America's high unemployment rate -- at more than 9 percent -- is helping a North Texas-based cosmetics company. This year, hundreds of thousands of people have joined Mary Kay. In March, the company posted its highest monthly sales ever.
Mary Kay started its annual 3-week seminar today in Dallas. Thousands of beauty consultants are trying to give their career a boost. They're getting new training and motivation at the Dallas Convention Center.
"It's very difficult to find a job in the market right now, and Mary Kay is just that extra outlet to, if I can't find a job, then I can do Mary Kay, and if I find a job, I can do Mary Kay while I'm doing that job as well," said Joyia Johnson, of Denton, who recently earned her masters degree in accounting from the University of North Texas. "I just wanted to have an extra little cash on the side so I can go out with my friends or just support myself until I finish school."
Like many other recent graduates, she joined Mary Kay while still in college.
The global skin care company says a lot of teachers began selling Mary Kay, after getting pink slips due to budget cuts. They're now going after a pink Cadillac.
"Fortunately, my district didn't cut anybody. However, there's just so much uncertainty. I wanted kind of a 'plan B' to either go to if I choose, or just to be a backup if something does happen with the way that education's going," said Shelly Scholz, a 6th grade English teacher with Frisco ISD.
In April more than 165,000 Americans started their Mary Kay businesses -- the largest number in a single month in the last decade.
"Many women have left a full-time opportunity because they have found this to be more rewarding and more fulfilling," said Sheryl Adkins-Green.
So far this year, Mary Kay is ahead of last year by almost 10 percent in recruiting new sales people. Company executives see the growth continuing, at least as long as the economy stays down.
The seminar brings in beauty consultants from across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. It generates more than $70 million in economic impact for the city, according to the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.