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Mary Kay makes for merry Sylina

"Sylina Buehne said she laughed when someone first suggested she get involved selling Mary Kay cosmetics.“I wasn’t a salesman,” she said.She was still laughing Tuesday, and Buehne’s chuckles of skepticism turned to giggles of sheer joy as she picked up her new bright red Pontiac Grand Am — an award from the company for her efforts during the past five months.“It’s a trophy on wheels,” said Fran McDowell, a senior director with the Mary Kay firm. “It’s very significant that (Sylina) did it this fast.”Mary Kay, Inc., a Dallas-based company, has been rewarding its staff of independent sales people with automobiles ever since 1969 when it gave each of its top five directors pink Cadillacs. The company pays for the cars, the license and 85 percent of the insurance. Its fleet of cars now totals more than 8,000 worldwide, including several makes and models.“I started this as a surprise,” said Buehne. She began her cosmetic sales career while her husband Douglas was on deployment with VP-40. Her goal was to earn a car by the time he returned in early December.To reach her goal she took classes in skin care and cosmetics, organized a 12-woman sales force and conducted weekly training. In fact, her first trip in her new car was to Seattle for another class. Buehne said the support of her husband and six children was a key part of her success. As a military spouse, Buehne said finding a good, long-term job can be difficult because of the need to move every few years. The family, which moved to Oak Harbor in 1997, will be relocating to Corpus Christi next summer.“My job moves with me,” she said, noting that Mary Kay doesn’t dictate territories or sales quotas. “I will always have my business.”As she climbed into her new car, Buehne took note of the soft-pink Caddy parked nearby — the property of a Mark Kay director. “That’s the next step,” she said. "

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