Meet Rosemarie Kahn. She is a top seller and recruiter with Avon. She discusses the trends she sees in her industry, the challenges she has faced, and what she is most proud of with her role as a ‘parent-preneur’. Rosemarie also shares some wonderful advice for others who might want to start a business like hers.
Please tell us about your business and the service that you provide.
I am in independent sales representative for Avon products. I am considered a top seller and recruiter in my area and I love being able to provide Avon’s wide variety of products to my customers. Our line consists of skin care, cosmetics, bath and body jewelry, gifts and clothing. I also love the opportunity to recruit others into the Avon family and help them either earn income to supplement their own or coach them through the Avon career path.
What motivated you to start your business?
I had worked other direct selling/mlm companies prior to Avon. I always dreamed of being a successful business owner and I found it very appealing that many of the mlm companies’ start up costs were very reasonable. However, for some reason or another I never achieved the levels I wished for through the previous companies. After getting married and purchasing our first home, I would frequently find an Avon brochure on my door. I was not an Avon user at the time but loved cuddling up in my bed at night with a cup of tea and going through the many pages of products. I was really surprised at the affordability and decided to place some orders so that I could experience the products. Soon after I decided to join the company. I was not really looking for much except to get my products at a good discount and may sell to a few people here and there. After attending my first meeting and seeing the sales amounts of fellow representatives I decided to get serious about Avon. It took me approximately six years to build my business to a point where I could leave the 9-5 working world and make Avon my main source of income.
What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field?
Since I had been involved with another work from home business dealing with cosmetics and skin care prior to Avon I did have some training in the field although I was very happy to find that Avon offered much free training and support to help me grow my business.
What trends do you see in your current industry?
Honestly, the last two years have been my most profitable ever. Regardless of the economy I find that customers still find the money to purchase such items as lipstick, perfum or a skin care product. We also offer many daily needs items such as shampoos, deoderants, etc. Avon is famous for its Anew skin care products while also offering the Solutions and Clearskin line. It was recently announced that they soon will be teaming with Liz Earle Beauty, a UK based company which offers natural and holistic skin care products. Customers who have been paying higher prices for beauty items are more likely to consider our affordable products when watching their budgets without risking the quality.
What are the most demanding aspects about your business?
We adopted our daughter from China when she was a year old. During her first year with us, this was the point when I truly understood the ‘juggling act’ as a parent and a home based business entrepreneur. As a mom I wanted to give all my time to her and yet I wanted my business to continue its normal flow. I soon realized that I would have to make some changes in order not to feel overwhelmed. There were some Avon responsibilities I could do while she watched “The Wiggles”, took a nap or played with her favorite toy but it still was not enough time for me to be on top of my business as I was before. I found a great local babysitter and a mother’s helper (she sat for my daughter at my house while I was home) and between the two they covered about 15 hours per week. This really helped me catch up on my phone calls, do deliveries and coach my team without being distracted. I also started having some customers pick up their orders instead of having to personally deliver them and I held team meetings at my home. Now that my daughter is older she loves playing Avon with me. She thinks it’s fun to help me stamp my brochures, unpack and bag products and even likes to say a few words at my trainings.
What are the most rewarding aspects about your business?
I love that my earnings are based completely on my efforts. I also love the flexibility. My business allows me to schedule my work according to my family’s needs and not the other way around. The relationship building is also great whether it is with my customers or my team members. I have met some of the most wonderful people through Avon, not just business partners but also true friends.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours?
If you are interested in starting your own Avon business you first need to understand this is not a get rich quick business. You have to handle it just asa you would any other small business. The sign-up cost ranges from $10 to $20 depending whether you meet with someone in person or sign up online but you must invest time in building your customer base. The cost of our brochures are very reasonable (approximately 100 for under $20 – though you can order as few as 10) and you can distribute them to your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. I did not start off as a high seller but consistency paid off. Recruiting is not a requirement but if you find that you enjoy selling the product and are looking to increase your earnings, it is another way to earn additional revenue. I think it is also very important to team up (be recruited by) someone in which you like and feel you will work well with.
What are you most proud of as a ‘parent-preneur’?
I am most proud that my daughter is able to see that her mom can be both a devoted, loving and responsible parent while still having a career. I am also happy to be a ble to share the financial responsibility of our home and family with my husband. It’s a very satisfying feeling to put in the effort and see rewards. I think my daughter, even at a young age, understands that it is important to work at something you enjoy and the rewards one gains by being responsible. Because my career consists of connecting and socializing with people, my daughter has grown into a very friendly, polite and cutely entertaining little girl.
What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself?
Handing out my brochures very consistently, word of mouth and through referrals, advertising both print and online, setting up tables at fairs. Fund raising is also a fun way to help a worthy cause while meeting new customers. My most recent Avon fundraiser helped my daughter’s pre-school raise money during the holiday season.
What does your ‘milk money’ provide for you and your family?
My husband and I split our bills. He pays for some things and I pay for others. My milk money pays for our mortgage, my daughter’s school, groceries, clothing and my daily spending.