This Story Of Mary Kay Ash Will Inspire You


Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.

Ella Fitzgerald

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MARY KAY ASH: The confidence my mother instilled in me has served me throughout my adult life. Without it, Mary Kay Inc. might have fizzled before it even began. It was 1963. after twenty – five years as a professional saleswoman, with my children grown, I just decided that retirement did not suit me. And so I had developed a strategy and philosophy for beginning my own “dream company.” I had recruited several salespeople and invested my life savings in the chance of a lifetime. Using my years of experience in direct sales, I was going to train and supervise the Beauty Consultants, while my husband was going to handle the administrative details of our new business. We had assembled boxes of bottles and jars and brand – new labels that read, “Beauty by Mary Kay.”


Exactly one month before we were scheduled to open, my husband and I were having breakfast together. He was reading the final percentage figures for our company, and I was listening very much as a wife often does when her husband talks about the budget – with half an ear because I considered it to be “his problem.” At that moment, he suffered a fatal heart attack.

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I believe that work is often the best antidote for grief. And so, despite my shock, I decided to open the business as planed. Starting the company had been my dream and my idea, but I had never imagined that I would run it alone. I knew that I didn’t have the needed administrative skills; and yet, at this point, all the merchandise, bottles and labels were useless if the company folded. I had to go on.

I turned to both my attorney and my accountant for advice.

“Mary Kay,” my attorney said, shaking his head, “liquidate the business right now the recoup whatever cash you can. If you don’t, you will end up penniless.”

I had hoped that my accountant would be a little more discouraging, but after studying the situation he said, “You can’t possibly so it. This commission schedule will never work. It is just a matter of time before the company goes bankrupt – and you along with it.”

The day of my husband’s funeral, my sons and my daughter came to Dallas from Houston. Perhaps it was the worst possible time to make a business decision, but it could no longer be delayed. After the funeral, we sat in my living room and discussed the recommendations I had received. My children listened in silence.


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