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In Down Economy, Lipstick Sells

Self-employed women of Mary Kay are making ends meet through selling cosmetics.
5:35 | 12/14/11

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Transcript for In Down Economy, Lipstick Sells
165000. People started Mary -- businesses in the United States last April alone it's a second job for many of them. But -- -- for themselves and they chalked up 2.5 billion dollars in wholesale billing worldwide in 2010. Here's ABC's Ryan -- for our network series about people who are fighting to restore opportunities in this country bringing America back. It has all the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards. -- But this red carpet is in Dallas. And it. Probably should be pink. It's awards night at Mary Kay cosmetics and for the next few hours. Hundreds of women will receive a lot more than little golden statuettes. The area. So they're being recognized and rewarded for -- when their business -- so few others all are. It turns out even during the deepest of economic slumps and -- -- today and Stephanie are bought the 27 year old lives in east Tennessee with her husband. Two kids and a third on the way. -- and wait you're seeing retail and taught on college campus is identity and everything's so we -- about five jobs and we started between the two -- And now we're down to make his -- system in -- We first wandered into Mary -- land. Two and a half years ago when the recession was in its infancy. Pretty nice I am a -- -- -- Imus era. Now take your -- when he's not -- -- -- every day just got a -- it no. The message from CEO David -- this year. Mary Kay is still bucking the trend. People still wanna bother with the may not by as many lives that are meant as much of the skin care line that's out. But you clearly see that if you -- value product that is just as a little bit lower price point that ourselves force -- their customers jump on that for sure. Mary -- business model. It's based on direct sales in short. These women make money not just on the products they sold but on the number of new sales consultants they bring into the fold. Critics called an elaborate pyramid scheme but sales consultants like Courtney Armstrong reject that. When we first -- 2009. She had a 130 women working on her team now that number has nearly doubled. Her days in east Texas are packed with a appointments. President suffering -- -- analysts and all of that -- -- look at all the ingredients personalized instruction you know it's here. Features and -- routes and deliveries. This year -- -- and -- little -- always with an eye on future sales -- -- -- -- and -- -- ridiculous and gifts. -- -- -- I -- the economy's. But a lot of people but really we have seen -- -- more customers now a consultant found that and that and it's been. Just really an incredible year. Courtney and her -- sell enough to make up to keeper in one of those famous Mary -- being cadillacs. This is her second SUV. And she's well positioned for another. How do you explain continued success when so many businesses are having so much trouble they're concerned about there. The stability of their topics that concern about the -- at their husbands -- And so they're looking for a backup plan and looking for a way to be able to make extra money and have something else just thinking that doesn't work. Out so in an -- -- does having a difficult economy and a recession that's been dragging on. Does that bring more people into this organization. Yes absolutely what can I do for my life. Besides just -- work in the corporate job and they can work for themselves. That brings a lot of field a lot of people. While Mary Kate is still think it's not nearly as white as it used to be innocent and protect it won't -- Training seminars are now translated into Spanish. As many as 40% of the company's new sales consultants. Are from the Hispanic community. In fact this company founded by a woman who's been dead for a decade. He is not shy about reinventing itself this year for the first time we -- a black. Ford -- it's almost blasphemy -- what reality is he passing now -- that definitely not. We're gonna trying to appeal to a little bit of a younger market remember Stephanie our ball from Tennessee she's one of the first to -- that new mustang. -- complete with pink accents. What do you think is is the secret behind the success. They work very hard we work very hard. And we all work together to make the company successful and spew in Richmond his -- A new car a new look for a company that just keeps cruising. With tens of thousands of successful women along for the ride. I'm Brian -- for Nightline. In depth.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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