Mary Kay launched in China—direct selling’s No. 3 billion dollar market—18 years ago with an emphasis on the company’s strong, values-based corporate culture. The market is now Mary Kay’s second fastest-growing behind Brazil and generates more than $1 billion USD in annual revenue.
K.K. Chua, Mary Kay President for the Asia Pacific Region, recently spoke to the South China Morning Post about the company’s work in China and the advantages of direct selling in a digitally connected world.
Though the company has cultivated a social media presence, Chua says its beauty consultants in the country build strong customer relationships in person through skincare classes, where women receive a demonstration of the company’s five-step regimen and tips for getting the most out of the products. The mobile aspect of Mary Kay’s salesforce also enables the company to bypass many of the challenges traditional retail brands face in establishing a presence in new cities.
Having observed the evolution of Mary Kay’s Chinese customers, Chua notes that the women have educated themselves and pay keen attention to the chemicals used in each product, placing precedence on natural, safe ingredients. Asian women, who spend more on skincare than anyone else in the world, have also warmed to color cosmetics over the years, a category that has surpassed skincare with double-digit growth in China.