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Avon: Behind the Brand

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Avon helped to change the way women could make money in a time where earning a real income was difficult. Here’s how the company has evolved over the years:

1880’s – David H. McConnell was a traveling book salesperson who offered

fragrance samples as an added perk to his female customers.

He saw that these women were more interested in the free perfume than the books, and founded the California Perfume Company (CPC) in 1886. The first Avon lady was Persis Foster Eames Albee; her successful marketing techniques and her recruiting and training of other sales personnel.

CPC’s revolutionary business model used both door-to-door salespeople “Avon ladies” and “Avon men” and brochures to advertise its products.

1905 – The company launched Outlook magazine, a publication for sharing advice to

employees and keeping representatives up-to-date on company news.

1939 – McConnell renamed the company Avon after the birthplace of his favorite playwright, Shakespeare.

By the time the ’50s came around, Avon launched its iconic “Ding-Dong, Avon Calling” ad campaign.

1964 – Avon was listed on the NYSE.

1971 – Avon began selling jewelry.

1986 – Avon was an official sponsor of the Statue of Liberty’s centennial makeover. In 1998, Avon held its first Walk to raise funds for breast cancer.

December 2015 – Avon sold 80.1% of its North American Business to Cerberus for $170 million.

In January 2020, the Brazilian company Natura & Co. closed its acquisition of Avon and created the world’s fourth-largest beauty company. The company now trades under the ticker NTCO.

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