Millenials Suckered as Avon Rejuvenates

avon-lady-rebrandingWritten by Raisinberry

To be honest, the actual title of the USA Today article, dated Oct 10, 2016, said  millenials “wanted”. That great 130 year old multi-level marketing giant, Avon, has spun off a private company called the North American Division. This division purports to be the New Avon, looking for fresh meat millenials to reboot their tired business model and image. The CEO, Sheri McCoy, believes separating New Avon from Avon Products is the best path to “unencumbered…profitability and growth” for both businesses. The article says that Cerberus Capital Management, (who took a “roughly 80% stake in the new company”) is one of those capital management firms that buys troubled companies with the hopes of striking it big for it’s investors. Apparently they are of the belief that MLM is a profitable enterprise…and it must be, because this three headed dog wouldn’t be involved otherwise! One of the secrets of MLM is in the profitability of the beginning…and of starting over! Clear the slate, reinvent, retool and reboot to create a “ground floor” opportunity to recruit millenials, in what Barnum would call a “sucker born every minute” proposition. Just get out before the empire collapses once again, eh Fluffy?

So let’s see. How “new” is it. Surely they must have retooled the message and the opportunity so that each recruit has a viable and profitable business, without all the false statements and hype for which  Avon, Mary Kay, Herbalife, Amway and hundreds more, are famous. The article says, “If you are a millenial looking for cash to get rid of college debt…or even a Boomer looking to be your own boss..”, this is the bait that is supposed to lure you into “A BOSS LIFE…-the new campaign launching over social media and tv this week. Here’s the pitch ladies! See if you’ve heard this before:

“ …it’s focused on allowing a woman to be able to build their business around the flexibility of her own hours, the freedom to work full time, part time or somewhere in the middle, and to work whereever she wants.” Sounds like no more territories.

The claims:

  • “ a woman who was able to pay off her college loan selling beauty products.”
  • “ a mother able to spend quality time with her children working from home”
  • “ a husband and wife able to run their Avon based business together.”

And, it’s all about that residual income! Yippee!

Here’s where Mary Kay and New Avon seem to differ. Apparently Avon prefers to give a less exaggerated picture of income, while maintaining a certain level of deception. The representative interviewed for the article (who graduated 2 years ago) says she earned $16,000 a year part time, and her team has grown to 100. Having some trouble seeing that income, before expenses, paying off the typical student loan? I mean, you have to live, first. And remember, she has 100 in her downline! But hey, it is likely more accurate an income claim, even if they allow you to believe that’s her profit. And we all know it isn’t.

Interviewed for the USA Today article was a man named Neil Saunders, CEO of a retail research firm commenting on the Avon split and adding his observations on what is necessary for New Avon’s growth:

“A pitch for more representatives is vital…they need to get those numbers up because that’s the lifeblood of the business.” Commenting on the competition from Sephora and Ulta and others he states, “…they(women) don’t need Avon in the way they once did, so it’s a very difficult business model to make work.”

And that it is. But these MLM styled models do not tell that story to the public. The story they tell is all about potential. Possibility. They target the gullible and unsuspecting, the trusting and searching, the hard working and needy, and create a potential solution to a very real problem. Appealing to the needs of millenials, and depending on their lack of awareness regarding product based pyramids and the true numbers in MLM, recruiters  project the future, the big returns, the cash and rewards that involvement in this ground floor, or retooled opportunity are supposed to bring. Very much like that capital investment firm, no doubt, promises.

As recruit after recruit gets sucked in and buys in with their own cash, ordering to meet qualifying benchmarks, active statuses or discount levels, those who know the game ride above the wave, skimming the profits, regardless of what happens to the recruits below. After all, it is VITAL that more representatives come on board, the lifeblood is sales to representatives, not sales to consumers. Since the MLM version of Avon was rebooted by Fluffy, they probably recognize the extremely profitable early returns of a MLM on the rise…as long as the targeted victims sign on…and work the recruiting scheme as planned.

Imagine how bad it would be if millenials actually, oh, I don’t know, were savvy internet users and perhaps, uh, found out, through, knowledgeable sources what a predatory model multi-level marketing really is?  How 99% of participants lose money, and how those at the top who are used to bait your belief in the potential, are profiting off YOUR investment in product, not your profitability. That would be very bad. Bad for investors, bad for recruiters, because these schemes only work when the real story is hidden from those who are not familiar, who instead believe in the potential profit story-telling coming from the one who stands to make the most money from them falling for it. At least for a while, ’till the recruiting well dries up.

So what we have is an old dog, dressed up in a new look, using the same old tricks. You would think investment companies would steer clear of financial and product based pyramid schemes, and that a failing division using the MLM model would change the model. But that would be a new trick, and for the top dogs, the old ones worked so well.

17 Comments

  1. Maggie

    I sold Avon YEARS ago and worked full time. I was never pressured to buy inventory-just ordered it as needed- and never asked to recruit and I actually made some money selling to family, friends, coworkers-they all knew I sold Avon and they would ask me for books so I never really had to put that much effort into trying to make a sale. One of my fondest memories is when the Avon lady would come to my grandmother’s house when I was little and she had those tiny lip stick samples-I would be so excited! LOL. I gave it up after having my second child and still use quite a few Avon products. I have an Avon lady that I really like, she’s not pushy at all. After reading this I wonder if she will be pressured to buy product and recruit.

  2. MLM Radar

    If you’re interested in earning more than bus fare, and want to test your chances in Avon, just look on Bay. You’ll find almost the same number of Health and Beauty listings as Mary Kay. You’ll also find 100,000+ additional listings for Avon, covering all their other product lines.

    No one can compete with that.

  3. Twinkie

    Hi there. This comment needs not be posted. Just wanted to alert the moderators that the spelling of “millennial” is with two “n’s”.
    So, because they are constantly calling us out as “lazy loosers”, and suspecting that Tracy wants to maintain the very high professional level of this life changing blog, I just thought I’d add my 2 cents. Thanks.

      1. QueenOfTheTanned

        Twinkie is spelling “loosers” that way because it is a running joke here on PT. Many KayBots love to call us ‘lazy loosers’–with the spelling mistake which makes it all the more magical. 🙂

  4. Lovinmesomesephora

    I only use ONE product from them and if the amount of bovine fecal matter ever increased for me to purchase that ONE item I would ditch them. Maybe buy in bulk to reduce the chances…… don’t push me.

  5. raisinberry

    Article footnotes:

    Cerberus was a three-headed dog that guarded the entrance of the Underworld, allowing the dead to enter but letting none out. Not without activating and getting into their red jacket.

    Fluffy was a large, vicious, three-headed dog who was once cared for by Rubeus Hagrid. … Hagrid loaned Fluffy to the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, to aid in guarding the Philosopher’s Stone. You could put him to sleep by singing, ” I’ve got that Mary Kay enthusiasm down in my heart.”

  6. cindylu

    I wonder how many women have suffered from PTSD once they realize just how in debt these mlm’s have made them? What a waste of time and effort. Women would be better off volunteering and helping others. Sadly no matter how they re-invent Avon, it won’t make up for broken marriages and ignored children.

  7. Navyhawk

    Here is the big difference between MK and other MLM direct Sales…. INVENTORY!!! There is no pressure to have stock and inventory in a lot of ds businesses
    No pressure to purchase for the sake of purchasing promising that you will sell it after.
    I find my Avon lady not pushy at all (I use their bubble bath to wash my floor). My MK lady…. Recruit recruit recruit (even after i told her my horror story with it)

    1. Lazy Gardens

      “Here is the big difference between MK and other MLM direct Sales…. INVENTORY!!! There is no pressure to have stock and inventory in a lot of ds businesses

      But you have to keep your own purchase levels up, or be on autoship or otherwise keep pouring money into the rathole.

  8. flying cat

    I was an Avon rep for a few years back around 2005. My daughter and I thought it would be fun. As with MK, it is not a viable business model. You cannot make money selling “one glimmerstick at a time.” The quality of the products for the most part is sub-par, below drugstore brands. So why would anyone buy Avon if they can get better quality at Walgreens? My daughter sold a lipstick to a college classmate. This woman returned it because she didn’t like the color and reordered a different shade, then returned it, and on and on. The brochures are costly and customers are savvy enough to wait to order the item they want when it goes on sale. I can’t see how anyone makes money selling this stuff.

  9. ‘Newness’ sucks people in. My friend is a teacher, I have shared Pink Truth with her , and she has seen first hand that it is impossible to succeed in Mary Kay. Well but so all the teachers she knows are going crazy for LuLaRoe. I pointed out to her that LLR is just another MLM, and her first response was “But it’s new!!!” As in, this time it will be different.

    1. enorth

      “going crazy for LuLaRoe”

      There are plenty of negative reviews on the net about LLR. It has peaked and is on the decline. The clothing is over-priced and poor quality, the market is saturated with consultants, and the “home office” provides zero support. LLR’s owners are laughing their way to the bank on the backs of consultants who think they can make money by taking photos of leggings and selling them on Facebook.

    2. Linda

      All of them suck, but LLR is SO much worse than Avon! At least with Avon, sellers don’t have to stock their own inventory. It’s like $10 or $20 to start. With LLR, it’s like a $5,000 “investment” in which they get like 10 garments that they can sell and a whole bunch of shit that no one wants.

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