Mary Kay Ash didn’t find her dream job until after she retired.
That’s because at that time — more than 50 years ago — the dream job didn’t exist. Hardworking women of that era were rarely recognized and rewarded for their efforts by the male-dominated companies for which they worked.
So in 1963, Ash created the job. Based on her experiences in the direct sales field, the assistance of her son and $5,000 start-up money, Ash formed the Texas-based Mary Kay Cosmetics Company.
The idea was to create quality skin care products for women that would be sold by a direct sales force that could “find success on their own terms and be their own bosses” balancing faith, family and career, said Ash in her book “The Mary Kay Way.”
An empire was born. Ash later introduced skin care products for men and opened the sales force — referred to as independent beauty consultants, sales directors and national sales directors — to men.
Today, the company’s executive chairman is a man. But that’s not really surprising. He’s Richard Rogers — Mary Kay Ash’s son, the same one who helped his mother create the dream job five decades ago.
The best-known symbol of Mary Kay is the pink Cadillac, part of the Career Car Program Ash began in 1969. Use of the pink car is given (under a lease-type of deal) to the top Mary Kay sales directors — the highest status within the independent sales force — for outstanding performance and exceeding goals.
It immediately tells the world the driver has done Mary Kay proud.
If you see a new, pearlized 2014 pink Cadillac CTS cruising the Valley, chances are it’s Kassondra Kantz.
Career choice that works
Kantz, who was born and raised in Richfield and now lives in Harrisburg, recently took delivery of the car at a dealership in Carlisle.
It’s her third Mary Kay career car.
Kantz, 23, started working for Mary Kay — or, as she describes it, “started her business” — at age 18, after she graduated from high school. “At that time, most people thought I was crazy,” she said.
But Kantz saw the bigger picture. “From the beginning, I wanted to be a leader in the company and work this as my career. I wanted a career that would offer an executive income with a flexible schedule so I could have a balanced family life and still be successful professionally with unlimited opportunities for growth and income,” she said. “With Mary Kay, I can do all of that.”
As a sales director, she teaches people how to take care of their skin and apply cosmetics but also coaches and mentors her own “unit” of consultants in building “their own successful businesses.”
Kantz is personally familiar with all her customers, spread throughout Snyder, Juniata and Mifflin counties. She attributes Mary Kay’s corporate success to this high level of “unbeatable customer service” along with its quality products, all of which she said she uses. Another reason, she added, is the company’s philosophy of “God First, Family Second, Career Third.”
“We have,” Kantz said, “our priorities straight.”