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Belief in a Mission: Avon Marks 125 Years

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: July 13, 2011, from the July 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

GCI: What are the challenges of being successful? And what are the challenges of operating a business model that relies on such a large number of representatives globally?

Avon: Operating through 6.5 million representatives in more than 100 countries is definitely an advantage for Avon. In fact, our direct-sales business model allows us to quickly enter new markets without the typical start-up time and expense that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers experience. It is the powerful relationship each representative establishes with her customers that makes our business so successful.

Of course, the challenge is to continue to raise the bar; the company cannot simply rely on past successes, but must continue to offer first-to-market beauty breakthroughs and maintain its robust innovation pipeline.

GCI: As Avon became a company recognized as a long-standing leader in beauty, was there an inherent risk of being undervalued by consumers? Have there been points in the company’s history when consumers gravitated away from Avon products, or certain categories of Avon products, because they simply associate the company with products that maybe their mothers or grandmothers used and not the company’s current portfolio?

Avon: Avon provides cutting-edge, often first-to-market beauty technologies at affordable prices. That price point is our advantage, and customers appreciate the excellent value that our products provide. Certainly during the economic climate in recent years, our products became even more attractive to consumers who might have previously paid more for comparable products from department stores.