Before Sephora and Birchbox, there was Mary Kay. In 1963, Mary Kay Ash founded her cosmetics company in a 500-square-foot Dallas storefront. Today the Addison-based eyeshadow and blush empire now extends to 35 countries and boasts $3 billion in wholesale revenue each year. The iconic pink Cadillac, gifted to top sellers since 1969, even has its own anthropomorphized Twitter account these days. (And this year the company added a more understated black BMW to its fleet of reward vehicles.) 

Mark Kay would have turned 96 today, and to remember one of Texas’s most powerful and influential women, we take a look back at Mary Kay through the years. 

Born in Hot Wells, Texas, Mary Kay opened her cosmetics businesses in 1963 in a Dallas storefront.

Mary Kay Ash, president of Mary Kay Cosmetics, is seen during an interview at her Dallas corporate headquarters office, September 2, 1993. (AP Photo)

Mary Kay celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. A fleet of pink Cadillacs pictured here outside the cosmetic giant’s Addison headquarters.

A fleet of Mary Kay’s distinctive pink Cadillacs in downtown Dallas for the company’s 50th anniversary in 2013. 

False eyelashes bedeck this pink Cadillac.

Mary Kay, which first expanded to China in 1995, now has more than 850,000 sales consultants on the mainland.

For $2.7 million, Mary Kay Ash’s old Preston Hollow home could be yours. (It’s been on the market since February 2012, when it was originally listed for $3.3 million.) 

Pink light illuminates the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas as part of Mary Kay’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2013.