Founded in 1963, the company sells cosmetics through a multi-level marketing model that relies on independent beauty consultants that directly sell cosmetics to people in their community.
In 1971, the firm expanded overseas for the first time with entry into Australia. Today, however, the company said no longer saws a sustainable future in the Oceania region.
“This has been a very difficult decision and one we have not taken lightly. Mary Kay launched in Australia nearly fifty years ago and in New Zealand thirty years ago, so we are sorry to be leaving. We would like to thank all our employees for their dedication and efforts and our customers for their support through the years. We wish conditions were more conducive to success,” said K.K. Chua, president of Mary Kay Asia Pacific in a statement.
The company said its staff and independent sales consultants had been informed of the closures in advance.
It added that independent sales force members will continue to service customers as long as inventory lasts.
However, the company’s Australian website stated it will also accept returned products from sales consultants until April 6.
A spokesperson of Mary Kay told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that a combination of market conditions led to the firm’s decline in the region.
The rep stressed that the company’s exit is not reflective on the performance of its products or its channels.
“Mary Kay’s withdrawal from Australia and New Zealand is not due to a slump in the popularity of products or its channels but unfortunately a combination of rising costs of doing business and slowing consumer spend, which have been compounded by the smaller size of these markets,” he said.
Looking to China
Moving forward, the firm said it will continue to focus on its core growth markets across the globe.
According to the rep, Mary Kay’s business has been performing well in other markets including the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia,
He said the firm’s Asia-Pacific arm will shift its focus on expanding the business in Asia, especially in China where it sees the most potential.
“Mary Kay sees strong growth opportunities across Asia Pacific, with a focus on China. The business has made significant investments to develop its network of independent beauty consultants and its products across the region.”
The spokesperson highlighted that the company will continue to focus on its core mission to empower women with the means to be self-reliant.
He said: “Mary Kay is focused on bringing entrepreneurial business opportunities to women across Asia Pacific through supporting independent beauty consultants as they look to build businesses with a strong customer base. This will include leveraging digital channels to support and transform the Mary Kay experience.”
Additionally, the firm will also be refocusing its efforts to evaluate the business in light of the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“Due to the unexpected coronavirus situation, we are currently re-evaluating the business strategies for 2020, including doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of the independent sales force and our employees,” said the rep.
“We are putting in place all necessary contingency plans, as well as ensuring we are also well-positioned to grow and excel when the external situation gets back to normal.”