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Mary Kay consultant bridges cosmetics with Christianity

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
July 26, 2013 at 2:26 a.m.
Updated July 27, 2013 at 2:27 a.m.

Anecia Maroney, center, squeezes a sample portion of a Mary Kay skin care product onto a makeup palette in front of new Mary Kay sales consultant Elise Harbour, of Rockport. Harbour and her mother, Alison Harbour, also talk about a product they tried during a consultant training session at Maroney's home in Victoria. Maroney, an independent sales director for Mary Kay, said her faith plays a large role in her career.

At the front of a pink-adorned detached garage, Anecia Maroney sits atop a wooden step-stool and waits for her lady clients to file through the door.

Maroney's face glistens with the glow of creamy, unblemished skin. Her Mary Kay rouge and eye makeup rest flawless above a thin layer of mineral-based foundation, highlighting Maroney's defined cheek bones and elongated lashes.

It's Thursday night, the one night during her week when the 28-year-old Mary Kay Independent Sales Director leads cosmetic and facial skin care instruction classes at her home.

It's also the night she makes the pitch for intrigued women to join her sales team, while training new Mary Kay independent sales consultants on how to use and apply products.

As the women file through the door, each of them eager to test the latest creams, lotions and powders from the sixth largest direct - selling cosmetics company in the world, Maroney's Christian pop music radio station streams through the stereo.

She's about to teach and sell cosmetics to the women but also hopes when they leave her garage office, she's taught and sold them the gospel of Jesus.

"The longer I'm in Mary Kay I realize God has called me to it. It's not a business for me. It's a ministry," Maroney said. "I'm using this, I believe, to do what he wants me to do to reach every person. It's a calling."

While Mary Kay is not a Christian company, Maroney said she credits her sales achievements on the provision of God and founder Mary Kay Ash's philosophy of "God first. Family second. Career third."

When those things are aligned, she said, she's able to find peace and success in her job as well as at home with her husband and four children.

"Before Mary Kay, it was career first, family second and God who?" she said. "Now, the more time I get with God, the more I get to fulfill his Great Commission and take his name to the ends of the earth. I'm really just undercover Mary Kay."

Elise Harbour, 18, one of Maroney's new independent sales consultants, said she was drawn to the Mary Kay business model about a month ago. In the fall, Harbour begins her business undergraduate program at Texas A&M University, and she was searching for a flexible part-time job that could assist her while in school.

But it was Maroney's faith that broke down Habour's anxiety about beginning the program.

"When Anecia described the Mary Kay slogan as 'God first, family second, career third,' that really hit home for me. I'm a believer myself, so the fact that she uses Mary Kay to talk about her faith is great," Harbour said. "She doesn't push it on anyone; she's just a good example."

Harbour, who was recently pinned at Maroney's home, a ceremony that makes Harbour's Mary Kay joining official, said she has always desired a business of her own and she sees Mary Kay as a means to successful end.

"It just excited me so much. Nothing has excited me this much in a really long time. I did it, and I'm having a blast," she said.

Maroney said she grew up in an evangelical Christian home and attends Parkway Church.

But as she grew into adulthood, she realized she was going through the motions of faith rather than pursuing a genuine relationship with Jesus.

Before joining the Addison-based Mary Kay company five years ago, she was working in the medical field performing cardiac ultrasounds at a Victoria doctor's office. She wore scrubs to work each day, washed her face with shampoo and made little effort to style her hair beyond a simple pony tail.

She never envisioned her relationship with God would mature into what it has become today. And she certainly never envisioned that future taking shape by way of a cosmetics ministry.

"This was totally far out in left field for me," she said. "I thought it was ridiculous."

Maroney said she was reluctantly introduced to the cosmetics giant when a close friend of hers phoned and informed her she was a new independent sales consultant for Mary Kay. Her friend asked if she would listen the possibility of joining the sales team.

Maroney wasn't impressed.

"I thought she was crazy. She just finished college, and I know you don't have to have a college degree to sell Mary Kay," Maroney said. "I thought it was a phase, and she would grow out of it."

But her friend convinced her to speak to one of the company's sales directors about trying out Mary Kay for a living.

"I listened on the other end of the phone to a woman who was less than 30, who had two bachelor's degrees and left dental school before pursuing Mary Kay. She owned her own home and was already driving the pink Cadillac. I thought, 'Excuse me?'"

Maroney had been praying for an exit from her medical job, a place she felt didn't converge well with her faith.

And she was excited about the flexibility Mary Kay offered, a business run by women, for women that allows women to customize their businesses to their lives.

"It was important for me to have that because I was in the middle of pursuing a personal relationship with God on my own," she said. "There came a point where I had to draw a line in the sand."

Two weeks after joining Mary Kay, Maroney quit her job and became an independent sales consultant.

Five years later, she's driving a company-issued Chevrolet Malibu as a result of high sales, and she's training more than 40 women to be Mary Kay independent sales consultants.

She's earning about $60,000 yearly and says she hopes by the end of the year she will earn her Mary Kay pink Cadillac.

"The goal is to earn it by Christmas. I would be the only woman in Victoria driving a pink Cadillac," she said.

It isn't about the car, she said; it's about what the car represents: Following God, working hard, putting him first and family second.

It's about about having faith that God would provide and allow her to share his message with other women.

"This is what God picked for me, and I've learned about the power he gives us through his grace," she said. "My true empowerment doesn't come from a company - it comes from God."



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