When was the last time you saw an Avon brochure? If it has been quite awhile, you may surprised to learn that Avon has a lot of exciting new products as well as the tried and true classics and favorites. Rosemarie Kahn is a Gold Leader and top seller with Avon, where she has lead award winning teams for many years.
Rosemarie discusses the trends she sees in her industry, the challenges she has faced, and what she is most proud of with her role as a ‘parent-preneur’. Rosemarie also shares some wonderful advice for others who might want to start a business like hers.
What motivated you to start your business?
I had worked other direct selling/mlm companies prior to Avon. I always dreamed of being a successful business owner and I found it very appealing that many of the mlm companies’ start up costs were very reasonable. However, for some reason or another I never achieved the levels I wished for through the previous companies. After getting married and purchasing our first home, I would frequently find an Avon brochure on my door. I was not an Avon user at the time but loved cuddling up in my bed at night with a cup of tea and going through the many pages of products. I was really surprised at the affordability and decided to place some orders so that I could experience the products. Soon after I decided to join the company. I was not really looking for much except to get my products at a good discount and maybe sell to a few people here and there. After attending my first meeting and seeing the sales amounts of fellow representatives I decided to get serious about Avon. Not long after, I was introduced to the Leadership program and started building my own team. It took me approximately six years to build my business to a point where I could leave the 9-5 working world and make Avon my main source of income.
How did you get your first customer?
I passed around a couple brochures at my previous job and one of my coworkers was thrilled to find out I was selling. She was already an Avon customer that no longer had a current Avon Representative and she was excited to place an order with me.
What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field?
Since I had been involved with another work from home business dealing with cosmetics and skin care prior to Avon I did have some training in the field although I was very happy to find that Avon offered much free training and support to help me grow my business.
What trends do you see in your current industry?
Honestly, the last two years have been my most profitable ever. Regardless of the economy I find that customers still find the money to purchase such items as lipstick, perfume or a skin care product. We also offer many daily needs items such as shampoos, deoderants, etc. Customers who have been paying higher prices for beauty items are more likely to consider our affordable products when watching their budgets without risking the quality.
What are the most demanding aspects about your business?
We adopted our daughter from China when she was a year old. During her first year with us, this was the point when I truly understood the ‘juggling act’ as a parent and a home based business entrepreneur. As a mom I wanted to give all my time to her and yet I wanted my business to continue its normal flow. I soon realized that I would have to make some changes in order not to feel overwhelmed. There were some Avon responsibilities I could do while she watched “The Wiggles”, took a nap or played with her favorite toy but it still was not enough time for me to be on top of my business as I was before. I found a great local babysitter and a mother’s helper (she sat for my daughter at my house while I was home) and between the two they covered about 15 hours per week. This really helped me catch up on my phone calls, do deliveries and coach my team without being distracted. I also started having some customers pick up their orders instead of having to personally deliver them and I held team meetings at my home. Now that my daughter is older she loves playing Avon with me. She thinks it’s fun to help me stamp my brochures, unpack and bag products and even likes to say a few words at my trainings.
What are the most rewarding aspects about your business?
I love that my earnings are based completely on my efforts. I also love the flexibility. My business allows me to schedule my work according to my family’s needs and not the other way around. The relationship building is also great whether it is with my customers or my team members. I have met some of the most wonderful people through Avon, not just business partners but also true friends.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours?
If you are interested in starting your own Avon business you first need to understand this is not a get rich quick business. You have to handle it just asa you would any other small business. The sign-up cost ranges from $10 to $20 depending whether you meet with someone in person or sign up online but you must invest time in building your customer base. The cost of our brochures are very reasonable (approximately 100 for under $20 – though you can order as few as 10) and you can distribute them to your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. I did not start off as a high seller but consistency paid off. Recruiting is not a requirement but if you find that you enjoy selling the product and are looking to increase your earnings, it is another way to earn additional revenue. I think it is also very important to team up (be recruited by) someone in which you like and feel you will work well with.
What are you most proud of as a ‘parent-preneur’?
I am most proud that my daughter is able to see that her mom can be both a devoted, loving and responsible parent while still having a career. I am also happy to be a ble to share the financial responsibility of our home and family with my husband. It’s a very satisfying feeling to put in the effort and see rewards. I think my daughter, even at a young age, understands that it is important to work at something you enjoy and the rewards one gains by being responsible. Because my career consists of connecting and socializing with people, my daughter has grown into a very friendly, polite and cutely entertaining little girl.
What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself?
Handing out my brochures very consistently, word of mouth and through referrals, advertising both print and online, setting up tables at fairs. Fund raising is also a fun way to help a worthy cause while meeting new customers. My most recent Avon fundraiser helped my daughter’s pre-school raise money during the holiday season.
Why is Avon special to you?
It helps me support my family but it is more than just a source of income. It is an opportunity that allows anyone to start their own business at a minimal cost to earn extra money based on their schedule and personal commitment. It has been a major source of income for me for many years. It is also a community of women and men with similar aspirations. I have made many beautiful friendships through this business.
How do you measure your success?
By the income I earn, but also by the luxury of building my business on my own schedule. I am very happy that I was able to work from home when my daughter was young.
Ever felt like throwing in the towel?
Actually, not really. Of course there have been times of frustration or concern that come with the waves of having a small business but those feelings have been very short lived. It’s those who learn to ride the waves that increase their chances of success. The time and effort I have put in my business continues to pay me through my residual earnings and that is very rewarding. Plus, I’m currently experiencing the benefits of working my business online through social media.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before you started?
I wish I would have had a better grasp on working my business online earlier. There is much to gain for those that know how to navigate in a social media world while also building a face-to-face business.
What is the best advice you have for someone who is just starting out?
Seek out other business owners that inspire you and when possible pick their brains. Listen to what they say and apply their advice, techniques and tips to your business. Their trials and tribulations helped lead them to success and can help you put into play things that work while avoiding things that may not.
What is the best advice you received?
When I first started, a fellow Avon Representative advised me to reinvest half of my earnings in my first year back into my business for marketing purposes (brochures, advertising, tables, customer incentives etc). It helped me grow my business quickly.
What does your ‘milk money’ provide for you and your family?
My milk money pays for our mortgage, my daughter’s school, groceries, clothing and my daily spending.