Mary Kay lady on her 20th car
STEUBENVILLE — Gloria Popp is getting comfortable with her new wheels — a 2018 Chevrolet Equinox LT.
And with that she’s fondly recalling the first car she was awarded for high sales in the early days of her career with Mary Kay Cosmetics.
It was a 1985 Oldsmobile Firenza, a car that she thought at the time was a state-of-the-art vehicle, remembering how it had power locks, for example, which she found to be unique.
Fast forward to her 20th car recently awarded for high sales during the past 40 years, and Popp realizes what advancements the years have brought, from keyless ignition and entry and GPS navigation systems to rearview backup cameras.
“I’m scared of it,” Popp said chuckling at the technology changes, “until I get used to it.”
Ironically, the Steubenville woman remembers being fearful as well of even trying a career with the Texas-based company that has served her so well.
Popp came on board with Mary Kay in the early 1980s after losing her job at the phone company. It was at the encouragement of her husband, Paul, and her sister, the former Cookie Bianco, that she decided to give the independent beauty consultant opportunity a go.
In 1981 she did and never looked back, becoming the local area’s pioneering Mary Kay representative and the first to earn a car — that 1985 Firenza.
“I was the first director, the first car winner, the first of everything,” said Popp, who took out a small loan in the beginning to have products on hand.
She never dreamed, though, that she’d qualify for a car, as sales success entitles qualifying representatives to have vehicles on a two-year lease with insurance, tax and title paid.
Popp remembers in the early years of winning cars, her mother, the late Mary Bianco, accompanied her on pick-up day, because her husband was working. “She loved to go with me,” she said.
Her initial strategy was booking three classes a week with three to six people at each. “I would say I have this product. How about you and some friends come over, and I’ll show you how to use them.”
It was in this at-home, fun-based atmosphere that Popp believed she had found her niche, along the way bringing other women on board to become consultants, too.
Today, her Sugar Popps unit boasts 175 representatives in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, California and Florida.
Although Popp was skeptical in the beginning about how she’d fare with Mary Kay, her perseverance and customer service approach cultivated optimism.
As an executive sales director with the company, Popp cited one saying as a motivating factor — “Your success is determined by your daily routine.”
Popp picked up her 2018 Equinox recently from TEAM Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac in Wintersville from sales consultant Scott Medley, a constant in her career success. Through the years, Medley has handed Popp the keys to more than eight new cars at different dealership providers.
“It’s been a lot of years,” she said.
While this marks Popp’s fourth Equinox, she’s had everything from Grand Ams and Grand Prixs to Regals and Cadillacs, the latter awarded for the highest sales that are the signature Mary Kay pink.
Popp said she enjoys being a Mary Kay representative.
“You meet lovely people,” she said, adding she likes helping women look their best. “Women want to look good, and when you look good, you feel better,” she added, grateful she gave the career a chance and had her husband’s support.
“I was scared to death to try something new, and that’s why people don’t — they’re afraid to venture out. That’s when Paul said try it, and you reap the rewards.”