Mary Kay’s sprit of entrepreneurship impacts women today

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Liderina)
© Getty Images \ (Liderina)
While it was just last month when Mary Kay signed the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles. The company has been focused on women’s entrepreneurship since day one. To find out more about the Mary Kay approach to expanding women’s economic and social power, Cosmetics Design checked in with chief operating officer Deborah Gibbins.

Deborah Gibbins, COO at Mary Kay, believes that beauty companies are in an unparalleled position to enhance women’s lives: “The beauty industry is predominantly female, giving it a vested interest in women and women’s issues,”​ Gibbins tells Cosmetics Design. “The big players in this space have a global platform and following—and with that, we feel we have a responsibility to our independent sales force, customers and employees.”

“In fact,”​ notes Gibbins, “more than 60% of our employees are female.”​ And she goes on to say that Mary Kay is indeed “uniquely positioned to enforce positive change, especially as it pertains to women’s empowerment and championing issues that affect women. There’s also the obvious fact that we literally produce products aimed at building women’s confidence, ultimately helping them tackle social issues and effecting change.”

Large scale

When asked how Mary Kay does good work to help advance women in culture and society, Gibbins outlined the following 3 initiatives:

1. The Mary Kay Opportunity. “The foundation of Mary Kay was built by a woman for women. Because of that, we are uniquely positioned to empower women through our business opportunity. With millions of Independent Beauty Consultants around the world, Mary Kay provides women the tools and resources they need to determine and build their own futures.”

2. The Mary Kay Foundation. “The Mary Kay Foundation was established in 1996 to formalize the raising and distribution of research funds for cancers affecting women. In 2000, the Foundation embraced a second mission: to prevent and end violence against women. Over the course of more than two decades, The Mary Kay Foundation has awarded more than $78 million to women’s shelters and domestic violence service providers, as well as cancer research programs and related causes throughout the United States.”

3. The Mary Kay Women’s Small Business Fund. “In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the Mary Kay Women’s Small Business Fund was co-founded by Mary Kay China and the China Women’s Development Foundation to help women start their own companies through small business loans or microfinance. By providing laid-off female workers and poor women with small, interest-free loans to help start their own businesses, the Mary Kay Women’s Small Business Fund enables them to become self-reliant and acquire skills that are good for a lifetime.”

One to one

And Gibbins has observed person-to-person support within the company too: “We have countless stories of women lifting up other women in their time of need, especially when a member of the Mary Kay sisterhood is affected by cancer,” ​Gibbins tells Cosmetics Design. “Every day we hear examples of unit members providing resources, time and comfort to fellow Independent Beauty Consultants whose families have been struck by disease.”

And Gibbins points out proudly that Mary Kay “Independent Beauty Consultants often host makeovers at domestic violence shelters and other organizations that help women to get back on their feet. It’s amazing what a little confidence from a makeover can do to empower a woman to take the next step in rehabilitation.”



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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