Mary Kathlyn Wagner, also known as Mary Kay Ash, was born on May 12, 1918 in Hot Wells, Harris County, Texas. Her childhood experiences shaped the future of this visionary woman of American history. Due to the ill health of her father, her mother worked for 14 hours a day at a local food restaurant. She take care of the family. Mary Kay looked after her father along with studying in Reagan High School in Houston. Her mother always fed young Mary with “you can do it” spirit. These words embody the very spirit of Mary Kay Ash and the Company she created.
Mary Kay Ash graduated in 1934 and went to attend University of Houston. She was a competitive student. She did well in her public speaking and debates. After university, she took the job of direct selling of books. Due to her amazing marketing skills, she earned an amazing 25,000$ in just six months. She later took up a job with Stanley Home Products, a direct sales firm. She became very successful in selling home care products. However, she didn’t get due recognition for her work. Neither did her supervisors praise her nor did they increase her earnings.
As such, after working very hard for 25 years in corporate sales, she resigned from the post of national training director when a man trained by her was promoted over her and also given double salary. She then learned a very important lesson of her life. Some men could not believe that a woman could succeed in business. Mary Kay turned her attention to writing a book. This eventually changed the course of her life. It became a plan for her dream company. It had innovative marketing plan for women.
I envisioned a company in which any woman could become just as successful as she wanted to be. The doors would be wide open to opportunity for women who were willing to pay the price and had the courage to dream.
At the age of 45, with an investment of 5000$, Mary Kay set out to create her own business- Mary Kay Cosmetics. She purchased the formulas for skin lotions from the family of a tanner. This tanned created the products while he worked on hides. With her son, they opened a 500 sq. feet store in Dallas, Texas. It was a direct selling cosmetic company. Initially, they had nine independent sales representatives or beauty consultants. In the first year of operation, they made a staggering profit of $200,000.
In the span of two years, Mary Kay Company was selling products worth one million dollars. She founded it not on the competitive rule but on the Golden Rule – on praising people to success – and on the principle of placing faith first, family second and career third. It was a company, as Mary Kay Ash often said, “with heart.” In 1976, she received the Hall of fame Award from Direct Selling Association. Two years after that, in 1978, she got the Cosmetic Career Woman of the Year Award from the Cosmetics Career Women, Inc. The same year she received the Horatio Alger Distinguished American Citizen Award from Horatio Alger Association.
The success of Mary Kay Inc. is much, much deeper than just dollars and cents and buildings and assets. The real success of our Company is measured to me in the lives that have been touched and given hope.
Today her vision, her courage and her unwavering spirit continue to bring women the opportunity to achieve their potential, and bring their dreams to life. With more than 1.8 million Independent Beauty Consultants throughout the world, Mary Kay carries on the legacy of Mary Kay Ash – inspiring, enriching and empowering women to do great things. Mary Kay Ash died on November 22, 2001. She was buried in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. The Mary Kay Museum is inside the soaring glass lobby of the Mary Kay World Headquarters. The museum is part history lesson, part tribute and part recognition hall devoted to the life of one of America’s most admired businesswomen, Mary Kay Ash. YOU TOO CAN DO IT!!!