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Should I sell Mary Kay or Avon products?

Updated on September 10, 2015
erinshelby profile image

Erin Shelby is passionate about living a lifestyle that aims for financial freedom. She writes about personal finance and other topics.

Selling cosmetics is a popular option for women wanting to start a business.
Selling cosmetics is a popular option for women wanting to start a business. | Source

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, selling cosmetics while working from home is a popular option. Mary Kay and Avon are the two most popular choices, but which is better? Should I sell Avon or Mary Kay products? What are the similarities and differences between the two? Take a closer look at these stay-at-home, work-at-home jobs to make the best choice.

Philosophy of Mary Kay Cosmetics

Mary Kay Cosmetics is built on a unique philosophy. Mary Kay Ash, its founder, asserted that the proper order for a woman’s priorities is God first, family second, career third. For each of the company’s independent contractors, this philosophy means that she is free to arrange her business according to the needs of her personal life first while still pursuing professional success.

Philosophy of Avon Products

Avon, "The Company for Women”, does not assert the religious philosophy that Mary Kay does. However, its business model offers flexibility for its representatives to arrange their business hours around personal priorities. Avon claims that its independent contractors can earn as much as 50 percent of the price of items sold.

Mary Kay Philanthropy Efforts

The Mary Kay Foundation was established in 1996. In June of 2013, it announced $10 million of funding for research of breast and ovarian cancers. That same year, it also announced a one million dollar donation to combat dating violence through a text-messaging helpline. Partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation, its Pink Going Green campaign focuses on sustainability. Using recycled content for packaging, planting trees and recycling are core practices.

Avon Philanthropy Efforts

The Avon Foundation for Women is a nonprofit organization promoting domestic violence awareness and breast cancer education. Avon’s efforts in disaster relief have extended to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. The Avon Foundation’s website provides information for victims of dating abuse, domestic violence and children who have witnessed domestic violence.

How to Run a Mary Kay or Avon Business

To get started with the Mary Kay Company, a Starter Kit must be purchased. It’s recommended that some inventory be purchased as well. The company website states that Mary Kay Ash, the founder, enjoyed providing her customers with “instant gratification”, which can obviously only be done if the product is on hand.

Avon Products, on the other hand, does not require inventory to be bought. Avon does require a minimal fee to get started. Avon customers shop by browsing each catalog – called a campaign, which runs for a limited amount of time – and shoppers place their order before the campaign ends. Because Avon has an expansive variety of merchandise, obtaining an inventory of all items is impractical, so shoppers generally must wait for their merchandise to arrive. When the campaign is over, merchandise may be available to be “back-ordered”, which means ordered after the “campaign” is over. Promoting your business is part of succeeding as a Mary Kay or Avon representative.

Do you see yourself succeeding as a Mary Kay or Avon business owner?

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© 2013 erinshelby


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    • erinshelby profile image

      erinshelby 4 years ago from United States

      Jean, Thanks for your comment. I may have to address how to sell the products in a future hub.

      Jabelufiroz, Thank you for your comment as well. I'm glad you enjoyed the review.

    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 4 years ago from India

      Good review on Avon Products. Voted up.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey

      I think you have an interesting premise here, I didn't know either of these companies were so philanthropic. Maybe you could tell us about some experiences you or a friend had trying to sell the products, or tips on how to be successful. I know it is difficult to sell anything to people, so you need to be assertive, but you may have some anecdotes that would add to your nice article.