wildly curious
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Business & Economics

The High Price of Multi-Level Marketing


Looking for financial independence? Part-time work from home? In the August issue of Harper’s, Virginia Sole-Smith puts Mary Kay cosmetics under the microscope, and she says it’s a business that preys on desperate housewives with the promise of glamour and extra income. The reality of network marketing though is often sub-minimum wage, escalating debt and the pressure to recruit more people. Tuesday, Sole-Smith joins us, along with Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones, for a look at the high price of “easy” income.


Virginia Sole-Smith is a journalist and fellow with The Nation Institute's Investigative Fund. Her work has appeared in more than 40 national publications and websites including Harper's, Slate and the New York Times. Her article The Pink Pyramid Scheme appears in the August 2012 issue of Harper's.

Stephanie Mencimer is a reporter with Mother Jones. She's written several articles on multi-level marketing, most recently Get-Rich-Quick Profiteers Love Mitt Romney, and He Loves Them Back in the magazine's May/June 2012 issue.


Thursday, Doug was joined by Laura Beitler, Vice President of Compliance with Mary Kay Cosmetics and Joseph Mariano, President of the Direct Selling Association for a response to Tuesday's conversation:

MLM Response by KUER's RadioWest

Visit these sites to learn more:

In defense of direct sales: Direct Selling Association; MLM.com; Mary Kay Cosmetics

Critics of direct sales: Pink Truth; MLM-TheTruth.com