My Mary Kay Story

by jptanabe

Mary Kay may be known for pink Cadillacs, but there is a lot more to the woman and her company. This is my Mary Kay story.

I became a Mary Kay consultant after buying the skincare products from my daughter. Yes, I was a happy customer for five years! The photo shows my favorite products from that time. Some have been repackaged, and some have been reformulated, but most are just as good if not better than they were then.

When my daughter moved away to college I found that I wanted to keep buying the products more often than she came home, so I became a consultant myself. Now I can not only buy all the products I want at the discount cost, but I can enjoy the whole Mary Kay experience! This is my story.

My daughter became a Mary Kay consultant

Like most of her friends, my daughter had tried various part-time jobs to make money while in high school. One day in her senior year she told me that she wanted to start a Mary Kay business before she started college - of course I was surprised, and skeptical, especially since I really didn't know anything about this business.

It was the idea of one of her school friends, who was actually recruiting her and a couple of others. I knew this friend's mother so we talked and decided we wanted to find out more from the director, so had a meeting at my house. I think I gave her a hard time, asking lots of difficult questions - pretty sure she thought our girls wouldn't be signing up! But, with some trepidation, we agreed and my daughter became a consultant. I still remember when the box arrived to start her business, with all the products, samples, materials, and even a book called "Miracles Happen" packed inside. It was like Christmas!

I thought I should learn more about the Mary Kay business so I immediately started reading the book, which is the autobiography of Mary Kay Ash.

I learned about Mary Kay from her Autobiography

First off I discovered that Mary Kay Ash was a real person! She grew up in rural Texas and founded her own company in 1963 when society didn't expect (or for the most part allow) women to be business owners, let alone successful ones. This book "Miracles Happen" is her story.

The first time I picked up the book I was curious but not expecting to enjoy it. I didn't know much, well nothing personal, about Mary Kay Ash, and thought it would be either boring or too much of a sales pitch for her company to be a good read. I was quite wrong!

The book contains many fascinating little vignettes of her life from her childhood and her early life, her first career, several marriages, and the founding and success of her own business. I found myself enjoying her life, even though I thought she was completely different from me.

Then I got to her business philosophy and was amazed. In her job as a sales rep Mary Kay had often tried to offer suggestions and had been told "you're just thinking like a woman!" When she designed her dream company, she wanted to sell products to women so she figured (correctly) that thinking like a woman might be a great asset. I liked that!

Mary Kay Ash's business philosophy recognizes that people need to feel important, and at the same time stay true to yourself and your values. She knew that women need to feel beautiful and be happy, and that each person has such a beautiful potential inside just waiting to be brought out. And they need appropriate rewards for their efforts (yes, pink Cadillacs feature here!). She thought that the typical competitive nature of business (stab your competition in the back and put others down so you can rise up) was not the way to go. Women tend to prefer harmony and a supportive environment, and she believed that this could work in business. She was right. 

Finally, and very important to me, I discovered that Mary Kay was a woman of strong faith. There were stories in the book of how she trusted in God and He came through, way beyond her expectations. So one of her basic principles is to prioritize "God first, family second, career third." This allows women to be wives and mothers and have a successful career, without the constant stress of wondering which has priority. When your family needs you, take care of them, and then come back to your work. But underlying both is your faith. Mary Kay was a Christian woman but her business philosophy makes no demands on a particular denomination or even religion, just faith in a power beyond us that guides our lives. She calls that power God.

By this time I was really happy that my daughter had started a Mary Kay business!

More about Mary Kay's autobiography

The story of Mary Kay Ash, founder of the Mary Kay company, from her childhood in rural Texas to the founding and great success of her dream business.

Happy customer!

I spent five years as a happy Mary Kay customer! In the first months I was a "guinea pig" for my daughter as she learned the business. I attended several of her local unit meetings as her "model" and I even invited some friends over so she could practice doing a "party."

Not to sound like an advertisement for Mary Kay products here, but I did enjoy trying all the skincare products, and bought almost all of them, to my daughter's delight!

Miracle Set

My Mary Kay Miracle Set
My Mary Kay Miracle Set
Jennifer P. Tanabe

I love the skincare products

I got to sample lots of skincare products and quickly fell in love with the Miracle Set skincare. I discovered I have combination skin. No wonder I always struggled to find a moisturizer that worked - they were either not moisturizing enough for my cheeks or too heavy and oily for my nose and forehead!

The Mary Kay Time Wise moisturizer turned out to be just perfect for me. Of course it helps to use it with the cleanser (not just splashing warm water on my face which is what I had been doing after giving up on regular soaps!), and even better when I used the day and night solution.

Satin Hands Set

Peach Satin Hands
Peach Satin Hands

Another early favorite

Satin Hands is truly the best stuff I've ever used on my hands. Not only does Satin Hands really work to make your hands smooth (and feet too if you want real luxury!) the scrub smells divinely of peaches. I love it! And my husband's favorite fruit is the peach, so he's a great fan of this product too.

Satin Hands is also available in a fragrance-free version. Just the same (and as good!) as the original, but in a special fragrance-free version for those who don't love peach fragrance. I have to admit I was skeptical since the peach smells so good, but this set is actually rather good too.

What do you think of Mary Kay?

The products and the business

My Mary Kay business

I've had my business for a year now. It's been an exciting experience!

Have I made money - not really, at least not yet. Of course I have been able to buy all my own Mary Kay products at cost, and try out new products at our unit meetings. But I also had to invest money in getting demos and samples, and all the items needed to demonstrate the products to prospective customers. That's not surprising, every new business needs investment.

And I've also invested time in learning about the products, how to demonstrate them, and just attending meetings to learn more about the "Mary Kay way."  

A Mary Kay business is flexible

You can even do most of your business online

As you can imagine (as a writer here on Wizzley and other places) I spend a lot of time on the computer. To be honest my passion is writing so I am either writing, researching, or reading most of the time. How does my Mary Kay business fit it?

Well, Mary Kay designed her business plan to be flexible - she was thinking of wives and mothers who had to be available for their families. So you set your own work hours, I just have to make sure I'm available at times that are convenient for my customers and potential customers! And while Mary Kay herself may not have had the internet in her business plan (not invented yet!) her staff who carry on the tradition certainly have adapted to make great use of it.

I have my own Mary Kay website where customers can view all the products, do virtual makeovers, and of course order their products online. The process has recently been streamlined and one of my friends who ordered online told me she was surprised and impressed when her order arrived in 1 day! So if anyone wants to order from me, from anywhere in the United States, go ahead and use my website.

The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles from America's Greatest Woman Entrepreneur

The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles from America's Greatest Woman Entrepreneur is back in print and updated to reflect developments in today’s business environment for the mod...

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The most important aspects of the Mary Kay business

Usually when we talk about a business, especially one that involves retail sales, you think the most important aspect would be making money! And of course making money is important in the Mary Kay world.

But, if you talk to Mary Kay consultants most would say that it's not just about money, it's about making women feel good about themselves - by becoming beautiful. Skincare and makeup are the external aspects, but that is not the only type of beauty Mary Kay nurtures. The Mary Kay organization supports women in realizing their dreams, whatever they may be. If a person is lacking in self-confidence and self-esteem, they will develop it through the training program. If they are tired of being under the control of a boss (or bosses) who don't appreciate them, they can be their own boss and they will receive recognition from other consultants and the Mary Kay company itself (lots of rewards, not just pink Cadillacs!). And if their dream is a pink Cadillac, they just have to work hard and they can have one!!

What I like, too, is that our customers benefit. I just had two customers tell me, with great sincerity, that they really love the Mary Kay products and they are so glad I started this business. I can see their skin looking beautiful, and that makes me happy too. If anyone (from the United States) reading this would like to order from my website - I'd love to make you a happy customer too! 

Updated: 07/14/2016, jptanabe
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Any Comments on Mary Kay?

jptanabe on 05/13/2015

Thanks! My skin certainly enjoys the products!

happynutritionist on 05/13/2015

I have used the products in the past and have a good friend who is a representative. I'm happy that you are enjoying their products!

jptanabe on 04/08/2015

I couldn't agree more! Just because a woman has great ideas doesn't mean men can't benefit from them too.

frankbeswick on 04/08/2015

As a good natured male who likes and respects women, I was very impressed with Mary Kay, and I think that her business model allows women to be themselves, making their own timetables to their own priorities. But we must realize that while the Mary Kay business is primarily a female affair, her philosophy of business should be adopted by men as well. What is wrong with any person, male or female, adopting their own priorities and running their own lives?

dustytoes on 04/07/2015

What an interesting story. I'm all for women realizing their dreams.

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