For Australians Avon is no longer calling. The direct-selling beauty brand will be ceasing operations in Australia and New Zealand within the next twelve months. A shock announcement that took most by surprise, especially their own representatives who sadly learned of such reports via a crass and impersonal social media message. So was this simply a case of death by online shopping or simply failing to remain relevant in todays fast-paced society of unhealthy consumerism?
In my opinion I’d say both, with a firm focus on the latter.
To be honest I hadn’t heard a single thing about Avon for years now; maybe even a good decade. Only until recently has this brand reemerged and began popping up in my feed. Thanks to reviews from wonderful bloggers like Shireen of Reflection of Sanity, I was reacquainted with Avon. Her glowing reviews about their lipsticks had me reminiscing about my younger years and my own personal experience with this brand.
You see, Avon was the first “label” beauty brand that I used as a teenager. Originally attained through a friends mother, then through another friends sister. For many years I started my day with a milky white pressed powder and a green correction cream I had no idea how to properly utilise. We spent math classes perusing catalogues and drawing up “wishlists” of the products we wanted to purchase. While price points were highly affordable, most were still unattainable with the scant amount of allowance I received. My all time favourite Avon product was their Little Black Dress parfum (a scent I only now discovered remains in production). And if I am honest, quite possibly my favourite perfume yet. Sorry Dolce & Gabanna’s Light Blue. But we parted ways as I neared my early twenties, mainly because I wanted to be more “adult” and overall their products and brand started to feel a little dated. Especially with Clinique riding the waves of popularity and MAC’s Viva Glam glamorous advertorial campaigns in the picture.
Avon’s direct selling approach always felt laborious and far too housewife too. While the brand was built on marketing to the common housewife of the sixties, times change and so do attitudes. Having to arrange for a catalogue drop-off at your front door has lost it’s magic. Back then the catalogue itself began to feel redundant with its pedestrian images and lack of real-life swatches or samples. And of course, far too tedious to write down codes on your order form too. Without the luxury of the internet and accessibility of cell phones, Avon’s catalogue meets and household shopping parties had relevance. They were a perfect way for women to socialise and a new way to shop. But today, not so much. The process of going through a third party manually is overly unproductive. And makeup parties on a Friday night? Who can be bothered attending and purchasing when you can’t even walk away with physical products in your hands?
This entire process is just too obsolete in todays time poor population.
And to hear that such practices remained baffles me. Avon’s demise down South doesn’t really come as a surprise with todays consumer overly acquainted with the luxury of “now”. But had they reinvented themselves and their approach, would they still be going strong in this part of the world? Perhaps in having an additional operations team based in Australia overseeing and creating relevant content? Well, we’ll never really know. The thing is direct selling hasn’t expired. Even with the influx of fresh entrepreneurs and new companies emerging daily. Enterprises like It works have proven direct selling formulas are still relevant with some tweaking and are as booming as ever. It goes to show how imperative acceptance and constant implementation and revision to the changes in market are. Todays appetite and power of social media and its influencers can’t be ignored. Nor can convenience which today truly reigns supreme in business.