Mary Kay is practically royalty in the MLM industry: the multilevel marketing company that focuses on beauty products for women has been around for over fifty years and has thousands of dedicated fans.
If you’ve seen one of their custom painted pink Cadillacs rolling around on the streets (offered as a reward for top distributors), you’ve seen evidence of Mary Kay’s success.
So did I get on board? This explains everything:
Mary Kay’s fortunes have ebbed and flowed over the years. Though the company has grown to nearly four billion dollars in sales worldwide, the company has struggled, at time, to adapt to the digital marketplace.
One of the major problems the company has dealt with is the resale of deeply discounted Mary Kay supplies online, bought up from former distributors who quit and still had plenty of inventory on-hand.
This is less of a problem with smaller MLMs with lower turnover, but because Mary Kay is so popular, it’s a significant threat to their business model.
The company combats this by offering a buy back program that will pay you 90% of the wholesale price to take back the products. This mitigates risk on your end, plus stems the flow of Mary Kay products available on the open market through secondhand retailers.
Still, the company is chugging along, and its popularity looks as good as ever. Internet search engine traffic volume is trending upward, albeit gradually, over the last several years, which is a great sign for an MLM this old. Apparently enough people are interested in Mary Kay products after all this time to keep the business model moving along.
With their products, Mary Kay has done something few multilevel marketing companies have been able to do, which is to create a brand that is distinct enough and admired enough to sustain itself on its own momentum.
Mary Kay beauty products don’t have a particular “hook” or angle to their marketing; the products have a popular following because they are Mary Kay products.
Mary Kay Intense Moisturizing Cream, for example, is a relatively simple glycerin and algae preparation, tinted the trademark Mary Kay pink.
There’s nothing wrong about these particular ingredients; glycerin works just fine as a skin moisturizer, and algae extracts have several useful properties.
According to a 2015 review article in Bioresources Journal by researchers in Taiwan, algae extracts can help control thickness of a cosmetic product, moisturize skin with hydroxy acid and may even protect against aging by preserving the elasticity of the skin.
The scientists also noted that algae extracts work well in conjunction with glycerin, because they work synergistically together to restore elasticity and retain moisture in the skin.
In its product design, at least in this example, Mary Kay is doing pretty much exactly what they should be to deliver a product that is functional, effective, and follows the science that’s out there related to cosmetics.
But here’s the thing. Mary Kay doesn’t tell you any of that. Why not? They don’t have to. The brand has racked up enough confidence and enough of a brand name over the years that people know they can trust the products, and that the products will work well.
In addition to its core product line of beauty products for women, Mary Kay also offers a handful of products in a few ancillary categories, like men’s care and perfumes.
Largely, however, the company has been very disciplined about sticking to what it does best, and for good reason. All of the company’s best-sellers are its makeup and facial care products: its eyeliner, mascara, night cream, and acne treatment systems are the biggest money-makers for Mary Kay distributors.
To start selling Mary Kay products, you’ve got to use them first. That’s Mary Kay’s opinion, so to join the company as a distributor, you need to purchase a starter kit for $100 that comes equipped with marketing material and product samples.
Making money works the same as with most other MLMs. The discounts through Mary Kay are great; 50% off retail prices. The only catch is you have to remain an active distributor in order to be able to be eligible even for this discount.
Remaining active as a distributor in Mary Kay is not as tricky as it is with other companies; you only need to place one order every three months (instead of one per month as is usually the case) that hits the minimum volume standards. These standards are $225 in wholesale purchases per cycle.
Building up your team with the unilevel compensation structure is pretty straightforward too. For your first four downline distributors, you’ll earn a 4% commission on their sales, assuming they are active “beauty consultants” as well.
Once you hit four distributors, you get cash rewards for every additional team member. As your team gets bigger and sells more, you also get a bump up in your commission rates.
Though usually you’d view big, long-standing MLMs with some suspicion, Mary Kay seems to check out. The products are solid, the company has a good reputation, and the compensation plan is pretty straightforward and generous.
The major drawback with Mary Kay is the intense market saturation: everyone’s heard of it, and a lot of people likely already know a Mary Kay distributor.
If you can find an opening for an untapped market in your area, it could be a great opportunity, but you’ll have to do your homework first to make sure you can realistically make the sales goals you’d need to hit in order to earn a good profit.
So if you’re set on MLM, Mary Kay isn’t terrible, but probably not the most profitable opportunity, either.
If you’re doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling beauty products to your family and friends.