What Makes Avon Successful? An Overview of Avon’s History and Its Global Presence

14 October 2022

If you’re a fan of Avon makeup, skincare products, fragrances, or any other Avon products, you might be wondering about how Avon cosmetics started and what makes Avon so successful. In the course of 135 years, Avon has become a massive household brand with an expanding global presence. Today, it offers products ranging from makeup, skincare, and fragrances to clothes, jewellery, and household items.

In this article, we’ll talk about the history of Avon cosmetics and what was behind this beauty brand’s success.

History of Avon Cosmetics

Avon is a successful direct sales company that operates in over 100 countries. In fact, Avon is the second-largest direct sales company in the world, the first being Amway. But how long has Avon cosmetics been around?

Avon was founded by entrepreneur David H. McConnell. Interestingly enough, his original idea was to sell books that came with free beauty products and perfume samples. Once he realised that beauty products were getting more attention than books, he came up with the idea of making his own fragrances and started selling them in the 1880s.

His fragrance business was officially opened in 1886, and dubbed The California Perfume Company. That means that Avon has been around for 135 years, which makes it the oldest beauty company in the U.S. However, the company’s name wasn’t changed to Avon Products Inc until 1928.

What makes Avon so popular, and what made the company stand out back then, is its unique direct-selling system. Avon’s business model began with door-to-door sales, passing out brochures for product advertisement. This sales method made the company quite popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

David H. McConnell’s business model also included offering entrepreneur jobs to women, which was how Avon representatives started. Keep in mind that this was before the 1900s when it was much harder for women to find work. In fact, it was 32 years before women even had the right to vote in the UK.

McConnel wanted to hire women to work for his company because they made it a success in the first place. When he first started selling perfumes, most of his customers were housewives. The first female representative was Persis Foster Eames Albee, who contributed to the company’s early success. She’s also known as the first “Avon Lady.” Albee worked for Avon for 12 years, during which she brought in 5,000 representatives into the company.

Avon was founded in New York, so it took some time before it expanded its market overseas. For example, Avon products only started being sold in China in 1990. But when did Avon cosmetics start in UK cities? Avon operations didn’t start in the UK until 1957. The UK branch marked Avon’s first appearance on the European market. Today, Avon is one of the top three beauty brands in the UK.

After the UK, Avon expanded to Japan, Brazil, and Mexico.

Recent History of Avon Cosmetics

Throughout its 135-year history, many parts of the company have been improved, but the business model remained the same. There are currently 6.4 million representatives selling Avon makeup and other products all around the world. In the UK, there are 160,000 Avon representatives. Not to mention that Avon has expanded its branches to over 100 countries.

This company started with fragrances and beauty products, but today, they offer sportswear and other apparel for women, jewellery and accessories, household goods, and gifts. In 1975, Avon became the biggest jewellery manufacturer in the world.

Avon has been fighting for women’s economic rights, health, and well-being since its creation. What’s more, Avon often raises funds for important causes, including battling against breast cancer, gender-based abuse, and female inequality. Up till now, Avon has raised $1.1 billion for various contributions and charities. Every year, the company donates $10 million to different causes that are important to women.

Avon has a great number of subsidiaries. For a brief period of time, Tiffany & Co. was an Avon subsidiary. Avon acquired Tiffany & Co. in 1979 for $104 million. That said, Tiffany & Co. wasn’t an Avon subsidiary for long, as it was sold in 1984 for $135 million. Some of the current subsidiaries include Avon Holdings Ltd., Avon Pacific Inc., Avon Americas Ltd., Avon Limited, Avon International Holdings Company, and more.

In 2016, London became the home of the global Avon Products headquarters. Another major development was the recruitment of Angela Cretu as the new company CEO. This was the same year the company made $9.1 billion worldwide in annual sales.

In 2020, Avon was acquired by Natura & Co, which also owns The Body Shop, Aesop, and Natura Cosméticos. To be more precise, Natura & Co own 76% of the company, while the remaining 24% is still owned by former Avon shareholders.

Where Are Avon Cosmetics Made?

Throughout the years, Avon has developed various makeup, skincare products, perfumes, body care, and hair care brands. Some of them include Avon True, mark, ANEW, Clearskin, Avon Care, Footworks, Encanto, Advance Techniques, and more. The two most popular types of Avon products are makeup and skincare products.

Avon makeup products belong in the Avon True and mark lines, and they come in different colours and textures. Not to mention that Avon makeup is relatively affordable, given its quality and diversity.

But where is Avon makeup made? Avon makeup is actually made all around the world, including the U.S., Poland, France, Russia, China, the UK, and other countries. There is no manufacturing centre that connects all of these facilities. Avon has many established manufacturing bases, which are both company-owned and third-party facilities.

When it comes to skincare, Avon made some breakthroughs with its skincare products. For example, in 1986 Avon was the first company to stabilise Retinol with the patented BIOADVANCE skincare product. In 1992, Avon became the first company to bring Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) to the skin care market as part of the ANEW brand.

Avon’s Increasing Success and Global Presence

What started as a clever business idea in the 1880s grew into a successful, multinational enterprise that is still growing today. With operations in over 100 countries, 6.4 million representatives, and $9.1 billion in revenue, Avon is a beauty product company that’s in a class of its own. Thanks to its unique business model and female empowerment approach, Avon is the second-largest direct-selling company in the world, and it might even take first place someday soon.

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