You’re probably here because you’re thinking of becoming an Avon Rep and wondering if it’s a good idea.
Perhaps you’re already working and are looking for a lucrative side hustle to boost your income, or maybe you need a job that allows you to work from where you want, when you want.
Regardless of your why, you’re wondering whether joining Avon is worth it, and how much money you can really make selling Avon.
So, is becoming an Avon representative worth it?
Let’s take a look at the Avon opportunity.
Becoming an Avon Rep: Pros and Cons
What is Avon?
Avon was founded in 1886 by David McConnell and is actually the oldest direct selling company there is.
Avon actually started as a door to door book selling company, but eventually, McConnell realised that selling perfume was a much better idea, and so he began selling that instead.
Now, over a century later, Avon sells everything from hair serums and face creams to lipsticks, mascaras and more, and it has grown to be the fourteenth-largest beauty company in the entire world, famous for its reasonably priced products and the ‘Avon ladies’ who sell them.
However, while Avon started out as a direct sales company, in 2005 it decided to switch to the multi-level marketing business model (also known as ‘network marketing’) and it is now the second largest MLM company in the world after Amway!
Right now, there are about 6.5 million Avon representatives around the world selling Avon products.
What is MLM?
MLM stands for multi-level marketing, and the way that you earn money in an MLM business is by selling products to people you know and recruiting others into the business.
When you recruit a new person and that person begins earning money, you will earn commission from the sales and recruits generated from THAT person, and this continues down in multiple levels (hence multi-level).
You do not receive a salary or any base pay in an MLM. 100% of your income is generated from your sales and the sales of your ‘team,’ otherwise known as your ‘downline.’
With a company like Avon, the real money to be made lies in the recruitment element of the business.
Think about it – would you rather make a small commission from a 3 dollar mascara or a lifetime of passive income from every single sale generated by someone else?
It’s a no-brainer.
However, while this may seem super exciting, this type of business model is actually very unsustainable. If everybody in the company recruits 6 people and then those people recruit 6 people, it isn’t long before the entire world’s population has been recruited into the company!
It is for this reason that Not Your Boss Babe never recommends joining an MLM, but in order to give Avon a fair chance, let’s look deeper into Avon as a company to find out whether you can really make money selling Avon.
How much can you make selling Avon?
Can you make money selling Avon?
If you ask an Avon Rep this question, they’d tell you that Avon is a great way to make an income. The first page of Google is littered with articles written by Avon Reps, gushing over how fantastic the Avon opportunity is.
The problem with this though, is that if you click on their links and join Avon through them, they will get a cut of every cent you make with Avon, and so they definitely have an incentive to paint Avon in a good light!
However, does Avon really offer a fantastic income opportunity?
Unfortunately, Avon themselves do not release the information needed to answer this question fully.
Unlike most other MLM companies, Avon do not release an income disclosure statement, which is the document that breaks down how much everyone in the company is earning by rank and percentage.
Because of this, we have no idea of dropout rates, average earnings, sales costs or any other information that would help us learn about whether joining Avon is worth it.
What we do know, is that in the Q-2’11 10Q SEC filing, Avon reported net sales of $2.8 billion generated by 6.5 million salespeople.
Now, these are not sales made by Avon representatives to the public. This figure represents sales from Avon as a company to Avon representatives.
In other words, the products that Avon reps are buying to then sell on to their own customers, or for their personal use.
When we break these numbers down, we can see that on average, Avon reps are spending $144 per month on Avon products.
Based on their rank in the company, an Avon rep will make 20-40% commission per product sold (most people are in the lower ranks so most are making a 20% commission per sale).
What this means is that if an average sales rep is selling $144 worth of Avon products every month, and the average sales rep is also in the 20% commission range, then the majority of Avon representatives are making $28.80 a month, or $345.60 a year from product sales.
That’s only half the story though.
These numbers don’t take into consideration what Avon reps make from recruiting others, which, as we discovered before, is where the real money in MLM is to be made.
One of the only Avon disclosure statements ever published is from way back in 2009, and here we can see the total earnings of Avon reps during that year:
36.1% of Avon reps earn $0 – $4,999
15.8% of Avon reps earn $5,000 – $6,999
26% of Avon reps earn $7,000 – $11,999
17.6% of Avon reps earn $12,000 – $29,000
4.4% of Avon reps earn $30,000 and above.
This means that 95.5% of Avon reps in 2009 earned less than $29,000 a year.
It is also worth pointing out that in 2009, Avon was pulling in about $10 billion in revenue, compared to 2020, when it only reached $3.63 billion. A quick look at this graph on Statistica reveals a pretty steady decline in Avon revenue since 2011.
What this tell us is that Avon reps likely earned way more in 2009 than current Avon representatives.
Something else to be aware of is that none of these figures take into consideration the costs of running an Avon business.
While an Avon starter kit is relatively cheap, (Avon starter kits range from $25 – $100), you will definitely have to spend money on your Avon business if you want it to succeed.
This could include promotional flyers, business cards, brochures, product samples, catalogues etc. as well as Avon products that you can use yourself to demonstrate the effects of them and talk about why you like them so much. This is why it is always so important to track your expenses (with any business), so that you know exactly how much profit you’re generating, rather than just how much revenue is coming in.
The Pros and Cons of Becoming an Avon Representative
While NYBB doesn’t believe that joining Avon is a good business move, there are still some pros of selling Avon, which we’re going to take a look at now.
Pros of Becoming an Avon Rep
- Avon has been around since the dinosaurs and is an established company and household name. Many people have already used (and enjoyed) Avon products before, and so you don’t need to convince people of their worth.
- Avon products are generally considered good products. They don’t have a tonne of negative reviews, and there is also a large range of products to suit everyone.
- Avon products are also super affordable, which makes them much easier to sell than products from other MLMs, which are almost always super pricey.
- Avon do not test any of their products on animals, which can’t be said for many major cosmetics brands.
- The low start-up fees with Avon mean that joining Avon is not a huge financial risk, relatively speaking.
- Avon has company-employed managers who oversee the recruitment and training of newly enrolled Avon reps, which other MLM companies do not offer.
- A newly recruited Avon rep cannot immediately recruit other salespeople, which sets them apart from pretty much every other multi-level marketing company out there. What this means for you is that the Avon rep who recruited you has at least an idea of what they’re doing!
Cons of Becoming an Avon Rep
- You won’t make much money. As we saw earlier, the earnings of most Avon reps are next to nothing, and when you consider the amount of time and effort that goes into running an Avon business, the financial reward just doesn’t cut it.
- You will be competing with about 6.5 million other Avon representatives to sell the products. Joining a market so saturated is never a good idea, as it means there is a good chance your friends already know an Avon rep.
- Although it can be considered a good thing that Avon is such a well-known company, it also means that most people who want to buy Avon products can go directly to the Avon website or Amazon if they want to buy something.
- Avon still does paid advertisements, which is supposed to be your job. If people see an Avon ad in a magazine and decide to make a purchase, they will go to Avon’s website, not yours.
- Avon broke China’s anti-pyramid scheme laws, which is a big yikes. You never want to be part of a company that shares enough similarities to a pyramid scheme to break laws like this.
- Avon was also found guilty and ordered to pay a fine of $135 million for bribing government officials in China to continue operating there. It also paid to prevent negative news articles from being written about the company. Again, this might not affect you directly (unless Avon gets shut down), but it’s important to know what kind of company you are investing your time and money into.
- Unless you have a very large social following, you’re going to struggle to make consistent sales. Your friends and family may make the odd purchase to support you, but they are not going to spend enough to keep you afloat.
- Because the products are so cheap, you’re going to have to sell a LOT of them to make money. A 20% commission of a $4 product really isn’t going to pay the bills.
While Avon definitely has more pros than a lot of other MLM companies out there, the bottom line is that becoming an Avon rep is just not a good way to make money.
Over 95% of Avon reps are not making a full time income, but yet chances are they are spending a lot of time trying to grow their Avon business.
Ultimately, just like any other MLM, the business is not structured in a way that can benefit the majority of people. For anybody in an MLM to succeed, there needs to be a lot of people are the bottom, funnelling the money up to the top.
What’s more, the only way to get to the top in an MLM is to get in early, when the company is still in its infancy. Avon has been around for over a hundred years, meaning that it’s nearly impossible for anyone signing up today to reach the highest ranks in the company.
Quick Recap FAQ
Avon starter kits cost between $25-100 but Avon reps will generally incur many more expenses including sample products, catalogues, promotional events, products for personal use and more.
You can make money selling Avon but less than 5% of people earn a full time wage with Avon, and most Avon Reps make less than $30 per month on average.
Avon is a multi-level marketing company which means that you do not work FOR Avon, but as an independent contractor. This means that you have little rights and your right to sell Avon can be terminated at any time and without notice. You also have a very small chance of making money with Avon.
An Alternative to Avon
If you were considering joining an MLM because you want to make money from the comfort of your own home, you might be pleased to know that there are alternatives.
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