Skip to main content

It’s hard to call your own shots at work, especially in this economy.

But being your own boss and setting your own hours are two of the reasons Pamela Cheeks, an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay, is a fan of her job.

Cheeks left her development position at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1996 after deciding to further pursue a job that grant her more independence, but also that earned enough money to help put her twin sons through college.

She found Mary Kay.

“Four months into my position as an independent contractor, I realized, ‘nothing and no one other than yourself can stop you,’ and Mary Kay opened me up to opportunities,” says Cheeks.

Whether you are interested in a new career, or a part-time way to make more money, Cheeks says, Mary Kay is one company to consider.

MainStreet recently spoke with her to learn more:

MS: How did you discover Mary Kay?
PC: I met a woman at the grocery store who asked me to have a Mary Kay facial. I gave her my name and number and the first few times [she called] I didn’t answer. She was persistent, though. I was interested in starting a business with Mary Kay, but cautious, too.

Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

MS: What convinced you to seriously consider Mary Kay?
PC: It was something I had never thought of. My background is in counseling and international development, so before working with Mary Kay I subcontracted with U.S. Agencies to work with host countries and develop student programs.

I began researching the company and saw that at that point, it was around for about 33 years. I was impressed with the company’s priorities and philosophies. I saw that I could start a business and it would be my business. At that point, I needed a job that allowed me to [call the shots].

MS: How did Mary Kay fit into your schedule?
PC: I led a very busy lifestyle. I was a track mom, I worked, I was very involved with my church, ran a tutoring program…I saw this as a way to make my own choices. It started as a part time job; I saw that I could take a 10% risk to see if it could work for the first year. I subcontracted with Mary Kay to purchase products at wholesale prices and have the rights and privileges as an independent consultant, and also, earn the leadership commission. I began by building a customer base, and then I began my online business.

MS: Was it hard to start the online business?
PC: When you become an independent beauty consultant, you have a choice of having your own website. The first year, it’s a $25 charge. It helps build your customer base, and Mary Kay has a great online support team to help with the technical side of things.

MS: What is the selling process like? Do you go door-to-door?
PC: I am not a door-to-door woman. People think that’s what we do [in sales], but I have never done that in my business. What happens is you build up a rapport with maybe one person if she is interested in experiencing the products, and this person may refer you to someone else. It’s all about networking. But never have I gone door-to-door.

MS: So let’s talk about the cars.
PC: Right now, I’m driving the pink Escalade (Stock Quote: GM), which is exclusive to Mary Kay. It’s a lease agreement. I get honked at every day.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: To earn the use of the Escalade, you must be an independent national sales director, so far 500 women worldwide have achieved this level of success.]

Throughout my career as an independent contractor, I have earned the use of six pink Cadillac cars. (The first two were not actually pink Cadillac cars, I got to use a Pontiac platinum 5 and the black Saturn.) As you move up in your career path, you can earn the use of all the different style cars.

MS: Would you recommend what you do to others?
Never in my life have I seen an opportunity like the one Mary Kay provides. I began educating other women about this opportunity. I realized, ‘if I didn’t know the facts about beauty products and the opportunities the company provides, there must be a huge market of women out there who also didn’t know.'