"It's Your Avon Lady Calling" - To Be Or not To Be an Avon Lady



"It's Avon calling!" 

      Avon is a very familiar name to many households today and it has been for many years. From perfume to make-up;  clothing and shoes to kitchen stuff, name it!  It's not just about the lipstick anymore... One stop shop for women is what it is.  Browsing through the Avon catalog is surely fun. The prices are very reasonable and the products are very competitive.

      You might have met an "Avon lady," as they are affectionately called when they came to your door offering free samples and catalogs, or through a brochure from work or even through Avon-moms at your kid's school.  They might have asked: "Would you like extra income?" But no matter where you have learned about this opportunity, you wonder: "Is this right for me?" How can you make sure you can really get the extra income and not inevitably have extra expense or worse, credit card debts?
Avon Products I received as a bonus when
I recruited my first team member.
I earned a $200 bonus when reached
5 active members and we had a total of $1000 team sales.

      Here are some tidbits i have learned from being an Avon Lady myself. As in any business venture, you would want to calculate the cost to make sure what you get out of it is more than you give-up. (Sales less all expenses equals profit.) It is very deceiving to just think of the percentage discount you get or the so called profit margin the company offers. True you are charged a percentage less than the suggested price but that's not your clean profit. You have to consider the cost of:
- Shipping paid to Avon
- Delivery cost to your costumers (gas and your time)
- Packaging
- Promotion: such as brochures and samples. Some customers expect free brochures but you actually buy these from Avon yourself.   Some representatives choose to offer free products with purchase or discounts to promote their business.  Even the printing of business cards cost money as well!  All these cost must be factored in to find out if you are really gaining money or not. Or else there maybe something else that will be more worth your time, effort, and save you your hard earned money.
Some of the products I received for free
(Ordered $50 worth of products for 3 consecutive
campaigns and got these for free.)


      On the positive side, you may get free products too depending on your purchases from Avon. You may choose to sell these for profit, or use as promotion items (samples, gifts or prizes) to attract more customers, or use it for yourself.  Avon gives such incentives for a certain quota. For example: order $50 or more for three consecutive campaigns and get $100 worth of free products :) But please keep reading...

      Self-discipline is very important specially if you employ the online ordering system. Online shopping can be very addictive and there are so many promotions and offers online that can push an impulse buyer into a deep pit of unsold inventory. Not to mention the more you order, the bigger discount ("profit") you may get. So it is very tempting to order more products than what your customers actually ordered just to reach a certain level of discount, thinking: "oh I can sell this later." It's good if you do, but what if you don't? It's good to put your thinking cap on and determine how you can sell extra orders before you actually order them. Otherwise, you will soon find yourself drowning in inventory. Overflowing unsold inventory not only means no income, it also means no cash to pay Avon. Consider: if you fail to pay Avon, they charge administrative fees of 1.5%. So you use your credit card to cover the cost. Consider again: credit card interest rates are enormously high and unforgiving.  In the end, if an Avon Representative is not careful, she will soon find herself in debt.  ouch!
Bubble Bath is my most favorite Avon Product.
These sell for at least $5.00 each
But I was able to get them at 50% less through
a daily deal promotion. Deals like this can help you earn more.


      It takes skills, perseverance and a lot of effort to run a business. This is a good example of a "people" business. You need to build a good connection - a network of customers to keep a consistent business. So you would need to set aside that shyness and be ready to approach others with your products. It would almost form an integral part of your conversations which can be a little awkward. This is no problem if you're a natural extrovert :) If you are really determined then there's nothing you cannot learn, including mustering the courage to do the  door to door prospecting or speaking the "Avon" lingo wherever you go.

      Another source of money in this business is "leadership." Avon pays incentives to those who recruit others to be a part of Avon. Commissions are also paid according to your "downline's" sales. Remember though that recruitment is not the only requirement. One must maintain a certain amount of sales so as to qualify. Added to that, your "team" must also reach a certain threshold. You need a minimum of 5 "active" team members (that means each of them must place an order every campaign) and $1,000 total team sales per campaign in order to get commissions. And of course, you need to maintain a certain amount of sales yourself. You must have a personal sales of $125 in order to get the recruitment bonus. The $1000 thresh hold includes your own purchase. So it's cool because you can cover the lacking amount if your team is close to the $1000. But the sad thing is, again, it may mean a mountain of unsold inventory for you.  So please ask your "Avon lady" about these details before signing up for leadership.

     I am happy to say that although I have quite a bit of inventory on me right now, I did not loose money in the business. I love some of Avon products and most of the time, the profit I gain from selling covers the cost of my personal orders.  Of course, like I said before, self-discipline is key.  With my personal orders, I only get what I can pay for "up-front".  And when I order more products to reach a certain level, I order customer favorites to make sure I can sell them later on.   I was also able to earn the first stage Leadership bonus.  Well, I had to order more products to reach that goal.  If you sell a lot of products, then this should not be a problem for you.     

     Well in short, here are what I think to be the advantages and disadvantages of being and Independent sales representative for Avon. These can be applied to Mary Kay as well as other personal selling business too.  Let me know if you have any other thoughts on the matter.
My most favorite Avon Product is the Nail Polish
When I get them on Demo, I can save the tax
and also get my regular discount.
It's a good deal! :)






Some Advantages:
- Additional income
- Meet new people
- Be motivated to overcome shyness
- Get personal use products at a discount or even for free
- May help with your taxes at the end of the year (Some expenses can be deducted from your taxable income)
- For young ones, it provides good money management training....
- It may even be a good training ground for running your own business in the future
- Easy return and exchange procedures. But be wary of the shipping cost.
- Demo products are tax-free plus you get your regular discount.  So It's a great way to get your favorite products!

Some Disadvantages
- Time consuming
- Finding and keeping customers may be difficult. Your friends and family are not always going to buy from you.  It may involve door to door search (prospecting). Or basically, it will be the center of most, if not all, of your conversations.
- It's hard to derive profit unless you have a big order every campaign. After all the cost is considered, many end with a loss instead of profit.
- Unless the products are damaged when received, shipping for returns and exchanges are covered by the Avon Representative and not the company.
- If you are not careful, your house will be full of Avon products you can't sell.  (Self-discipline!!!)

Clearly, it will take some consideration whether you would join the business or not.  How about sitting down with a cup of tea and paint your nails pretty while you think about it? ;) 

 

2 comments:

  1. love avon! but some times i think its over priced! i dunno in my country is super cheap and plus they have planet spa and color trend , nd we don't in usa:(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Monica, I agree with you. I try not to buy items at regular price. I wait for Sales and Special Offers - it may not always be great for blogging but it surely works for my budget, lol. The Philippine's Avon have products that are not available in Canada as well. Too bad... but the products that they do have here are quite nice - like the mosquito spray, face powder and of course - nail polishes :-)

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