, it had revenue of $3.6 billion dollars. It is one of the largest direct sellers of skin care and cosmetics globally. Mary Kay products are sold in more than 40 markets around the world, and its global independent sales force exceeds 3.5 million people.
The company is clearly legitimate.
Multi Level Marketing (MLM) is also a legitimate business model and Mary Kay is no different. Whilst it isn’t for everyone, you can earn money. It is all about moving as much product as possible for maximum income, and recruiting others to do the same.
Mary Kay is not accredited but does have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). At time of writing there were some customer complaints against Mary Kay that had all been responded to by the company.
I’m very disappointed about the lack of clarity on the Mary Kay website about the compensation plan. I think this shows a lack of transparency (and a lack of decency).
What you REALLY need to know about MLMs
It’s important to know a few statistics about MLMs.
Jon Taylor PhD, in “The Case For (and Against) Multi-level Marketing” published by the FTC, researched MLMs and his research found:
- In the first year of operation, a minimum of 50% of representatives drop-out.
- After five years of operation, a minimum of 90% of representatives have left the company.
- By year 10, only those at or near the top have not dropped out – approximately 95% of representatives have dropped out by then.
I can only assume that Mary Kay follows this same pattern. However, the interesting thing about Mary Kay is that they do NOT publish any income disclosure statements. I see this as a red flag. I had to really dig to find income disclosure statements for Mary Kay, and all I could find were statements from Canada:
“In 2018, there were over 29,500 members of the independent sales force of Mary Kay Cosmetics Ltd. in Canada. Of the 3,701 who were in the sales force for at least one year and who earned commissions, 47.1% earned commissions in excess of $100. Of the 447 of those who were Mary Kay Independent Sales Directors, the top 50% earned commissions during the year of $20.378 to in excess of $100,000. Of the 16 of those who were Mary Kay Independent National Sales Directors, 56.3% earned commissions during the year in excess of $100,000.”
Let’s take a closer look at those figures.
- There were approximately 29,500 independent consultants. Only 3,701 were there for at least a year AND earned commissions. This is only 12.5% of consultants. That means that 87.5% of Mary Kay consultants either didn’t stay around for a year, or they did stay for a year but still didn’t earn anything.
- They say that 47.1% of this small group who did earn, earned in excess of $100. This equates to approximately 1,743 consultants. So of all the consultants who started (29,500 of them) only 5.9% earned at least $100 for the entire year. This is absolutely pitiful.
- What they haven’t discussed is earnings in between, and I can only guess they haven’t because they are as woeful as the above.
- The group of 447 they refer to as Independent Sales Directors, with the top 50% earning between $20.378 to in excess of $100,000, this actually means that the bottom 50% earned less than $20,378. So what did they earn then? Somewhere between $101 and $20,377. Well I guess we’ll never know.
- Whilst there are 16 people in the highest ranks – they say only 56.3% of this group earned in excess of $100,000 – that’s 9 people. Consider that for a moment – 9 people out of 29,500.
Remember these figures when you are considering joining Mary Kay – are you in the top 9 out of 29,500 people??
Would you prefer a genuine online business?
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Have you had any experience with Mary Kay or with other MLMs? What did you think?
If you have any comments or questions please leave them below, and I’m always happy to help you out.