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Selling Mary Kay Cosmetics

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Is Selling Mary Kay Costmetics Profitable?

In an ever-increasing quest to reduce my debt and build up my savings, I have been considering a home based business for some time. A friend of mine sells Mary Kay and finds it to be profitable. I would like to know if some of the Dollar Stretcher readers are in agreement with that statement. In other words, will the initial investment of $100 and the purchasing of inventory work to my advantage?

Make a Careful Decision

I would encourage you to think twice about selling Mary Kay. Although their products are terrific, it is very hard to turn a profit by selling them. I have sold it twice. The first time I sold it with no inventory. I was convinced the reason I didn't succeed at it was that I had no inventory. So, the second time I tried it, I invested in a $5000 inventory along with my initial $100 sign-up fee. Believe it or not, even with $5000 worth of product, you never have exactly what you need when the customer wants it. It is impossible to predict at that level how many of each product you are going to need after the first month or two. So, after about two months, you end up making small orders at a much lower discount level on a fairly frequent basis. That lower discount level equates to a smaller profit margin for you. Then add in the cost of advertising your small business, sales aids, etc., and there goes the profit!

Here's something else to consider. Where are you going to find your clients? Mary Kay encourages you to begin with your friends and family and branch out from there to strangers. Even the most supportive friends and family only need so many cosmetics. So, after an initial boost when everyone generously buys some things to help you get started, it will be months until they need refills. Then you move onto strangers. You'll try to harness some of the people you meet through giving skin care classes into having a party of their own. Your close friends and family will probably do that for you. But their friends and family probably won't. Ask yourself how many women you know are just desperate to get their friends together for a Mary Kay party - not many. Every time I have tried to give one to help out a Mary Kay consultant, nobody is interested in coming. Even if they agree to come, they back out at the last minute. So you will soon hit a brick wall. Then you are left with confronting total strangers. Ask yourself this question. If you were standing in the produce aisle at the supermarket and a woman approached you with her Mary Kay sales pitch, would you truly be excited about the opportunity for a free facial? Most people aren't excited. In fact, most people squiggle away. Trust me - I know. The same is true with telemarketing. I tried making cold calls by phone to drum up business because I needed enough sales to cover the cost of my investment (let alone profit!). People treat a Mary Kay telemarketer the same way they treat any other - they hang up.

One other thing I want to caution you about. I found out both times when I sold Mary Kay that they subtly encourage the saleswomen to tell white lies about the success of their business. They tell them that people want to be associated with winners, so act like a winner! Tell them how much money you're making and how much you love your Mary Kay business! And that is what most Mary Kay saleswomen will tell you. Having been involved in this business twice and having sat in their sales meetings, I can tell you that the success stories are not true for the vast majority of salespeople. Most units have a sales director and one successful saleswoman. The rest of the consultants are scraping to find customers and make sales. In fact, I had a director who told us all the time how successful she was at Mary Kay and how she was making gobs of money at it. In the end, it turned out that she was purchasing thousands of dollars of product on her credit card just to keep her sales up to a level where she would not lose her company car. Her husband didn't know about it. When he found out, they were over $10,000 in debt and she ended up losing her car and her sales unit.

As I said, I love Mary Kay products. But, I would just caution you to really examine this decision carefully before you dive right in. The second time that I sold Mary Kay (when I invested in a lot of inventory) was a huge financial mistake. Before you invest any money, ask the consultant who is trying to recruit you if you can look over her weekly sales records for the past three months. Then you can see for yourself how much money an established person is truly making. And then ask yourself the hard questions. Will I have the guts to approach strangers at the supermarket or waitresses in restaurants? Will that behavior make my family or me uncomfortable? Will I be willing to make cold calls and be hung up on over and over? Can I afford to take a loss if this doesn't work out? THEN make up your mind about it. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Start Small

A few years back I decided Mary Kay would be a wonderful opportunity for me to work and stay at home. I was pressured by the Director to buy the $1800 package of products. She told me in order to have a profitable business I should order at least the $1200 product package. A few months later, I found that some of the products were being discontinued. Therefore, they were hard to get rid of. I personally did not like Mary Kay sales, but it is a great way to make a living for a lot of women. I would not suggest starting out big; it is way too overwhelming. I think starting out small and trying it out is the best way to go. Mary Kay did buy back my remaining products at 90% of my cost. However, it still cost me over $100 to ship and insure the merchandise that they bought back. And they did not take the discontinued items. Just know what you are getting into and attend a few meetings before you make the leap!

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Mary Kay Not For Me

All of the home based businesses such as Mary Kay, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Discovery Toys, Home Interiors, Southern Living, and Weekenders can be very profitable for the right individual, but the real money is made based on recruiting and the pyramid effect. For the rest of us, they are very expensive hobbies that annoy our friends. To be successful in home sales, you need to be very organized and dedicate a lot of time and effort. You also have to be able to keep going in spite of a lot of rejection. I thought I would be good at this type of thing because I'm fairly outgoing and organized. Instead I found myself burdened with a lot of "pep rally meetings", continual additional expenses (flyers, forms, new product, mailing expenses, etc.), and paperwork. I also discovered that I really didn't want to be the one bringing more "stuff" into people's homes and would rather be the one in the audience or better yet staying at home with my checkbook safely tucked away for necessary expenses. Now when my friends see me, they don't have to run away in fear that I want something from them.

Get A Realistic Picture

I am a Mary Kay consultant also. However, I would caution you, you will have trouble getting your business off of the ground unless you go into it with the sample kit (runs about $50) and a decent amount of stock. It is hard to fill orders for product when you have to wait until you have accumulated at least a $200 order at first. You also have to be willing to leave your comfort zone and be a little pushy. My advice would be to go to a meeting with your friend and get to know the ladies there some. Find one whom you feel comfortable with and go on some appointments with her, maybe even several of the ladies. Get a good realistic picture before signing that contract. However, I also know that if you sign and then discover that it is not for you, the company will buy back everything you bought for 90% of what you paid. A pretty good guarantee. Mary Kay is a great company with a lot to offer, including fun. But if you aren't sure, take your time making this decision and don't be pushed!

Full Time Commitment

Mary Kay is a good home-based business if you are going to do it full time. If you plan on doing this part time, I would advise against it. I speak from 10 plus years of part-time Mary Kay experience. I no longer sell it. You only get out of it what you put into it. If you don't treat it like a full time job, you won't make much. It is a good company to work for and the fellowship with the other women is great. But plan on attending all the classes, being very active, and putting in the hours in order to be successful in supplementing your income.

You Can Be Successful

I am a new Sales Director with Mary Kay and driving my first free car. I just picked it up in June of this year. Becoming a consultant with Mary Kay is one of the best decisions I ever made. I am a mother of 3 small children, ages 6, 4, and 2. I quit my full time job when my first child was born. It was important to my family that I am at home. Through Mary Kay I have been able to more than replace the income I used to earn working 40 hours a week. And yet I can still put my family first and work around all of our schedules. To me the investment was well worth it. Not only is your $100 starter kit a tax deduction, but also the investment in any inventory is a 90% guarantee. There is really no risk, and you have so much to gain like extra income, new friends, personal growth, and the list goes on. Your friend would be happy to instruct you on how to manage your business and money for you to get the maximum benefits from your Mary Kay business.
Lou Anne

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Reviewed January 2018

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