Pink Is The Most Deceptive Color (Part 2)

original image is free clipart from clipart.email

It’s been a couple of days (as of starting to draft this), and while I’ve been collecting my thoughts for the second part of my Mary Kay post, I keep reflecting on what “Rose” said to me in that phone call.

“Your research is wrong, do it again.”

Funny, this seems to be a go to line for hun bots. “Do your research”, they say. Yet, when presented with the research done – loads and loads about it – on Multi Level Marketing, the harm it does to people financially and emotionally, the income disclosures, the statistics, the lawsuits – suddenly research is a bad thing. It’s scary and it has to be wrong because my upline told me so. They say “no, do ACTUAL research”, but they can’t present anything to represent “actual research” for their side of the discussion. Facts are invalid. Reason is replaced with the company’s enforced mindset. Behavior is manipulated until you don’t recognize someone anymore. Their identity is replaced.

It is SO similar to a cult, it’s horrifying. 

Like I’ve said before, I do intend to make a future post drawing comparisons between MLMs and cults. I also have comparisons to draw to religion in general, but the cult thing is the primary subject I want to address. Part of creating a cult mindset is Thought Control, and teaching those within to reject outside resources, evidence, and facts, for a blind faith towards whoever is above them says is truth. 

For now, though, back to the subject of “do your research”. Okay, Rose. Since you’re so insistent that I do my research again, I will. Just for you. I will then share my findings on my blog so that others may also see the research you told me to do. 

Grab your reading glasses, pull out your notebook or laptop, and get ready to take notes. Class is about to start.

Let us take a look into an MLM that focuses on exterior beauty, but under the skin has an ugly reputation.


It’s All Just Smokey Eyes and Mirrors

Ooh, not a good first impression. Subtly trying to profit off of the current pandemic happening in 2020…

Image is an important focus for any company. You want to present yourself in a way that looks professional and trustworthy, while also appealing to your target demographic. MLMs are no different in that regard, but they also have to take the extra step of trying to present themselves as a legitimate job opportunity for the unwary soul.

Mary Kay knows all about image, though. After all, that’s the main focus of their brand! Cosmetics and skin care, to make even the least pleasant of people look dolled up and welcoming! 

We’ll get to the sketchier MLM stuff in a bit, but let’s first take a look at Mary Kay at face value. Here are the points I’ll be focusing on when discussing their image: 

-What is the branding and aesthetic of Mary Kay? Who does their target demographic seem to be?

-What type of products do Mary Kay offer? How much variety do they have? What quality are these products?

-What would make this company stand out to make it appealing to a potential new client? 

-How much focus does their website have on product, and how much is on recruitment?

Branding, Aesthetic, and Demographic

Mary Kay’s branding for the longest time was highlighted by a very distinct shade of blush pink. Started by Mary Kay Ash in 1963, it seems to always have promoted a message of empowering women through direct marketing opportunities. In recent years, the company decided to change up their look to be more sleek and modern. The blush wasn’t applied quite as heavily, and was accessorized with black and silver. The somewhat frilly look that many commonly associate with their grandmother was swapped out for a more simple clean one. 

 The cosmetics line seems to be very popular with older generations of women, which can be seen by one of their main lines of products being their TimeWise and TimeWise Repair brands. They also have skin care products more focused towards a younger demographic with their Botanical Effects and Clear Proof products for acne treatment. 

I do remember the catalogs promoting colorful palettes that seemed to be targeted for a younger demographic for a time, but I cannot for the life of me remember what that line was called, and searching for remnants of it on the web seems pretty futile. There’s also no trace of it on the Mary Kay site (“Gifts for Teens” is mostly acne treatment, basic mascara, wipes, and brushes). 

There is also a MKMen brand, albeit limited. It’s all skin care formulas repackaged into silver tubes, shaving products, and cologne.

Strangely enough, it seems Mary Kay’s current success still seems to come from millennial consultants. A piece from newsroom.marykay.com written in January 2016 states the following: 

“Forty-seven percent of the more than 325,000 people who started a Mary Kay business in the United States in 2015 are between ages 18-34.”

-Mary Kay Newsroom, Author Unknown

I do despise that phrasing, by the way. None of those women started a business. None of them became business owners. They simply paid money to work under a brand. Let’s be honest, now. Of course, there is no crediting to an author, and this was only found as a Mary Kay sourced article. I cannot say with certainty how accurate these numbers are since there’s no real evidence to say this wasn’t written by a biased source. 

However, if these numbers presented are factual, then there’s another interesting point made in the article.

“-Fifty-one percent of women who started a Mary Kay business in 2015 are Latina, Asian or African American and comprise 33 percent of Mary Kay’s overall independent sales force. 

-Latinas make up 35 percent of new Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and comprise 22 percent of the company’s total independent sales force.”

-Mary Kay Newsroom, Author Unknown

This took me a bit by surprise. Every single impression I’ve ever gotten from Mary Kay has been that it is anything BUT diverse. Their marketing is very white washed, to say the least. Usually it will be a sea of pale faces with a token black woman thrown into the mixture. Maybe other people have seen more diverse material, but this is from my personal experience (remember, I was a customer receiving those constant catalogues from my teens until age 23). Their promotional material also uses younger models, certainly, but every actual consultant I’ve ever met has been middle aged, at the least. 

So why is it that a company that sells to white older women seem to have a growing base of diverse younger consultants? 

Well, I have a theory on that. Take it as only that – a theory. Based on the tactics seen across all different MLMs, there are a few common factors; they all tie back to who consultants target when trying to recruit. 

First, they prey on new mothers. Often they will guilt these mothers, saying they should be spending all their time with their children and only an MLM would give them the flexible schedule they need to do so while still providing that “extra income” to support them. Of course, all that time spent with their children will be preoccupied with promoting on social media, dragging them along to drop off purchases at their clients house, shutting them in the back room while they give someone a makeover, but who cares? They’re at least in your general vicinity now, and their potential college fund will look glamorous as you flush it down the toilet to buy more personal inventory!

Ooh, see what I did there? I used a bit of guilt tripping language myself to emphasize a point. 

Another easy target is new wives. They’re in a new chapter of their lives, and might be trying to decide how they’re going to do their part to support their marriage financially. Maybe they’re considering changing careers. More often than not, their money is joining up with their spouses, so there’s more to spend. More to “invest”. Next thing you know, those women are being encouraged by their upline to lie to their spouses about excessive purchases and financial loss. They’re told that if their spouse doesn’t support their “business”, then they are abusive and controlling, that their thoughts don’t matter at all. 

They also go after anyone who seems naive. Usual lines heard from recruiters are “you don’t need to have any experience in marketing/ the makeup industry.” That’s because that’s EXACTLY what they want. If you know anything about business and marketing, you are likely educated enough to recognize MLMs for the scam they are. If you know nothing about makeup, you are less likely to question the products and their ingredients. Fresh faces, recently turned 18, who haven’t finished college or may have even dropped out of high school are prime candidates for the picking. They don’t know better, because they haven’t had the chance to learn yet.

Finally, the saddest and harshest target to go after: The desperate. No one joins an MLM during a good time in their life. They’re struggling, or they’ve lost their job, or maybe they’re even on food stamps. A hun bot comes along and encourages them to spend that last $100 dollars they have on a “business investment” instead of on groceries or bills. They’re told to get a credit card and charge the startup fee on there. After all, they should easily earn that back and more. If they don’t, well they just didn’t try hard enough, they didn’t do enough for their upline. 

It’s a matter of socioeconomic status, and a harsh truth that is uncomfortable for a lot to acknowledge. Hell, I get that since it’s a topic that involves race, I may not seem like the best person to address it. I’m trying to keep this respectful, and if I come off as bigoted, I do apologize. That is not my intent.

 As an article from the American Psychological Association reads, “The relationship between SES, race and ethnicity is intimately intertwined. Research has shown that race and ethnicity in terms of stratification often determine a person’s socioeconomic status.” 

Mary Kay, on the surface, may target its products to a boomer Caucasian audience, but their recruitment scheme preys on the young, uneducated, desperate, and minorities in poor circumstances. 

The Products

(Note: Mary Kay’s does have an online shop you can purchase from. When checking out you can either select your consultant, or opt to have the item shipped from a random consultant in the area. There isn’t a way to just get the product from a warehouse. I recommend anyone who for SOME reason feels the need to buy a product to do so as a guest through the random select option. This has been my method as of late while I’m still waning off of the products I still use, since it keeps my information availability to a minimum. Luckily, since I’ve been encouraged to do my research again, I’ve started discovering potential brands to switch to. Thank you, Rose!)

While from personal experience, I can say that Mary Kay’s products aren’t necessarily the worst, I must say they are absolutely nothing special. I still have had some dissatisfaction with certain products. Their lipstick clumps upon application way too easily and doesn’t stay on very well, and the concealer tubes are so poorly designed – I’ve had perhaps half a dozen tips break off and get stuck in the caps, rendering both parts of the tube useless, and having to resort to storing the concealer in a ziploc bag until used up. 

Customer complaints about the products themselves vary. Most of them seem to be about various types of skin irritation (burning/chemical burns, cracking, splotchiness, itching, allergic reactions, acne/breakouts, sticky sensations and residues), that seemed to be caused by a change in their formulas (one customer reported being happy with the skin care since she started using it in the 60s, but started getting acne from the products in 2014). Other complaints include (obviously not limited to): foul smells, poor eyeshadow pigment and non lasting (even with primer), lipsticks being clumpy and non lasting, repackaging and price markups that meant paying more for less product, eye makeup remover not being effective, and poor quality compacts. 

The majority of complaints seem to actually be about the consultants, recruitment pitches advertised as “parties” or “free facials”, the company’s poor customer support, and of course – being scammed. Back to focusing on the actual products.

Mary Kay offers skin care sets, makeup (cheeks, eyes, face, lips, makeup tools), specialized “body and sun” products (age fighting, sun protection, “Satin Hands”, etc), and fragrances.  

Pigments for eyeshadows seem to be mellow, muted, and natural, with only a few purples, pinks, blues, and greens to offset all the natural and smokey tones. There’s no bright or vivid shades. 

Lipstick shades are primarily neutrals, berries, corals, pinks, and reds. They offer only a few browns, bronzes, chocolates, or nudes. No blacks (my goth heart weeps!) or unusual colors to be found. This definitely reflects that demographic to who they actually sell to. 

The most disappointing page on their storefront, however, is the foundation page…

Shade range is one of the most important factors for any makeup line. How does Mary Kay hold up? Let’s take a look at their foundation finder feature (ooh, alliteration!). 

Huh, that’s funny. They don’t offer anything on their site to show their shade range. That’s a little weird. Also, the picture for their foundation finder seems to be very… white. 

As in three very pale white women and one token black woman. Not a good image for trying to promote shade range. But okay, we’ll go ahead and click on the quiz to see what else they’ll show.

Okay, here we are, more models! Oh wait… only one other woman with a darker skin tone has been added to the mix, and everyone else is still very pale. OKAYYYY.

Since a quiz isn’t going to show the actual shade range and just tell me what I, a pale ass white bitch would most likely match to (it’s the Ivory 100), let’s try to see if we can find examples elsewhere on the internet.

It took a bit to find a recent example. One image I found had the highest range as “Ivory 3”, which I knew was a bit old. So I went to find images with the “100”s for their TimeWise formula, since that is what is being sold lately. Forgive the poor quality image, it was the best I could find.

Oh.

Oh, no.

Oh, no no NO.

This number of shades, in itself, is considered sad in the modern age of makeup, but look at the offerings for non-white options. I see 7 “bronze” types with terrible range, and a couple of the “beige” options that could maybe count. Is this really all there is!? 20, mostly white, shades?

For comparison, lots of companies these days offer at least 30-40 shades. Estée Lauder boasts 55 shades. 

Oh, but Mary Kay has a special new-ish feature where they also match to the undertones of your skin!

… Except more and more makeup companies are doing the exact same, AND they make it a lot easier to see their shade range. Mary Kay seems to dance around the subject with white washed advertising and big bold pictures insisting you take their foundation quiz at the very top of the foundation page. 

Again, I think this shows how there’s a difference between who they prey upon to recruit, and who they actually sell to. 

This is just something that really irritates me. In today’s makeup industry, there is NO excuse to have a shade range this abysmal. 

I need to take my mind off of this disgusting scene. Let’s move on to the next point. 

What Makes Mary Kay Products Different From Any Other Makeup Line?

Long story short: Nothing, really. They don’t offer too much to stand out from other makeup companies in any positive ways.

Are They Cruelty-Free/Vegan?

While the company claims on their website that they do not support animal testing, they admit that “there are still some governments that conduct animal testing before they will allow certain products to be sold in their country.” 

Cruelty-Free Kitty (a site dedicated to helping people find cruelty-free, vegan, and eco-friendly products) lists Mary Kay as “Not Cruelty Free in 2020”, and in their article “30 Makeup Brands That Still Test On Animals in 2020”, they state the following:

“Similarly to Avon, Mary Kay’s representatives are sometimes responsible for misinformation regarding Mary Kay’s animal testing policy. While they are very vocal about “not testing on animals”, they actually do test on animals where required by law. In the late 1989, they announced a moratorium on animal testing of its products. Sadly, in 2012 they started testing on animals again when they made the decision to join the Chinese market. This means they are now no longer cruelty-free.”

-Aly Laughlin, Cruelty Free Kitty (April 13, 2020)

There’s also a great article on Cruelty Free Kitty posted in January 2020 about blacklisting MLM beauty/wellness companies even if they claim to be cruelty free. Just saying. 

Leaping Bunny Program (an animal protection initiative under the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics), stated this in a post: 

“It has become known industry-wide that companies selling cosmetic and personal care products in China are required under new, specific guidelines to test (or be a party to testing of) finished cosmetic products and/or ingredients on animals. These requirements have caused other companies such as Mary Kay, to be removed from the Leaping Bunny list due to similar concerns.”

-Leaping Bunny Program site, Author Unknown

Mary Kay cannot be officially certified as vegan or cruelty-free, and makes no claims to actually be such anywhere in their product statements. However, the statement “Mary Kay Does Not Support Animal Testing” on their Product Promise page, which hides the actual information about their product testing in a dropdown menu in tiny text, seems pretty misleading to me.

With the growing popularity in cruelty free and vegan products, this is a huge turn off for many makeup enthusiasts. I don’t necessarily insist on vegan makeup, but I do support cruelty-free, and I feel like anyone who wants vegan products should have easy access to them. At least I don’t have to worry about those people wasting their money on Mary Kay!

Do They Offer Anything Unique?

Honestly? No. I absolutely do not believe there is anything Mary Kay offers that drives a customer to buy from them specifically. Skin care, makeup, fragrances, etc.. they can all be found for the same (or better, hopefully) quality with more legitimate companies. You could also find them for more affordable prices, since you won’t be dealing with excessive markups to cover the commissions costs seen in MLMs. 

Get 8 blending sponges for a 6th of the price of one Mary Kay sponge. 

Get brush cleaner spray for $8-10 dollars from Amazon instead of $10 from an MLM scheme. 

Get a charcoal mask from Sephora for half the price of the Clear Proof one. (Note: Sephora also has other charcoal masks, with one at $60, kinda depends on the product and brand.)

Whatever Mary Kay has, you can get somewhere else for a better value, without supporting the triangular-shaped-business-model.

If you’re ever looking for the best quality product of any type for your budget, it’s much better to do your own research online. You can easily search “best ____” and find plenty of lists discussing recommendations. Funny enough, I never see products from any MLM on those lists. Wonder why… 

How Is The Buying Process and Customer Service?

Like I stated earlier, buying Mary Kay online involves a process of either listing a specific consultant or going through a random one in your area. Signing up will mean getting bombarded with offers and recruitment attempts through both mail and email, so again I recommend only purchasing as a guest if you do so.

The usual process of buying through a consultant will mean filling out a form with a bunch of personal information, subjecting yourself to constant catalogs, text messages, and phone calls, and a less convenient purchasing process. You’ll most likely have to meet up with your consultant for purchases or collecting purchases. They’ll also encourage to meet up often for “parties”, which is a small part trying products and a large part sales and recruitment pitches (you’ll be asked to get your friends to come, of course), or to “try new products before they’re officially released”. Buying through a consultant, in my opinion, is just SO MUCH WORSE. 

Remember those complaints I mentioned earlier about consultants and customer service? Turns out there’s a lot of those. Here’s just a sample of what they reported:

-Harassed or pressured into buying products even after expressing disinterest

-Winning “free facials” or “free pampering sessions” only for it to be mostly a sales and recruitment pitch, and the facial being something they had to apply themselves

-Winning prize packages but never actually receiving said prizes

-Being ghosted on return or refund inquiries

-Being ghosted after paying for product and never receiving it

-Refusing to exchange for the product someone ordered when they sent the wrong product

-Ridiculously difficult processes to try to cancel orders 

-Waiting months for orders

-Promising to provide certain items for customer hosted parties and then failing to deliver

-Charging customers more than what the product is supposed to be priced for

Countless women complain about feeling tricked by Mary Kay and its consultants, even when the situation has nothing to do with actually taking part in their business model. Trying to contact the company about issues with either distributors or products is a roundabout process, according to women posting on various complaint forums. But what about when the company is pushed into actually answering?

I tried to look into complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau – a difficult process since there are apparently 15 pages of “locations” to sift through. (Some have zero complaints filed at all, so there’s that at least?) Searching “Mary Kay Better Business Bureau” will take you to the page for a location in Addison, Texas, where MK is based, so I’ll be using that to look into official responses in complaints against them.

The top of the page features a complaint from this February. A woman states that despite having confirmation from “Debi” about winning a prize package, she never received it. At first she was pressured into signing up for a party she didn’t want to attend, with a bunch of strangers since she didn’t have anyone to invite herself, being promised to receive the prize at the end. Debi ended up not even being at the party, and the consultant in her stead didn’t seem to know anything about the prize package. Debi claimed she couldn’t make it due to injury, then ghosted all further attempts to contact her. 

Mary Kay’s response was listed 11 days later.

This representative for Mary Kay’s main response is one of the sad and unfortunate loopholes MLMs use to avoid issues  – Debi, along with all consultants, is legally an independent contractor. They work for Mary Kay, but in most cases the company can avoid being held responsible for their employees’ actions and claims by stating they aren’t technically employees. This is that point I mentioned in Part 1 about the reasons I don’t intend to take action against Rose. She’s an independent contractor, so a lawsuit would hit her directly, not the company. 

However, MK did at least follow through to make sure Debi followed through and promised to actually send the prize package, as well as an additional gift card for the trouble. The customer, according to their response, did confirm that they finally were contacted by Debi. 

The ending gets me a bit. “We expressed our sincere apologies for the lack of Golden Rule Service she feels she received…” That phrasing just irks me. “She felt she didn’t receive good service”. That seems on par with “I’m sorry you felt offended” vs “I’m sorry I offended you.” It places subtle blame on the addressed party. “We’re sorry you complained” vs “We’re sorry a consultant representing our brand provided poor service.” 

Regardless, this issue seems to have been settled, since no further customer comments are listed on the BBB page. Let’s check another one out.

Next comes a longer thread with back and forth discussion involving a woman who signed up to be a consultant, then later had to quit due to medical reasons and returned her products. She was having issues getting the refund she was supposedly due to receive. I’m not going to post the whole thing here (it goes on for quite a while, and it’s hard to say if Mary Kay’s denials are justified in this situation or not. Honestly, it hurts my brain to read.). The whole thing is there on the BBB site, which I’ll be linking in my sources at the end of this post. You can check it out yourself if you want. However, I want to note a key point in both the initial complaint and the first response.

Initial Complaint
First MK Response

Hoooooly shit. $6,218.00. Geezus, that’s a lot of money spent on products for “personal inventory”. How could that ever be seen as okay? How much sales would you actually have to make to earn back that payment and then earn profit? There’s also mention elsewhere in the complaint about having to spend another $200 just to ship all that product back. 

Mary Kay in the end denied the refunds the customer was requesting, and she was very obviously upset, saying she felt like her money was being stolen. She also mentioned getting an attorney involved. I do not know how well that would go, but that’s where that thread ends.

I’d rather not keep looking at each individual complaint. Part 2 is already stretching out a lot longer than I wished. To summarize a few more complaints:

-A college student complains that she signed up after a consultant told her she’d “become very rich and make millions.” Most of her customers ended up having very bad reactions to the products. She returned the products but was told she owed $50, which was later changed to $800. Mary Kay claims they issued a full refund and that the customer admitted to lying about the “make millions” claim. Customer remains dissatisfied at the end of the thread, feeling scammed.

-Customer was denied a refund for $200 worth of products after they caused a severe allergic reaction that landed her in the hospital. Mary Kay responds to settle the refund issue after being threatened with a lawsuit.

-Customer ordered a face cleanser from a paired consultant but never received it. Was told she could not switch consultants or cancel the order, and the consultant could process the order “whenever she liked, even if it was a month down the road”. Mary Kay claims the customer’s credit card was never charged, but the customer rebukes it, even saying she was told the charge would remain no matter how long it would take to receive her order, and that she was only contacted about the order after she filed a complaint. (Also noted that Mary Kay’s response mentions that they didn’t respond until the 3rd notice of this complaint because they claim to have not received the first two.) Thread ends with Mary Kay insisting that the customer “close her file on the matter” demanding further proof of credit card charges. 

Oh, it just goes on and on, but I can only keep reading for so long. It seems like a lot of the same types of incidents – issues receiving product or refunds, unauthorized credit card charges. Mary Kay’s responses seem delayed, passive aggressive while still trying to remain professional, and hard to get unless customers go to the BBB. Honestly, that’s the way to go in my opinion for any MLM. File that complaint with the BBB when these jerks screw you over. Continue to expose these companies for their sketchy practices. 

Sales vs Recruitment

While the Mary Kay website does have plenty of focus on their products, the recruitment messages are pretty forced throughout. 

In that screenshot of the homepage, notice how one of the biggest promo images, front and center, is a call to “work from home”? (Again, a tasteless move to try to profit off of a friggin’ pandemic…)

There’s also multiple parts about connecting to a consultant. Not necessarily recruitment, sure, but encouraging people to interact with the recruiters instead of shopping online. 

“Sell Mary Kay” is a main menu tab, so let’s see how much stuff is here. 

A full capture of the Sell Mary Kay page

Yay, signing up is so easy! First you just have to connect with a co-… Oh. 

First step is to ensure you are stuck in someone’s downline. Honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised. Just funny to me that even if you try to sign up online, you need to be recruited through someone else. AKA make money for someone else. 

I’ll go more into depth about this in the next part (or the next if this really gets to that point!), but this is important because in order to even qualify to level up above starter level in MK, you have to have 1 to 2 active recruits. Yep, you can’t even begin to qualify to improve unless you recruit and keep those recruitments active. 

Right away, that shows the business model is heavily focused on recruitment. Almost like.. Oh what’s the word? What’s the word???

Next, choose your starter kit! No, of course your mandatory equipment to begin advertising for a big corporation can’t be free! You need to spend money to earn money, hun! (Except that’s complete bull. You don’t pay for a company weed wacker to begin landscaping, or for your work issued cell phone or car. You do need to spend money to start a business, but consultants are not business owners.)

At the time of writing, there’s a deal for an E-Start kit, which is basically a personal web page for 1 year and a bunch of digital resources. Only $30 though! (Don’t know how they got the $69.95 value for that crap). The only other kit available is a $100 kit, which has a bunch of that digital stuff but also some physical products/samples! (Given how expensive those products are, I honestly don’t think $400 worth is going to add up to as much as they want you to expect). Also, I love how one of the included items is customer support. That just makes me laugh.

The recruitment pitch that follows seems to focus a lot on how it’s a fun and awesome opportunity, and women are beautiful and powerful, and of course that stupid pink car. Not so much focus on the… um.. Details of the business model. Sure, that type of stuff looks boring on a main website. We only want pink fun awesome times!

So let’s ignore that strange aversion to actually discussing how the structure supposedly works, the blurb about product testing (remember, they don’t support animal testing but still sell to countries that require it!), and…

Oh. The rest is just women, women, women.

I know the message supposed to be sent is “We empower women!”, but all I see is “we prey upon women for our scam with emotional manipulation through our marketing”. 

At the end there’s some tiny fine print about third party provider stuff, extra startup fees, information disclosure stuff, blah blah blah. Oddly enough, no disclaimers about income, no profit guarantees, or anything like that. I note that because lately the FTC has been cracking down on income claims, forcing MLMs to include those disclaimers in any promotional material for recruitment purposes. The closest I see for that is saying the estimated gross profit is based on suggested retail prices. 

I suppose whether or not there’s any actual income claims on this page is subjective. I personally see some statements that I would count as such.

 “Whether it’s earning a little extra cash or making a full-time commitment, the Mary Kay opportunity offers the freedom, flexibility and, of course, the fun that you’ve been looking for.”

That “freedom” thing is a real ticker, since claims about financial freedom are something the FTC is looking out for. Statements about earnings are also iffy, though this doesn’t make any outright claims about how much is being made, so I’ll let that slide. For now.

“If you build a team, you can earn product rewards and monetary bonuses, plus a commission based on your team members’ product sales.”

Again, you HAVE to build a team in order to have any hope of making any profit. You can’t even get above starter level unless you recruit. Your bonuses, rewards, and commissions will all be gained from the people beneath you. That sounds a lot like a recruitment focused business model to me.

It also doesn’t sound like something that’s part of the Direct Sales method structure, Rose. To me, it sounds a lot like a business model with multiple levels of success and recruitment. A… Multi Level Marketing company, if you will. 

“Put yourself in the driver’s seat with an opportunity to earn the use of a Mary Kay Career Car, one of the best-in-class car incentive programs in the world.”

Oh ho, I promise I’ll get around to that Pink Crapillac eventually. That thing is in no way free, and MLMs that use “free” cars as an incentive are now having to issue disclaimers saying “Uh yeah, it’s actually not technically free.”

I love that phrasing, by the way. “Opportunity to earn the use of.” That’s a shady work around if I’ve ever seen one!

But Wait, There’s More! (In The Future)

Looks like I’m going to have at least one more installment to this super long rant about Mary Kay. This ended up being a lot longer than I ever anticipated it would be. What can I say? I can really ramble on about the things that I’m passionate about. In this case, there was also a lot more to bring up than I realized there’d be. 

I want to close up this segment by going back to what Rose told me to do. “Do your research again, we are not Multi Level.”

I do not know if she simply is unaware of what MLMs actually are, or if she’s been misinformed by other MK consultants. However, I went back and did exactly what she told me. It wasn’t very hard. All research pointed back to a constant statement. 

“Mary Kay is a privately owned multi-level marketing company.” -Wikipedia (I know, shut up. It can be a good place to begin your search for information as long as you cross reference.)

“Mary Kay is one of the best-known beauty multi-level marketing companies in the world…” -MLMCompanies.org (an MLM blog that seems to be more pro-MLM, though not much is listed outright about them on the site)

“Mary Kay uses an MLM model to distribute its products.” -MLMTruth.org

“Mary Kay is a product based pyramid scheme.” -MLMTruth.org, referring to the beliefs of PinkTruth’s founder  (Pink Truth is going to be seen more in an upcoming part. Again, I don’t know how many more there will be, but at least one more is guaranteed.)

I think that last one definitely works. If you don’t like being called “Multi Level”, Rose, how about “product based pyramid scheme” instead? Should we call it PBP for short?

Next time, I’ll dive into the consultant levels, free car lie, and Pink Truth – a site dedicated specifically to exposing Mary Kay for what it is. 


SOURCES:

Official Mary Kay Website: Mary Kay, www.marykay.com

“News Room – Mary Kay.” News Room – Mary Kay, Mary Kay, 14 Jan. 2016, https://newsroom.marykay.com/en/releases/iconic-beauty-companys-independent-sales-force-growing-younger-and-more-diverse.

American Psychological Association. July 2017. (“Ethnic and Racial Minorities & Socioeconomic Status” https://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/minorities)

Laughlin, Aly. “Cruelty Free Kitty.” Cruelty Free Kitty, Cruelty Free Kitty, 13 Apr. 2020, https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/cruelty-free-101/makeup-brands-that-test-on-animals/.

Rose, Suzana. “Cruelty Free Kitty.” Cruelty Free Kitty, Cruelty Free Kitty, 30 Mar. 2020, https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/uncategorized/101-beauty-brands-that-are-not-cruelty-free-in-2020/.

“The Pink Truth.” The Pink Truth, July 2019, http://www.pinktruth.com/mary-kay-facts/the-mary-kay-pyramid/.

“Leaping Bunny Program.” Leaping Bunny Program, CCIC, https://www.leapingbunny.org/content/dermalogica-removed-leaping-bunny-program.

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