Selling Avon cosmetics has been a way for people to make money from home for over a century. But is it still a decent opportunity to get involved with? We’ll look at that in a minute, but first a little history…
Avon was launched in the US in 1886, founded by entrepreneur and bookseller David H McConell. It was originally called the California Perfume Company, but changed name after the founder visited Stratford on Avon. McConnell realized there was a huge untapped market of women who would like to work from home – women who needed to be there for their families but also wanted some financial independence. The world may have changed in the 131 years since, but this fact still rings true to this day for many!
In the beginning, the company sold rose-scented perfume, but soon expanded its range to soap, bath products and cosmetics. McConnell was soon employing thousands of women selling Avon door-to-door. Today, Avon has increased its range to sell clothes, jewelry, and accessories, and sells products linked to well-known brands such as Hello Kitty and Lipsy.
As the world’s fifth-largest beauty company and with around 6.4 million representatives worldwide, Avon had annual sales of $10.0 billion in 2013. It is the second largest direct selling company in the world.
There are about 160,000 reps selling Avon in Britain alone today, and although the company very much promotes itself as a company for women, around 5% of representatives are now men. Avon also supports charities relating primarily to women, such as those related to breast cancer and domestic violence.
How to start selling Avon
(Note: We’ve looked at selling Avon in the UK here, but the principles are broadly the same in other territories.
The initial cost of becoming an Avon Representative is small. £16 ($20) will get you 20 brochures and order forms. The cost is taken in instalments from your first two orders. After that, you buy your own brochures. You have a “patch” and can also sell to family and friends or work colleagues.
Many of Avon’s sales are now done online so it is possible to be a sales rep without actually leaving your own house by setting up a selling page on sites such as Facebook. However, there are still a lot of customers who prefer the personal touch and a physical catalogue in their hands.
You should bear in mind that you may pound the pavements for several hours for only a few sales, and that not every person on your patch will make you welcome on their doorstep. Once you are established, you will know where to call and where to avoid. You’ll also be able to manage with a smaller number of catalogues. These brochures can be purchased on a sliding scale, but cost around £8 ($10) for 50.
Once you have collected your orders, you complete an online form and the products are delivered to your door ready to distribute a few days later. There’s a “no quibble” returns policy, so you won’t end up stuck with stuff you can’t sell. You can also take advantage of reduced prices as a representative and sell your stock at craft fairs, garage sales or car boot sales.
How much can you make selling Avon?
Avon sales reps take home 20% commission for orders over £89 and 25% for orders over £145. Once you are established, you can (if you wish) build your own team of sales reps and become a sales leader. As you team grows, so will your commission.
So can you make a living as an Avon sales rep? I have spoken to a few reps locally who mostly seem to do the job alongside other things, but it depends very much on how many hours you want to put into the business.
One rep I spoke to treats it as full-time home working job; Her husband helps her to sell Avon, and though she was reluctant to tell me exactly how much she earns, the range of luxury cars they drive and regular foreign holidays they take seem to suggest that she is making a more than reasonable amount of money!
On the other hand, another who sells Avon alongside her regular job says she probably makes about around GB£20-30 from each campaign with over 10 orders.
So, while the average Avon rep is unlikely to get rich, a new selling campaign every few weeks would contribute significantly to some Christmas or holiday savings. It’s worth noting that sales also increase dramatically in the run up to Christmas. Around £500 per year for relatively casual business selling Avon seems quite realistic.
There are 18 order cycles (campaigns) per year. As well as the regular brochure, most catalogues also have a sale supplement which can boost your overall sales.
Selling Avon: Conclusion
Social media is saturated with multi-level marketing opportunities, though many of them seem to have a short shelf life and a “scammy” feel.
Without a doubt, Avon is the one that has stood the test of time. As with any job, the rewards depend very much on the effort you are willing to put in – and maybe a little bit of luck depending on your patch. While there is evidence that recent marketing is appealing to a younger market, in general Avon still seems to be more popular with the older generation who still appreciate the personal service you get from a representative.
If that’s the kind of service you feel you could give, selling Avon could be for you. Over a century on, this is still a worthy work from home opportunity.
Not for you? Check out some more home working opportunities here .