From ‘ding dong’ deliveries to online shops, Avon has remained popular with its band of loyal customers.
And since the first lockdown the company appears to have benefitted from a huge rise in the number of people signing up to sell its products.
The number of new UK sales representatives joining its ranks between March 23 and June 7 was double that in the same period last year.
Many women were drawn to Avon after finding themselves at home with time on their hands or in need of extra income.
But for 36-year-old Natalie Nicholls, it was also an ideal opportunity to indulge in her passion for beauty.
“I have very fond memories of Avon as my mother was an avid customer when I was a child.
“When I was old enough, I started buying products from the same representative my mum would purchase from and that ignited my passion for the industry.
“I’ve always been passionate about make up and had been thinking for a while to start a business that focused on my passion and that I could fit around my full-time job.
“In May, during the midst of lockdown, I received a text message saying Avon was recruiting in my local area and decided to jump on the opportunity.
“I did some research and was very inspired by the successful women at the company and all of the positive values Avon stands for and decided to sign up straight away,” says the university project administrator.
With her husband one of many at his company to be furloughed, and news about unemployment rates and recession, Natalie was extra motivated to work hard on her beauty hobby.
Historically, the company has relied on door-to-door sales of its cosmetics and perfume range but recently the firm has sold far more products online, a shift that was accelerated during the pandemic.
Natalie, who is from Weston-under-Lizard, near Shifnal, was not deterred when she couldn’t meet her customers in person, like the original Avon ladies she remembered. Instead she has been using social media and online brochures to drive sales.
“Although I wasn’t physically handing out my brochures, my online sales were still climbing.
“Customers in my area knew that I was hard at work and they felt safe knowing they could place all of their regular orders from the comfort of their own home.
“I also felt very supported by Avon throughout the pandemic, the communication has been brilliant and they set up multiple workshops for us as well as sharing wellness tips and organising yoga sessions.”
“Facebook has been very effective for me, I have been posting messages on my local community pages to introduce myself and reach out to potential new customers.
“Once lockdown restrictions start to ease, I’d love to introduce myself to people in person and network, for example I can’t wait to visit my grandmother in her care home and talk her friends about the amazing products we provide,” says Natalie who works at the University of Wolverhampton.
One of her favourite aspects of running her beauty business is that every day is different. “What I really like is that every day with Avon varies. I might have to drop some brochures around to my customers’ homes, work on my social media posts, catch up with my customers or collect orders.
“Since the lockdown started, my customers have been using the digital brochures to place orders, which has been very effective in light of no in-person meetings.
“The digital tools have helped me keep my relationship with my customers strong during these trying times and I regularly check up on them and advise them on products they need any help with.
“Lastly is ensuring everything is running smoothly with my team, checking in on them and if we get any new recruits I make sure to make time to onboard them and train them myself. I pride myself in having a great team – I want to see them succeed and experience Avon the way I have.”
For Natalie it’s been a good way of earning extra cash.
“At the moment I earn, on average, £400 of commissions a month – it adds up and it makes such a difference to our family, we use this extra income for luxuries we have been wanting to splurge on.
“For example, we are saving up some money to take my daughter to Euro Disney next year and, as we recently purchased our home, we’ll also be putting the extra income from Avon towards decorating,” she explains.
Natalie has noticed a number of products proving popular with customers during lockdown.
“The Aromatherapy Beauty Sleep Pillow Mist Spray has been extremely popular, especially with parents purchasing it for the children.
“As a parent myself, we were struggling getting our children to sleep as they had no routine at all during lockdown and the calming scents of the lavender spray worked absolute wonders.
“I also noticed that the new Loaded Glossy Lip Lacquer has been very popular as it came with a lovely gift,” she says.
The beauty entrepreneur has no regrets about joining the Avon team and is now looking forward to building up her sales business.
“The flexibility is fantastic, I work full time at the local university and I am still able to run my business on the side. It’s a fun way of earning money and I love being part of a community who support me.
“The incentives are also great, which makes it quite hard as I need to stop myself from purchasing the products for myself.
I am a big advocate for the charities Avon supports and the positive change it has brought to so many people’s lives.”
Her advice to anyone looking to become an Avon representative is to “just take a leap and sign up”.
“There is nothing to be frightened about, the support that you will get is unrivalled and there is absolutely no pressure at all. You can put in as much or as little as you want into your business – it can be tailored to suit your needs.”