Americans seem to routinely lose both money and self-esteem through multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes year after year, caught up in dreams that eventually become nightmares.

Equinox and Trek Alliance are just two examples

But the direct marketing approach of Mary Kay Cosmetics certainly bucked that trend and achieved for thousands of women what many MLMs only promise.

A new book More Than a Pink Cadillac shares the management principles of founder Mary Kay Ash, who died at 83 in 2001, reports USA Today.

Mary Kay’s legendary success like many corporate gurus included a “cult-like” following of true believers. But unlike so many MLMs, she did not garner a legion of lawsuits, federal regulators, class action grievances and/or bad press.

Ash focused on positive but realistic thinking, practical inspiration and made sure that her product line was sensible, desirable and competitive. She clearly saw herself as a role model for women who wanted a better life through hard work.

That hard work paid off for many Mary Kay devotees through the much-touted pink Cadillac, given to top sellers by the company. Whether women worked full-time or part-time, there was real hope for an honest income through Mary Kay.

Many women found greater independence and self-esteem through Ash and her company, which became a 2 billion-dollar empire.

Ash proved that clever marketing and devotion could pay off for both top management and a sales force working effectively together.

Mary Kay’s minions, that eventually included almost a million worldwide, got a square deal from a lady who knew the bottom line in business was not only profits, but also integrity.


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