Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mary Kay is Too Complicated

From time to time, I've heard people tell me that Mary Kay is too complicated as a business. You have to know your products, find people who will meet with you, market yourself and "compete" against other Mary Kay Consultants. That may be true, but I hardly find Mary Kay a complicated business.

My wife is a pastry chef and a cake decorator. She's actually a very good one. She studied her craft in St. Petersburg, Russia (where she is from) and worked in a 5 Star Hotel and a high end restaurant on Nevskii Prospekt, the main street running through St. Petersburg. My wife wants to have her own business, where she is making custom wedding cakes and cakes for all occasions. To get an idea of what I am talking about, I suggest you visit her website: (and yes, that is a plug for her business at the same time).

My wife and I are realizing really quickly how complicated starting a new business is. There is a bakery for sale that we are interested in. It's much easier to take an existing business and go with it than start from the beginning. To buy the bakery, we need to have a business loan. To get a business loan, we need to have a business plan. To get a business plan, you need to have someone with a lot more experience than I have.

I have never written a business plan before. I'm slowly working through it anyway. And I am lucky to have a few people who are willing to look it over for me.

In addition to the business plan and the loan, I am the sole marketer for our business. I created the webpage (from Vista Print) and used the template for the business cards. We had to look for general liability insurance and we'll need a commercial kitchen in the future as well.

Basically, we are starting everything from the beginning, which is exactly where we are--the beginning. But there are so many things I never thought about. One solution leads to another question. One step forward creates 5 new issues that need to be addressed. I am not complaining, since this is my wife's business. But, I am overwhelmed.

My Mary Kay business, on the other hand, cost me $100 to start, plus tax and shipping. I do not need liability insurance with Mary Kay. The Company already has that. Mary Kay also has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which makes it easy on me. I didn't have to create a website. I only had to pay for it (and add my personal information). It only costs me $50 for the year (our Vista page costs $10 per month). I didn't have to look for business cards. I just had to fill out my contact information, choose the style and pay for them.

The only other thing I had to purchase was my inventory (which is not required, but let's be serious--if you want to run a retail business, you need to have something to sell). Mary Kay does the advertising, marketing, even uploads videos to Youtube. Mary Kay puts together the catalog and prints them. I just need to decide who to send them to.

But seriously, if Mary Kay is really that complicated, I want to know which business (or job) out there that is less complicated.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Perfect Mary Kay Party

If you've met a Mary Kay Consultant before, no doubt you were asked to host a party. It's always interesting to hear the reactions to this request. It's not as complicated as you may think. I have a few suggestions to make the party easy (and if you use ALL of my suggestions, your work will take about 10 minutes).

First of all, you need a date, time and location. Most ladies like to have the party at their house or apartment. It just makes things easier for the host and all the guests usually know where to go. Plan for an hour and a half. The first 30 minutes, the Consultant will work with you, the hostess and make you gorgeous before the party starts. Every Consultant likes to arrive BEFORE the guests. This gives us time to set up and ask you about your guests. The hour is for your guests (some Consultants like to get out faster--all the better).

You do NOT need to clean your house top to bottom, pull out the good china to serve refreshments on or change to the "guest" towels in the powder room. Since most of the people you invite to your party are your friends, chances are they have been to your house before and seen it in every condition. Your friends are coming to your party to have fun, not check out your cleaning skills. Trust me, most don't care (except for the hostess).

In order to have a successful party, you need to have guests show up. People are busy these days, even in the recession. People forget. Most people need an invitation and 2 reminders to remember to come to any event (not just a Mary Kay event). You do NOT need to plan a party months out in advance. A week or two is really all that is needed. Remember, you will never plan an event that is convenient for all your guests. Just know that some will not be able to come no matter when you schedule it. Just pick a date and time that works for most.

If you host a party with me, I will do the initial invite plus the two reminders. I'm sure if you ask your Consultant, she'll be happy to do the same. You don't need to do anything except provide me the guest list. A guest list includes the name, phone number and preferably the email address of each guest. Most of the time, you can get this off your smart phone. I do understand that some people want permission to give out their name and number. If that is the case, than please get their permission first.

Just be aware that some of your friends will try to talk you out of holding a Mary Kay party for many reasons. They hosted a party before and it was terrible. They didn't like the product. Someone they knew was allergic 20 years ago. If YOU really want to have a party, don't let them talk you out of it. Which is why I suggest you invite 10 people. That should guarantee that 4 will show up. The other six will either be busy, not interested or forget to show up.

If I can, I like to send an email invitation, that includes a personality quiz (which you can post on Facebook and get more interest in your party), the current Mary Kay catalog and the Virtual Make-over. The Virtual Make-over tool is a great way to look at the different make-up styles on various models (or your own picture!). But more on the Virtual Make-over tool in another blog. In addition to the email invitation, I like to call and introduce myself over the phone to your guests. This helps me to get to know them and find out what they are interested in learning. My call also lets them know that a man is the Consultant. It makes a better party. Finally, if I have enough time before your party, I like to send out a post card reminder.

If I do not get the guest list from you, the party does not usually happen. The hostess is frustrated as to why nobody showed up. It then becomes hard to give away any product for free, since the Consultant is not making any money. It is not a win-win situation. The guest list is the single most important step in hosting a successful party.

So who do you invite? You invite friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, people from church, your child's teacher--anyone who you think would like a night out with the girls. The more you invite, the more you will have at your party. It's also a good idea to invite the skin care divas, the make-up goddesses and anyone who might be interested in selling Mary Kay. That usually leads to more sales, which means you get more for free!

So, to wrap things up . . . the Perfect Mary Kay Party has a hostess who decides on a date, time and location with the Consultant and gives a list of guests to the Consultant as soon as possible (the same day or the next day after the party is scheduled is easiest and you won't forget). The Consultant takes care of the invitations, the introductions and the reminders. The Consultant sets up, shows everyone a great time and gives away free product to the hostess. The hostess is only responsible for the guest list. No cleaning, no food preparation, no invitations are necessary. Do them only if you choose. Parties can be in person and even online (although the online parties tend to sell less and aren't as fun).

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Introduction

My name is Daniel Manor. I am a MALE Mary Kay Consultant in East Point (Atlanta), Georgia. Yes, there are a few of us out there. I called the company in the spring of 2011 and they told me there were approximately 5300 male Consultants in the US who are selling Mary Kay. It's an impressive number, if you consider that there could be at least 100 male consultants per state.

So, why do I sell Mary Kay? Isn't there another job out there that is much more "manly"? Couldn't I find something better to do? Is it hard to sell lipstick all day? Very good questions.

Let's address the first one. Why do I sell Mary Kay? To answer that question, I need to let you know more about how I came into Mary Kay. I was an ice skater while I attended college. The president of the skating club was a Mary Kay Sales Director. She is still my recruiter, but she is no longer a Director. She is part of the National Guard and took a position there that took her away from Directorship. Her name is Annette. Annette "bothered" me a few times about selling Mary Kay. Has anyone "bothered" you to sell Mary Kay? Perhaps, you should take a look before you make a rash decision, like I did.

I kept telling Annette "no", not knowing anything about the company or why she asked me to sell Mary Kay. I also had a decent job at that time, making over $10 per hour while in college. I paid my bills, paid for school and had money enough to spare for skating lessons and whatever else I wanted. I did not need something like Mary Kay. Annette still asked from time to time, like when she was working on becoming a Director or when she was "winning a car". Had I known what those involved when she asked, I might have been more willing to help--or at least listen.

In any case, I lost that decent job. After being unemployed for 2 months, I could only get a job as a swing manager at the local McDonald's. I went from $10.50/hour with benefits to $7 per hour without benefits. Not to mention that two months with no salary took a chunk of my savings. I slowly got behind in some of my bills, but did what I could to stay ahead.

That's when Annette called me and said she'd take me to lunch (on her dime) if I just listened to her about Mary Kay. Since money was getting tight, I figured at least I'd get lunch for free that day. I decided to meet with her.

Annette let me know that Mary Kay Consultants from day one make 50% commission on everything that they sell. That I understood right away. Sell $100 and I get to keep $50. But I didn't think of myself as a salesman. So, maybe this wasn't for me. I listened on anyway.

Annette also let me know that she earned her car from the company and drives pretty much for free (Mary Kay pays the taxes, title, registration and I think 80% of the insurance--I'll have to double check that figure). So other than a few maintenance items like oil changes and gas--and the remainder of the insurance, you drive the car for free. This was a tempting idea, especially when you get a new car EVERY two years. I like free cars and I've never had a NEW car. Yes, Mary Kay still has the pink Cadillac, but they also have a white Chevy Malibu and a silver Toyota Camry or a silver Chevy Equinox (NOTE--these are the cars as of August 2011 and they change periodically). Many laugh at me when I tell them I will drive a pink Cadillac when I earn one. Why not? It's free! I don't care what color it is. It's also free advertising. Bonus!

Annette continued to tell me about the commissions you can earn once you add team members. I wasn't sure about recruiting people, either. I mean, there is just a stigma to the concept of recruiting people to your team no matter what business it is. I would have to address this issue, since the only way to earn a car or become a Director is to recruit people. But this was not my biggest concern at the moment.

I think the thing that worried me the most was, what if I cannot sell the products I buy? I mean, what would I do with 50 lipsticks and 100 eye shadows if I could not sell them. Annette let me know that Mary Kay has a buy back program. If I do my best to sell the product and I find out it's just not for me OR if I find I love the company but just can't sell anything, Mary Kay will buy my products back from me. They would give me 90% of what I paid for it. I figured that was a fair risk--10%.

I thought I'd give Mary Kay a try. Actually, my goal was to show Annette that she was 100% wrong about me and that I am a terrible prospect for a Consultant. I went to some meetings and met some other people who sell Mary Kay. For most of them, I was the only male Consultant they had ever met. I was almost an instant celebrity. Many people wanted to talk to me or ask questions. At least, the Consultants and the Directors did. It made things a bit more fun. It's still fun to this day, going to Mary Kay events as one of a few male Consultants. There are spouses there, supporting their wives, but few of those men sell Mary Kay. The attention is FUN!

So part of the answer as to why I sell Mary Kay is because I knew I would not be stuck with products if I could not sell them. And I figured I could at least try. I was sold on the company a few months later, when my sister came to visit. Dianne was in the US Army, working on her training. She had a break and decided to come see me in Utah, instead of go home to see the rest of the family. I was at school, so not anywhere near home. Dianne said she wanted to try some Mary Kay products.

Dianne and I got together. I was the most "green" person you could ever think about. She was asking all kinds of questions that I did not know the answer to. I looked them up in my Consultant handbook. I found most of the answers there. When we got to foundation, Dianne's answer was, "I don't wear foundation. I don't like it". I had to respond, "well, you checked the box 'even skin tone and reduce redness in the cheeks' on the profile card. According to the book, foundation will solve that problem. So, just give it a try and if you hate it, don't buy it." Dianne was game. So we went though the skin care facial and got to the foundation. She was skeptical, but put some on. After we had the foundation blended, she looked at herself in the mirror and said, "I've never looked this good before". And we had NO MAKE-UP ON! I was sold at that point. If I could get my sister to think she looks good, I wanted to do that all the time with EVERYONE.

I decided that I needed to learn more about the products I was selling. I barely knew anything when Dianne and I met. So I went to all the training I could. I didn't want to rely on the handbook forever. I also had one customer who wanted a color make-over. I had no idea what colors to recommend for her. I didn't want to be in that situation again.

Okay, next question. Isn't there something more "manly" that I could be doing? Well, I am not anywhere close to the typical all American boy. How would someone define a "manly" type of work, anyway? Something women cannot do? There is no such thing. Women proved that back in the 1960s. In addition, women can still give birth to children, something men will never be able to do. So no matter what men do, women will always have one thing men cannot.

But as far as work goes--should there be divisions? Men's work/women's work? Most feminists would say no. I have no interest in feminism, but I do have to agree that if women are capable of conquering the workplace, men should be able to do the same thing--regardless of the area of work. The bonus with my career of choice--I get to work with women all day. I get to teach them how to take care of their skin, how to bring out their best features and how to love the way they look. They love to see me and I love to see them. It's win-win. Why would I want to work with men all day when I can do this?

In addition, haven't men been selling everything since we understood what it was to be a salesman or a merchant. Men have sold everything and will continue to do so. Why not something like skin care or lipstick? Women use it up and want more, which means they will be coming back. That works for me!

Is it hard to sell lipstick all day? I don't know the answer to that since I don't try to sell lipstick all day. There are so many more interesting products in the Mary Kay skin care line that I don't have to worry about trying to sell a lipstick. Those who know Mary Kay know which lipstick they like and know they can get it from me. I talk to them about everything else. It's a skin care system, proven to fight the signs of aging. And it works. If not, it's 100% guaranteed. If any of my customers are not happy, they can trade what they don't like for something they do like OR they can just get a refund. How easy is that? Mary Kay reimburses me with new product, so I lose nothing. In addition, since I sell it I also use it. Why wouldn't I? I am pointing out all of the benefits at every appointment. I have no interest in aging either even if age is more distinguishing on a man.

So, there you have it. I sell Mary Kay because I decided to take a chance and I love it. I love the product. I love that I work from home. I love that I can earn prizes for my work. I love that I work with women all day and help them feel great about themselves.

I plan on sharing my experiences in Mary Kay on this blog. I also plan on letting people know about the great products we have and the great opportunity Mary Kay is as a career. Feel free to ask any questions. I'd love to hear from you.

Check me out on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and soon I'll be on Youtube!

Have a great week!

Mary Kay Daniel