Mary Kay Ash (1918 – 2001)

Born    :May 12, 1918 in Hot Wells, Harris County, Texas, USA

Died    : November 22, 2001 in Dallas, Texas, USA

Occupation      : Founder of Mary Kay

Children          : Richard Rogers, Marilyn Rogers, and Ben Rogers

“You can do it, honey!” That’s what Mary Kay Ash heard “thousands of times” from her mother while growing up. Since Mary Kay was seven years-old, her father was an invalid, stricken with tuberculosis. Her mother was forced by circumstance to support the family, leaving the young girl with household responsibilities far beyond her years. Finally, Mary Kay grew up to be a woman who built the $1.2 billion cosmetics empire of her own name. She is fond of saying, “If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you are right.”

Mary Kay was born on May 12, 1918. As a young housewife and mother of three, she began selling books in order to make extra income for the household. Her husband worked, but yet there was not enough money for the family of five to live on. This woman was successful in her sales effort, and she was able to sell more than twenty-five thousand dollars worth of books within her first six months al the job.

In the year of 1938, this woman found herself divorced. She then changed her career to selling Stanley Home Products by conducting home parties. She sold for Stanley for the next twenty-five years even though it was a most unhappy and unfulfilling occupation. She enjoyed the selling part of her job as well as the meeting and dealing with customers, but she felt that she was underpaid and not promoted as far as the men who worked there. She also claimed that her ideas for changes in the company were ignored and joked at. Finally in 1963, wanting something better, she was able to retire from Stanley Home Products.

Undaunted by her negative experience in business, the same year, Mary Kay began to write a book for women who were part of the working world. This book, she decided, would help other women face the challenges and problems that she had already encountered in the ever-changing world of business. While working on the outline of her book, she made two lists. One list was made up of the positive things of the companies she had worked for, while the other list was made up of negatives. When she looked the lists over, she realized that she had the rough plans for the perfect company. This company would allow women to work hard and succeed in their goals.

At the age of 45, Mary Kay Ash and her remarried husband Mel put their savings to start a cosmetics company. With “the confidence my mother instilled in me,” Mary Kay wrote, “I developed a strategy and a philosophy for my dream company, and invested my life savings in it.” Salespeople had been recruited and hired. Boxes, bottles, and jars were printed with “Beauty By  Mary Kay.”The company’s original name was” Everything Was Set. “But then the dream nearly died. Exactly a month before the company was to open; her husband suffered a fatal heart attack and died. Believing work was the only way to get through the grief of her husband’s death, Mary Kay decided to go forward with Mary Kay Cosmetics – despite her trusted accountant telling her that it would be impossible and ultimately leave her penniless.

On September 13 through much labor, Mary Kay Cosmetics was born. With her life savings of only a few thousand dollars, and the help of one of her children, now-grown son named Richard Rogers, Mary Kay started the long process of making her dreams become a reality for her and the millions of women across American. Through the hard work, dedication, and the values of one woman, Mary Kay Ash’s company boasts an impressive list of having more than a half of a million independent beauty consultants hosting parties, giving demonstrations, and selling the company’s cosmetics and perfumes. In 1996, the company’s retail sales level hit the two billion dollar mark, and today, Mary Kay Ash’s dream company flourishes and continues to enjoy success.

For Mary Kay, her namesake company wasn’t a job or an ego trip. It was her way of passing the message of self-confidence her mother had instilled in her to a world of women who desperately need it. No wonder, more than 850,000 women in 37 countries, who sell Mary Kay Cosmetics, are becoming richer every day. She would refer to Mary Kay beauty consultants as her ‘daughters’ Forbes magazine recognized her pink magic, naming Mary Kay Cosmetics as one of the “100 Best Companies to work for in America.”

In 1963, she once said, “here is a company that would give women all the opportunities I never had. I don’t think God wanted a world in which a woman would have to work fourteen hours a day to support her family, as my mother had done. I believe He used this company as a vehicle to give women a chance. And I feel very humble and very fortunate to have had a part in showing other women the way.”

Mary Kay Ash died in 2001, but lives on as an inspiration to all. On attitude, she said, “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve. Every failure, obstacle or hardship is an opportunity in disguise. Success in many cases is failure turned inside out. The greatest drawback we face today is negativity. Eliminate the negative attitude and believe you can do anything, Replace ‘if I can, I hope, maybe’ with ‘I can, I will, I must.”

Mary Kay Ash was included in the 1999 book Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time and was the only woman business leader profiled.

Always remember what Mary Kay Ash said, “We must have a theme, a goal, a purpose in our lives. If you don’t know you are aiming, you don’t have a goal. My goal is to live my life in such a way that when I die, someone can say, she cared Aerodynamically, the bumble bee should not be able to fly, but the bumble bee does not know it so it goes on flying anyway.”

Mary Kay Ash (1918 – 2001)
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