Riepe said she started
selling Mary Kay products in 1972. Back then, she said, the
business was relatively small, making it easy for her to
become personally acquainted with Mary Kay Ash. Riepe said
she has many fond memories of Ash, who died in November,
including many words of wisdom like, "Worry about
nothing, but pray about everything."
Riepe, who has driven Mary
Kay cars since 1976, including the coveted pink Cadillac,
said it was such tidbits of advice that helped her succeed
at her chosen trade.
"She was a wonderful
person and I still remember everything she told me to be
successful," Riepe said. "Maybe I haven't followed
all of her ideas, but I've followed most of them and she was
right, it did help."
Riepe began selling because
the flexible schedule and virtually limitless possibilities
for success appealed to her, but she said she has kept at it
because, "I have loved every minute of it."
She said she has enjoyed the
friends she's made, the camaraderie she shares with other
Mary Kay representatives and the recognition she has
received for hard work. However, she said, the job itself is
so individualized and the possibilities so endless, that it
fit perfectly into her life.
"I just don't know where
else I could have worked for so few hours, made so many
friends, had so much fun and still made as much money as I
did," she said. "Mary Kay always said it should be
God first, family second and business third. That's just not
how it is in any other business."
It's a trade that Riepe took
up when no one else in the area sold Mary Kay products, but
that all changed when she began hosting parties and
recruiting new beauty consultants. Within five years, she
achieved the level of director with 30 beauty consultants
under her that she personally recruited and trained.
Even though she has loved
doing her job, Riepe said it was Mary Kay Ash who has not
only provided an opportunity for hundreds of thousands of
women, but who gave Riepe, and all the other Mary Kay
ladies, the tools they needed for success.
Of course, Riepe knows that
one person can not ensure another's success. Working for
Mary Kay, she said, is an individualized profession.
"If I were to recruit
you, I would not be responsible for your success or your
failure," she said. "It is up to each person how
far they want to go, but Mary Kay does give a lot of advice
and keys to success that make it pretty easy."
Riepe also praised Mary Kay
Ash for her generosity and good spirit. Riepe said Ash
willed $1 million a year for 15 years to both breast cancer
research and programs for battered women. These facts
contribute to Riepe's pride at being part of the company.
Her involvement in the
company has made pink her signature color. She said she has
a large pink mailbox in front of her home so that everyone
will notice, and she even uses pink garbage bags.
Riepe said she will continue
to be a part of the Mary Kay empire and sell Mary Kay
products as long as she possibly can.
"Jimmy O'Donnell asked
me when I was going to retire and I said I'd stop when they
shut the lid on my casket," Riepe joked, "and I
hope I have a pink casket."