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Durinda Butler, 56

Independent beauty consultant

Mary Kay Cosmetics, St. Petersburg

Is this a full or part time job for you?

For myself, this is a part-time job.

Do you work directly for Mary Kay?

Each one of the consultants, this is our own independent business. We do not work for Mary Kay Cosmetics, but that is where we get our products and our training.

On average, how many hours a week do you work?

Well, what I try to do is have, like, three classes a week, so I figure maybe 10 hours a week.

So what is a "class?"

A class is usually three women, and you teach them skin care, and you use the Mary Kay cosmetics as you are teaching. Then you give the ladies the opportunity to purchase the product. We call them parties, we call them "Girls Night Out," whatever that person wants to do.

Where do you usually conduct these sessions?

I can do it here at my home or at a hostess' home. If a lady would like me to come to her home with her friends, I can go there.

How would you describe your particular presentation style?

Very casual and really simple. I personally do not wear a lot of makeup.

So do most of your customers tend to be sort of minimalists, too?

Most of them, I would say. But see I have the opportunity to present everything that they would like or might care for.

How long have you been doing this?

I started in August 2000, and I had no intentions of doing this. I was invited to the debut of a friend who was starting out as a consultant. I was just going to buy the product and do it for personal use.

What made you decide to get into this?

I had very rough hands, and one of the first things she did is what we call our "satin hands" treatment. When I felt my hands, I was really impressed. I had done Tupperware and Avon and Amway, so was familiar with those types of sales. I didn't see myself as a salesperson, but I loved the product. When you love the product, and you use the product, you don't have to worry about it; it sells itself.

What kind of training do you need to do this?

All you need to be is teachable. The Mary Kay training center for our area is in Largo. There's training meetings going on Monday through Fridays. My group meets every Tuesday, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Do you have to pay a franchise fee to start up?

No, all you do is pay $114.75, and you get a starter kit with teaching tapes, books and samples. You can take the tapes or books, and if you have some natural abilities, you can go ahead and get started on your own. But if you don't, or you don't want to, that's where the training comes in.

What makes Mary Kay sales different from some of those other companies you tried?

The thing I like about this company is that I don't share my commissions with anybody. I order directly from the company, products are shipped to me UPS and I sell directly to my customer. I immediately have my profit right there.

How do you make your money?

One way you make it is a percentage of the product you are selling. With Mary Kay it's 50 percent. I pay the wholesale price plus the taxes. Then when I sell a product to a customer, she pays the retail plus the tax.

How does recruiting other women as consultants benefit you?

The company rewards me. Right now I have a 4 percent commission for the people that I have sponsored. When they order products, I get 4 percent from the company, but this does not take anything away from the consultant. Once a month I get a commission check from the company, and that percentage grows the more people you get involved.

How much money do you make?

Right now my goal is $1,200 a month. Sometimes you make it, sometimes you don't, but you have to have a goal. When I first started, I just wanted to get $100 a month.

What are your job responsibilities?

It's very important to stay in contact with the customers. The other is keeping up the inventory, making sure that every time I sell a product, that I'm going to be ordering that product, so I'm replacing it in my inventory.

What personal traits do you need to do this?

The most important thing is to be teachable, so that you can learn new things from other people. Another is that you don't know too many people, because you don't get rich off friends and family. It's meeting new people that's important.


Durinda Butler enjoys friendships forged with other Mary Kay consultants she has met through regular training classes. The company offers jewelry and other gifts as sales incentives, but Butler has her eye on the prized pink Cadillac coveted in Mary Kay circles.