In 1886, 32 years before women in the U.K. earned the right to vote, Avon’s founder, David H. McConnell, helped give them the chance to earn an independent income.
McConnell didn’t set out to create a beauty company. He was a traveling book salesperson, and offered beauty products as perk. He soon realised customers were more interested in the free perfume samples than the books, and that many of them stayed at home while their husbands went off to work.
From a small New York City office, McConnell mixed the company's first fragrances himself, and recruited a team of women to be Sales Representatives. It was an inspired idea: women had a passion for his products and loved networking with other women, so it turned out to be a brilliant business model, which works just as well today.
This was just the start of Avon’s long history of empowering women around the globe.
131 years before the Women’s March on Washington, and demonstrations around the world
93 years before Margaret Thatcher became the first female British Prime Minister
87 Years before Billie Jean King defeated champion tennis player Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” match
77 Years before Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel into space
62 Years before the UN Declaration of Human Rights asserted the equal rights of men and women
46 Years before Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic
32 Years before the first women in the U.K. had the right to vote
17 Years before Marie Curie became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize
Long before these landmark events, Avon offered women the opportunity to be CEOs of their own businesses. Being an Avon Representative helped women to control their finances, and ultimately, their destinies.
Avon has stayed faithful to McConnell’s ideas of beauty and community as it spread all over the world.
Avon has been empowering women for over 130 years.
For in-depth corporate archives, please visit Avon's online digital archive collection at the Hagley Museum. Click here to launch the site.