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Amazing Business Stories: Mary Kay Ash


I have studied the business stories of many world-renowned entrepreneurs, but few amazed me as much as the story of Mary Kay Ash. This dynamic and exceptional woman has single-handedly touched the lives of more businesswomen than any other person in known history. She has given them the tools, the motivation and most importantly, the opportunity, to become as successful as they ever want to be without compromising their home and family.

Mary Kay Ash is the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics; a household name in the beauty product. She was born May 12, 1918, in Hotwells, Harris County, Texas. Her parents were Edward Alexander and Lula Vember Hastings. She graduated from Reagan High School, Houston in 1934.

Mary Kay Ash’s entrance into the business world was, like for many entrepreneurs, by accident. In the late 1930s, a door-to-door encyclopedia seller had dared her to sell 10 sets of encyclopedias. If she was successful at this feat her reward would be a free set of encyclopedia. Mary Kay agreed, and in just one day and a half sold the entire ten sets. This was a remarkable feat, considering the fact that ten sets were the three-month quota for the most accomplished salespeople.

This feat spurred her on, and for a few years, she kept selling encyclopedias. She later quit and moved on to Stanley Home Products, when she wasn’t too satisfied with the feedback she was getting from her sale of encyclopedias. Stanley Home Products was a direct sales company offering housewares and cleaning supplies. Mary Kay’s exceptional marketing capabilities once again came to the forefront, and in just a few years after she joined the company, she became a top sales producer. But in a business world dominated by men, and at a period when prejudice against women in business was very high, countless of her male colleagues and even subordinates were promoted ahead of her. Many of whom were not as experienced or successful as her.

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