- Business and Employment
Some Things to Know Before You Sell Avon
An Honest Look
Selling Avon was a fun and broadening experience, but there are some things I wish I had known before I started. If you are thinking about going into business for yourself either full time or as a sideline, read this hub before you make your decision.
You Will Have to Buy Your Own Catalogs
You cannot sell face to face without handing out catalogs. The catalogs are basically your storefront--they explain what's for sale and for what price. I was spending between $12 and $20 a month just for the brochures. This cuts down on your profit margin, and if you don't make any sales that month, you're losing money.
There is an added 75 cent per customer processing fee that is tacked on to each and every order you take. Avon "shares" this fee with the representative, charging half and letting you keep the other half. Customers who think a price is a price are sometimes surprised and/or offended when there is an extra fee added on. After a while I stopped charging this fee and paid it myself because I didn't think it was a fair and good business practice to surprise them with such fees. Since Avon allows their reps a large amount of freedom in the realm of giving discounts to their customers and friends, I simply discounted the amount of the fee from my profits and kept quiet about it.
Headache Returns Policy
Under Avon's rules you must accept returns from customers. This is good for the customer, yes, but bad for the representative. Case in point: someone ordered a pair of shoes that were of unusual taste. That is, not many other folks would like them. Furthermore, they were in the customer's size, so not everyone else could wear them even if they would. This customer then decides that she doesn't want them, and I have to accept them back and give her a refund. Now here's the ugly part: I had to pay the shipping myself to return them to Avon, which meant I was now in the hole again for this order. I got my money back for the product, but the shipping to get it back to them cost half what the product had cost. Avon strongly encourages reps to sell returned items to someone else who wants them (if it's not something like a used lipstick that cannot be resold). But now you know the rest of the story. If you can't resell it, you're going to eat the cost.
The boxes in which the products arrived were made of corrugated cardboard. After I had gained some experience with this, I would empty the box right away when it came and not let it enter my house or sit overnight indoors. The reason? Baby roaches would come out of the corrugated sides. I'm not joking. Now, I know the corporation doesn't have much say over the individual nitty gritty details of each and every warehouse, and I know warehouses have bugs. It just annoys me that I pay top dollar for some of this stuff, and it comes in a smelly box full of bugs. The products were well wrapped and guaranteed to be good, but it didn't help my image of them to have to deal with this issue.
In conclusion I would like to make it clear that I'm not against Avon as a corporation. I absolutely love their makeup. Some of their jewelry turns green (more honesty, sorry), but their makeup is the best I've ever used. It's hypoallergenic and comes in many useful formats and colors. It brings out the makeup artist in all of us to have such high quality tools as their professional brushes and their natural mineral blends. The training CD ROM that I bought from them and completed taught me many useful tips and tricks about makeup and skin care, and I'm not sorry I did the courses. My recommendation to you is, if you want to buy some of their excellent products, shop at their website and forget about being a representative. Or if you want to sell Avon, be aware of the difficulties and be ready to face the challenges. You're going to need a large customer base to make any money at it.