Tag Archives: Mary Kay

Day 2 Of Official Unemployment: Taxes and Jogging Suits

Well, really, it’s been longer than that, almost 3 weeks, but I’m counting my unemployment starting when the severance and paid-unused vacation days were up, cause otherwise, I was on a paid vacation, right?  Anyway, thank you everyone for all the kind words and support from yesterday’s post.  (Although nobody actually commented on the blog post, I heard back from some of you in other means and modes.)

Today wasn’t really all that fun.  A lot of email sending to contacts I know, dealing with the Texas Unemployment website (ugh, overwhelming), and pretty much doing all of my taxes.  The taxes are done, I just haven’t hit submit yet because my audit risk is high

It’s mostly because of my Mary Kay business that I got rid of back in July.  My losses are greater than my profits.  Go figure, right?  If I was making a profit, I wouldn’t have stopped selling Mary Kay.  Anyway, I’m waiting for an epiphany or some sign to convince me that I won’t get audited.  Just kidding.  I’ll probably click on the submit button tomorrow, I just need to ponder it some more tonight.  To be honest, I’m small potatoes when it comes to the IRS, but seeing the slider bar move all the way to the deep red makes me need to process my options before I hit submit.  When it comes down to it, I’ll probably pay the extra $40 for the extra, extra audit protection just for piece of mind (but really, making that extra $40 purchase will be for nothing, since I probably won’t be audited).  Okay, enough ramblings over my stress of being audited!

In the process of doing my taxes, I itemized my charitable donation including ALL of the stuff I’ve taken to Goodwill over 2011.  So as I was entering the clothes, I saw this itemized donation option.
Women’s Jogging Suit.

When I saw this item, I thought to myself, this list is really dated.  To my, a jogging suit is something straight out of the 80’s.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  Neon colors, crinkled polyester, totally hideous.

Granted, there are plenty of very trendy workout clothes that are matching separates.  I’m sure Lululemon is filled with them, but a jogging suit?  And this got me to thinking that I actually saw someone out running earlier this week in the exact jogging suit shown above on the guy on the left, which was also worn by a man.  Now, heck, I am one to talk about having an outdated wardrobe, but comfort, on the other hand, I don’t mind going there.  If I remember correctly, because I had my fair share of jogging suits as a kid, (in fact, it’s pretty zoomed out, but here is a picture of me in a jogging suit, although I think the jacket is on the ground, off to the side)

the elastic in the waistband rides up at the slightest movement.  And they make a terrible swoosh swoosh sound.  Are they even breathable?  Workout clothing has come a long way from this hideous jogging suits!  Dry fit, yes please!

So I take it back, maybe the charitable donation list is just fine, because really, other than that man I saw running in a hot pink jogging suit the other day, all the rest of these dreadful items are either buried deep in people’s closets, sitting there in shame or they’ve made their way with the girdles (the item directly above jogging suit) to the Goodwill themselves to be itemized on this year’s taxes.  As for my jogging suits, they’ve been long donated to find their way to another person’s closet to hide in shame.


A Journey In Mary Kay: Lessons Learned

Wow, these posts on my endeavors in Mary Kay sure have been popular!  Although there haven’t been any comments on the blog entries, I can see the number of hits they’ve received!  Makes me curious as to who is reading this!

Anyway, I have one final blog post on my journey in Mary Kay and that is the lessons I’ve learned through the experience.  In other words, if I could do it all over again, which I can’t and wouldn’t if I could, this is what I would have done differently (and hopefully it serves as a useful tool for any of you who are thinking about becoming a Mary Kay consultant or any other direct sales).  My intent of these blog entries isn’t to bash the company.  As I mentioned yesterday, there are a lot of really great things about being involved with Mary Kay.  It is a business model that works for some women.  I witnessed it work for others around me, but it just wasn’t a good fit for me in the end.

1. Only invest in products that genuinely sell.
My customers were very patient if I was out of something and had to order it.  I would have done just fine by getting samples of a majority of the products, including most of the makeup line.  If my customers liked the sample enough, they would have waited a few days for me to order it from Mary Kay and deliver it to them.  With best-selling items on hand, I would have a worthwhile inventory and I wouldn’t have been overwhelmed by all the products that I could never sell.  My best-selling items include: Eye Makeup Remover, Replenishing Serum + C, Microdermabrasion Set, TimeWise Cleanser, TimeWise Moisturizer, Satin Hand Set, Satin Lips Set, Firming Eye Cream, and Ultimate Mascara in Black.  Beyond that, having only samples of everything else would have been better for me.

2. Invest at a lower level.
Really I didn’t need to go it at the diamond level, or any star level for that matter.  Fun prizes are part of the reward of investing at a “star” level each quarter.  While it was fun getting a “free” prize, most of the prizes I could choose from weren’t anything that I wanted or needed.  Of the prizes  I got, I’ve yet to use any of them.

3. Focus on why I got into it in the first place.
I lost sight of why I became a Mary Kay consultant very quickly.  Had I stayed true to wanting to make a little extra cash instead of wanting to become a director, making this a sole-income career, I don’t think I would have gotten so overwhelmed in the end.  If your goal is to become a director from day one, that is totally fine, just try to focus on what it is that you really want out of Mary Kay.

4. Maintain better balance.
I struggle with this one in general in my life.  If it isn’t Mary Kay, it’s something else, like training for a half marathon.  I let Mary Kay take over my life.  I got emotional about it and I let it get in the way of my relationships with my friends and family.  Again, this is a problem I have in general.  I wanted to give it my all, and at the end of Mary Kay, I felt like I was a total failure.  (At least with training for the half marathon, I crossed the finish line and felt the victory!)  Perhaps this is something I can work on in 2012, but for Mary Kay, I wish I had been able to put it down when it wasn’t Mary Kay time and enjoy my time with family and friends.

5. Stay true to myself.
This kind of ties back to number 3.  I felt myself being swayed into believing something that wasn’t me.  Had I stuck it out in Mary Kay, I know I would have been transformed into a totally different person.  Perhaps that is exactly what some people need, but I didn’t like the direction I was being moved towards.  Sorry this one is intentionally vague, but if you know me at all, and knew me through the experience, you probably know what I’m talking about.  (Okay, that’s probably just Nick and maybe one or two of my Mary Kay friends.)

I’m sure there are plenty more “if I could do it over again, I’d do it this way” items, but those are the major ones.  I don’t regret the experience at all.  Had I not become a consultant, I would have always wondered “what if” from the day I went to that skin care class back in August 2010.  In the end I learned how to handle the taxes of a business, something that truly freaked me out in the beginning.  I made good friends.  And, heck, I found a skin care line that truly has done wonders for my skin!

A Journey In Mary Kay: Why I Got Out

Holy cow, yesterday’s post brought a lot of hits to my blog!  I guess my crazy, life-altering decisions are somewhat entertaining.

Warning, this is going to be another long one!  So I left off yesterday in mid-August of 2010, right when I joined.  While the jewelry and cars were great perks, I was more interested in making some extra money and having the flexibility to do it when I wanted to do it.

Upon joining, my new director had me listen to a pre-recorded phone call from my national sales director, going over all the inventory options.  With Mary Kay, you don’t have to purchase an inventory, but it highly encouraged that you do.  And the more inventory you get, the better “deal” you get.  In other words, the more you spend on inventory, the more you get for free.  Based on what I told my director about my goals and time commitment, she recommended that I go in at the diamond level, and so that’s what I did.  It was a lot of money, but I told myself, there was a way out.  If Mary Kay wasn’t for me, there was a 90% buy-back of all my inventory.  I asked my director what the average timeframe was for consultants to break even on their investments.  She reported that on average it takes about three or four months, but that varies for everyone.  Some people can pay the investment off in two weeks, others it takes several months.

The boxes arrived a few days later and I was so overwhelmed, I let them sit in the computer room for a whole week before I opened them.  I was so freaked out about this decision, but my director assured me that everything was going to be okay.  Just give it a year, and if you totally hate it, you can get out, is what she told me.  A month later, I had a “debut” party and from there I was off running my new business.  I went to every weekly training meeting and held parties as often as I could schedule them.

Part of my Mary Kay Inventory on Display

I held parties a few times a month and the cash started to come in.  To keep my inventory balanced, I replaced what was purchased by my customers and had a “profit” of 50% on everything I sold.  Things were going just fine in October and November and the end of the Mary Kay quarter was nearing.  With the end of the quarter in sight and the holiday season coming up, I stocked up my inventory even more to finish the quarter as a star, in other words, finish at a rate of having bought so much from Mary Kay that I earn a prize.  Unfortunately my holiday prep didn’t yield so well as I barely sold a thing and didn’t have a single party.  At the same time, I got it in my head that the only way this would work, was for me to become a Sale Director.  At the time, I had recruited two sales consultants and I needed 24 in order to reach Sales Director.
I earned my Red Jacket in March 2011

January came, and I got another very strong team member.  The commission checks were coming in and I enjoyed seeing money being direct-deposited into my business account.  However, January was another slow month, with one single facial.  I kept my faith and pressed on.  February and March came and went.  Nick and I took a trip to visit my mom and I felt like I was on the phone, taking Mary Kay phone calls the entire time, all the while neglecting Nick, my mom, and being on vacation.  I felt terrible about it, but I had a goal in mind and I needed to keep going.  I had a few more parties here and there, but I always felt like I was leaving Nick behind and while there was flexibility to do Mary Kay when I wanted to, I felt like it was taking over my life.  On the up-side, I had made a bunch of friends through Mary Kay, and I realized that while I joined for the extra income, I really appreciated having the friends I made in the process.

April hit and Nick’s dad passed away.  This event triggered a turning point.  I had spent months and months giving it my all, investing in new products and building my inventory.  I had reached a point that I realized this wasn’t working the way I wanted it to.  I was not getting anywhere near breaking even on my investment and instead, had increased my investment with little return.  On top of that, I felt like I was pestering every friend and acquaintance I’ve ever had, asking them if they could do a Mary Kay facial or listen to a training call for me.  I felt like I was alienating everyone and I was hardly home to spend time with Nick.  (Sorry for those of you who are reading this who I pestered!  If you helped me out by doing a facial or phone call, thank you and I hope you liked your free gift for any inconvenience I put you through!)

I started to distance myself from Mary Kay.  I stopped going to the weekly meetings and I held my last party some time in May or June, which was a total disaster and complete failure.  I continued to sell products to existing customers, but I stopped restocking the inventory I sold.  I needed to actually make money and I had more inventory than I knew what to do with.  Then one afternoon, I ran into one of my Mary Kay consultant friends.  She was having a lot of similar thoughts and feelings that I was having.  We both had been on this huge mission to become Sales Directors that Mary Kay had totally taken over our lives.  She told me she was getting out.  I was so relieved to hear her tell me that.  I was afraid I was the only one who felt like I was in over my head and no longer enjoying this source of employment (if I can even call it that, as I was so far in the hole with my investment).  I wasn’t quite ready to return my inventory, although the thought was definitely in the back of my mind.  I really needed to take some time and think about it.  I’m not the person who typically jumps into huge decisions (although Nick would probably tell you otherwise).

About a month later, the middle of July 2011, I called up my friend who had recently gotten out of Mary Kay.  I asked her what I needed to do and who I needed to call.  She directed me to the right department at the Mary Kay headquarters.  I wasn’t planning on calling that same day to start the return process, but right when I got off the phone with her, I picked up the phone and dialed the return department at Mary Kay.  I was expecting the phone call to be a guilt trip to stay in the company, but that wasn’t the case at all.  The lady I spoke with was very nice and told me exactly what to do.  I was given the choice of returning the inventory via mail at my expense or, since I live in Dallas, where the headquarters of Mary Kay is, I could drive down to the warehouse and return it myself.  A form was being sent to me that I needed to fill out and then I’d be free and clear of Mary Kay, with my returned inventory 90% buy-back  coming my way.

(Okay, almost done… I know this is long, but thanks for sticking with me if you’ve made it this far!)  The form came in the mail a few days later and I jumped into counting my inventory, tabulating it in excel (I love spreadsheets), and filling out the form.  Alas, every thing was packed up and ready to go back to the Mary Kay warehouse!

My Mary Kay inventory, all packed up and ready to be returned

I loaded up my car in the middle of the week and drove down to the Mary Kay warehouse during my lunch break.  As I pulled up, I saw several charter buses in front of the warehouse.  It dawned on me that the Mary Kay annual convention was going on and this was one of several tours that consultants and directors could take!  I filed into the warehouse with all of these women who were all done up for the convention.  Trying not to announce it too loudly since it was so taboo, I told the woman at the front desk that I was there to return my inventory and she directed me on where to do.  I followed her directions, getting back in my car and heading to the rear of the warehouse.  Again, several more charter buses lines the back and more and more women were filing in through the back, exactly where I was supposed to go.  I followed the dolled up women in and again, made the announcement that I was there to return my products.  Nobody seemed to know where I was supposed to go, as the drop-off dock location was moved just for the convention.  I ended up having to call the Mary Kay corporate office as I sat there in the warehouse parking lot, asking for exact directions on where to go.  Finally, I was directed to the right dock (with no done-up ladies) and I finally got rid of those Mary Kay boxes.  What a relief!  I couldn’t have had any worse timing to drop the products off!  I was sp glad to be free and clear of it all!

In the end, I’m glad I got out of Mary Kay.  While I really enjoyed it for most of my time as a consultant, I wasn’t enjoying it at the end and I wasn’t anywhere near reaching my initial priority of making some extra cash.  When my director told me to give it a year, I took it to heart.  I told myself that if I was miserable or if I hadn’t broken even, I needed to get out, and that’s exactly how it ended.  There were several things that I did enjoy about the company and I made a few friends, but in the end, while Mary Kay really does work for some people, it just didn’t work for me.  And that, my friends, is (finally) the end of my Mary Kay journey.

A Journey In Mary Kay: Why I Did It

I’ve had this post topic in the back of my mind for a while, but I’ve put off writing it because I didn’t really know how it fit in to my blog.  But heck, it’s my blog, so I’ll write about whatever I want.  If you remember from The (un)Lucky Little Blue Dress post, I mentioned that I did Mary Kay for a while.  Here is the story of why I became a Mary Kay consultant.  Tomorrow’s blog will be part 2- why I got out.  (I’m breaking it up over two days because I know it will be long.  That, and I want to keep you keep you curious!)

To start this story, I have to go back before the beginning of Mary Kay, all the way back to graduating from the University of Michigan.  The day of graduation brought mixed emotions.  I was finally done with school, seven years of higher education, and no job lined up.  I was eager to be employed.  The grace period of the first batch of student loans was something minimal, like 60 days.  I didn’t want to waste time and money by going into deferment so I took the first job I was offered, packed up, and moved to Texas.  Unfortunately urban planning, and really the field of architecture, is the lowest paying profession that requires a professional degree (compared to doctors and lawyers), so my starting salary was measly.  I was getting by over those first few months, but another round of student loans were about to come out of their grace period.  Now, seven years of higher education didn’t come cheap.  I went to a private liberal arts school for undergrad, which my mom helped to pay for (thanks Mom), but I still had to take out loans to pay for the rest of it, and well, grad school, that’s another financial rant, but to give you an idea, all in all, I racked up six figures in student loans.  (I actually don’t know the exact number, but I have a rough idea.  Thinking about the exact number is too depressing for me.)  After calling the loan companies and changing the payment plans from regular to graduated (in other words, the same payment over what seems like a million years was changed to the same payment over two years, then increased to another level for the next two years, and so on over again what seems like a million years), I realized that I still didn’t make enough money.  It was getting close to the holiday season, so I decided I could pick up a retail job to bring in a little extra cash each week.  I landed a sales job at Pier One.  It was convenient, just across the street from my apartment (again, this is Dallas, so just across the street means crossing six lanes of traffic, lack of sidewalks, and walking through a huge strip mall parking lot).  So three days a week, I would go immediately from my day job to Pier One for a four-hour shift.  I didn’t get home to eat dinner until 10:00 PM.  It sucked, but a little extra cash was nice.

I stuck it out at Pier One until right around Easter, at which point I was dreading the shifts.  I wanted to have some time to myself and a second job in retail wasn’t giving me the “Me” time I needed.  Somehow, I was able to make due on just my full-time income and I did without a second part-time income.  And then the recession hit.  I saw coworkers being let go left and right and somehow, I still remained employed, but at a cost.  Our salaries were quickly cut to 80%.  My lease was up and uncertain of my future employment status, I packed up and moved in with a former coworker, renting a bedroom from her.  It was a month-to-month deal, no contract.  It was perfect for the uncertain times and it was cheap.  A few months after I moved in with her I hit the two-year mark on my loans, which meant a graduated increase.  Now my federal loan had a nice, easy increase of about $20.  While $20 was a lot during the economic circumstances, it didn’t compare to my private loan that had a one-time graduated jump of $300.  I couldn’t afford the $300 increase on this one particular student loan but I couldn’t find a way to make it go down.  Since it was private, I couldn’t consolidate it with my other loans.  I looked into moving it over to another private loan provider, but I was denied because I didn’t make enough money to support the loan (um, yeah, I don’t even know where to begin with that rejection statement).  I refused to go into deferment since the interest would keep building while I wasn’t paying.  To make the payments every month, I had to charge all my monthly expenses (food, gas, basic living needs) to my credit card.

The months passed by and I kept an eye out for other part-time employment opportunities that were worth their while.  (I learned that retail really just isn’t worth the money).  All the while, my credit card debt went up and up.  Then, by chance, a friend through the Delta Gamma Dallas Night Alumni Group asked if we could do a Mary Kay party for her.  A bunch of us girls got together on a week night some time in the middle of August of 2010 and she told us all about the company.  I had one other experience with Mary Kay several years back, but was never told all the information about the company.  She listed off all of the great things that you could earn as a Mary Kay consultant or director.  There was the cars, the trips, the jewelery, the extra cash, and the flexibility to do it when I wanted to do it.  It sounded great.  The business model was already set up.  All I had to do was follow it, and I could make some extra cash.  I filled out a “Tell Us What You Think” form and circled, “I’m interested, but need more information” and went home to tell Nick about the experience.  Nick’s first reaction was “Don’t do it”.  I told him I needed to think about it and that I was going to talk to my friend’s director later that week.

That night I went to sleep and I had a dream about Mary Kay.    Now what person in their right mind has dreams about Mary Kay, especially someone who wasn’t a consultant or director!  I took it as a sign and as I drove to work that next morning, I thought, really, what do I have to lose?  With the 90% buyback guarantee, there really wasn’t that much risk in giving it a go.  So within a day or two of my “revelation” I signed up and became a Mary Kay consultant!

Stay tuned for Part 2: Why I got out!