Mary Kay Company Founder

Charming. Spirited. A one-of-a-kind success story. Over the years, there have been many successful business leaders but none as unique as Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Inc. Her accomplishments left an unforgettable mark on American business and opened the door for women around the world to experience success on their own terms.

“You can do it!”

These words embody the very spirit of Mary Kay Ash and the Company she created. It’s the spirit she learned as a child growing up in Hot Wells, Texas. When facing new and daunting tasks, her mother encouraged her with, “You can do it, Mary Kay. You can do it.” Mary Kay Ash did more than embrace this empowering spirit – she passed it on through a remarkable company that would inspire millions in generations to come.

That company story didn’t begin until Mary Kay Ash faced a situation all too familiar to women. After 25 years in the direct selling business, Mary Kay Ash resigned her position as a national training director when yet another man she had trained was promoted above her – at twice her salary. Her response was visionary. At first, she started writing a book that would help women gain the opportunities she had been denied. But soon she realized she was creating a plan that would do much more than give advice. It formed the foundation for a new opportunity where women could develop their talents and achieve unlimited success.

“I envisioned a company in which any woman could become just as successful as she wanted to be. The doors would be wide open to opportunity for women who were willing to pay the price and had the courage to dream.”

So in 1963, with her past experience, her plan and $5,000 in savings, Mary Kay Ash enlisted the help of her 20-year-old son, Richard, and created Beauty by Mary Kay. It was a first – a company dedicated to making life more beautiful for women. It was founded not on the competitive rule but on the Golden Rule – on praising people to success – and on the principle of placing faith first, family second and career third. It was a company, as Mary Kay Ash often said, “with heart.”

“The success of Mary Kay Inc. is much, much deeper than just dollars and cents and buildings and assets. The real success of our Company is measured to me in the lives that have been touched and given hope.”

Today her vision, her courage and her unwavering spirit continue to bring women the opportunity to achieve their potential and bring their dreams to life. With more than 1.8 million Independent Beauty Consultants throughout the world, Mary Kay carries on the legacy of Mary Kay Ash – inspiring, enriching and empowering women to do great things.

Mary Kay Ash Achievements

A dynamic speaker, motivator and entrepreneur, Mary Kay was recognized for her achievements through numerous awards and honors including:

  • A&E Television Networks aired “Mary Kay” on the Biography Channel.
  • Named one of the 25 Most Influential Business Leaders of the Last 25 Years by PBS and the Wharton School of Business in 2004.
  • Greatest Female Entrepreneur in American History by Baylor University in 2003.
  • 2002 Dallas Business Hall of Fame Laureate in recognition of her lifetime achievements as well as demonstrating inspiring business and community leadership, industry vision and service as a business and civic role model in the community.
  • 2002 National Conference on Medical Care and Domestic Violence Community Service Award, now known as the Mary Kay Ash Award.
  • Most Outstanding Woman in Business in the 20th Century by Lifetime Television in 1999.
  • Texas Woman of the Century in 1999 by the Texas Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
  • National Business Hall of Fame election in 1996 by Fortune.
  • Pathfinder Award in 1995 by the National Association of Women Business Owners.
  • Business Leader of the ’90s Award by the Association of Women Business Owners.
  • Circle of Honor Award in 1989 and Living Legend Award in 1992 by the Direct Selling Education Foundation.
  • First Annual National Sales Hall of Fame Award in 1989 by the Sales and Marketing Executives of New York.
  • One of “America’s 25 Most Influential Women” in the 1985 The World Almanac and Book of Facts.
  • Horatio Alger Distinguished American Citizen Award in 1978, an award given to distinguished Americans who have succeeded in spite of adversity.

The Mary Kay Museum is located inside the soaring glass lobby of the Mary Kay World Headquarters. The museum is part history lesson, part tribute and part recognition hall devoted to the life of one of America’s most admired businesswomen, Mary Kay Ash.