Mary Kay lady picks up her latest vehicle

STEUBENVILLE – Gloria Popp has never really “spun her wheels” in all her 32 years of selling Mary Kay Cosmetics.

But the Steubenville woman has done a lot of driving in free cars, courtesy of her sales achievements with the Texas-based company she has said helped open the door for women to experience success on their own terms.

It’s certainly worked for her.

In recent days, Popp, an executive sales director with the company, picked up her 17th car awarded for high sales.

It’s a 2014 black Equinox from TEAM Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac in Wintersville, where a familiar face did the honors.

Through the years, sales representative Scott Medley has handed Popp the keys to eight new cars at different dealership providers, all because of her Mary Kay sales success that entitles its qualifying representatives to have vehicles on a two-year lease with insurance, tax and title paid.

This makes Popp’s third Equinox but she’s had everything from Grand Ams and Grand Prixs to Regals and Cadillacs calling her driveway home. It’s the Cadillacs awarded for the highest sales that are the signature Mary Kay pink, she said.

Her new ride has a Mary Kay emblem in three places.

Popp came on board with Mary Kay in the early 1980s after losing her job at the phone company and heeding the encouragement of her sister, the former Cookie Bianco, and her husband, Paul, to give the independent beauty consultant opportunity a go.

And off she went, becoming the local area’s pioneering Mary Kay representative, being the first to earn a car – a new 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.

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 75 representatives, and she has three offspring directors to her credit.

Although Popp was skeptical in the beginning about how she’d fare with Mary Kay, optimism and positive results prevailed.

“The first time I came into Mary Kay in 1981, I never thought I’d qualify for a car,” she said.

“But there you go,” says the woman who always wears black.

“This is No. 17.”

(Kiaski can be contacted at