Cosmetics queen Mary Kay Ash speaks to her sales force in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 11, 1996. (AP Photo/Tommy Hultgren)
Mary Kay Ash was both a busy mother and a motivated entrepreneur. On what would have been her 95th birthday, we look at the way she built a highly successful company on a foundation of caring. Originally published November 2011.
Ten years after Mary Kay Ash's death, the company she founded continues to thrive and grow. Mary Kay, Inc., with its direct-sales approach to cosmetics, could be said to be so successful because of demand – women have always wanted beauty products (men, too, these days, and the company has expanded to meet that demand). But there's more to it than that.
Mary Kay Ash approached business with an unusually high respect for her salespeople, from the top-earning pink Cadillac drivers to the newest and greenest. She was a motivator, gaining the devotion of her employees by showing them she cared about them. Here are some words of wisdom from Mary Kay about working for what you want, and about how to treat others:
Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, 'Make me feel important.' Never forget this message when working with people.
If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can't, you're right.
No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.
People are definitely a company's greatest asset. It doesn't make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.
We must have a theme, a goal, a purpose in our lives. If you don't know where you're 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.
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.
Ash's philosophy brought her great rewards, and not just money. In addition to achieving financial success, Mary Kay, Inc. has been named one of America’s 100 best companies to work for, and one of the top 10 companies for women. Most anyone driving a pink Cadillac would be happy to attest to that.
Written by Linnea Crowther