A look at Avon's beginnings

AP News
Posted: Apr 09, 2012 12:22 PM
A look at Avon's beginnings

Avon Products Inc. on Monday tapped Sheri McCoy to replace CEO Andrea Jung later this month. McCoy takes the reins of an iconic but struggling company, which became a fixture in households across the country as legions of "Avon ladies" went door to door selling makeup.

Here are some facts worth noting about Avon's beginnings:

_Traveling book salesman David H. McConnell creates the company in 1886 after realizing his female customers were far more interested in the free perfume samples he offered.

_McConnell, the son of Irish immigrants who grew up on a farm, made the fragrances himself to serve as "door openers."

_During his travels, McConnell noticed that many of his female customers were isolated at home while their husbands went off to work. So he intentionally recruited female sales representatives, who he also felt would easily relate to other women

_The first female sales representative for Avon _ then known as the California Perfume Company _ was Persis Foster Eames Albee of New Hampshire. She was 50 when she first began going door to door and traveled by horse and buggy and train.

_Early perfume scents included Violet, White Rose, Heliotrope, Lily of the Valley and Hyacinth.

_McConnell tried to create a familial environment for his employees and representatives; the company newsletter was called the "Family Album."

Source: Avon Products Inc.