Mary Kay, Inc., senior management believed that India represented a growth opportunity for three reasons. First, the Indian upper and consuming classes were growing and were expected to total over 500 million individuals. Second, the population was overwhelm- ingly young and optimistic. This youthful population continues to push consumerism as the line between luxury and basic items con- tinues to blur. Third, a growing number of working women have given a boost to sales of cosmetics, skin care, and fragrances in India’s urban areas, where 70 per cent of the country’s middle-class women reside. Senior management also believed that India’s socio-economic characteristics in 2007 were similar in many ways to China in 1995, when the company entered that market (see Figure 1). The Mary Kay culture was viewed as a good fit with the Indian culture, which would ben efit the company’s venture into this market. For exam- ple, industry research has shown that continuing moderniza tion of the country has led to changing aspirations. As a result, the need to be good looking, well-groomed, and stylish has taken a newfound importance. Mary Kay initiated operations in India in September 2007 with a full marketing launch in early 2008. The ini tial launch was in Delhi, the nation’s capital and the sec ond most populated me- tropolis in India, and Mumbai, the nation’s most heavily popu- lated metropolis. Delhi, with per capita income of U.S. $1,420,
Sheryl Adkins-Green couldn’t ask for a better assignment. As the newly appointed vice president of brand development at Mary Kay, Inc., she is responsible for development of the product portfolio around the world, including global initiatives and prod ucts spe- cifically formulated for global markets. She is enthusiastic about her position, noting that, “There is tremendous opportunity for growth. Even in these economic times, women still want to pamper themselves, and to look good is to feel good.” Getting up to speed on her new company and her new position topped her short-term agenda. She was specifi cally interested in the company’s efforts to date to build the Mary Kay brand in India.
THE MARY KAY WAY Mary Kay Ash founded Mary Kay Cosmetics in 1963 with her life savings of $5,000 and the support of her 20-year-old son, Rich- ard Rogers, who currently serves as execu tive chairman of Mary Kay, Inc. Mary Kay, Inc., is one of the largest direct sellers of skin care and color cosmetics in the world with more than $2.5 billion in annual sales. Mary Kay brand products are sold in more than 35 markets on five continents. The United States, China, Russia, and Mexico are the top four markets served by the company. The company’s global independent sales force exceeds 2 million. About 65 percent of the company’s independent sales representatives re- side outside the United States. Mary Kay Ash’s founding principles were simple, time-tested, and remain a fundamental company business philosophy. She adopted the Golden Rule as her guiding principle, determining the best course of action in virtu ally any situation could be eas- ily discerned by “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.” She also steadfastly believed that life’s priorities should be kept in their proper order, which to her meant “God first, fam ily second, and career third.” Her work ethic, approach to business, and success have resulted in numerous awards and recognitions including, but not limited to, the Hora tio Alger American Citi- zen Award, recognition as one of “America’s 25 Most Influential Women,” and induction into the National Business Hall of Fame. Mary Kay, Inc., engages in the development, manufac ture, and packaging of skin care, makeup, spa and body, and fragrance prod- ucts for men and women. It offers anti-aging, cleanser, moisturizer, lip and eye care, body care, and sun care products. Overall, the company produces more than 200 premium products in its state- of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Dallas, Texas, and Hang- zhou, China. The company’s approach to direct selling employs the “party plan,” whereby independent sales representatives host parties to demonstrate or sell products to consumers.