What is the early history of Mary Kay?


Quick Answer

Mary Kay Ash founded her company in 1963 after 25 years of sales experience for other companies. The company was named Mary Kay Cosmetics, and it was started by Ash and her son Richard Rogers.

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Full Answer

Ash had a career of sales experience, and decided to begin a sales company that appeals to women. She chose a line of skincare items for the product, which she had been personally using for more than 10 years. The skincare products were introduced to her by a cosmetologist friend that had marketed the product to her friends, but never actually achieved much success in sales. When the cosmetologist died in 1961, Ash bought the formula from the woman’s daughter, then she took her $5,000 life savings to rent a small office and manufacture her initial inventory of products. The company also recruited nine sales representatives.

The business Beauty by Mary Kay was opened on September 13, 1963, and the products for the company were manufactured by a Dallas company. The products were sold by the beauty consultants who hosted Mary Kay parties and skincare classes in private homes.

After a successful first few years the company decided to grow and went public in 1967, using the funds from the IPO to fund its expansion. For the next 15 years sales grew at an average of 28 percent per year. The company opened a 275,000 square foot manufacturing facility in 1969, and an eight-story office building for the company headquarters in 1977.

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