Mary Kay Ash Originally Marry Kathlyn Wagner , was born on May 12, 1918, in Hot Walls, Texas to Edward Alexander Wagner and Lula Vember Hasting Wagner. Her father suffered from tuberculosis and spent most of his life in the hospital. It was he mother who took care of them. Mary has took after the household from a very young age. Ash was an American entrepreneur and the founder of the cosmetic giant Mary Kat Inc.
Family Support and School Life
It was her mother’s constant motivation that kept her going all her life. She started her education at Dow Elementary School. She later moved to Reagan School and graduated in 1934. She was excellent student and won many awards. Due to her family’s poor financial conditions, she could not attend university immediately. However, she earned enough money by herself from her sales job, and enrolled at the University of Houston.
In 1939, she started working at Stanley home Products. She used to go door to door to make sales. Ash was diagnosed with arthritis and yet she did not leave her job. However, she was very disappointed when she was not given the respect and due she deserved; men who were less talented than her were promoted instead.
In 1952, she left her job and joined World Gift. She increased the company’s profits and expanded the business to many states. She eventually became the director of the company. After she faced gender discrimination once again, Ash left the job in 1962.
As a Business Woman
She decided to write a book based on her experiences and help other businesswomen. One day, she sat down at her kitchen table and made two lists. One list contained the good she had seen in companies.
The other, things she thought could he improved. When she combined the lists, Ash realized that she had created a marketing plan for a dream company. In 1963, she put this plan into action. She founded beauty by Mary Kay. Ash met J.W. Heath who had developed a skincare formula that kept hands soft and wrinkle free.
Ash bought the formula and used it as a product. He golden rule for her company was faith first, family second and career third. To attract customers, she picked pink as her product’s color. In just a few months, the company saw a profit.
The year 1964 was a stepping stone for Ash’s career. For the first time, she held a seminar which was more of a celebration. Eventually, it became a three-day annual event. In 1968, the company went public.
Ash also wrote her autobiography called Mary Kay: The Success Story of America’s Most Dynamic Businesswoman. The book was a success, and millions of copies were translated into several languages, she worked on three more books, Mary Kay on People Management, Mary Kay: You Can have It All and Miracles Happen.
American Citizen Award
Ash received many honors in her lifetime. Some of them are the Horatio Alger Distinguished American Citizen Award (1978), Dale Carnegie Leadership Award (1977) and Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievement (1980). In 1996 she was inducted to the business hall of Fame. She was named the ‘Most Outstanding Woman in Business’ in the twentieth century in 2000.
Ash was also involved in charitable work. She founded the Mary Kay Charitable Foundation in 1996. The foundation was started to support cancer patients, and to tackle domestic violence.
Love Life & Last Moment of Life
Ash married Ben Rogers at the young age of seventeen in 1935. The couple had three children. However, the marriage was not a happy one and they got divorced. In 1963, she married George Arthuk Hallenbeck, a chemist. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack just a few days into their marriage. Mary got married for the last time to Melville Jerome in 1966.
Gradually her whole family got involved in the business. Her two sons joined the company when it started and her daughter joined Mary Kay Cosmetics as one of the directions later on.
The same year, Ash suffered a stroke due to which she was unable to speak. Mary died on November 22, 2001, in her home.
Awards and Achievement
- American Citizen Award -1978
- Dale Carnegie Leadership Award -1977
- Golden Plate Award
- American Academy of Achievement -1980
- Business Hall of Fame
- ‘Most Outstanding Woman in Business’ in the twentieth century in 2000.