Have you been approached by a friend you have not seen for a long time, telling you about a great business opportunity?
Or you are just curious about this company called Marky Kay?
Well there must be something about this company, right? It has been around for more than 50 years!
Would this be a good business opportunity for you or is it just a waste of time (and money)?9
You most likely know that Mary Kay operates as an MLM company, and therefore there is a legitimate question:
Is Mary Kay a Pyramid scheme?
In the following Mary Kay MLM review, we will look at this company as a business opportunity.
I am a man and not very interested in the products Mary Kay has to offer.
What I want to find out is whether the distributors of Mary Kay make a decent living or is it really that hard to make a living.
We will mention briefly the products that Mary Kay sells, but the main focus of this review is to show whether Mary Kay (MK) is a good opportunity for you as an aspiring entrepreneur.
We are going to cover:
- What and Who is Mary Kay
- Who is this business model for
- Compensation Plan
- How much you can earn (although it is hard to estimate)
- We will touch briefly on the products and so on
Let’s get right into that.
Please note, that I am not a member or an affiliate of Mary Kay. This review is based on research and information available online in the public domain.
Any recommendations and conclusions are only opinions and may not apply to all persons or situations.
Mary Kay Overview
Name: Mary Kay
Price to Join: $100 for Starter Kit + $225 for the products each quarter
Recommended: For Women passionate about Mary Kay products, as a hobby, not as a primary source of income.
Mary Kay Review – Quick Summary
Mary Kay is a well-known MLM company. It has distributors all over the world.
Unfortunately, it is not a viable business opportunity anymore.
New candidates are promised to become independent business owners, but the reality is that they are just customers obliged to make a purchase every single month.
The only way to make money is to recruit people.
And that requires skills and experience.
More than 99% of Mary Kay’s Independent sales reps make no more than $20,000 a year.
(Income disclosure below).
Mary Kay is probably a good hobby for women that already have a different source of income.
In my opinion, there are other opportunities to generate revenue without bothering your friends and relatives.
What Is Mary Kay?
Mary Kay is a direct-selling skincare company founded in 1963. That makes Mary Kay (as a firm) one of the oldest MLM companies in the world.
It was founded by Mary Kay Ash and her son, Richard R. Rogers.
The company is based in Addison, Texas.
Its specialties are Skin Care, Cosmetics, and Beauty Products.
More than 5,000 employees are working for Mary Kay globally.
The frontline of the company is made of the distributors or Independent Beauty Consultants (IBCs) and there are more than 3 million of them in 40 countries on 5 continents.
In 2017 the company’s revenue was $3.25 Billion.
Who Is Mary Kay Ash?
Mary Kay Ash started her cosmetics company when she was 45, with $5,000 – her life savings.
It was in a time when it was not usual for a woman to start up a business.
She invested in developing and marketing a special sort of cosmetics.
Her goal was to succeed so she created a mastermind with other women who wanted to sell her products.
Mary also realized that when she gave her sales representatives a unique opportunity they responded by working hard for themselves and thus for her as well.
One of Mary’s most famous incentives was the pink Cadillacs.
She passed away in November 2001 in Dallas.
Remembered as a leader who helped many women become entrepreneurs and live better lives.
Mary Kay was ahead of her time and she created something unique and believed in the integrity and power of the woman.
She was also the author of several books. To mention a few of them, “Miracles Happen” or “You can have it all”.
Is Mary Kay A Pyramid Scheme?
This is a common question when it comes to any MLM company.
I understand that.
It is important to distinguish between an outright pyramid scheme and a legit MLM.
Many MLMs have routes in Pyramid Schemes, that’s right.
Because let’s be honest, the real money is in recruiting.
If you have a structure like this, it is obvious that the top levels earn the most, as money is being pushed that way.
A lot of MLMs have been around for decades and they operate at the borderline of being a pyramid scheme.
It was the case with Young Living as well, until only 2019 when it was officially called an illegal pyramid scheme.
My point is that there is never a clear line between the pyramid scheme and legit MLM.
Mary Kay seems to be pretty far from this border; more on the legit site of the MLM.
One thing is for sure – Mary did believe in the products and wanted to provide a lot of women with products that make them look good and feel happy.
Some may call it expensive products, but for time being it is not my point.
The point is that a lot of women appreciate Mary Kay products (and they don’t have to be Mary Kay distributors or IBCs).
On the other hand, it is important to mention that the reality is that every person who joins the MK, is sooner or later advised to create his or her own team.
Otherwise, the company would not grow as it has grown.
The product is being sold from person to person – and the more people will distribute the product, the more sales there will be.
This is the idea behind every MLM.
Legal Issues with the Mary Kay
There are no major legal issues. At least I haven’t found anything.
And even FTC goes after MLM companies, Mary Kay is considered a legit MLM company.
There is a lot of emphasis on the products, so there is no reason for FTC to go after Mary Kay.
And even if that would be the case, Mary Kay pays a lot of lawyers to stay out of the trouble.
Who Is Mary Kay for?
I believe that most men are not crazy about Mary Kay’s products.
That means that some women probably love Mary Kay products and they also want to become independent so they see this as a good business opportunity.
If you truly love what Mary Kay has to offer, then I think you should give it a try.
Once you love the products, then the sharing part goes naturally.
That is the most important attribute of any salesperson. To believe and love the product.
There is also another group of women who just like the products and don’t really care about income.
They like to talk about that, meeting other women who are passionate about the pink – but they have a different source of income.
What makes Mary Kay unique is the culture within the company; it is said that they empower women.
A Side Note – My Girlfriend’s Experience With Mary Kay
My girlfriend together with her colleague went to visit one Mary Kay session. There were other women as well, and they could have tried some samples, put some stuff on and things like that – Excuse my language, but I don’t know much about the details 🙂
The bottom line is that a colleague of my girlfriend bought one of the products because she felt like she “had to”.
It was probably the art of the Mary Kay consultant who was kind of persuasive.
My girlfriend did not. It was too expensive for her since she was still a student.
So before joining Mary Kay, you have to think a bit about how good you are with people.
That brings me to the other aspect of this business.
You must love meeting new people. Not be afraid to talk in front of new faces and still be passionate about that.
Because every person who joins is advised to contact her friends and family members.
But remember, there is a high risk of losing your friends and close ones as they are the 1st group of people you should contact.
You are taught to say that you want to share with them some info regarding the products. They may even agree to meet you for the 1st time but what happens after that, is they stop answering the phone calls and they will avoid contact with you.
Eventually, you gotta go out of your comfort zone and be ready to meet new people.
Again, You gotta love the product and the opportunity.
And you must believe in the products and the company as a whole.
What Is the Price to Join?
The reason why many people start with MLM is the goal of being independent. They either hate their 9-5 or they want to make some side income.
Becoming an MLM distributor is an easy thing to do.
That applies to Mary Kay as well.
You have to purchase a Starter Kit that costs $100.
It contains books, planners, magazines, markers, samples, stuff if you throw a party so people can see what is it about (like boards), and so on.
From what I have found out, recently it seems that it is possible to buy the starter kit for only $85.That makes it even more lucrative, but this offer I have found it on the Canadian site.
The official Starter Kit costs $100, though.
To be considered as an active Independent Business Consultant, you have to purchase every 3 months products worth of $225.
It doesn’t matter whether you are able to sell them or not.
You better plan your budget a year ahead, which means you have to be prepared to spend at least $1,000 for products only.
Products, That Mary Kay Offer
As I said at the beginning I am not an expert in skincare and cosmetics, but from the research I have done, it seems that Mary Kay products are of good quality.
Not everyone is satisfied with the products and we are going to touch on that in a bit.
Let’s go briefly over the product line; you may have used some of them.
You find a lot of stuff under this section from Acne-Prone Skin System through Age-Fighting, Eye Care, and Mary Kay Men to serum, and Oils.
Different products for different parts of the face.
- Blush and Bronzer for Cheeks
- Eyeliner and Brow for Eyes
- Primer, CC Cream, or Pressed Powder for the Face
- Lip liner, Lip Balm, or Lipstick for Lips
- And other tools, like palettes, brushes, and travel bags.
Body and Sun
Choose from Foot Care, Hand Care, Age-Fighting, Balm, Body wash, or Lotion.
Different stuff for men and women.
Two main categories under the Men’s section are Fragrance and Skin Care.
You can find gifts for teens, men, or women and they are divided also by price.
One of the bestsellers is TimeWise Miracle Set 3D.
It is a set that includes:
– 4 in 1 Cleanser
– Day Cream
– Night Cream
– Eye Cream
The entire set costs about $110.00.
If you want to get only the Cleanser, the price is $24.00
Another example from the bestsellers is, for example, the White Tea and Citrus Satin Hands Pampering Set.
The price is $36.
Mary Kay Oil-Free Hydrating Gel is non-greasy and can hydrate skin for up to 10 hours.
The price is $32.00.
What is also unique about Mary Kay is its product development.
They use several independent dermatologists to make sure that the products are of high quality.
Customer satisfaction is important. That is why Mary Kay has been around for so long – and may I add, still grows.
What Do People Say About The Products?
Regarding the products, there are different opinions, from extremely positive to extremely negative.
It is obvious that one product can’t satisfy all users, so I guess it is normal.
As I have gone through the reviews I have noticed that Mary Kay keeps changing the formula for some products and some people don’t like it.
Again, some prefer new things, while others are more conservative.
MLMs usually have a very complicated compensation plan. The same applies to Mary Kay as well.
The number of ranks and subranks is just too many, but I will try to keep it simple for you.
But don’t worry, for time being it is not important to understand every word of it.
Here is briefly, the structure of Mary Kay.
This part might be boring, so feel free to skim through it 🙂
1) Independent Beauty Consultant
- You must buy the Starter Kit for $100
- Order products worth at least $225, once per year ($450 retail)
- You can purchase products at wholesale pricing which is 50% of the retail value
- The $225 order must be every 3 months
2) Senior Beauty Consultant
- You must be active as per above (this applies to the higher levels accordingly)
- Must have 1 to 2 active personal team members
- You get a 4% commission on team orders
3) Star Team Builder
- You must have 3 to 4 members, as your downline (all of them must be active)
- You earn from sales and reorders, from team-building commissions and bonuses:
4% from personal and personal team production lower than $1,000 per month
6% commission from production ranges from $1,000 to $1,799
8% commission from production higher than $1,800
- Eligible for Bonuses ($50, and/or $100)
4) Team Leader
- Must have 5 to 7 active members (as downline)
- You can earn 9% or 13% personal team commission
- You can get team-building bonuses
5) Future Independent Sales Director
- Must have 8 or more active members
- You can earn 9% or 13% personal team commission (same as above)
- Team-Building bonus
6) Independent Sales Director-in-Qualification (DIQ) Program
There are two phases:
6.1) Prior to Entering the Program
- First of all, you need acceptance into the program by the company
- You must have at least 8 active team members, prior to submitting the Commitment Form (none of these active members can be spouses, nor current DIQ or sales director…)
6.2) DIQ Requirements
- 24 active unite members
- $13,500 cumulative unit wholesale production
- $4,000 minimum wholesale unit production each month
7) Independent Sales Director
- You can get different commissions based on wholesale production:
If wholesale production range from $0 to $4,499 the commission is 9%
If wholesale production range from $4,500 to $5,499 the commission is 13%
If wholesale production is more than $5,000 the commission is 23%
- Different bonuses
- Wellness Award Bonus of $800 to $2,000 per year for the unit wholesale production of $60,000 or more in one year
Oh, My Gush – Is there more?
8) Senior Sales Director
- Must have 1 to 2 active first-line offspring Sales Directors
9) Future Executive Senior
- Must have 3 to 4 active first-line offspring Sales Directors
10) Executive Senior Sales Director
- You must have 5 to 7 active first-line offspring Sales Directors
11) Elite Executive Senior Sales Director
- You must have a minimum of 8 active first-line offspring Sales Directors
Here is a little table of sales director titles:
12) Independent National Sales Director
There are certain qualifications a candidate must possess, for example, to demonstrate strength in operating an independent Mary Kay business.
A Candidate must have at a minimum:
- 24 unite members within the team
- total of 20 offspring Sales Direct0rs with further configurations
- Each of the 20 qualifying units must have at least 24 unit members
- out of the 20 qualifying units, at least 7 must be Premier Club or Cadillac qualifiers and at least 5 must live in the US.
And there are more (at the end of this list I will leave a link to a full compensation plan you can read if you are interested)
13) Independent Senior National Sales Director
- Must have 1 to 2 Offspring National Sales Director(s)
14) Independent Executive National Sales Director
- Must have at least 3 offspring National Sales Directors.
15) Independent Elite Executive National Sales Director
- Must have at least 5 offspring National Sales Directors.
Here is the link to the Compensation Plan (valid for 2019 and 2020) where you can go through the 50 pages long the document.
In conclusion, it is very challenging to climb up the ranks and therefore only a small percentage of people make it to the top and thus make a decent living.
There are so many requirements, “ifs”, and “when”, including external sources that you can’t control.
For example, how can you maintain your team of 5 active members?
You don’t have direct control over them. I mean, life just happens, and if one of them can’t maintain the “Active Status” for whatever reason, you drop to the lower level as well.
This is just a simple example, but there are plenty of circumstances that affect your revenue.
How Much Do Mary Kay Reps Make?
To be eligible for commission each Mary Kay distributor (or IBC) must be active, meaning to purchase the $225 worth of products and also must have at least one active recruit.
As an active member, there are 3 ways how to make money:
- Selling the products
- Recruiting other people to join MK
- Bonuses – once you reach a certain level you can get bonuses and also the pink Cadillacs (this incentive is not so pink as it looks)
Regarding the 1st point, your commission is up to 50% for each product. In other words, you buy the products (minimum $225 per quarter) for a wholesale price and you sell them for retail price.
That makes 50% profit on each product(s).
What I found disturbing is that Mary Kay does not have an earning disclosure available on its website.
It is not easy to determine objectively whether this might be a good business opportunity or not.
Now This is Interesting
However, here are some numbers that one can relate to:
In 2018, 29,500 members were active IBCs for at least a month.
The earning statistics cover only those who were active for an entire year. It makes sense since those who are not active throughout the entire year lose money.
They don’t qualify for active members since they fail either:
- to maintain the purchase worth of $225 each 3 months
- does not have an active member (for the entire year)
With that being said out of the 29,500 there are only 3,701 who were active IBCs.
The number of Regular active IBCs -> 3,701
– 47.1% of them (1,743 active members) earned a commission of more than $100.
The number of Mary Kay Independent Sales Directors -> 447
– 50% of them (about 223) earned commission from $20,378 to $100,000
The number of Mary Kay Independent National Sales Directors -> 16
– 56.3% of them (about 9 people) earned a commission of more than $100,000
To sum it up, only 0.7% of the MK members made more than $20.378 in 2018!
You can double-check the numbers, but here I share with you also the screenshot from the Canadian Mary Kay website:
These numbers were valid for 2018.
How about a year later?
2019 Mary Kay Earnings Representation
As per the Canadian Mary Kay website, 99.95% of Mary Kay’s Independent Sales Force made less than $20,137.
And please note that 98.275% made less than $206.
Is It Worth Working For Mary Kay?
Based on the numbers above, it doesn’t make sense to work for May Kay as an independent sales representative.
In other words, if you want to rely on the income you make within Mary Kay, I don’t recommend joining the company.
It pretty much corresponds with the official FTC report which it says that 99% of IBO within the MLM in general do not make any money.
But I believe there are many people passionate about these products, regardless of the earning potential. If that is your case, feel free to join and have fun.
Why Do People Lose Money?
We have covered that most of the distributors don’t make money or they even lose some.
Why is that?
We know that the real money is in recruiting. It is essential to understand how correctly sell the “opportunity” or the dream and at the same time, it is essential to handle well the rejection.
People joining Mary Kay are not professional sellers, at least most of them are not. And a person can rarely develop great skills within a few months.
Therefore people tend to quit.
And let’s be honest – Did you check the compensation plan section?
It is extremely difficult to climb up the pyramid structure, and hard work is not enough. There must be also luck involved.
How Much Is Mary Kay Worth?
We have seen that it is extremely difficult to make money as a Mary Kay consultant.
People also want to know how much money is Mary Kay Worth.
At the time of her death in November 2001, she personally was worth $98 million.
The company at that time was doing more than $1 billion in sales in more than 35 countries worldwide.
Why wealth is so badly distributed?
Because of the triangle structure (or pyramid shape if you will).
Easier Way to Start a Business (Full-Time Online?)
In my opinion, Mary Kay is good for people who love the company and its products.
But the numbers show that sometimes, even that is not enough.
You may have other passions and hobbies or interests.
Do you know how you can leverage that hobby of yours (or at least interest) -> I mean business-wise.
Create a website and learn how to monetize it.
I know, easy to say, right?
These days, more and more people go online, shop, seek advice, need help, and so on.
Let’s take a look at the other site.
You can have a website that people go to visit. That website can be for example about coffee machines or espresso makers.
They find a list of these products on your website, they learn which one is the best for them, and then they are directed from your website to let’s say Amazon.
They purchase and you receive a commission.
Now I am talking about internet marketing. More specifically, affiliate marketing.
Your question is – how can one start with affiliate marketing?
Well, if you are a newbie, I admit it is not easy (at least at the beginning).
I am not gonna lie to you – it is important to invest in knowledge and it also takes some effort and time.
I have been searching for years for a course or platform that would teach me to build a website like the one you are just at.
Let me share with you another review (Wealthy Affiliate review) of one particular platform where I have gained 90% of the knowledge I need.
You can leverage that knowledge too and create a website about any niche you want.
It can be about either furniture or monitors, or shoes. whatever you like.
There are so many niches out there:
This is just a screenshot of the Amazon website with all the categories. Each category has its sub-category and your niche can be anything from that sub-category.
Amazon is just one affiliate program. There are thousands of others, and you can join a dozen of them.
If you want to find out more about how to start an affiliate marketing business, the best way is to seek proper knowledge.
I know that a few minutes of reading does not make you a successful affiliate marketer, but if you want to find out more, I recommend checking out this educational platform.
Your success depends on your effort and the information you are going to get and apply.
What do I like About Mary Kay MLM?
- Good Support
- One of the oldest MLM companies – that means sort of stability
- Good for women who are crazy about Mary Kay products (in a positive way)
What I Don’t Like About Mary Kay MLM?
- Products are expensive
- Difficult to make a living (success is rare)
- Too many distributors (check your area by entering your ZIP code to find out more)
- To stay active you need to order at least $225 of wholesale products every quarter (3 months)
- It becomes too stressful to claim the ranks and thus make some bucks
Even if you hate the MLMs you must admit that there must be something good about Mary Kay.
When it comes to the business opportunity let’s take off the pink glasses.
Business model-wise, success is extremely rare within Mary Kay.
I don’t recommend it if you search for opportunities how to make extra income.
You can check the other model, that I explained above.
There is no recruiting, no stress for maintaining the regular purchase, and no bothering your friends or family members.
If you love Mary Kay products and this is your passion, by all means, you can join Mary Kay. In the end, we don’t have our hobbies as a source of income but as a source of joy.
If you have experience with Mary Kay, or you know someone who does, please share your opinion in the comment section below.
Also if you have questions use the section below.
At the very bottom of this post, I will leave a link where you can directly join the educational platform regarding affiliate marketing.
You can get started for free for 1st seven days.
It is called a starter membership and you don’t need a credit card to join.
Just use an email.
Also in case of questions regarding any MLM business model, let me know in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading
Do You Want To Learn How To Make Money Online?
No MLM company is viable and by now we know that 99% of people within any MLM do not make any money or they lose money.
Therefore let me save you some time and choose a different business model.
The simplest one is Affiliate Marketing where you sell other’s people products. You connect potential buyers and vendors.
- No recruiting
- No bothering your family and friends
- You don’t chase people (they chase you)
Just choose a specific topic and learn how to create a simple website where you inform your readers about the product or service.
Learn the basic SEO and how to drive free traffic to your website. These skills are priceless.
Once you master that, the sky is the limit, when it comes to earning potential
Check the link below to learn more about a specific platform teaching these skills (and beyond).