Ah, Avon. I think everybody and their dog has at least some childhood memory of an Avon lady knocking at their front door and leaving her catalogue of beauty products behind for their mum to pore over and choose the ones that take her fancy.
Maybe it was actually your mum who was the Avon lady!
Or maybe, if your life is anything like mine, your mum insists on sneaking a few Avon products into your Christmas stocking every year because the catalogue is her go-to for Christmas gifts.
Regardless of what it is, it’s probably safe to say that you have at least heard of Avon, and you’ve landed here because you want to join Avon and become an Avon rep.
So, is becoming an Avon representative worth it? How much can you make selling Avon?
Let’s find out.
Should You Become an Avon Rep? If You Want to Join Avon, Read This First.
What is Avon?
Avon was founded in 1886 by David McConnell and is one of the OGs of direct selling.
It all began when David, who used to knock on women’s doors selling books, realised that what the women really wanted was perfume, and so he switched up his game and started selling that instead.
It didn’t take long for his new venture to flourish, and now the company that we know as Avon is the fourteenth-largest beauty company in the world, selling everything from concealers and mascaras to hair serums, moisturisers and more.
Avon also holds the title of being the oldest direct sales company ever, and the second-largest MLM company in the world after Amway!
You see, while Avon used to be all about direct sales, they changed their business model to a multi-level marketing structure (or ‘network marketing’) in 2005, and there are now around 6.5 million Avon representatives around the world selling Avon products.
But what is MLM?!
What is MLM?
MLM stands for multi-level marketing, and MLM companies are also known as network marketing companies.
You don’t receive a salary in an MLM. Instead, you earn money from selling products to people you know and recruiting others into the business.
When you recruit a new person and that person begins earning money, you will earn commission from the sales and recruits generated from THAT person.
This continues down in multiple levels (hence multi-level).
Now, while you can make money from selling whichever product your MLM company offers (in Avon’s case it would be beauty products), most people in MLM companies prefer to recruit others because they stand to make a lifelong passive income from that person, whereas if they sell a product they will just receive a one-off commission.
The ultimate aim of somebody in an MLM company like Avon then, is to recruit as many people as possible, enabling them to make large amounts of passive income for little work.
Are you with me so far?
Should you become an Avon rep?
I’m not going to tell you whether you should or shouldn’t become an Avon representative. If you want to join Avon, that’s entirely up to you.
What I am going to do is to break down just how good the Avon opportunity actually is, how much money you can expect to make with Avon, and why joining Avon might not be the best idea.
How much can you make selling Avon?
When deciding whether it’s worth becoming an Avon representative, the first thing you’re probably wondering is how much money you can make if you join Avon.
After all, if you’re going to invest your time and money into something, you want to know whether the pay-off is going to be worth it.
Not only that, but if you’ve actively looking for a new job, you don’t want to ignore good opportunities and end up diving head first into something that doesn’t allow you to make a solid income.
If you ask Avon themselves, they’d tell you that Avon is a great way to make an income.
The largest advertisement in Avon history, aired at the 2009 Super Bowl, didn’t promote the beauty products themselves, but the income opportunity, and when we Google ‘Avon,’ we can see that the first thing in their tagline is ‘Become an Avon Representative.’
However, does Avon really offer a fantastic income opportunity?
Unfortunately, Avon themselves do not release the information needed to answer this question fully.
Unlike pretty much all other MLM companies, Avon does not release an income disclosure statement, which is the document that breaks down how much everyone in the company is earning by rank and percentage.
Because of this, we have no idea of dropout rates, average earnings, sales costs or any other information that would paint a complete picture of the Avon opportunity.
What we do know, is that in the Q-2’11 10Q SEC filing, Avon reported net sales of $2.8 billion generated by 6.5 million salespeople.
These are not sales made by Avon representatives to the general public. This figure represents sales from Avon as a company to Avon representatives.
In other words, the products that Avon reps are buying to then sell on to their own customers.
When we break those numbers down, we can see that on average, Avon reps are spending $144 per month on Avon products to sell to people. Based on your rank in the company, you will make 20-40% commission per product sold (most people are in the lower ranks so most are making a 20% commission per sale).
What this means is that if an average sales rep is selling $144 worth of Avon products every month, and the average sales rep is also in the 20% commission range, then the majority of Avon representatives are making $28.80 a month, or $345.60 a year from product sales.
That being said, these figures are just very rudimentary estimates based on me creating an average number, and they don’t take into consideration what Avon reps make from recruiting others.
In other words, they only tell half a story.
In one of the only Avon disclosure statements ever published (from 2009), we can see the total earnings of Avon reps in 2009:
36.1% of Avon reps earn $0 – $4,999
15.8% of Avon reps earn $5,000 – $6,999
26% of Avon reps earn $7,000 – $11,999
17.6% of Avon reps earn $12,000 – $29,000
4.4% of Avon reps earn $30,000 and above.
This means that 95.5% of Avon reps in 2009 earned less than $29,000 a year.
It is also worth noting that in 2009, Avon was pulling in about $10 billion in revenue, compared to 2020, when it only reached $3.63 billion.
This means that Avon reps likely earned way more in 2009 than current Avon representatives.
A quick look at this graph on Statistica reveals a more or less steady decline in Avon revenue since 2011.
Are you still with me?
I know that this number crunching can be a bit much, but it is important to break down the actual figures when it comes to business ventures like Avon, in order to get an accurate picture of how much money you can expect to make (because Avon themselves sure as hell won’t!).
Now, one last thing about the numbers themselves – none of these figures take into consideration the costs of running an Avon business.
While you can become an Avon rep for relatively little money compared to other MLM companies (starter kits range from $25 – $100), you will definitely have to spend money on your business if you want it to succeed.
Think paid advertising on social media, flyers, business cards, brochures, product samples, catalogues etc.
It is up to you how much you spend (and how savvy you are when it comes to marketing), but rest assured that you will certainly have to spend money in order to generate sales, and this money will be deducted from your overall profit.
Becoming an Avon Representative – Pros and Cons
I know that I haven’t made joining Avon sound like a great idea, and that’s because I don’t believe it is.
For me, the numbers speak for themselves, and after taking one look at them, I was decided.
That said, it’s important to look at both sides of the coin.
Pros of becoming an Avon Rep:
- Avon has been around since 1886 and is an established company and household name. You don’t need to convince people of the products’ validity, because many people have already used Avon products before.
- Speaking of Avon products, they are pretty nice. As I said earlier, my mum never fails to sneak some Avon products into my Christmas stockings, and I particularly like the Avon Skin So Soft spray for combatting mozzies when I’m travelling.
- Avon products are also super affordable, which makes a nice change to other MLM products like Monat (seriously, who is paying 40 bucks for shampoo?!). Their affordability definitely makes them an easier sell than pricey MLM products like the ones Arbonne and It Works! offer.
- Avon no longer test any of their products on animals, which can’t be said for many major cosmetics brands.
- The low start-up fees with Avon mean that it doesn’t matter too much if your business doesn’t take off in the way you’d hoped. Other MLM companies cost anywhere from $300 – $5000 to sign up, so joining Avon is comparatively cheap.
- Avon has company-employed managers who oversee the recruitment and training of newly enrolled Avon reps. This means that a new Avon rep gets their hand held more than other MLM companies, which may promise training and then fail to deliver.
- Unlike almost every other MLM, a newly recruited Avon rep cannot immediately recruit other salespeople without achieving the level of ‘leader.’ This means that if you are recruited by an Avon rep, this person has to at least have an idea of what they’re doing!
Cons of becoming an Avon Rep:
- You won’t make much money. As I showed above, the earnings of most Avon reps are next to nothing, and when you consider the amount of time and effort that goes into running an Avon business, the financial reward simply isn’t worth it (in my opinion).
- You will be competing with about 6.5 million other Avon representatives to sell the products. Joining a market so saturated is never a good idea, as it means there is a good chance your friends already know an Avon rep.
- While the fact that Avon is such a well-known company can be considered a good thing, it also means that most people who want to buy Avon products can go directly to the Avon website or Amazon if they want to buy something. People wouldn’t necessarily think of hopping on Facebook and finding your promotional posts about Avon.
- Avon still does paid advertisements, which is supposed to be your job. If people see an Avon ad in a magazine and decide to make a purchase, they will go to Avon’s website, not yours.
- Avon broke China’s anti-pyramid scheme laws, which is a big yikes. You never want to be part of a company that shares enough similarities to a pyramid scheme to break laws like this.
- Avon was also found guilty and ordered to pay a fine of $135 million for bribing government officials in China to continue operating there. It also paid to prevent negative news articles from being written about the company.
- Unless you have a huge social network (think influencer status), you’re going to struggle to make consistent sales. Your friends and family may make the odd purchase to support you, but they are not going to spend enough to keep you afloat. Without a large social following, it’s going to be tough.
- Because the products are so cheap, you’re going to have to sell a LOT of them to make money. Even if you are making 40% commission per product (most Avon reps make 20%), a 40% commission of a $4 product isn’t a lot of money.
So, Should You Become an Avon Rep? Final Thoughts.
As you can see, there are definitely some positives to Avon as a whole, but, in my opinion, they are outweighed by the negatives, the main one being that you are highly unlikely to earn a decent amount of money with Avon.
For me personally to become an Avon rep, I would need to see a lot less of the negatives to joining Avon!
And now, I want to know what you think! Do you still want to become an Avon rep? Do you disagree with me that the negatives of joining Avon outweigh the positives? Let me know in the comments below!
And finally, something a little lighter…
With all this talk of small businesses and being your own boss, I wanted to share something with you.
I actually own my own e-commerce store which sells a mix of lingerie, BDSM and fetish wear, cosplay stuff and more. Jezebel By Night is a brand new business (we launched at the end of 2020!) and it is an entirely one woman show – I am the one who does everything, from sourcing products, influencer marketing, customer service, social media, product descriptions, managing stock…you name it, I do it.
I’m super proud of myself and what I’ve achieved in such a short space of time, and as a ‘thank you’ for reading my article until the end, I would like to share a little something with YOU, reading this.
I have created a 20% discount code just for you, Travelling Jezebel readers, to use across my ENTIRE store.
Just enter the code BOSSBABE20 at checkout and 20% will be deducted from your entire order!
I can’t wait to see what you pick 😉
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