NEW YORK — When poring over products like De-Luscious Lip Plumping Pots or Matte-nificent Oil Absorbing Powder, Deborah Fine, Avon Future president, is thinking as much about tomorrow’s customers as she is today’s.

For Fine, Avon’s Mark line of products sold to and by young women — which turns one this month — will be the vehicle for ensuring that the 118-year-old company thrives long into the future.

“Our mission was to create the next generation of Avon,” Fine said recently from her office in Avon Global Headquarters, high above the Avenue of the Americas. “Avon gave women the right to economic independence before they had the right to vote. We are passing the baton to the next generation, who will someday be able to say that Avon gave them economic independence before the first female president took office.”

At first blush, Mark might seem insignificant to the cosmetics behemoth, just a single business unit of a global company. Though performing strongly in its first year — with $10 million in sales during the second quarter — Mark’s estimated 2004 sales of $35 million to $40 million are a drop in the bucket compared with Avon’s annual revenues totaling $6.8 billion.

The average price of a mark product is $8.40, with prices ranging from $20 for a luxe utility bag down to $3.50 for a tube of “grin and bare” lip tint. It’s popular “Hook Ups” -- tubes of lip gloss, mascara and eyeshadow that snap together for portability -- are only $5.

But the line’s importance can’t be judged solely in dollars — executives view Mark as part of its movement to build aging Avon’s next generation of customers and sellers.

“It is clear that this business is transforming itself,” Avon chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Jung told investors during a recent conference. “The signs of transformation are everywhere when you see the younger, highly professional representatives both in the core as well as the Mark representatives.”

The company is toiling not only to make Mark profitable, but also to make it a ubiquitous presence in youth culture. To that end, Avon is expanding Mark’s territory, creating strategic marketing alliances with brands like Nextel, New Line Cinema and MTV. Flashy new commercials are airing across the country, Mark’s “magalogue” is reaching 7 million young women every month, and message boards at are buzzing with comments from some of Mark’s 20,000 representatives and loyal customers alike. Even a character on the soap opera “Passions” is peddling Mark products.

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