Avon Calling: Marking 100 years in Canada
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Avon is marking its 100th anniversary in Canada this year, and yes, the business has been struggling worldwide, according to reports in the business press. So we wanted to know: to what degree has the world of online shopping affected the role of the iconic ‘Avon lady’?
Reality check: Avon is still one of the world’s largest direct sellers of beauty products with more than 6 million sales representatives’aka Avon Ladies’worldwide and annual revenue of nearly $11 billion.
‘Social media has transformed the way our independent sales representatives do business,’ says Montreal-based Elizabeth Munro, senior manager public relations and communications for Avon Canada. ‘Smartphones, e-commerce and social media are all a good fit, and even an asset, for direct-sell.’
Avon’s Facebook page offers exclusive deals, contests and makeup tutorials videos. Many reps share these posts through their own social networks, says Munro. For example, there is a virtual makeover tool at avon.ca/makeover that allows Avon customers to try on the latest shades, then share their list of faves with their representative or their own social networks.
‘We provide reps with these online tools that they can leverage to promote their own Avon business,’ says Munro.
And Avon is a philanthropy powerhouse. To date, Avon Canada has raised and donated more than $21 million for breast cancer programs and research. It has also donated more than $775,000 to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, whose initiative, Speak Out Against Domestic Violence, provides funding for education, prevention and service programs.
The company began as the California Perfume Company 128 years ago, expanding to Canada in 1914. Founder David H. McConnell renamed it Avon in 1939 as a tribute to Stratford-upon-Avon in England.
By Rhonda Rovan, Editor-at-large, Beauty & Fashion