As we often see in the workplace, sometimes people get passed over for a promotion and watch it get handed to someone they trained or guided. This can be frustrating and instill a need for change whether it be changing fields or starting your own business empire. Mary Kay Ash found that need for change and built a business empire that is still going to this day.

Starting in 1939, Mary Kay Ash was working for Stanley Home Products. She would host parties to encourage people to buy the Stanley Home Products household items. After becoming well known for how good she was at selling, another company hired her in 1952 called World Gifts. Mary Kay Ash worked there for a little over a decade.

After being passed up for promotion by yet another man that she trained, Mary Kay Ash left the traditional workforce to begin building her own business. She began with a starting investment of $5,000 in 1963. Along with her song, Richard Rogers, she opened her first store in Dallas with nine salespeople. At the end of the first year, the company already turned a profit and by the end of the second year, the company sold nearly $1 million in products.

Mary Kay Ash took the same strategy she employed while working for Stanley Home Products and World Gifts by holding parties to sell her products. Utilizing her strong business acumen and philosophy, she decided that everyone involved in the company should benefit. She set the sales representatives, known as consultants, up with the opportunity to only gain from selling her products. Theses consultants would purchase the products at a wholesale price from Mary Kay Ash and then would sell them at retail price to customers. This helped the consultants provide profit for the company as well as earn commission for working so hard and gaining recruits for new consultants for the company.

Mary Kay Ash’s marketing skills and her interpersonal skills garnered a lot of attention and made her company a very profitable company. After just a few years, the company went public in 1968. When the stock price of the company took a hit in 1985, the company was bought back by the Mary Kay Ash and her family.

Mary Kay Ash was known for saying that “people are a company’s greatest asset.” She made sure that all of her consultants were part of the big picture and were rewarded for such diligent and hard work. This work ethic helped place Mary Kay Ash on the business map, so to speak, and inspire many businesses to use her business strategy for success.