MLM Success: Returning to Avon After 39 Years

MLM Company: Avon

Maria Marsala was just 14 years old when she begged her mother to sign the papers for her to be able to sell Avon door-to-door in Brooklyn, N.Y. Maria was an avid user of Avon products and thought selling them would be glamorous and fun, but more importantly she didn't want to work at her dad's beer and soda store anymore.

"There was no heat or AC and it was dirty," she recalls.

For two years Maria pounded the pavement peddling Avon products to women of all ages; but unfortunately, people just didn't take her seriously enough, forcing her to go back to her dad's store by age 16. Ambitious, but derailed by her age, Maria vowed to one day return to selling Avon products.

By the age of 21 Maria had worked her way up in the financial trading world from clerk to municipal bond trader to government bond trader, all the while continuing to order and buy Avon products for her own personal use.

Many years later, Maria got into a terrible car accident that inspired her to sit down and make a bucket list of all the things she wanted to do before she died. "I realized that life was short," she says, "and returning to selling Avon products was on that list."

So at 53, Maria kept that promise she had made to her 16-year-old self and went back to selling the products she had used all her life.

Start-up costs

When Maria rejoined the Avon selling force in 2007, she paid $10 and was given a 50 percent commission on anything she sold. Also, she was given a discount on demonstration materials. "To start in the business today, $210 would suffice," Maria says. "That would get you a variety of products and brochures to offer to clients when doing demonstrations."

Time commitment

Today, Maria runs a coaching business full time out of her home in Washington state, but spends about 8-10 hours per week working on her Avon business, which yields a couple of hundred dollars per week. The work includes meeting with clients, putting brochures into people's doorways to generate new sales, and doing demonstrations at parties or gatherings.

The majority of Maria's Avon clients find her on the Internet, or they call Avon's 1-800 number and are referred to Maria because she is close to them. "If they are not local, I call every person who buys something from me online and I send them out a welcome kit, a calendar and I find out what their skin type is. I want them to know that there is a real human being behind this business," she says.

The benefits

Maria says the upshot of selling Avon is that the name is synonymous with great products. "I don't have to do a lot of convincing."

She also likes that this business can be whatever she wants it to be. She sold it door-to-door for two years when she was a teenager, moved to three different states, launched a career as a bond trader and then returned to selling 39 years later and it still works for her.

The downside

Maria says that the catalog has so many products (lotions, makeup, skin care products, accessories, perfume etc.) in its 200 pages that it can be very overwhelming as a new representative to learn about each one, but at the same time, there is definitely something for everyone at Avon.

Also, Maria learned the hard way that you have to put a face with the business if you really want to build something successful. "Its hard to build your downline without doing face-to-face sales. The Internet, website and blog are not enough."

Advice from the Avon Lady

Eventually Maria would like to move back to the East Coast and work on building her downline, which involves recruiting, training and helping other reps that you bring on to the Avon team; but for now she is happy with her rejuvenated part-time business and being able to cross something off her bucket list.

After three years of being back in the Avon saddle, Maria has advice to offer others who are looking to work for an MLM company:

"It's a business. You are still going to have to do the same basic things to run that business. You will need checking accounts, a business plan, and you will need to invest in yourself and your business. You are the worker bee and the boss."

Maria acknowledges that running a business of any kind is hard work. "This is not a get rich quick way of life," says Maria, "but it's a great social outlet and a great way to meet friends."

Next up this series: a fourth grade teacher whose online game playing and love of chocolate resulted in her launching a career as a Dove Chocolatier.

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Chelsea Szczerba

I've been working as a referral agent for Motor Club of America which is similar to AAA. They pay you $80/ referral once your a member and refer others. They pay weekly by check or direct deposit. People are making very good money with MCA because the benefits aren't that hard to sell. Sign up for your plan at and you'll be provided with your referral link immediately. They only accept debit, credit or bank draft as payment, no prepaid debit cards. Contact me at or 3027151188

October 01 2012 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wholesale Clothing Brands,Outdoor Jackets、Free Jackets、Down Jackets、Boots、The North Face、Canada Goose、Mamort、Mammut、Arcteryx、Columbia、Supras、Nike、Ugg、Asics...

October 11 2011 at 4:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A great alternative and a competitor of Avon is Artistry. You really should look in to this. Great line of makeup and skin products. There is more in the product line besides the Artistry making it easier to make money. I can help if you are interested.

January 27 2011 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked for Avon. If you are 5 minutes late with a payment, their reps from India call you incessantly . Also the statement that you get 50% commission is a teaser to get you started for the first 3 campaigns, then it goes down to 30%. Also you have to pay for everything, from the catalogs to the bags, so you don't make as much as they tell you that you will make. It's all a sham if you are unlucky enough to be a "salesperson".

November 28 2010 at 1:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Amy's comment

You've got to be kidding. In the 17 years that I have sold, I have been late a few times due to illness. I NEVER received any type of phone calls ever! Be your District Manager and advise them of the circumstances. They will take care of you.

Every business has costs associated with running said business............

November 28 2010 at 1:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Maria Marsala


Yes, the percentage you make ranges from 20 to 50% depending on your sales.

As an extra, to help you get started, AVON does provide you with the 50% income. That gives you some money to purchase samples, etc.

No one form India or anyone else has ever called me regrding a late order. I do get an email. And there is an additional shipping fee if I am late. If you place your order online, you get two extra days to post your order.

And as in any business, everything you buy that you need to run your business does cost you extra. I often purchase plastic bags from Sams Club.

December 09 2010 at 7:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, this is not how it is for fact most people don't have this level of success....unless you live in an area with not that many representatives....To make a success of need to have a base from which to work to start...Work for a large company with lots of woman...woman who use Avon to start with....also a large family....that will be willing to buy from you...cause finding customers....really not that easy...and that whole online, refer thing...ONLY when and if you get to a certain point or spend enough of your own money....I worked it hard for over a year...I had 3 customers that bought from me almost everytime...another 2 that were more hit and miss and 10 or so that were one time hitters....

Avon works on a pyramid program...where you make you money is by getting others to sign up and pray they sell cause this you get some of that action too....and then if they get people to sign up...more for you again...and so forth and so on....

Avon is not all it's cracked up to be...Products are good...I use several of there items....but, working for them...not so much!

November 27 2010 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michelle's comment
Maria Marsala


Yes, you are right. AVON is a business and running a business isn't easy. To be profitable and run all the admin tasks too, well, it's a lot of work.

In business in general, it takes 2-3 years to be profitable. Yes, you can do it earlier than that, but 2-3 years is more of the norm -- and that's if you do the work, go to local networking/chamber events, set yourself apart from other reps, etc. etc.

It is much easier to run an AVON business if you have a core group of friends and family who will purchase from you either online or in person. OR if you work at a company that will allow you to sell "on your time". (I had an AVON rep who only sold AVON on her lunch hour or after work -- which is the right way to do it.

Yes, AVON is a direct sales or MLM company. They allows you to help other women and in return get helped yourself. But there is a lot of work you'll do with your down line and a lot of time you'll spend helping them.

And as in any company there are good things and bad things, too. Nothing is perfect.

December 09 2010 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rick Blalock

password 11900128

November 27 2010 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I made alot of money from 2002 to 2005. However I worked many hours a day. But the economy changed and my regular customers would not pay me for what they ordered. YOU CAN ONLY MAKE MONEY IF YOU BUY AND SELL VOLUMES which means lots of legwork. I also had won awards for recruiting, BUT my district manage took my downline and gave them to her daughter. She lost her district but I didn't get my downline back. My desire for AVON stopped. I cashed in my stocks and bailed. BEWARE this business is not yours. You play by their rules. find what you want on EBAY for next to nothing.

November 27 2010 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Terri's comment
Maria Marsala


I'm so sorry that you didn't get the support you truly deserve.


December 09 2010 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Barb Chase

I'm interested!!!

November 27 2010 at 10:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rick Blalock

I am interest in the company.

November 27 2010 at 9:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey Kat...
Do you live in KY? I saw the 270 area code. I think we might be neighbors and I sell Avon also.

November 27 2010 at 9:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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