Mary Kay Ash
When it comes to personal care and home products, who isn’t familiar with Mary Kay Cosmetics? It’s a hugely successful company created by and for women by Mary Kay Ash, a woman many consider an awesome business leader.
In order to get to the top, she focused her energy on developing a direct sales force and utilizing ingenious motivational sales practices.
Mary Kay Ash – How it All Started
Success didn’t come easily to Mary Kay Ash. Saddled with three kids in the 1930s, she sold books to earn extra cash for the household.
Although her husband worked, somehow the money just never was enough. However, within her first six months on the job, Ash was able to sell more than $25,000 worth of books!
In 1938, Ash got divorced. She then switched careers and sold Stanley Home Products by hosting home parties. Ash worked for Stanley for the next 25 years even though she wasn’t totally happy with it.
What got her through was her love of selling, meeting up and dealing with customers. In 1963, Ash retired from Stanley and set out on her own.
Ash wanted to write a book that would help women cope in the male-dominated business world. While working on the book’s outline, Ash made two lists – one contained the good things and the other, items that could be improved in the companies she had previously worked for.
Looking over the lists, Ash realized that she’d inadvertently fashioned a marketing plan for the perfect firm – one that would allow women to work hard AND achieve their goals.
With barely $6,000 in savings and the help of her son Roger, Ash launched Mary Kay Cosmetics on September 13, 1963.
Ash grew her business from a small direct sales firm to become the largest direct seller of color and skincare cosmetics in the US. Mary Kay’s first year of operation boasted of sales of $198,514 and more than 300 salespeople. In 1996, retail sales figures for Mary Kay hit $2 billion and they continue to climb today.
The Mary Kay Ash Quick Bio
Full Name: Mary Kay Ash
Birthdate: May 12, 1918
Company: Mary Kay Cosmetics
Industry: Personal Care Home Products
Key Success Traits: dedication, determination, hard work
Ash’s uncomplicated recipe for success – put God first, your family second and your career third – made the world a much better place for women and their entire families.
Fortune magazine named Mary Kay as one of the ten best firms for women and included it among The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.
Mary Kay currently has a workforce of over 800,000 independent beauty consultants within 37 markets across five continents.