Party with Mary Kay

Mary Kay consultant

Mary Kay consultant

Most of us think of an “itinerant seller” as an encyclopedia salesman, Fuller Brush man, tinker, peddler, drummer or other transitory vendor of goods.  But in the 21st century, the term can also describe the “independent beauty consultants” of Mary Kay Inc., who buy a reported $2.2 billion worth of skin care products and cosmetics and resell them at “Mary Kay parties.”

The Folklife Archives of WKU’s Special Collections Library holds tapes of 3 interviews conducted in 1985 with Brenda Venable, a Mary Kay consultant.  She talks in detail about the company, its products and distribution system, her sales strategies, and what her work is like.  Transcripts of the interviews are also available.  “Mary Kay’s company structure shouldn’t work according to accountants, lawyers and finance,” Venable observed.  “So she took the bumble bee as her symbol because aerodynamically speaking the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly.  But it does fly and so does Mary Kay.”

A finding aid for the collection can be downloaded by clicking here.


Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

18 Responses to Party with Mary Kay

  1. Good article, written by a good author
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  2. Apparently the Mary Kay accountants and lawyers were stuck in the Corporate America boys club mindset… they most likely underestimated the power of a determined woman! The company continues to kick butt even in this turbulent economy.

  3. i love this post. what a great inspiration to those start ups who face the same opinions. bravo!

  4. Those who admire them, their cause is successful.

  5. I love Mary Kay very much.I can’t miss it in my life.

  6. Mary Kay increasing influence on girls.

  7. Very familiar with Mary Kay… but I have been thrilled with French line called Votre Vu.

  8. Mary Kay really had a lot of courage to go out and set up all these networking parties in the beginning. These interviews sound like useful resources for anyone looking to do something similar.

  9. r4

    Mary Kay cosmetics are very good!

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