By C. Young
Updated November 26, 2001 03:12 PM
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“The world has lost one of its greatest champions of women and one of the most loving and inspirational business leaders,” said Richard Rogers, son of Mary Kay Ash and co-founder of her hugely successful company Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay, as she preferred to be called, founded her company in 1963 with her life savings of $5000 after her second husband died. It became the second biggest cosmetics company (behind Avon), which now sells $2.4 billion at the retail level with a sales army of 850,000 women in 37 countries. Known for her excessive love of pink (even awarding pink Cadillacs as sales incentives), she was a traditionalist in her makeup and a pioneer at providing decent jobs for women. “I’ve been asked many times: ‘How did you succeed?’ The answer is I was middle-aged, had varicose veins and didn’t have time to fool around. I wasn’t that interested in the dollars-and-cents part of the business. My interest in starting Mary Kay Inc. was to offer women opportunities that didn’t exist anywhere else.” Mary Kay is survived by two sons, 16 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.