Beauty for a purpose!


From being a door-to-door salesman, David H. McConnell created a beauty brand which is now a part of São Paulo-headquartered conglomerate, Natura. The brand is widely acclaimed for empowering women worldwide. 


Avon’s founder David H. McConnell began his career selling books as a door-to-door salesman in New York who offered beauty products as a gift. He soon realised customers were more interested in the free perfume samples than the books. That was a game changer. From a small office in New York City, McConnell mixed Avon’s first fragrances himself and recruited a team of women to be sales representatives. It was a radical business model in 1886 but McConnell believed in the power of community and was passionate about giving women economic freedom.

The company was a initially named “California Perfume Company.” “We were founded to provide an opportunity to earn and learn – bringing economic freedom for representatives so they can shape their own future. We carry this spirit with us today.. supporting women across the world to build their own business.  But there is still more work to do.. millions of women and girls are unable to fulfil their dreams due to economic, social and political barriers or simply because of their gender” per the official website.

In May 1894 Alexander D. Henderson became vice-president and treasurer and helped shape the company’s policies and growth. In 1897 they built a laboratory in Suffern, New York. And on May 3, 1909 California Perfume Company moved to 31 Park Place, New York. On January 28, 1916 it was incorporated in New York and McConnell, Henderson and William Scheele were listed as company officials. On October 6, 1939 California Perfume Company changed its name to Avon Products Inc. The company became famous worldwide following the popularity of its campaign in 1954: “Ding Dong Avon Calling.” By 1978 the number of Avon Ladies crossed the one million milestone.

In 1990 Avon entered China and adopted a retail model there in 1998 after China banned direct selling. The following year Andrea Jung becomes Avon’s first female CEO. The next century witnessed the company embarking on a path of mergers and acquisitions. Avon acquired Silpada- a direct seller of silver jewellery- in 2010 for reported $650 million. Two years later Coty Inc. offered $24.75 a share for Avon but the deal didn’t materialise. In March 2016 Cerberus Capital Management reportedly paid $435 million for preferred stock in Avon Products as part of a deal initiated in December 2015 when Avon sold 80.1 percent of its North American Business to Cerberus for reported $170 million. The total value of the deal was estimated at $605 million.

In 2016 Avon completed the separation of its United States, Canada and Puerto Rico business as New Avon LLC which also trades with the “Avon” name. Jan Zijderveld was appointed CEO in February 2018. As part of a three-year plan Avon Products moved its headquarters to London. In 2019 New Avon LLC entered into an agreement with LG Household and Health Care Ltd., which acquired the cosmetics business for reported $125 million.

In 2019 Natura acquired Avon Products for reported $2bn via a share swap creating the world’s fourth-largest beauty company with a redoubled focus on direct sales. Natura holds 76 per cent of the combined business with over $10 billion in annual revenue, according to a company release. Following the acquisition, the São Paulo-headquartered conglomerate owns The Body Shop, Aesop and Avon Products. ‘The combination of Avon, Natura, The Body Shop and Aesop significantly amplifies the reach of a multi-channel, multi-brand group that will be an unparalleled leader in the Direct-to-Consumer space, bringing beauty to over 200 million consumers across the world anytime, anywhere, every day through multiple channels, touch-points and iconic brands’ states Avon’s official website.

The next step was to appoint Angela Cretu CEO of Avon to lead the next era of Avon’s transformation and take responsibility for business operations outside of Latin America and for the oversight of the Avon brand globally. Recently Avon launched a new campaign ‘Watch Me Now‘ to establish its relevance to today’s shopper.

‘We are taking what we’ve learnt over the past 135 years about the power of relationships and social selling and applying that in today’s context — using new digital tools that enable our beauty advisors to earn flexibly today across their social platform’ CEO Angela Cretu stated in a company release.  ‘We’re continuing to innovate and evolve through investment in research, product development and people to ensure beauty is democratic and accessible to all…’

Sustainability is one of the company’s pillars. ‘We’re on an ambitious journey to reduce the packaging our of products, move to 100% sustainable paper, and increase use of recycled and recyclable materials.  We’re working towards more renewable and natural ingredients and biodegradable formulas for our beauty products.  And we’ve committed to full traceability and/or certification of our critical supply chains by 2025′ reads a note on the official website.

Today the one-to-one relationship defined by high quality and personal service is still at the core of Avon’s business but it’s enhanced by a host of digital tools that allow their Representatives and their customers to connect, communicate, share and shop.


Avon envisions beauty democracy: inclusive beauty that is available to all. The global beauty brand is passionate about keeping women at the forefront of beauty.. creating products that embrace the hottest global beauty trends and cutting-edge technology alongside everyday essentials that will continue to be the staples of every woman’s beauty kit. Moreover, right from its early years, the beauty band has a radical business model at its heart: the power of community and giving women economic freedom.

Mission Statement

“Our mission is to improve the lives of women globally. In our core cause areas of Breast Cancer and Violence Against Women, we aim to accelerate progress, accountability and discovery, while also reducing the social stigma that sometimes keeps these issues in the shadows. We take a woman-centric approach on all projects to break traditional barriers and build a better future for women, because we know that the greater the support, the more empowered women feel to take control of their health and safety.”

Key Team

CEO Angela Cretu takes responsibility for business operations outside of Latin America and the oversight of the Avon brand globally. She brings over twenty years of experience at Avon in various senior executive roles, most recently as Group Vice President and General Manager, Central Europe. Before that she successfully led the Eastern Europe and Africa and Middle East clusters. Angela has great passion for Avon, its representatives, customers and employees, and has been deeply involved in Avon’s drive for women’s economic empowerment. Other members of the leadership team include Sipelelo Lityi (Global Lead For Avon Pride) Werner Botes (Purpose and Sustainability Communications Manager) Tracey Powers ( Head of Sales, Avon UK) and Ximena Zaratiegui (Digital Channel Specialist).

Awards and Recognition

* Editor’s Choice Award at the 2022 Global Green Beauty Awards * Avon China has been awarded as 2021 Best Inclusive company by Shero * Avon Croatia won Cosmo Beauty Awards 2021 in two categories * Avon got four Product Awards in Glamour Best of Beauty 2021 * Angela Cretu was titled Champion of Change in Business Awards 2021 * Angela Cretu won CEO of the Year in the SABRE EMEA Awards 2021 * Avon Russia has won Best Campaign 2020 for campaign against gender-based violence * Avon Distillery Purify Oil has been awarded an Elle Beauty Award in Taiwan * Avon won Good Housekeeping Reader’s Choice Award for its ANEW Vitamin C Serum * Cannes Lions Award for ‘You’re Not Alone’ campaign from the Avon Institute in Brazil * Avon Brazil won Prêmio ECO 2019 Awards for positive impact * Avon Romania’s “Time for your own time” campaign won Gold EFFIE in Branded Content