MARY KAY by Mary Kay Ash


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That's Mary Kay as in Mary Kay Cosmetics, the whopping financial success that Mary Kay Ash began on a $5,000 investment with her 20-year-old son back in 1963--one month after being widowed. Of course, Ash had spent years doing in-home ""parties"" for a variety of products before she started her own company's skin-care parties with nine ""beauty consultants"" and a basic kit of only ten products. Now she has over a hundred thousand salespeople and sales directors, and it's to that pre-sold ""family"" audience that this memoir-cum-philosophy seems addressed. ""You can do it"" is their theme, the one Ash inherited from a mother who believed in her; and her philosophy, she stresses, is based on the golden rule: give cosmetics unto others. . . . It's really that unabashedly pious--with many a story inserted to show that she's helping the women of the world improve their marriages, etc. by improving their appearance. And lest this sound too secular, there is the Ash hierarchy of values: ""God First, Family Second, Career Third."" What this generally comes down to is that God recruited her for a Career to help her support the Family; the Almighty is credited with guiding her wise decisions, inexperience with producing the lemons. Some of this reads like a company handbook (more spectacular incentives include the fabled pink Cadillacs; more mundane, the ""family"" sing-alongs), some like a half-hearted pep-talk for women who want to succeed. (And some like warmed-over Marabel Morgan.) But most of the people who read this probably won't care; after all, they're ""family.

Pub Date: Nov. 25th, 1981
Publisher: Harper & Row