NEW YORK — As the host of last Friday’s CEW Beauty Awards, Mario Cantone brazenly bellowed, Avon is no longer a woman donned in a pink pillbox hat at the front door saying, “Avon calling.” Now she’s running a...
NEW YORK — As the host of last Friday’s CEW Beauty Awards, Mario Cantone brazenly bellowed, Avon is no longer a woman donned in a pink pillbox hat at the front door saying, “Avon calling.” Now she’s running a multibillion-dollar company high atop the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue (at least that’s the watered-down, PG version of the comedian’s quote).
Author Laura Klepacki details Avon’s rise into the world’s largest direct-selling powerhouse — some five million representatives strong — in her book, “Avon: Building the World’s Premier Company for Women.” Klepacki, a former beauty editor for WWD, acknowledged that, while she had long reported on Avon, she was not familiar with the company’s 119-year history. As she since discovered and penned in her book, the company was started in 1886 by a door-to-door bookseller named David Hall McConnell, who doled out free perfume samples to encourage housewives to buy his books.
McConnell traded books for the faster-moving category of perfume (mixed up by a chemist friend), laying the founding business principles for a company that today invents an astonishing 1,000 new beauty products every year. The company markets these items in 26 brochures each year (for a point of reference, Mary Kay prints a total of four).
The road for Avon, as Klepacki points out, wasn’t always smooth. In the Seventies, women began entering the workforce in droves, leaving unanswered doorbells in their wake. The societal shift led management to question the Avon model and adopt an aggressive acquisition strategy. The company began buying up other businesses — including Tiffany Co. — and then quickly selling them when diversification didn’t pay off. A decade later, Avon had succeeded in shifting the focus back to making women beautiful. Avon named Andrea Jung as its first female chief executive officer in 1999, and since then, the company’s sales have soared 45 percent and the stock has more than doubled, notes Klepacki. The author, who divulged Avon was the first lipstick she ever tried as a girl, interviewed Avon reps across the globe, who use business-school concepts to run their home-based operations. She noted that these independent businesswomen have built a viable beauty company with an internal culture of dreams and goals. Klepacki paints Avon as a company that will adapt as times change, but is steadfastly focused on improving women’s lives.
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
After showing in front of the Eiffel Tower for his last two women’s ready-to-wear collection, it looks like @anthonyvaccarello may be heading to the Big Apple. Sources say the designer will stage his next @ysl show in NYC on June 6. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion