Tag Archives: Investigative Fund

[Inside the Pink Pyramid] Why Mary Kay is Only The Beginning

Investigative Fund Virginia Sole-Smith Mary Kay Direct Sales Industry


Today’s look at why Mary Kay is just the tip of a pyramid-shaped iceberg — is brought to you by the Investigative Fund, who asked me to dig deeper into the direct sales industry as a whole. I’ve been getting so many great emails from folks who have read the Harper’s story or heard one of the NPR interviews last week and one thing everyone asks is: “So what about [Avon, Amway, insert-your-direct-sales-of-choice-here]? Are they as bad as Mary Kay?”


Filed under Career Opportunities, Customer Cult, Government Watch, Mary Kay, Press

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Backstory: How Beauty U Led to Mary Kay

Investigative Fund: Why I Went to Beauty School by Virginia Sole-Smith


Another coda to The Pink Pyramid Scheme — and more free online content for y’all! The Investigative Fund asked me to blog about why I went to beauty school in the first place, since that is, of course, how I met my first Mary Kay ladies and stumbled on to this story.

Regular readers here might think you already know the whole Beauty Schooled story, but this post is still worth a read — because I talk about the enormous gap between what women spend on beauty ($200 billion in 2009, the year I enrolled at Beauty U) and what women can earn when they sell beauty. As you’ve probably guessed by now, it’s not a hell of a lot whether you’re hosting Mary Kay parties or waxing eyebrows in a salon. And since beauty workers are almost always also beauty consumers, too … there is math here that is just not adding up. Read more. 


Filed under Beauty Labor, Career Opportunities, Customer Cult, For Extra Credit, Makeup, Mary Kay, Press

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Something I’m Up To: The Economic Hardship Reporting Project

I know, I know. This blog has been a little… quiet… as of late. Does it help to know that I’m thinking about you guys a lot more than I’m actually writing posts? Probably not, and there’s nothing more irritating than those blog posts that are really just “ahhh! soo busy!” excuses, so let’s not even go there. I am tweeting and Facebooking a bunch, and you knowing I’m Pinterest-ing, and hey, I’m even on Instagram now… so at least we’re all keeping up in all of those places.

I’m dropping in now to tell you about one of the things that is keeping me so busy (in an awesome way): The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, which is an exciting new journalism nonprofit founded by best-selling investigative journalist Barbara Ehrenreich and the Institute for Policy Studies. Its mission, per the About page, is this:

to force this country’s crisis of poverty and economic insecurity to  the center of the national  conversation. Unemployed, underemployed, and anxiously employed Americans need to know that they are not alone, that the current economic crisis is not their fault and that they are not always getting the information they need to find solutions.  Just telling compelling stories of individuals and families isn’t enough. We want to link such stories to the large picture, as we explore extreme — and deepening — inequality and the decline of the middle class.

And here’s me, over on the contributor page, with a little hint for you about what I’m working on…


Filed under Career Opportunities, Government Watch, Press

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Brazilian Blowout Settles — So Why Are Stylists Still Getting Sick?


Today I’m over on The Nation Institute‘s Investigative Fund Blog, with a piece about the latest Brazilian Blowout court settlement.

You guys, I am seriously SO OVER this story. By which I mean: I am so over the fact that there is still a story to tell here.

First of all, we’ve known — anecdotally, at least — that keratin hair straightening treatments contain toxic chemicals ever since Siobhan and Alexandra were inspired to write No More Dirty Looks because of their $400 hair disaster.


Filed under Beauty Labor, Career Opportunities, Government Watch, Hair, Health, Ingredients, Press, Products

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