AIBU to think selling Avon is a mug's game?

(58 Posts)
mummysherlock Fri 11-Nov-16 22:23:34

New to this so bear with me lol and apologise in advance for potentially long post.

About a month ago, an Avon sales leader approached me in a shopping centre in town and asked if I would consider being an Avon Rep. Now I've never done anything like this before so wasn't sure but I have recently returned to work part time after being a sahm for 2 years, whilst I was at home we were relying soley on DP's income to pay mortgage and bills etc so fleetingly thought it would be nice to have a little bit of money on the side to top up our joint account again and go towards the DC's Christmas presents. I also thought if I could get some discount on the products they would make nice Christmas gifts for some family members. So I replied 'maybe.' She gave me the latest catalogue, a leaflet about rewards reps can receive and took my phone number advising she would call me in 3 days to see what I thought.

So 3 days later she phones, ask if she can sign me up, and proceeds to arrange a date to come and visit me at home a week later for what I was led to believe by her wording would be an 'informal no obligation chat'

When she arrived at my house a week later she came in laden with catalougues and order forms and said 'so are you looking forward to earning some extra money then?' As if I had already agreed to definitely become a Rep. She then started the whole pitter patter about how successful she is: 'selling Avon is really easy' she trilled. 'I made £££ in my first campaign, in no time at all I was made a sales leader and shortly after that I was earning so much I was able to quit my previous job and live on my earnings from Avon.' 'Then after that I was promoted to advanced sales leader, you could achieve this you know.' I told her that I already had another job and was really looking just for a bit of extra cash in the run up to Christmas, to which she replied 'oh that's fine, you'll have no problem at all, everyone has heard of Avon and there is lots of positive feedback on our products.' She then told me she would allocate me some streets to distribute brochures to, and told me to distribute them among friends, family, mums at the school gates, the hairdressers etc and said loads of customers put really big orders in at Xmas. She then showed me how to fill in the order forms, said once I had some orders she would come back to the house and talk me through placing my first order and it would be really simple. She then got out a glossy flyer detailing the rewards you could get if your first 4 orders were over a certain amount, a hamper of toiletaries if your first order was over X amount, box of free make up for order 2, designer handbag for order 3 etc.

In hindsight she was quite pushy and persuasive and I found myself agreeing to sign up.

So she said selling Avon was easy. Well 2 weeks later I can honestly say it has been anything but. Easy my ass! I spent ages filling in all the order forms with my name, contact details, delivery dates etc, placed them with the brochures in the plastic bags, then walked round the streets in my territory, posting them through letterboxes, I also delivered them to nursery, work, hairdressers etc, explaining to people that I was now doing Avon, to have a browse through the catalogue and if they wished to place an order that I would be collecting the forms the following Monday. The sales leader also gave me the address of a lady who had so called spoken to her personally and told her she wanted an Avon Rep and was going to be placing regular orders, so I went to her house, she was out when I called so I left her a note explaining who I was, that my sales leader had advised that she liked the products and was interested in ordering, and that if she would like to order this time I would be back to collect on Monday.

Anyway on the Monday I went and collected the brochures and forms, and found I had a grand total of 1 order. To the value of £35.00. Friends, family and work colleagues had not ordered a thing, despite me reminding them on the Saturday that I would be collecting on the Monday. The lady who was so called really interested, she didn't even leave her brochure out for collection. There was a car in the driveway so I knocked on the door but no answer. I drove round on 2 other occasions again no brochure and no answer. The other households in my territory I knocked on the doors of those who hadn't left the brochures out to be told 'thanks but no thanks' of the others left out half of them had written on the front 'not interested, no more brochures please' and one house I went to there were 2 identical brochures out, one was from another Rep. The best bit? The one and only order I did have, the customer didn't put their name address and contact details on the order form, so when I got home and opened all the bags with the forms in I didn't have a clue who it was for!

So I rapidly came to the conclusion that if I was going to go into all that faff just to get 1 order back and obviously not then earning anything as the value of the order was below £75.00, it really wasn't worth me carrying on, so I emailed sales leader, explained everything and said with this in mind I no longer wished to be a rep. She replied back that she had loads of successful reps in her team, which made me feel I had somehow done something wrong, so I googled 'pros and cons of being an Avon Rep, and low and behold, loads of other experiences just like mine, eg pushy sales leader signing them up, telling them it would be really easy etc then found they made a pittance. Also some other alarming stories about reps who had returned orders when customers changed their minds, only for Avon to say they hadn't and started demanding money and threatening with debt collectors. This in itself confirmed my decision to quit. Sales leader then responded with 'well it does take a while to build up a good customer base' - yes the same one who said she had shedloads of orders on her first campaign and was quids in!

Also the more I think about it, the people who are successful reps really have to treat it like a full time job to even get a decent profit, also as order values will differ each month there is no guaranteed income, you don't earn anything for order values under £75.00 so essentially work for nothing, even on orders above this you then only get to keep a quarter of the order value despite the fact that you have done the donkey work of distributing the brochures, collecting them, processing the order forms and putting the orders through, then delivering them to customers often at unsocial hours. Plus out of this 25 percent commission you get you have to pay for the next lot of catalougues and bags, plus as it is considered an 'income' you have to declare to HMRC so have tax and NI deductions.

So really AIBU to think for most people it really is a mugs game and not worth it?

Oh and yes I do now feel rather embarrassed and stupid as I'm normally quite a sensible person and would look into things properly before agreeing to them. As mentioned before sales leader was incredibly pushy. Oh the joy of hindsight.

Madeyemoodysmum Fri 11-Nov-16 22:57:56

Oh dear I do use our Avon rep but often wonder if she actually makes anything I like the products a lot. Good quality and good prices. But I think alongside another jobs it's prob too much hassle to rep.

sorryoldwoman Fri 11-Nov-16 23:08:23

She's successful because she's pushy. She also makes more money the more people she recruites. I tried it once and I'm a quiet shy sorta person and found out it too wasn't for me. If your a very personable person with a lot of friends and they have a lot of friends you might do ok but people have to want the products and are loyal to the brand. Not sure Avon is that popular. Don't feel bad it's not for you.

Milkand2sugarsplease Fri 11-Nov-16 23:33:56

It's a pyramid scheme. You're never gonna make your millions so walk away and think no more of it.

Ahickiefromkinickie Fri 11-Nov-16 23:40:49

That sounds like exploitation. What percentage of customer orders are over £75, I wonder? I think it must be small. They should pay at least 10% commission on every order.

flupcake Fri 11-Nov-16 23:49:00

Oh I feel bad now. One of the mums from school gave me an Avon brochure but I just haven't had a chance to look at it with everything else I have going on, she has asked me about it a couple of times, she must be feeling the same way as you.
However I'd be quite unlikely to spend more than £75 anyway.

glasshalfsomething Fri 11-Nov-16 23:49:29

I done Avon when I was 15/16. Luckily, my dad took the book to his work (staff room of nurses) and the streets round my house were full of older people who didn't get out much. I was putting an order for about £400 every time. That was back in the late 90s! So commission was good for me as a teenager - normally about £70?

However, it was in the days before internet and I did have a good 'patch'!

Coconutty Fri 11-Nov-16 23:54:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Coconutty Fri 11-Nov-16 23:56:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummysherlock Sat 12-Nov-16 00:01:28

I have packed it in and called it a day. It's not just because of the money, what also put me off were the numerous horror stories I found re ex reps having stopped working for Avon, returning any goods they had as instructed and due to a cock up along the line they were recorded as not received and were then pursued by debt collectors for months on end. Just seems like very hard work and stress for what it is

hungryhippo90 Sat 12-Nov-16 00:05:48

It is possible to make some good money, my mum always did alright out of it. And so did the Avon rep who I used (I'd get really carried away and order shit loads) but I do think the orders are few and far in between!

I do love their skin so soft stuff, apart from that it's not really great, except the kohl eyeliner. I really liked that, struggled reordering though!

deadringer Sat 12-Nov-16 00:16:15

I used to do it years ago, got 20% discount on everything i sold. I just sold to family and friends and bought a fair bit myself. I didn't really make any money just did it for the discount mostly.

YeOldMa Sat 12-Nov-16 00:16:50

A friend of mine does it and seems quite happy with it but it always seems like a lot of hard work to me. She tends to sell through a Facebook Page but I can't imagine that it is a "forever" job. You have to be really pushy and keep at it all the time, it's not easy money.

Meadows76 Sat 12-Nov-16 00:25:36

It's utter shite. I have no idea how Avon as a business is surviving. All the crap they sell is available cheaper elsewhere.

Gingersstuff Sat 12-Nov-16 00:37:15

Avon is rubbish. Furthermore, they test their products on animals so that's a big fat NO from me. Wouldn't touch their stuff with a barge pole.

hellooscar Sat 12-Nov-16 00:40:29

I recently signed up as something to do as being unable to return to work straight away. The leader was exactly the same went on about how successful she was.
However I did make about 100 my first order but after that it was terrible. No one left books out or answered the door and the products where similar or the same so the people who had ordered first time round wasn't interested the next time round. Even had a book thrown back at me hmm I had my baby in a baby carrier at the time.
Totally not worth the time or effort for such little cash.
I did paper round when I was 13/ 14 and made more money from that

VenusRising Sat 12-Nov-16 00:56:17

Looks like you've been pushed into something by someone with a mission

Why oh why would anyone buy door to door or from a catalogue when the internet is on your phone?

It's not only a mugs game, a time trap and a money waster, it's absolutely unnecessary. No doubt people made money from catalogues before the internet and Ecommerce replaced them.

I do admire your enterprising spirit OP. You sound organised and diligent.
Put those skills to good use and open an online etsy/ eBay shop!

BackforGood Sat 12-Nov-16 01:03:11

You'd probably earn more actually doing a paper round smile

It can work. One school I worked in, on of the dinner ladies did it, and she used to put a book in the staff room each month and get a few orders without any delivering and collecting of brochures - I think that's the only way to target people... being 'the Avon lady' at any groups you go to or places of work you can drop in to. It's never going to be worth while just randomly pushing brochures through doors of people that don't want the stuff.

Bogeyface Sat 12-Nov-16 02:28:32

Every 6 months or so we get a brochure through. I leave them out to be collected but never order and thats it. Then 6 months later there is another one....

That tells me that it isnt worth persuing.

Pluto30 Sat 12-Nov-16 02:35:09

I know a girl who sells Arbonne and christ above is she annoying. Every bloody thing she posts on Facebook is about Arbonne and how #lucky and #blessed and #grateful she is for it.

I don't think she's stupid. I think she has bought into the manipulation. I went to her little sister's launch party and could see easily how people would get sucked in by it. In the future I'm sure she'll realise the error in her ways, but for now it's all about that #MercedesBenz

GrinchyMcGrincherson Sat 12-Nov-16 02:53:03

I still have the scars from this shit as I did Ann summers for a while. It's more lucrative but definitely not a money spinner unless you get up high. Commission on it is 40% so far better than most and your reps will often pass leads on . you also have monthly meetings which are supposed to be support but are actually just pitting all the area leaders reps against each other to see who earns the most for your leader... You have to have front and confidence as well as you have to run parties and you do have to pay for brochures etc.

I still have no clue how I managed it tbh. I just put on a bullshit work persona. It earned me about £40 per party on average (party is about 3-4 hours work in total depending on travel time) and I enjoyed it at first but I gave it up after about 3 months after two awful parties in a row just made me loose that. The one that did it was one where a girl called me a bitch and a whore for not doing extra stuff outside of the format (all parties have a set format) then while someone pretended to "apologise" for their behaviour the others stole from my kit. I couldn't prove it either as it was 12 girls against me and I only noticed stuff missing the next day. My area manager confronted them but got nowhere. I must have dropped it apparently... Oh and no one ordered anything so that night I worked 2 hours plus travel time for minus £60.

eyespydreams Sat 12-Nov-16 02:56:29

I think venus has it sadly, I used to love a good Avon catalogue read and some things are good, but when you have the whole of Superdrug (just as a 'value' comparison) online with free delivery, a lot of the appeal of the catalogue rummage goes. Also, you can buy Avon online!

Welikethemoon Sat 12-Nov-16 04:59:24

I did for a bit when I was a poor student, but I think I probably lost money in the long run. You are not going to make any decent money unless you can find a lot of people who don't like shopping online. Also, there was this poor guy who apparently had recently lost his wife (who used to like avon) and was quite upset that I had posted a brochure through his door. Not that I knew any of this unil he came barrelling out of his house brandishing the brochure and chased me down the drive shouting at me. I decided I wasn't cut out for it shortly after that.

5to2 Sat 12-Nov-16 05:23:00

I don't think there is any point doing Avon these days. There is too much competition and you can just buy their stuff online anyway. I used to do it as a teenager but this was in the early 90s. I don't think people want to buy makeup in that way in significant numbers any more.

EnoughAlready43 Sat 12-Nov-16 05:23:59

its a glorified ponzi scheme. go down to primark and boots where you'll get nicer cosmetics and more choice for cheaper.

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