Can you really make a living selling Avon? Meet Haley Garrett, a 21-year-old Asheville woman who put herself through UNC Chapel Hill selling cosmetics. MomsCharlotte.com threw a few questions her way via email about what she learned as an Avon rep:
One of my best college friends actually introduced me to mark and Avon (mark is an Avon line). She had been selling for a couple years and absolutely loved it. I would hear her talking about these events and mark parties she would host. I was always envious because her part-time job involved hosting parties full of fashion and makeup and hors d'oeuvres while I was working hard in an office somewhere!
Obviously, mark's products are great and something I was interested in buying, but what really set the brand apart as something I actually wanted to represent and work for was its philantrhopic involvement. With the m.powerment campaign, an initiative working to prevent teen realtionship violence, I knew that mark was something that I not only enjoyed, but could personally believe in and be proud of.
Q: How well did you do as a cosmetics saleswoman?
I will admit, I was sort of intimidated at first. I had never done direct selling before and there were so many products to learn about, but mark does a great job orienting its new reps. ... I have had a lot of success, allowing me to bring in supplemental income on my own hours during college which is priceless with my busy schedule.
I think the biggest assets someone can have are old-fashioned people skills. If you are outgoing, personable and excited about fashion and makeup, you already have everything you need to have a thriving business. So many of my sales and customers have come from random conversations out at social events in my daily life, where other girls will compliment my outfit or ask how I've done my eye makeup and it's the perfect segue into a friendly chit chat about the brand. I find that no aggressive recruitment strategies are needed; when people like you and trust you, they will seek you out on their own.
Q: You're now a mentor to other salesgirls. What's the No. 1 lesson you teach them?
Like I said, I always tell new reps that the best strategy is to draw interest by wearing and using the products themselves.
Q: How do you hope to use this experience in your job search?
Sales experience is priceless on a resume. It shows a fundamental understanding of the business world, and the self-employed nature of it automatically communicates personal initiative and people skills. My experience at mark landed me an amazing internship in New York City last summer and has opened my eyes to the fact that a successful career doesn't have to be a boring or straight path -- you can take your skills and use them in something you love!
My immediate hope is to return to New York this summer for Mark's graduate intern program and proceed to law school.