Dixie Gilbertson, an independent senior sales director for Mary Kay, sits with some of her products she sells out of her home. Gilbertson has been with Mary Kay for over 20 years.

Archived Story

Employment their way: Working the plan

Published 3:50am Thursday, July 5, 2012

From family traditions to at-home jobs to second jobs, there’s plenty of unique things about Mower County’s work

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a four-part series. Look for parts one through four July 2-5.

If you’ve got a good enough product, people beat a path to your door.

That’s what happens to Dixie Gilbertson, a savvy senior sales director for Mary Kay, Inc., the popular luxury cosmetics company.

“I can either go to [a client’s] home, or they can come to mine,” Gilbertson, a 23-year Mary Kay employee said.

Dixie Gilbertson stands outside her home with her Ford Mustang Mary Kay car Thursday. Gilbertson is an independent senior sales director with Mary Kay with over 20 years experience.

The Mary Kay independent sales consultant formula is legendary: Show off amazing cosmetic products at house parties, dedicate yourself to the Mary Kay sales plan, and you can make full-time money for a part-time job.

That’s what Gilbertson does now, though she didn’t always believe in the Mary Kay way.

When she first got interested in Mary Kay selling, she was working as an office manager at Reid Chiropractic. She heard about becoming a Mary Kay consultant and spoke with a sales director about the job.

“The lady told me I could earn the use of a car in four months if I followed their marketing plan,” Gilbertson said. “And I had tried other marketing plans and thought that wasn’t very nice that they would put that carrot out there.”

So Gilbertson told the Mary Kay representative. Firm in her belief that the marketing plan wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be, Gilbertson agreed to follow the sales director’s plan for four months, and when Gilbertson didn’t earn a car in that time, the sales director would have to stop telling people they could earn cars in such a short amount of time.

Gilbertson was soon proven wrong. She followed the plan through and acquired her first Mary Kay car.

“I started out just wanting a little bit of spending cash, and within four months I earned the use of their car and quit my job,” she said.

Nowadays, Gilbertson has earned a large following in the area and supervises 158 consultants across the U.S. as an independent senior sales director. Contrary to popular belief, if her sales consultants earn new clients or consultants under them, Gilbertson doesn’t benefit. Everyone orders their products from Mary Kay, Inc. directly.

“There is no quotas, there’s no territories,” Gilbertson said. “If they do want help, I’m here to help them with that.”

As for the recognizable Mary Kay cars, Gilbertson has earned plenty of those. With a new car every two years, Gilbertson always makes the quota for a fashionable ride, with her latest car a 2012 Ford Mustang. She’s earned three of the signature pink Cadillacs as well and even met founder Mary Kay Ash over her career.

Of course, Gilbertson attributes her success to Ash’s signature business plan.

“When you work the plan, the plan works,” she said.


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