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A Brief History of Mary Kay

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

By Vince Scalamogna

After retiring from a career in direct sales, Mary Kay Ash, then 45, founded “Beauty by Mary Kay” on September 13, 1963 with the assistance of her son Richard Rogers (Mary Kay Inc.). Ash’s publication of a book inspired by gender discrimination towards her in a previous career led to the founding of “Beauty by Mary Kay” in Dallas, Texas. That book, which contained her observations for best practices utilized by companies she once worked for and which contained descriptions for better ways those companies could run their industries, ending up laying out the blueprint for how her company would be run (Mary Kay Books).

Mary Kay Ash’s friend Ova Spoonemore introduced Kay to a cosmetic product at a home sales party which Ash took a liking to. Mary Kay Ash purchased the formula for this skin care product for $500 prior to the establishment of her company (Mary Kay Ash). That skin care product was used by Ova’s father, who was a tanner, to keep his hands wrinkle-free. Initially being founded with Ash’s life savings of $5,000 in 1963, the company brought in $198,000 by the end of 1964. By 1973 the salesforce for the company had exceeded 20,000 individuals. In the year 1979, one of the original IBCs had surpassed one million dollars in commission.

Mary Kay received recognition by Fortune magazine’s first edition in 1984 as being one of The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America. Mary Kay once more received recognition by Fortune magazine as being one of The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America in 1998 (MK Milestones). Mary Kay Inc. marked its 35th anniversary in 1998. By this time the company was already in at least ten countries, including Australia and Russia. Mary Kay Inc. eventually expanded to over 30 countries by 2003, including China and Switzerland.

Today Mary Kay Inc. has brought in $3.5 billion in sales. Its chairman is Richard Rogers, who has been with the company for 54 years and has entered his 11th year as the chairman (Richard Rogers). The president and CEO is David Holl, and the CFO is Terry Smith. Mary Kay Inc. is currently headquartered in Addison, Texas. For 2016, Forbes ranked Mary Kay Inc. as #121 in America’s Largest Private Companies, #341 as America’s Best Employers, and #141 as America’s Best Midsize Employers (Mary Kay Forbes). Mary Kay is now located in over 40 countries and has brought in over 3.5 million independent beauty consultants. Over-the-counter drugs and acne products are made by Mary Kay Inc. as well. Millions of dollars have been spent for state-of-the-art facilities in Dallas and China for the purpose of researching product safety and effectiveness. Over 4,500 automobiles are on the road today being used for work in direct sales for Mary Kay Inc.



Mary Kay Ash. (2017, April 28). Retrieved December 03, 2017, from

Mary Kay Ash Biography. (2017, May 26). Retrieved December 03, 2017, from

Mary Kay Books. (n.d.). Retrieved December 03, 2017, from

Mary Kay Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved December 03, 2017, from

Mary Kay on the Forbes America's Largest Private Companies List. (n.d.). Retrieved December 03, 2017, from


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