Mary Kay Ash is world-famous for her successful line of skin care products and cosmetics. She was born in Hot Wells, Texas, on May 12, 1928. As a young person, she provided care for her invalid father. Unable to afford college, she married and soon began direct sales of books, cooking utensils, and other items. After her first marriage ended in divorce, Mary Kay supported herself and her three young children on her salary as a salesperson. In 1963, Mary Kay retired from sales, but without work, she soon grew restless. She soon realized she had knowledge of business, developed a powerful marketing plan, and chose a cosmetics line as her product. However, shortly before she was to launch her business, Mary Kay's second husband died of a heart attack. Ignoring well-meaning advice to cancel her new career, she premiered the Mary Kay line on September 13, 1963 with a staff of nine salespersons. Today, her company, Mary Kay Cosmetics, is the largest direct seller of cosmetics and skin care products in the U.S., with annual sales of over 1.5 billion. Mary Kay has shared much of her success story in several books including Mary Kay, From My Heart and Mary Kay: You Can Have it All. She has received numerous awards, including the Dale Carnegie Leader Award and the Horatio Alger Distinguished American Citizen Award.