When you think of Texas, you might think big accents, big rodeos, Big Tex, big stars, big skies, big hair, the list goes on; and every Texan will most likely make sure you leave here knowing that everything really is bigger in Texas. So, is it possible that one company continuously appears to exceed Texas sized expectations? The answer is yes. Mary Kay Ash – founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, headquartered here in Addison, Texas – does not cease to remind individuals through legacy, even those outside of the company, of her Texas sized heart and determination. And every year this reminder begins with – you got it – a Texas sized convention.
In past years, Mary Kay, herself, would make a grand entrance atop one of the company’s signature pink Cadillac cars. As she made her annual debut on the arena stage, anxious consultants stared awe-struck; some stared from below in the audience, while others were captivated by the big screen in a secondary viewing room equipped with large speakers, and sometimes even performers themselves. Drawing in her crowds, Mary Kay started off each year to the tune of Barbara Cook’s, It’s Not Where You Start.
Albeit an extravagant set up, these annual conventions ensure that each and every beauty consultant is armed with an unparalleled knowledge of the new products, the old products, and the upcoming featured products. But perhaps most importantly, each consultant leaves rejuvenated, having been surrounded by 10,000 similarly indomitable women in their seminar, and a company that continues to give back.
This year marked 50 years for Mary Kay Cosmetics and they made sure everyone benefited. During the 2013 “One Woman Can Makeover Contest,” participants were given a makeover by one of Mary Kay’s numerous Beauty Consultants. Upon completion, a “before” and “after” photo was snapped in addition to filling out an application which inquired about the positive impact she would make on her community if one of the 50 $5,000 dollar prizes was awarded to the charity of her choice benefiting women and children. Striving to beautify women both inside and out, Mary Kay is “not about the money, it’s truly about empowering women,” says one of this year’s convention performers, Eric Coudron.
National Sales Director, Karen Piro, claims that while there are many exciting new products in the upcoming year, the goal will always remain the same, “to enrich women’s, and help them succeed.” Piro notes that this is what sets Mary Kay apart from the rest, along with their core values “Faith, Family and Career. Mary Kay always said if you put your faith first, your family second and your career third things will work out.”
At its core, Mary Kay Cosmetics really is more than a company, it’s a close knit family. The convention is similar to a big, Academy Award caliber family reunion event, after all “Utilizing a force of more than 3 million Independent Beauty Consultants, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller with more than 200 premium products sold in more than 35 countries around the world,” according to the Mary Kay website.
But disregard the statistics, and you’ll still see Mary Kay Ash’s vivacity sparkling through in each consultant’s eyes. In fact, according to this year’s performers, just being a part of the commotion for a small number of weeks is enough to catch the Mary Kay fever. “It’s a great opportunity,” says Veronica Phillips, former Dance Captain for Larrwell Productions, “but it was the close knit community as a whole that brings you back time and again.” Over the course of six weeks, these dancers endure rigorous and competitive auditions, where only the strongest dancers remain. The effort that goes into each annual convention truly cannot compare to the impact it has on participants. As this year’s convention, dancers embarked on their journey to create a Mary Kay worthy act, Coudron observed, “…[Larrwell Productions] is a company of positivity, it just reiterates the intent behind Mary Kay Ash’s lifelong goal.”
Larrwell Productions is not just a company, just as every Mary Kay Beauty Consultant is family, so is this dance group. The relationship between Mary Kay and Larrwell is just as unique as Mary Kay Ash’s dream itself, and their bond reaches back 40 years when Mary Kay incorporated their magnificent act into her annual convention. “The founder of Larrwell Productions, Sarah Larr, was a band member for a group named, “Time.” When dancers were incorporated into the show, a name for the dancers became a necessity for the evening programs. Simply put, Sarah Larr said ‘They’re Friends of Time,’ and the name just stuck,” claims Veronica Phillips.
Lauren Gonzales, another performer in this year’s convention states, “I was drawn to the job because I heard that it is one of the most rewarding as a dancer. We get to dance for 10,000 excited, loving and fun women each seminar. There is nothing more rewarding than dancing for a group of individuals who love and appreciate us. The women of Mary Kay do just that.”
With Mary Kay, you try your best to go all out – not just for the show, but in your daily life. Be the best community leader, woman, friend, mother or sister that you can be. Empower yourself and others and focus on your own Texas sized dream. After all, a wise woman once lived by the phrase, “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”
Check out this video from the Mary Kay convention where a world record was set for the largest makeup painting ever created. Video courtesy Mary Kay Inc.