With the addition of Colombia, the company has operations in 8 countries in the region—Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Portugal, and Uruguay.
The company was quick to point out that the new market is the home of Paulina Vega, who holds the Miss Universe 2014 title.
"We are proud to expand our operations in Latin America with the opening of Mary Kay Colombia," says David Holl, president and chief executive officer for Mary Kay. "Since Mary Kay opened in Brazil in 1998 we have seen extraordinary growth and we anticipate a successful launch in Colombia as its economy continues to thrive, the demand for high quality products increases and entrepreneurship strengthens."
Entrepreneurs and advisors
The Mary Kay business is premised on a strategy of women helping women become financially successful. So as the Columbia business gets underway, experienced and knowledgeable consultants from the US and Mexico will “mentor leaders in the new Colombian independent sales,” explains the media release announcing the opening.
A pretty penny
Executives from across the Americas—Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the US—worked closely with the brand’s leaders in Colombia on the expansion.
Based on that group’s market research, the launch comprises a portfolio of 150 Mary Kay products appropriate for the Colombian market. Product categories include color cosmetics, skin care, fragrance and body care.
The company put more than just time and research into the move. “Mary Kay made an initial investment of $8 million to start its operations in Colombia,” according to the media release.
Direct-sales beauty companies are seeing mixed results internationally. One of Mary Kay’s long-time competitors, Avon, closed its operations in 16 Caribbean nations early this year. At the time, company spokesperson Lindsay Fox told the AP that Avon made the decision in order to “focus its resources on improving its US business,” and that it “will still serve eight island including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.”
By contrast, the direct sales skin care company Rodan + Fields expanded its business into Canada. That company is also bolstering its financial strategy. Rodan + Fields told the Wall Street Journal last month that “it is working with Wells Fargo to assess potential options but said an outside investment isn’t imminent.”