Many years ago, I was approached to sell Mary Kay’s cosmetics and skin care products as a side business. At that time, it did look like a promising opportunity with lots of perks and promises of earning a corporate income. But is their marketing technique still relevant today?
That’s what we are about to find out from this review – setting the facts right so you are not blinded by shiny objects when getting into this type of venture.
The Mary Kay At a Glance
Founded in the 1960’s, Mary Kay is one of the world’s leading direct sales companies specializing in skin care and color cosmetics. The company is also the sixth largest network marketing company in the world in 2018, with a wholesale volume of US$3.25 billion. Their award-winning and patented products are sold in more than 35 markets worldwide.
The company thrives on a strong network of over 2.4 million independent consultants worldwide and if you are reading this, chances are the opportunity is already available in your country. There’s no need for any sales experience to join this side hustle, but you do need to sign up under someone. This person is considered your up line and will guide you through business training.
The Potential Earnings of a Beauty Consultant
While selling Mary Kay products range exclusively is considered the primary way of earning, there are other avenues to generate more income as a beauty consultant.
- For starters, you can sell whatever that’s in your starter kit and earn a marked profit.
- Earn up to 50% sales commission when you hit a certain sales order or product reorders.
- Earn between 4% and 13% commission from team sales when you recruit others to become consultants.
- Depending on how you grow the team, you can earn leadership commission and be on your way to own a nice car under their career car program incentives.
How Mary Kay Products Are Marketed
As a direct sales company, Mary Kay pride themselves as having a unique way of selling which is nothing more than the one-to-one business approach. Basically, customers can only purchase products via a consultant.
That’s why the primary way of selling is commonly done through home parties, skincare and make-up classes to distribute samples and demonstrate products. In order to reach more audience, you are also expected to participate in community events, women expo and be active on social media as often as you can.
Yes, Mary Kay does sell online but even so, products can only be purchased if you know the ID of a consultant. Alternatively, customers can buy through a personalized store which you are encouraged to create when signing up as a consultant.
The Cost Of Running a Mary Kay Business
The Mary Kay starter kit costs $100 and it comes with everything you need to get going – full-size retail products over $400 in retail prices, samples, successful sales tips, brochures, offers, and savings. For an additional $30+ per year, you can get access to a personalized website that can be used to advertise your business and receive orders as mentioned earlier.
And because the company’s marketing emphasizes a lot of physical selling, spending on business cards, travel expenses and most importantly, inventory are the common costs that will incur on a daily basis. Obviously, the higher the investment, the more sales you would expect to make.
The Pros of Becoming a Mary Kay Consultant
The idea of working as a beauty consultant selling Mary Kay Cosmetics can be quite exciting if you consider the following aspects;
- It’s a good side hustle for those who come from the beauty therapy industry. With over 300 product choices, you can leverage from your knowledge to explain the stuff better than other consultants. If you truly like the quality of the product, selling will come much more natural and even fun for you.
- You can potentially work from home, be your own boss, and choose your own hours to commit. This is one of the reasons why the Mary Kay business opportunity is so popular among stay-at-home moms, college part-timers, and semi-retirees.
- The beauty industry is an evergreen niche and more people are willing to spend on cosmetics and skincare products compared to 10 years ago. Mary Kay products fit very well into the market demand because of their premium quality reassurance and good customer reviews.
The Downside of This Business Model
Read the brochures or talk to any of the consultants and they would paint you a pretty picture of what it’s like to work with the company. In reality, it’s not all that rosy as it sounds. Like many self-employed businesses, becoming a successful consultant takes hard work and in the case of Mary Kay, the downside could be harsher than you think.
- Physical selling is a lot of work, especially in today’s market setting. You need to call up potential customers, arrange time and venue just to promote your business. Even if people do show up, they may not necessarily buy, unless you push them to do so.
Promoting online doesn’t make much difference either because according to the company’s terms and conditions, you are prohibited from selling on the internet or auction sites. You can only promote the website that is designed for you – nothing else.
Such selling technique is limiting and not flexible in my opinion and doesn’t really reach a lot of audiences in comparison to other beauty brands out there. You are always expected to approach friends and family to sell stuff and there’s no need to tell you how awkward that feels to most people.
- Stocking up inventory is encouraged because apparently, it lets you sell faster. I totally disagree with this method because, without a proper plan to sell, you are in deep cash trouble. That’s how most people end up with thousands of dollars in debt leading to marriages falling apart. If you don’t have a good marketing plan, it’s never a good idea to keep inventories at home.
- And then there’s the part which says you can purchase stock at a 50% discount. Well, guess what? You need to place an order of $225 once every 3 months in order to maintain an active status in order to be eligible for this discount. It’s not a bad thing to have a sales target, but over time such goals can also be pressured if you can’t achieve them.
- While Mary Kay has won a lot of accolades, the company cannot guarantee that its products are ethical, cruelty-free or fully vegan. When they entered the China market in 2012, they have been removed from PETA’s cruelty-free list because animal testing is required by law for foreign cosmetics selling in China. Such status may not agree with consumers who are environmental savvy so beware.
- Lastly, the entire marketing scheme is designed to help you make money ONLY if you can recruit your own down lines. If you don’t like doing that, it’s fine to just sell products but you can’t make a living wage doing that. Team building and leadership are where the big money and lavish lifestyle reward you the most.
Is Selling Mary Kay a Profitable Business?
From the look of today’s economy and current consumer trend, the challenge is a steep one if you really want to sell Mary Kay cosmetics and skincare as a business. Although the start-up cost isn’t much, the idea of stocking inventory and doing recruitment isn’t popular with most people nowadays. If you aren’t careful, you could easily find yourself among the 94% of consultants who are barely making $100 per month. That doesn’t sound very profitable, isn’t it?
It’s one thing to sell a good product and another to get people to join a company to make money. Not everyone will share that vision and grooming others to think just like you can take time. Some may work while some will never convert.
If you truly want to break into the beauty niche, I highly recommend doing it online. It gives you more flexibility, freedom and if you do it right, it can be just as lucrative as becoming a Mary Kay consultant. Ever heard of affiliate marketing? It lets you earn sales commissions from brands you love and grow an online business at the same time.
To learn more, check out my recommended training platform and see how you can get started for free.