My wife is selling AVon

She’s been involved now for about three months. She is very excited about it and had been working quite hard, making up fliers for local businesses, fund-raising for local schools, and door-to-door stops in the neighborhood, among other random sales. This has required some expenditures on our part, things like new printer cartridges, labels, postage, copies etc. I’m not sure we’re in the black yet.

And thus my question: who has sold Avon or a similar product? Were you successful? How long did it take to make a profit? Was it ever very profitable? Avon sends a magazine that outlines success stories to give the reps goals to reach for. The amount of work my wife is putting in brings to mind a joke my high school physics teacher told us when defining “worK”. If you spend all day pushing your car, if it doesn’t move you haven’t done any work (work being defined by force applied over a distance). If you work and work and make no money, is it really a job? Ugh, I feel like an asshole saying that, I know I need to think long term, all this stuff is an investment…
So Dopers, please share your success stories!

Here’s the thing about Avon. You’ll be successful… until you get hooked on their products. A lot of people who sell Avon fall into the trap of being more of a consumer than a seller. So, if you know anyone selling Avon products, tell them to never BUY an avon product. You can usually get the same type of product for cheap from a normal store.

I like that cologne “Mesmerize” that I am pretty sure is an Avon product.

remisser has got it right there. My sister sells Mary Kay, and most of her personal makeup is MK. (As is most of mine, which she gave me for free. I love my sister. I love MK. Great cream-to-powder foundation.) Of course, she works on a reward scale for herself: sell ten items, get one for herself sort of thing. Your wife should definitely set goals for herself and stick to them so she doesn’t get mired down in scented afterbath powder.

She used to sell a lot more, but since starting to work at a boys’ home as a counselor, her number of female co-workers has dwindled. :smiley: Go figure.

Thanks for the uplifting stories of success people. :dubious:

She never used Avon products till she started selling. And she doesn’t use a lot of stuff makeup-wise, body lotion, on the other hand… And Avon uses a different business model than Mary Kay, at least, that’s what Avon tell its reps, I have no first hand knowledge either way.

Yes. My wife and I dealt with them for a couple years.

Good points: If you place the books in enough places, and keep a visible presence there, you get automatic orders from many people. The catalogs sell the products very well. Many workplaces are tolerant of Avon books where other forms of soliciting are frowned upon.

Bad points: If you don’t follow up someone else will steal your sales. Watch for some other dealers who will place their address sticker over yours on the catalog- they’r effectively stealing from you, since Avon charges you for “promotional materials.” Beware the supplemental books, with the “special” deals- often they are out of stock by the time your order is taken, and Avon has a tendency to bill you anyway (based on the order, not what is shipped.)

I used to sell Avon. I did okay, but that was before they had Avon online and ebay. There are a couple of Avon skin care items that I use, that run $30 -$60. But I can get them under $20 on ebay. I 'm glad they didn’t have ebay when I was selling it.

Here’s something I have to add that might ‘help’ you out.

Avon has a website. If I order $xx from it, they will send me a free gift. It’s typical of the free gift one would get at a department store: a vinyl pouch, lipstick, mascara, cream, etc. In fact, the last time I ordered, they included a free full sized cream that was pretty nifty.*

Avon ladies, as far as I know (Two ladies sold it where I worked and some lady in my neighborhood sells it too), do not offer the free deal.

Me, being a typical consumer sees it like this:

a) go to website. Get free shwag**. Do not have to bother with an avon lady or do the embarrasing “oh no thanks!”. Do not have to bother with buying from one lady and not another. I can buy stuff at midnight, hassle free.

b) go to an Avon Lady and chance being ‘harrassed’ for a sale later. Yes, I know that they won’t reeeeeally harrass you, but you know what I mean. Once you buy from such a seller, you chance getting hit up later and I HATE that.
Which do you think I pick? It’s worth the shipping (even though if you buy $xx, shipping is typically free).

All that said, I fail to see Avon’s point with the website. Are they deliberately trying to phase out their sales people? It’s a great deal for me, but not such a good one for the sales people.

  • I don’t believe what I am saying, me a department store make up junkie, but Avon has done something different. Their creams really work swell (perhaps even better) and are a fraction of the price.
    **Yes, typically some of the stuff is not stuff I would use, but hey, it’s free! It’s something new to play with. In some cases, the free stuff is great.

Both my mother and mother-in-law have sold Avon for more than thirty years each. (My mother-in-law was the first black Avon lady in Mississippi.) My sister sells Avon. And now our boarder/mother’s helper sells Avon as well, and I assist her in the business end of things, the paperwork and the placing of her orders because she’s still learning English and how to use a computer. I’ve had an opportunity, therefore, to see how the business has progressed over the years and how things work these days.

Not so much anymore. I’d say 50% of Adriana’s (the aforementioned mother’s helper) orders come from the outlet books and she never has more than one or two items (at most) in an order which are completely unavailable, and most campaigns she has no problem with unavailable items from the outlet brochures. (It’s regular brochure items which haven’t shipped by the expected date which can be problematic.) And anything which is not shipped is not billed.

There are free deals in just about every brochure, typically if you buy something from certain product lines, you get the gift. The other good point in buying from a representative is that a good rep will develop a customer profile. If she knows that you wear Far Away and like certain Anew products or whatever, a good rep will tell you “Hey, your perfume is on sale this campaign.” or better yet, “Do you need more lotion right now, because it’s on special in the next brochure. If you can wait two weeks, it’s buy one get one free.” My mother gives special discounts when someone refers a new customer to her, when someone orders over a certain number of consecutive campaigns and in the campaign closest to a customer’s birthday. Building a clientele and developing a rapport pays off, as those customers will remain loyal and will refer others to a rep who does a good business.

Also, the Avon website has a facility for reps to have their customers order “through” their page on the site. Avon ships the order directly, but the rep gets the credit and the profit just as if they handed the customer a brochure and whatnot themselves. If you order directly through the Avon website more than once or twice, they are supposed to (emphasis on “supposed”) refer you to the “eRepresentative” in your local area.

If you’re buying Avon on eBay, you’re probably selling overages of stuff that a representative was told that she couldn’t return. That happens frequently, when someone changes their mind, and Avon has gotten really sticky about returns of pricey stuff like some of the Anew skin care stuff. So if someone bought five and had four returned unopened, she can either eat her entire cost, or slap them up on eBay at a 15% markup instead of 40% and still be okay.

As for success: it depends on what you expect to get out of it. After 14 months, Adriana is a President’s Club rep (the second tier of sales/earnings) and earns 40% on everything she sells (with a few minor exceptions.) My sister is also President’s Club, my mother and mother-in-law are the next level up from that. If you’re looking for pin money, or a general supplement so that mom doesn’t have to go out and work at Starbucks in the evenings, an individual rep can do that pretty easily by making sure that everyone she knows is aware that she is selling and getting her brochures out there and not slacking.

If you want to get into the big bucks, you have to have a downline, representatives that you recruit into the business, become a quasi-manager to and whose sales generate a (very) small percentage cut directly to you. The women buying Cadillac Escalades and homes and having 6 and 7 figure incomes from Avon are women with downlines of many (50-100 or even more) reps below them. If you have a local Pennysaver or Greensheet or some other sort of mass-delivered newspaper, you can probably find at least one ad in each issue recruiting new reps – those folks are building a downline the easy way. Once you know your way around the business pretty well, it’s worth considering. There’s no pressure to doing it via an ad, and upline reps do not ride herd on their downlines and try to get them to sell more to make their upline money, from everything I’ve seen there’s a lot of mentoring an encouragement in the organization so that each rep is fulfilling her personal goals, not so that anyone else is enriched. There’s a lot of stuff on about that aspect of the business. That’s going to be Adriana’s next step, so I imagine I’ll end up learning a lot about it too.

My accountant told us that he has never seen anyone make a profit from Avon. Of course that can’t be true across the board but it is difficult. My wife has not been in the black after expenses yet. She does not treat it as a full time job so maybe if you put a lot of effort into it you can make some money.

My wife was very excited to learn that she was one of only two reps in our zip code. The other rep was a major seller with 100 people in his downline. But she has gotten a couple new sales from her personal Avon website.

I think, for now, my wife will be content to get a little money to help out the bottom line and give her something to do aside from running after the kids. This also is the problem right now, of course, because running after the kids gets in the way of preparing her catalogs and entering orders etc. But she is working very hard, and, honestly, I think she has the drive to go as far as she wants. Once the kids are old enojgh to let her. :wink: And that’s what really makes her feel comfortable wtih Avon, there is no big push to create a huge downline if you don’t want to.

Thanks for the info, TeaElle. That’s what I was hoping to hear from someone. I’ll pass this on.

The website has the same deals. I recall comparing a catalog with the site to see which was the better deal. I have ordered 3 or 4 times from the website and I have never been encouraged to see a rep.

I see what you mean about having a person who knows what you like, etc. For me, it’s just not worth the hassle. I am sure that it is helpful to those that like the interaction, though.