Transcript of Mary Kay Ash

This is Texas Originals. From Humanities Texas, for the advancement of heritage, culture, and education.

In 1963, Mary Kay Ash launched her cosmetics business in Dallas with nine independent beauty consultants. Today, 2.5 million women sell her products in thirty-five countries.

Born near Houston in 1918, Mary Kay watched her mother work long hours to support the family. At a time when few women worked outside the home, Mary Kay, too, pursued a career. She flourished as a saleswoman but quit when a man she had trained was promoted above her.

She set out to write a book of advice for career women, but ended up designing a business to develop women’s entrepreneurship alongside their beauty. 

Each Mary Kay beauty consultant is an independent business owner who educates others in the product line and recruits them into the sales force. Focused on developing women’s potential, Mary Kay abided by the golden rule. “If an employer would treat employees and customers as he or she wished to be treated,” she said, “all would profit.”

Mary Kay, Inc., awards successful saleswomen with the company’s signature pink Cadillacs. From a Dallas storefront to a global brand, Mary Kay’s dynamic style made her a business icon.

“To me, life is no brief candle,” she declared, “It’s a splendid torch that I want to burn brightly before I pass it on to future generations.” Though Mary Kay Ash died in 2001, the company and its founder’s indomitable spirit live on.

More information about Mary Kay Ash and other Texas Originals is available at This program is produced by KUHF Houston Public Radio and Humanities Texas, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.