*AKA, Confessions of a former Mary Kay Beauty Consultant.
One may call me an utter hypocrite for this view; I was, once upon a time (circa 1997), a Mary Kay lady. It was around the same time my sister became a Tupperware lady. If you don’t know about me and my Irish Twin, my awesome sister, you should check out my posts about our childhood. That will tell you all you need to know about how different our personalities are, even though we are only eleven months apart in age. I still really like their lipstick, but after losing a shit-ton of money in this venture, I hung up my pink lab coat and went back to my day job.
As a former network marketer, I know the ways these companies try to entice women to join their ranks. The promise of a Pink Pontiac Grand Am swayed me back in the day. I would have looked DAMN GOOD driving around town in that baby. I still recall how and when I was “recruited.” I was downtown doing my civic duty at jury duty selection when a fabulous brunette caught my eye, hustled over to me and told me in no uncertain terms that I was drop dead gorgeous (well, duh, yeah…) and had I ever considered a career where I could make my own hours, have unlimited income potential and have a great time with other fabulous ladies like myself? She had me, hook, line and sinker.
It was fun, for a time. I even went so far as to attend the annual convention in Dallas, which was a HOOT. But perhaps what made it exciting honestly, was dressing up for the gala and strutting around Dallas catching the eye of handsome men in cowboy hats. I had not seen a lot of the world at that point in my life, so this trip seemed incredibly glamorous and fun. I was only 25, after all. Soon, however, I realized I was in the wrong business. There’s a reason you see Mary Kay business cards on every bulletin board in every small business in your town. There’s a ton of these ladies all competing in the same market for the same clientele; the business model quickly becomes not very lucrative. Indeed, it became the exact opposite and within two years I had packed my box of samples away and sold all my excess product on eBay. At a loss. I clawed my way out of the debt I had incurred and turned my attention to climbing the professional ladder of web and software development like the good geek I was (and am).
I still threw the occasional “hen” party; inviting all my friends over to enjoy some amazing Pampered Chef products, a fun new recipe and some good wine on more than one occasion. I do love me some kitchen gadgets, I cannot lie. But it always felt like a chore and honestly, kind of a shitty way to say to my friends, “hey, let’s get together!” Because the end of that sentence goes something like this… “hey, let’s get together, and you can buy some over-priced merchandise in my living room so I can get some credit to get more of that over-priced merchandise for FREE!” We all do it and it becomes a bit of a vicious cycle until someone (ahem, like me) calls uncle and, as our friend Nancy Reagan directed us, “just says NO.” I know, she was talking about drugs…but really, sometimes it applies elsewhere.
The last straw for me came with an ill-conceived jewelry party. I love me some nice costume jewelry, people. There’s nothing quite like a great chunky statement necklace to complete a banging ensemble. My mom had thrown the original party, and as I am a good daughter and she was going to get more free stuff off my booking, I booked a party of my own. I invited 30 of my closest friends, laid in all the food and all the booze, sent the husband and the kids out of the house for the evening and BAM… nothing. The evening was a bust. Five people showed (you ladies know who you are and I love you all madly for it). Hell, my mom didn’t even show. It was at that moment, I knew I was done. I swore I would never host another home sales party AGAIN. That was circa 2008 and I am proud to say I kept my word. 13 years later, I have not hosted any gathering which requires my friends to pull out their credit cards at all. There’s no catch when you come to my house to enjoy an evening of fun, food, and drink. Just come over and we will drink beers on the patio or play games at the dining room table. No catch, no demonstrations, no hostess credit. It’s glorious.
Now, as a woman of a certain age and with a bit of disposable income, I still get a lot of invites to home parties. I always did and usually passed. Now in the Age of Covid, these parties have gone virtual. My FB feed is now bombarded daily with invitations. The book of faces definitely makes the process a lot easier it would seem; and you’re no longer limited to the friends who live local; you can invite all 350 of your closest social media friends! However, I’m still saying “pass.” Even though the party is 100% virtual and I don’t even need to leave the house, I really do not want to buy the over-priced merch. It’s really freeing and I don’t feel bad at all.
Make no mistake, I am all about the side hustle. Honestly, that’s what Resist Invisible is to me. Me choosing to opt out of a virtual nail party is in no way intended to be a slight or a reflection on our friendship. I just like to do my own nails; I’ve been doing them since I was 12 and honestly, I’m really good at it. Now that I have my own gel polish easy bake oven, I can get salon looks for a lot less. I have more than enough kitchen gadgets and am very happy with my skin care regime, thank you very much. If you can make it lucrative, I say HELL YES, good for you!
So I’m gonna hard pass on your nail/bag/jewelry/cleaning/cooking party. Though I MIGHT be interested in that adult toy party once we are all out of Corona-quarantine, but only if there’s a lot of booze.