Mary Kay Ash
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|Mary Kay Ash|
May 12, 1918|
Hot Wells, Harris County, Texas, USA
|Died||November 22, 2001
Dallas, Texas, USA
|Occupation||Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics|
|Children||Richard Rogers, Ben Rogers Jr. And Marylin Reed|
Mary Kay Ash (May 12, 1918 – November 22, 2001) was an American businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.
Mary Kay Ash, born Mary Kathlyn Wagner in Hot Wells, Harris County, Texas, was the daughter of Edward Alexander and Lula Vember Hastings Wagner. Her mother was trained as a nurse and later became a manager of a restaurant in Houston. Ash attended Dow Elementary School and Reagan High School in Houston, and graduated in 1934.
Ash married Ben Rogers at age 17. They had three children, Ben Jr., Marylin Reed and Richard Rogers. While her husband served in World War II, she sold books door-to-door. After her husband's return in 1945, they divorced.
Ash went to work for Stanley Home Products. Frustrated when passed over for a promotion in favor of a man that she had trained, Ash retired in 1963 and intended to write a book to assist women in business. The book turned into a business plan for her ideal company, and in the summer of 1963, Mary Kay Ash and her new husband, Mel Ash, planned to start Mary Kay Cosmetics. However, one month before Mary Kay and Mel Ash started Beauty by Mary Kay, as the company was then called, Mel died of a heart attack. One month after Mel's death on September 13, 1963 when she was 45 years old with a $5,000 investment from her oldest son, Ben Rogers, Jr. and with her young son, Richard Rogers taking her late husband's place, Ash started Mary Kay Cosmetics. The company started its original storefront operation in Dallas.
Both during her life and posthumously, Ash received numerous honors from business groups, including the Horatio Alger Award. Ash was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1996. A long-time fundraiser for charities, she founded the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation to raise money to combat domestic violence and cancers affecting women. Ash served as Mary Kay Cosmetics' chairman until 1987, when she was named Chairman Emeritus. Fortune magazine recognized Mary Kay Inc. with inclusion in "The 100 best companies to work for in America." The company was also named one of the best 10 companies for women to work. Her most recent acknowledgements were the "Equal Justice Award" from Legal Services of North Texas in 2001, and "Most Outstanding Woman in Business in the 20th Century" from Lifetime Television in 1999.
Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.
Ash and her partners, which included her son, Richard, took the company public in 1968. In 1985, the company's board decided to take the company private again after seventeen years as a public company. Ash remained active in Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. until suffering a stroke in 1996. Richard Rogers was named CEO of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. in 2001. At the time of Ash's death, Mary Kay Cosmetics had over 800,000 representatives in 37 countries, with total annual sales over $200 million. As of 2014, Mary Kay Cosmetics has more than 3 million consultants worldwide and wholesale volume in excess of 3 billion. Mary Kay herself was honored as a leading female entrepreneur in American history.
Ash was the author of four books, all of which became best-sellers. Her autobiography, Mary Kay, has sold more than a million copies and appears in several languages. Her second book "Miracles Happen" and Mary Kay Ash's third book, You Can Have It All, was launched in August 1995 and achieved "best-seller" status within days of its introduction.
Ash also wrote a book called "Mary Kay on People Management", 1984 and the publisher Nightingale Conant produced an audio program written by Ash with the same title as the book.
Her death was on November 22, 2001. Mary Kay Ash is interred in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas, Texas.
- Leavitt, Judith A. (1985) American Women Managers and Administrators Greenwood Publishing, Westport, Connecticut, p. 14, ISBN 0-313-23748-4
- Ash, Mary Kay. Mary Kay, October 1981, Harper & Row, ISBN 0-06-014878-0
- "Distinguished ." Houston Independent School District.
- "Mary Kay Ash - Most Outstanding Woman in Business in the 20th Century". Entrepreneurs.about.com. 2010-06-14. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- Stefoff, Rebecca (1992) Mary Kay Ash: Mary Kay, a Beautiful Business Garrett Educational Corp., Ada, Okla., ISBN 1-56074-012-4, for young adult audience
- Rozakis, Laurie (1993) Mary Kay: Cosmetics Queen Rourke Enterprises, Vero Beach, Fla., ISBN 0-86592-040-0, for young adult audience
- Ash, Mary Kay (1984) Mary Kay on people management New York, NY, Warner Books,Inc.
- Ash, Mary Kay (1994) Miracles Happen: Mary Kay Ash The Life and Timeless Principles of the Founder of Mary Kay Inc. Harper Collins Publishers, New York,ISBN 0-06-092601-5; autobiography