"I used to sell cars. Now I'm winning them!" says Janeen Heller.
It's something she's been watching her daughter, Geri Dennis, do for several years now.
The Bowling Green mother-and-daughter duo are both driving brand new 2009 models, courtesy of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Heller's is a Pontiac G-6 from Ed Schmidt; Dennis is driving a Saturn Aura.
The cars represent sales thresholds met by each woman and the area saleswomen they, in turn, have recruited.
It may be hard times, economically, but Heller says the Texas-based company, famous for gifting its top sales people with pink Cadillacs, is actually thriving. Sales are up 49 percent in the past year.
And she thinks she knows why.
"People are not ever going to go without their moisturizer and lipstick! If times are tight, they'll put less beans in the chili."
Selling cosmetics represents a second career for Dennis and the third for Heller, who was a factory worker at Cooper in Bowling Green for more than 18 years, while raising three children as a single mom.
She first broke into sales with a job at University Honda, becoming a sales manager after six years.
Heller "came on board with Mary Kay" in March 2005 after being recruited by her daughter. Since then, she has recruited three of her car customers to selling Mary Kay.
"I loved selling cars" despite the 60-hours-plus work weeks, but is glad she made the change.
"Plan B is never a bad thing to have in your pocket," she notes.
"Alcohol, tobacco and makeup are the three things people refuse to do without in hard times," Heller pointed out. There's also the fact that people buy a new car "every three to five years, give or take, but skin care goes on every morning and off every night (so) makeup has to be replaced every four to six months."
Of course, honesty compels Heller to admit that she was 48 years old "before I ever had foundation on my face."
Dennis agrees, teasingly saying of her mom, "her skin care consisted of Dial soap and Suave shampoo."
That's certainly not the case for Dennis herself, who was a faithful Mary Kay customer for 15 years before ever turning to sales.
She worked for 12 years as a secretary at Bowling Green State University but found herself "unhappy in my career. I didn't like the 9 to 5, punch-the-time-clock routine."
When she was forced to take unpaid sick leave after undergoing reconstructive surgery on both feet "I need to make some money fast" and decided to try Mary Kay sales.
At her first demonstration "I made $325 in an hour and a half" and was persuaded to shift careers permanently.
She is now a senior director with the cosmetics company and the Saturn is the fourth car she has won.
Both women are in awe of another Wood County woman, Pemberville's Linda Bradley. She was ranked number 12 saleswoman in the entire country at the recent Mary Kay convention in Dallas. These days Bradley, a former nurse, "drives a free Cadillac."
And then there's Heller and Dennis' national director. "She used to be an art teacher and now she's a millionaire!" said Heller.