By BR Kellie
True beauty lovers know what comes after those two words (or that sound effect if we’re being technical).
Avon has been a household name in New Zealand since 1978. As a child I remember being mesmerised by the little sample tubes of lipstick, then as I grew up I’d spend hours poring over the catalogues imagining what I would buy if I had the money. Then when I did grow up, I did indeed purchase from Avon, knowing the quality was great considering the affordability of the products.
What’s amazed me most about Avon is that since its inception well over a century ago it’s moved with the times, succeeding where others have stumbled. From door to door to online… from ding dong to dot com … Avon continues to be a market leader.
Louise Warburton, Avon’s Corporate Communications Manager, has very kindly agreed to answer all our burning questions about Avon. Its beginnings, benefits, best beauty buys… and more!
Louise, thanks for chatting with me. Tell us about Avon’s beginnings, and its growth within New Zealand…
Avon, as the Company for Women, has a long and very proud history spanning 131 years and we now have 6 million Representatives worldwide. We launched in New Zealand almost 40 years ago and through the nature of our social selling, offer personalised service across the whole country.
What is the philosophy behind Avon?
Avon’s philosophy is all about women’s empowerment. We empower millions of women around the world financially through our earnings opportunity, giving them an opportunity to support themselves and their families by being in business for themselves but not by themselves. We also empower women through two core issues that are globally supported by Avon, breast cancer and domestic violence. In New Zealand, we work with Breast Cancer Foundation NZ and Shine to support these causes.
Where does Avon stand in the Beauty Industry?
Our personalised, superior service is something that Avon does really well, that other beauty companies simply can’t, due to the work-from-home and social-selling nature of our Representatives.
Avon also stands as a leader in innovation for beauty products that are of a great quality, but affordable. This is especially true for our skincare products where our unparalleled R&D facilities mean we offer highly technological, effective formulas at a reasonable price.
What has been Avon’s key to continued success?
The warmth and openness of our sales team is genuinely our competitive advantage and is the reason we are still going strong after almost 40 years in New Zealand and over 130 worldwide. As mentioned before, our ability to innovate is key - people want to try our new products but at the same time we listen to our loyal customers and keep our tried and trusted favourite products. All our products are of a high quality, so repeat purchase over the years has led to Avon becoming a trusted and well loved heritage brand that everyone can access.
What is Avon’s best-selling product?
Avon True Color 24K Gold Lipstick is our best selling lipstick.
What is it about this product that makes it so popular?
The formula is rich, creamy and moisturising, lips look luminous! Plus it contains real particles of 24 karat gold which is just so luxurious.
Being able to buy Avon online is very exciting! What made Avon decide it was time to go from ding dong to dot com?
Obviously, as a company, Avon had to adapt to the changing times and demands of our customer base. Moving online in 2014 meant we can now reach more customers and also means we can help our Representatives better their Avon businesses. Through Avon online, Representatives can create their own online shopfront alongside private Facebook groups to enhance the selling experience and provide ease of access to their customers. We offer many digital tools to do this, for example, a social media suite featuring valuable beauty content that Representatives can easily share with their customers.
Have people embraced the online store? And do you find product sales differ online from those sold through representatives?
People have gravitated toward the online store for convenience, including Representatives who open their own online store however we're still very tactile and there is nothing that can replace the selling power of trying, feeling, touching and experiencing a product. It may be a digital age but there is still very much a place for personal service and there’s nothing like trying a product – the fact that our sales through Representatives are still the most significant part of our business proves this.
We adore how Avon gives women the opportunity to work flexibly. What other benefits are there to women becoming Avon representatives?
Yes, flexibility is such a great perk of being an Avon Representative. As well as choosing their hours, Avon gives people choice in the way they run their business, and provides them with the tools and support that they need to become successful. It is a business run on their terms, but not on their own, and for many people who might like to run a business but don't have the background or finances to strike out on their own, direct selling is a fantastic opportunity to learn, develop and become self-empowered, and to achieve their dreams.
It is also free to join Avon, so anyone can give it a try, and see if it suits them, with no risk.
Other benefits are the fantastic incentives programs available with the opportunity to win anything from a professional makeover, to business tools, an overseas trip or even a designer handbag!
Avon also started the Avon Foundation for Women – can you tell us a bit about the foundation, what it does and what it hopes to do?
The mission of the Avon Foundation for Women is quite simply to improve the lives of women globally. As I mentioned earlier, the core cause areas are Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence, aiming to accelerate progress, accountability and discovery, while also reducing the social stigma that sometimes keeps these issues in the shadows. We take a woman-centric approach on all projects to break traditional barriers and build a better future for women, because we know that the greater the support, the more empowered women feel to take control of their health and safety. Through working with our two charities in NZ we are aiming to fund the most promising work, initiate new directions and innovative projects and educate people in order to ideally eradicate breast cancer and end domestic and gender violence.
Louise, you must spend half your day playing with products! What’s your favourite from the Avon range?
I absolutely love the Luxe Soft Silk Eye Liner Pencil. It glides on smoothly and creamily and lasts all day. Plus it comes with an in-built smudger which is so handy!
What’s your best beauty tip?
Condition your lips! Last thing at night and first thing in the morning before applying lipstick I use the Avon True Color Beyond Color Lip Conditioner to make sure my lips are always moisturised, it’s especially useful in the winter.
What do you enjoy most about working for Avon?
The people, it’s a cliché, but it’s true. I work with some amazingly talented people, who are really proud of Avon’s heritage but are also so excited about our future. They also know how to have some fun, we are selling lipsticks after all!
Finally, can you give us a hint about what is next for Avon?
Get ready for a new makeup range that will break the Avon stereotype in August 2017!
Louise, thank you so much for chatting with Beauty Review. We knew Avon were avid supporters of women, but we had no idea just how much - and we love it! We're also extremely excited to hear more about your new makeup range - bring on August!
If you're interested in discovering more about Avon visit www.avon.co.nz