The Avon Story
Avon is a world renowned brand that is famous for its cosmetics, clothes, toys and perfumes. Though Avon originated in the United States of America, it has its presence felt well across the globe. This is credited to the fact that Avon is one among those rare multi-national companies which use the door-to-door technique for the marketing of their products. Among all of Avon’s products, it is highly recognized for its cosmetic products and ranks in the top 10 cosmetic companies all over the world. Avon has always been a women-oriented company, with the women community known as the ‘Avon ladies’. The association of men with this organization has been rather recent. Let’s go back in time and get a glimpse of the Avon Story.
The scene is set back in 19th century in the United States of America. Industrial Revolution had just hit America and women were starting to come out of the house in search of work. Only 20% of the entire women population were fortunate enough to get an opportunity to work and get a taste of self-independence. Also, women were still considered inferior to men and the jobs they were offered were pretty unglamorous, being restricted to only menial tasks.
This is when the company’s founder came in with a golden opportunity for women. In the year 1886, David H. McConnell founded the California Perfume Company which later transformed into Avon in the year 1932. McConnell dreamt of women empowerment and did all in his capacity to help the women of those days to earn on the same terms as the men, something that was quite unheard of then.
David H. McConnell was a sales representative of a book company and in order to increase his door-to-door sales, he started creating free perfume samples that he gave out to customers so that they entertained him. This is when he had two major eye-openers. The first one was that his perfume samples had a huge fan following and most people looked forward to them rather than the books he was selling. The second thing that McConnell discovered was the condition of women in those times. Most women in those days were confined to their homes and were compromising on their potential. They wanted to go out and make use of this potential backed with a strong desire to succeed but were restricted by their immediate family or prevalent discrimination in society. Women in those days had rather menial jobs and were paid much less in comparison to men. This is when he decided that he would recruit women sales representatives, who would understand and respond to the condition of the women they meet and recruit them in the system as well.
He went as far as he could with his vision for women empowerment and ensured that his work force would receive a family-like environment which would make them feel safe and secure. In turn, this gave them the self-confidence to contribute substantially to the company’s sales.
Avon today is a company of world renown that has a presence in almost every country in the world. The ‘Avon Ladies’ are considered a dignified lot with their own independent businesses. Avon has altered the way the world thinks about women. When women were given menial jobs and meager income, Avon gave them independent businesses to handle, something that was unheard of then. The corporate world being inaccessible to women. Even today, Avon has taken up the cause of breast cancer and is helping millions battle the illness. Avon is also helping to create awareness among the masses.
This is the Avon story, the story of an empire that gave the fairer sex the chance that they deserved.