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Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS

Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph

Joyce Young stands for a portrait in front of her 17th car from Mary Kay, this one, a pink Cadillac SRX.
Sunday, August 14, 2011

Local saleswoman earns 17th Mary Kay career car

It’s quite a high achievement for a Mary Kay saleswoman to earn one of the company’s pink Cadillacs, let alone 17.

Joyce Young, of Nashua, started selling cosmetics and skincare products as an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay in 1985. She was promptly promoted to the position of sales director three years later. Over the course of her career with Mary Kay, she has earned 17 Cadillacs.

“When you earn it, you’re very happy to drive it,” she said. “It’s a trophy on wheels.”

Mary Kay is one of the word’s largest beauty and cosmetic companies, selling in more than 35 countries and earning more than $2.5 billion in annual wholesale sales worldwide from 2 million beauty consultants.

The company was founded in 1963 by Mary Kay Ash with the goal of helping women achieve personal growth and financial success. Mary Kay has awarded cars to more than 130,000 sales members since 1969 when company executives began using business incentives like the Mary Kay Career Car Program to award its top-performing workers. The Cadillac, colored in a chic pearlized pink, has since become the company’s most coveted incentive prize.

“The Career Car Program provides the independent sales force the opportunity to earn the use of a visible symbol of success,” Darrell Overcash, president of Mary Kay Inc. in the United States, said in a statement. “Each car in this exciting incentive program reflects the hard work, determination and professionalism of the independent sales force. The coveted pink Cadillac is the ultimate, most recognizable symbol of achievement.”

Sharing and selling Mary Kay products gives women the opportunity to conduct their own business, and everyone begins their career at Mary Kay the same way: as a beauty consultant with a $100 starter kit.

Young graduated from college as a communications student and was beginning to raise a family when she joined Mary Kay.

“When I was introduced to the products, I had no background in skincare or running a business,” Young said. “I was intrigued by the fact that I could work at my own pace and I loved being my own boss.”

A consultant can earn a car within one to four months of working with Mary Kay. Young was awarded her first career car as a beauty consultant nearly a year and a half into her career.

Independent sales directors work with the supporting network of independent beauty consultants. Young’s team is currently the No. 1 ranked unit in New Hampshire and they’ve held that status for the past eight consecutive years. She said that earning the Cadillac was “a team effort.”

“As a sales director, we strive for growth and the Cadillac really is representative of a group effort,” she said. “We’re a unit of successful, motivated, happy consultants.”

Now as a sales director, she works with 25 consultants across the country, from as near as in-state and as far as Michigan. Her team, although mostly established in New Hampshire, reaches out to a network of beauty consultants across the country.

“I believe two things attribute to success – self-discipline and perseverance,” she said.

This time around, Young chose the Cadillac SRX model, but sales directors who earn the use of a Mary Kay career car, have a choice between the SRX and CTS models.

Earning the keys to her own pink Cadillac has become iconic for the self-made businesswoman in Mary Kay. It was in 1968 that Mary Kay Ash purchased the first pink Cadillac. The vehicle was repainted on site by the dealership owner to match the Mountain Laurel Blush compact product. It was such a good rolling advertisement that Ash decided to reward her top five sales workers with the keys to their own pink Cadillacs.

The shade of pink, synonymous with the company’s line of cosmetic pallettes, has changed somewhat over the years. In 1998, the color was changed to “pearlized pink,” now sported by every Cadillac in the Mary Kay career car fleet.

Career cars are awarded around the globe. In European countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain, the car is a pink Mercedes-Benz. In Argentina, it’s a pink Ford. In Taiwan, it’s a pink Toyota and in China, it’s a Volkswagen Santana.

The Cadillac models are constantly changing. Last month at the annual Mary Kay convention at national headquarters in Dallas, executives announced that the new, 2011 model-year Ford Mustang painted in black will join the fleet of career cars, Young said.

A sales director like Young can requalify for a new Cadillac every two years, but she doesn’t keep every Cadillac she earns. Instead, she cycles them into the dealership when she re-qualifies for a career car. When the two-year lease has expired, the cars are repainted prior to being auctioned off. The career cars are paid for by the company, including inspection checks and a percentage of the car’s insurance as long as specific work performance qualifications are regularly met.

Those who qualify for a Mary Kay career car also have the option of selecting cash compensation in lieu of a car. And while it is not known how many directors choose the cash in lieu of the car, GM estimates that it has built 100,000 pink Cadillacs for Mary Kay.

One of the things that Young enjoys about earning the Cadillac for her sales team, is the dealership’s presentation, which never lacks in pomp and circumstance. The Cadillacs are unveiled at the dealership with a pink silk drapery.

“It’s really a beautiful presentation,” she said.

There is no cap limit on how many career cars a Mary Kay consultant can earn in a lifetime. It seems like Young will be cycling Cadillacs in and out of the dealership for the foreseeable future.

“One of the things I love to know is being a Mary Kay sales director or a beauty consultant is more than just selling makeup. I truly believe we can make a difference for women,” she said, citing the confidence she gained from working for Mary Kay.

To learn more about Mary Kay and their career cars, visit

Alexandra Churchill can be reached at 594-6411 or