Iconic beauty company, Mary Kay, has announced that it has closed its activity in Australia and New Zealand, saying market conditions are too tough for trade.

The news was shared on their website, saying that operations in the region were unsustainable, and that the brand would be focusing on their “core growth markets across the globe”.

The well-known make-up business first arrived down under in 1971, after being started in Dallas, USA in 1963.

Why The Exit?

A Mary Kay spokesperson said in a statement that a “combination in rising costs of doing business and slowing consumer spend” had been “compounded by the smaller size” of the Australian and NZ markets.

Its withdrawal was “not due to a slump in the popularity of products or our channels” and that “Mary Kay’s direct selling business model continues to operate profitably in nearly 40 markets around the world.

It’s An MLM

The model underlying the business is a controversial multi-level marketing scheme (MLM), with consultants recruited to sell Mary Kay products directly to their local networks.

There is much criticism around the way MLM’s work and their close resemblance to pyramid schemes, which are actually illegal in Australia.

Sign Of The Times

However the business model is probably not the main reason why Mary Kay withdrew from Down Under.

Marketing and consumer behaviour expert Gary Mortimer, from the Queensland University of Technology spoke to ABC News saying he believed it was a sign of the times.

“I think it’s more a case that the Australian community and society has evolved from the 1960s and 70s,” Professor Mortimer said.

“People aren’t at home waiting for a knock on the door, we don’t wait for that catalogue to arrive — those days are long gone.”

Mecca & Sephora

“The younger market are now looking at emerging, exciting brands like Mecca or Sephora, or those types of brands where there is an experience involved in the purchase of makeup — like make-up classes or blogs.

“There is a lot more of a digital element in the purchase of make-up and cosmetics,” added Prof Mortimer.

Poor Income

He also said that most of the salespeople didn’t derive a significant income, unless you were high up in the chain. Beauty consultants are not employees of Mary Kay and do not receive a salary or wage.

A Mary Kay spokesperson said: “The consultants have shared Mary Kay’s disappointment in its withdrawal from these markets … and is providing support to help them transition out of the business.”

On its website, Mary Kay said it would accept returned products from its independent sales staff up until 6 April 2020.

Are you a fan of Mary Kay products? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Never really a huge brand in Australia and not a fan of direct selling, however I purchased Mary Kay overseas and they had nice products.


  • Knew of the brand but was never a fan – it was highly priced and other make up was easier to obtain and better for me.


  • Never heard of them surprisingly


  • Never used this brand but very unfortunate for them


  • I don’t wear make up


  • Wow this is sad all the poor people that made money selling this will be hard for them


  • Not a brand that I used before. Unfortunately, I don’t believe they will be the last to go this way ….


  • I worked on Mary Kay about 25-odd years ago so it’s sad to hear this. However, I must admit I wasn’t aware they were still around. You just don’t see or hear about them anymore, hence their exit from Oz.


  • Also never heard of thus brand


  • Never heard of this brand


  • it’s interesting that the article calls out MLM’s for being closely similar to pyramid schemes which are illegal in Australia – I personally have no problem with MLM’s i will purchase something if I actually want it or like it but I have never been forced (or sucked into) buying something – it’s a shame to see them go because I know of people who have been selling MK for the past 20-30 years who have loved every minute of their MK business.


  • The problem with makeup /skincare MLM is that the products are just too expensive. You can get (in my opinion) better quality products for less at Mecca or Sephora.


  • I honestly think these kinds of businesses will all eventually fail here in Australia, products are far too expensive compared to things ypu can simply buy at the shops and the consultants male next to nothing from them, once you sell to your family and friends, it’s extremely hard to make new customers. Consultants put in so much work and don’t get enough of a return to continue with MLM. It really is just another form of pyramid selling coming from experience.


  • I have never used this brand. I haven’t even heard of it sadly.


  • I never heard of this brand.


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