BASS: Facing up to a business model that is a true beauty
When I won a huge gift basket of makeup at the office Christmas party last year, everyone hooted.
Makeup has never really been my thing.
In fact, my morning toilette is usually restricted to a shower and running a brush through my hair.
My mother was convinced nail polish would kill my nails — that’s the kind of beauty-tip upbringing this girl got as a teenager.
I blame mother for my lackadaisical attitude and continue to marvel at women who will not step out of the house without their “face” applied.
Hence my reluctance to respond in the affirmative to any of the requests my friend, Kathy Roberts, sent to join her and her Mary Kay customers for an evening of facials and makeovers.
It was an interesting group.
There was a young woman with her mom and her two grandmothers.
There were two women from a local hair salon.
And me — wondering whatever had possessed me to agree to this.
We all gathered around a long table with tiny palettes with eight little indentations into which Kathy squeezed a variety of gloops and glops, all of which were to be applied to the face.
Once all that was done, it was time to move on to foundation, blush, eyeshadow, eye liner, mascara and the two-step way to ensure your lips always have colour.
Kathy kept insisting to me that, if I just got into the routine, it would take no more than three minutes every morning.
They all seemed to know what each dollop of gloop was for and how to apply it.
They didn’t see anything wrong with putting eight layers of stuff — although some of it was washed off, apparently taking away dead skin cells and other evil things I have been unknowingly been ignoring.
A few days later, Kathy called again, this time inviting me to some sort of Mary Kay dinner gathering where awards would be given out, congratulations bestowed and all would celebrate this company that is almost 40 years old and that, in 2010, had worldwide sales of $2.6 billion.
That’s a lot of lipstick.
There were more than 50 of them gathered at Chapters Viewpoint when I arrived — late — to take it all in and figure out if there was a story in there somewhere.
They were in the midst of drawing for prizes.
Everyone got a prize.
We’re not talking about chintzy little key fobs and travel mugs.
These women were getting shawls and jewelry and truly cool stuff.
Directors — saleswomen who oversee others in their units — spoke about their goals for the upcoming year.
They all want pink Cadillacs.
After dinner, each director presented an award to a special member of their unit who has worked hard, been inspirational or simply made the work more fun and easier.
They all beamed and applauded.
Others were given awards for their volumes of sales.
The cynic in me wanted to see something that simply wasn’t there.
This was a group of women who are working hard, growing their home-based businesses — and, in this economy, that isn’t easy — and having fun while they do it.
They celebrated each other’s successes at the gathering.
Maybe when they all left and went back to their homes and businesses, the camaraderie ended — but I don’t think so.
The sense of empowerment and encouragement seemed pretty genuine and, when I spoke with some of them, they talked about how great they felt to be successful at something they actually enjoyed doing.
They all looked great, too.
Must have been the makeup.