The Two Minute Bio: Mary Kay Ash

Entrepreneur Mary Kay, founder of Mary Kay Inc., built a profitable business from scratch that created new opportunities for women to achieve financial success.

After her bad experiences in the traditional workplace, Ash set out to create her own business at the age of 45. She started with an initial investment of $5,000 in 1963. She purchased the formulas for skin lotions from the family of a tanner who created the products while he worked on hides. With her son, Richard Rogers, she opened a small store in Dallas and had nine salespeople working for her. Today there are more than 1.6 million salespeople working for Mary Kay Inc. around the world.

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All of her marketing skills and people savvy helped make Mary Kay Cosmetics a very lucrative business. The company went public in 1968, but it was bought back by Ash and her family in 1985 when the stock price took a hit. The business itself remained successful and now annual sales exceed $2.2 billion, according to the company’s website.

At the heart of this profitable organisation was Ash’s enthusiastic personality. She was known for her love of the colour pink and it could be found everywhere, from the product packaging to the Cadillacs she gave away to top-earning consultants each year. She seemed to sincerely value her consultants, and once said “People are a company’s greatest asset.”

Net Worth: $3b

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