Tasteless Mary Kay Directors and NSDs Defending Unethical Business Practices
Im a big fan of the TV show Kitchen Nightmares. Its an entertaining spectacle where restaurant owners contact professional chef Gordon Ramsay for help in turning their sagging businesses around. One of the first things Chef Ramsay does is evaluate (often loudly, and with plenty of swear words lovingly plucked from the vast garden that is the English language) all the things wrong with the restaurant; the food, the service, the owners attitude, and so forth. Initially, owners get angry and defensive, but once they come to accept Ramsays evaluation and realize that his criticism is meant to help. not hurt, the restaurant is well on its way to a fresh start.
I wish the leaders of Mary Kay Cosmetics were more like these restaurant owners: open to debate despite it being difficult to hear, and humble enough to accept it, correct it, and take steps towards positive change. Unfortunately, most of Mary Kays leaders are leagues away from such a concept and youre about to see why.
This year I discovered a Facebook community called The Million Dollar Message Listeners (M$M for short) . Its run by six top directors who are daughters, sisters, or nieces of National Sales Directors (Kristin Rogers, Jordan Helou Eicher, Krystal Walker, Amber Towne, Kali Brigham, and Tiffany Stout). The group encourages consultants to dial a hotline to hear daily motivational speeches and leave comments.
Be warned, though: M$M has restricted consultants from formulating new posts, and it has been made clear that comments on older posts which contain personal opinion or are deemed to be negative in nature will be deleted immediately.
I asked for clarification on what exactly negative meant, and one member said that it was debate or criticism of any kind . Most agreed with her, and this concerned me, because if MK culture doesnt allow debate or criticism, how do problems within it get fixed, if ever? If Chef Ramsay didnt open up discussion regarding a failing restaurants issues, the show would be pointless and Id be finishing out my Netflix broadcast day with a poignant tear-jerker like Two-Headed Shark Attack .
In the 6+ years I have written for Pink Truth, I have encountered a legion of shady practices being promoted by Mary Kays leaders: frontloading, lying, stealing customers, disrespect of husbands. manipulation, and deception in about seven colors and 31 flavors.
When I joined the M$M community, consultants were lamenting issues like getting kicked out of retail stores for toting product-filled Temptation Baskets through the aisles and the heartbreak of trying to sell $1,000 in one day but barely selling $50 by sunset. With such discussion going on, I saw it as the perfect place to get answers from not only Mary Kays leaders, but the women they lead as well. My choice of topic? The unethical teachings of National Sales Director Dacia Wiegandt .
Dacia Wiegandt gives consultants the impression that shes a godly sort, slathering bible verses and references to God on everything from training documents to her Facebook page . However, the fruit thats dropping off of this pink Pharisees tree tells a very different story. Wiegandt is an advocate of frontloading (Pull inventory as soon as [prospects] sign, she advises) and has attempted to guilt consultants into action by threatening them with the prospect of having to face a disappointed God at Seminar. NSD Wiegandt has even taught consultants that in order to recruit someone, its okay to lie to a customer by intentionally leaving product out of her order so you have a reason to get back with her later:
…if [a customer] says to me, Well, Ive actually gotta go because I gotta pick up my child, what am I going to do? Im going to leave something out of her product. So I have a reason to get back with her within 24 hours. Yall have to think quick, yall have to think on your toes. So how does tomorrow sound? I have that Miracle Set, but I dont have the foundation (hint hint, right?) So tomorrow, Im going to have lunch with you, bring the foundation, and then Im going to market her right there and share the opportunity.
Ready to begin, I donned my chefs jacket, ironed a few dozen wrinkles into my face, practiced saying the word donkey with an English accent, and took my first step towards what I hoped would be a constructive dialogue with the M$M community: What if I heard something from an NSD that I thought was bad advice? I wrote. Can we talk about it (and how to handle it) hereI want to get everyones opinions if shes right or wrong…
Almost immediately my post was deleted and I received a message from one of the boards Big Six, Executive Senior Sales Director Krystal Walker: One thing that I am passionate about is the Mary Kay legacy. Nationals and sales directors are our legacy…the comment that you posted was negative because it was speaking poorly about an NSD. I stand behind all the NSDs and they are our Mary Kays!
Understand that I hadnt yet named the NSD or her crime, which is funny because I could have witnessed an NSD flying high on meth while performing a Santeria ritual in a Starbucks bathroom (hey, production isnt going to make itself, people), and yet Walker had already made it clear that her allegiance would be with our legacyour Mary Kays!
I didnt think it was prudent to give unquestioning loyalty to anyone with skin, so I replied, I would never intentionally leave something out of a customer’s order or lie to them. While the NSDs may be MK’s legacy, don’t they make mistakes just like any of us would? Only Jesus walked on water, after all. I only want to do the right thing, and I want to help others do the right thing, too. I attached the full text of Wiegandts quote so ESSD Walker could see what I was talking about.
Krystal Walker wrote back,If you ever hear or see a training that you feel is unethical, please contact your director. I appreciate your heart to want to do the right thing, but our page is not the place to do that.
Wow. Can you imagine the owner of a crumbling cafe telling a 15-star Michelin chef, Look, I realize you want to help us function better, but my restaurant isnt the place for that? While I dont have any Michelin Stars under my belt, having never been in Mary Kay gives me a perspective thats not influenced by MKs militant No negativity! mindset. Thats useful because its easier for one to recognize (and call out) Mary Kays ethical issues if one is outside the pink bubble.
I strongly feel that even if most sales directors and NSDs wanted to recognize and decry MKs ethical issues, theyd have a difficult time doing so because theyre trapped inside the pink bubble by fear : fear of losing recruits, fear of losing orders, fear of losing rank, and the fear of being reprimanded, labeled, criticized, or shunned by their peers. And thats a shame because such a mentality goes against everything our mothers told us about the importance of standing up for what is right, no matter how unpopular doing so may be.