Avon Products

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Avon Products, Inc.
Founded1886; 134 years ago (1886)
FounderDavid H. McConnell
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Key people
Angela Cretu
RevenueDecrease US$ 4.7 billion (2019)
Decrease US$ 235.2 million (2018)
Increase US$ -107.4 million (2016)
Total assetsDecrease US$ 3.01 billion (2018)
Total equityIncrease US$ -848 million (2016)
OwnerNatura & Co (76%)[1]
Number of employees
23,000[2] (2019)
Footnotes / references

Avon Products, Inc. is a multi-level marketing company in beauty, household, and personal care categories. Avon had annual sales of $5.57 billion worldwide in 2019.[2]

It is the fourteenth-largest beauty company[7] and, with 6.4 million representatives, is the second largest direct-selling enterprise in the world (after Amway).[8] The company's CEO is Angela Cretu[9], who was appointed to the position in January 2020.[5]

In May 2019, the Brazilian company Natura & Co announced its intent to acquire Avon; the deal closed in January 2020. Its ownership accounts for a 76% stake.[10]


CPC Chain Trademark

Avon's founder, David H. McConnell, initially sold books as a door-to-door salesman to New York homes. In September 1886, he decided to sell perfumes rather than books.[11] He started the new business in a small office at 126 Chambers Street, Manhattan, New York. McConnell changed the company name in 1892. His business partner suggested to call it the "California Perfume Company." His business partner was living in California at the time and suggested the name because of the abundance of flowers in California.[12][13]

In May 1894, Alexander D. Henderson joined the company, became Vice-President and Treasurer, and helped shape its policies and assist in its growth.[14] In 1897 they built a laboratory in Suffern, New York.[12] On May 3, 1909, the California Perfume Company corporate office moved to 31 Park Place, New York.[15] On June 16, 1909, McConnell and Henderson signed an agreement of Incorporation for the California Perfume Company in the state of New Jersey.[16] On January 28, 1916, the California Perfume Company was incorporated in the state of New York. McConnell, Henderson, and William Scheele were listed as company officials.[17] On October 6, 1939, the California Perfume Company changes its name to Avon Products Inc.[15]

Early Avon trademark[edit]

Original Avon trademark, filed June 3, 1932
The drawing stylized word AVON mark is an expired trademark at the USPTO.

The California Perfume Company, Inc. of New York filed its first trademark application for Avon on June 3, 1932, with the USPTO. Part of the description for goods and services provided to the USPTO included "perfumes, toilet waters, powder and rouge compacts, lipsticks", and other toiletry products. First use and commercial use for Avon by the California Perfume Company was on September 1, 1929. Registration was granted on August 30, 1932.

International expansion[edit]

Avon sells products in over 100 countries. Brazil is the company's largest market, passing the United States in 2010. Avon entered the Chinese market in 1990.[18] Direct selling was outlawed in China in 1998,[19] which forced Avon to sell only through physical stores called Beauty Boutiques. The ban was lifted in 2001, and the company received a license for direct selling in 2006.[8]

88% of Avon's 2013 revenue (around $10 billion) came from overseas markets.[19]

Mergers and acquisitions[edit]

Avon purchased Silpada, a direct seller of silver jewelry, in 2010 for $650 million.[8] In May 2012, perfume company Coty, Inc. offered $24.75 a share for Avon, which was nearly 20 percent above Avon's stock price at the time. While Fox Business Network reported that Avon delayed the process and Coty withdrew its offer,[20] earlier reports said that Avon rejected the bid, stating "At the time, the board concluded, and it still believes, that Coty's indication of interest is opportunistic and not in the best interest of Avon's shareholders."[21][22][23]

In March 2016, Cerberus Capital Management paid $435 million in cash for preferred stock in Avon Products. This move was the conclusion of a deal initiated in December 2015, when Avon sold 80.1 percent of its North American Business to Cerberus for $170 million. The total value of the deal was $605 million. The investment resulted in Cerberus having an almost 17 percent stake in Avon Products.[24][25]

In January 2020, Natura &Co closed the acquisition of Avon Products, Inc. The Natura &Co[26] group also includes Natura, Aesop and The Body Shop, and with the acquisition of Avon has created the world’s fourth-largest pure-play beauty company.[27]

Recent history[edit]

Recently, Avon has struggled. In 2014, its global sales had fallen for five straight years, and its North American revenues fell 18% that year.[28]

In 2016, Avon completed the separation of its United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico business as New Avon LLC, which also trades with the "Avon" name. As part of a three-year plan, the global Avon Products moved its headquarters to London in the United Kingdom.[29]

In August 2019, New Avon LLC, the privately held North American company that split from Avon Products, Inc. (Avon Worldwide) in 2016 entered into a definitive agreement with South Korean consumer goods giant LG Household & Health Care, Ltd., which will purchase the direct-selling cosmetics business for $125 million in cash.[30]

Jan Zijderveld was appointed the company's CEO in February 2018.[5] The former CEO, Sherilyn S. McCoy, stayed on as an adviser to the Board and to Zijderveld through March 31, 2018.[5]

In 2019, the Brazilian beauty company Natura agreed to buy Avon Products for more than $2bn via a share swap, creating the world's fourth-largest beauty company.[31] Under the deal's terms, Natura will hold 76% of the combined business with over $10 billion in annual revenue.

Business model[edit]

An Avon training center in the Bronx

Avon uses both door-to-door salespeople ("Avon ladies", as well as "Avon men") and brochures to advertise its products.[32] The first Avon lady was Persis Foster Eames Albee. Avon operates training centers for potential representatives. Some Avon training centers have a small retail section with skincare products, such as creams, serums, makeup, and washes. Avon uses multi-level marketing to recruit sales representatives who sell beauty products, jewelry, accessories, and clothing.[33]

Some of the brand-names used by the company include Avon, Avon Naturals, and Skin-So-Soft.[34] According to the U.S. government, Avon has 5 million to 6 million sales representatives operating in over 100 countries as of 2014. Avon and its subsidiaries have 40,000 to 50,000 employees, 6,000 of which are in the United States.[19]

Avon was an early member of the U.S. Direct Selling Association, which was founded in 1910. The company left the association in 2014, saying that the trade group was not paying enough attention to the industry as a whole.[33]

Celebrity beauty ambassadors[edit]

mark. cosmetics,[35] an Avon fashion and beauty brand, has featured multiple celebrity ambassadors throughout its development in 2003. Notable ambassadors include Lauren Conrad, Ashley Greene, and currently Lucy Hale.[36]


Avon hosts an annual Repfest, a three-day event open to all representatives at a fee, where they can attend training seminars.[37] New products and incentives are announced at an annual leadership conference.

Avon Foundation[edit]

In addition to its corporate pursuits, the Avon corporation is involved in philanthropic causes. The Avon Foundation for Women describes itself as the largest corporate philanthropy dedicated to women's causes globally.[38] The Avon Foundation awards scholarships for Avon representatives and family members. Avon founded the Avon Foundation for Women with its first grant, a $400 scholarship, in 1955.[39]

Additionally, the company's Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program aims to reduce domestic violence.[40] Through 2012, Avon global philanthropy, led by the Avon Foundation, reports having donated more than $910 million in more than 50 countries.[41]

Breast cancer[edit]

Beginning in the early 1990s, Avon also began donating towards breast cancer research and care, through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a series of U.S.-based charity walks.[42] Before 2003, the Walk was a function of Pallotta Teamworks, with Avon being the beneficiary. Since 2003, the charity reports that more than 180,000 Walk participants have raised $472 million for the cause.[43][44]


On Sep 14, 2000, Avon restated its financial statements to reflect the additional write off as of March 31, 1999 of all capitalized costs, associated with the FIRST project as of that date and a reversal of the charge recorded in the third quarter of 2001. In 2001, Avon adopted new provisions and as a result, all prior periods were restated to reflect shipping and handling fees.[45]


Chinese corruption charges[edit]

Since at least 2008, the conduct of various employees and executives of Avon has been investigated for possible violations of the law, including possible bribery and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.[46]

Avon began a probe of its China division after allegations of bribery in June 2008.[46] At least four executives, both in Asia and in the United States, were suspended in 2010,[46] and later fired for their roles in the activities being investigated.[47] According to The New York Times, Avon has spent over $170 million on legal fees and costs related to the investigation: $59 million in 2009 and $95 million in 2010, and $22.5 million for the first quarter of 2011.[48] The Times reported that the final tally may be close to $250 million, after which Avon would report the findings to the United States Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and try to negotiate the penalties that those entities may impose.[48] On February 24, 2011, Avon filed a report with the Securities and Exchange commission highlighting the investigation as a corporate risk factor that could cause investor loss.[49]

In 2014 Avon settled the bribery charges for a total of $135 million; $68 million in criminal penalties, with the remainder in interest, disgorgement, and fines from a civil case brought by the SEC.[19][50]

Animal testing[edit]

Avon vowed in 1989 that as a company located in the United States, it would no longer participate in animal testing.[51] Avon has since claimed to be working globally to introduce safer methods of testing cosmetics that do not require animals. These methods include in vitro testing, computer simulations, and testing cosmetics on human volunteers.[51]

Although Avon does not practice animal testing of its cosmetics that are sold in the United States, certain specialty products do require extensive testing in other countries. In China, specialty products that require degrees of animal testing include but are not limited to: sunscreen products, whitening/pigmentation products, and hair dye/perm/ or growth products.[51] Despite laws that require animal testing in some countries, Avon chooses to distribute its products in those jurisdictions. Laws in various countries require companies to pay for animal testing through a commercial business in order to sell certain products in that country.[52] Because Avon is not globally animal-testing free, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has not included Avon on their cruelty-free list.[53][54]

In 2019, Avon ended all regulatory-required animal testing, making it the first global beauty company selling in China to stop all animal testing of ingredients and products across all its brands by developing new ways to deliver products that do not require animal testing, such as reformulating products.[55] PETA has since announced that it has added Avon Products Inc. to their list of companies “Working for Regulatory Change.”[56]

Withdrawal from major markets[edit]

In October 2013, Avon announced the closure of its branch in France at the end of that month. Its French employees accused it of keeping the workers in the dark for months and not acting in line with the company's publicly stated values of being a socially responsible company that upholds values of trust, respect and integrity and a culture of "open and candid communication."[57] As of January 2014, Avon France was in receivership.[58]

This was followed by an announcement via Facebook on 15 February 2018, that Avon Australia and New Zealand would close by the end of the year.[59] This decision resulted in the loss of 220 jobs and 21,400 employees. The company has attracted criticism for poor communication with its customers and employees.[60]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ a b "Avon Products". Fortune. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  3. ^ "Celgene, Kinder Morgan and Actavis Set to Join the S&P 100; Several Constituent Changes Announced for S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600". Mar 13, 2015.
  4. ^ "US SEC: Form 10-K Avon Products, Inc". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "US SEC: Form 8-K (Feb 3, 2018)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  6. ^ "US SEC:FORM 10-K AVON PRODUCTS, INC". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Dec 31, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  7. ^ https://www.beautypackaging.com/heaps/view/6459/1/
  8. ^ a b c Kowitt, Beth (April 30, 2012). "Avon: The Rise and Fall of a Beauty Icon". Fortune. 165 (6): 106–114. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  9. ^ "Angela Cretu appointed Avon CEO to drive next phase of transformation". Avon Worldwide. Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  10. ^ "Natura &Co and Avon join forces to create a Direct-to-Consumer global beauty leader" (PDF) (Press release). Avon Products. May 22, 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 23, 2019. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  11. ^ "Avon updates its look, strategy". USATODAY.com. 2006-09-10. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  12. ^ a b "Great Oak". digital.hagley.org. Avon Products, Inc. 1976. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  13. ^ Quote from an interview with David McConnell, Sr., April 15, 1936. Avon Achieves, IE7, 1936.
  14. ^ "The Outlook". digital.hagley.org. California Perfume Company. 1922-11-01. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  15. ^ a b "CP Historical Timeline". www.californiaperfumecompany.com. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  16. ^ "Agreement of Incorporation for California Perfume Company". Hagley Museum and Library. 1909. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
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  35. ^ "About: mark". Archived from the original on 2016-05-05.
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  42. ^ Avon Walk website, "Cities and Dates" Archived 2013-04-23 at the Wayback Machine, June 2013
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  44. ^ Avon Foundation website, "Breast Cancer Events" Archived June 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, June 2013
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External links[edit]