All The Rage

The Image staff muses on the culture of
keeping up appearances

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No more ding-dong? Avon is tweeting!

January 29, 2011 |  7:00 am


I remember back in the day when the Avon Lady would call on my mother. They'd have a cup of coffee, chat and pore through the catalog. Usually, Mrs. Woods (aka Avon Lady) would give the eager 8-year-old me a few lipstick and fragrance samples ... stoking the next generation of customers.

Fast-foward: My friend Patti is an account manager by day and a Mary Kay rep by night (and weekends). We are both busy, busy, busy -- no time for leisurely coffee at home in the middle of the afternoon -- so most of our transactions usually take place on the Web. She sends me catalogs over the Internet, where I can not only select products, pay and schedule their delivery, but also try on virtual looks. If I run out of lip gloss or eyeliner, I shoot her an e-mail, and voila, I have the product in hand in no time.

Welcome to the new face of direct sales: Home-based beauty companies are thriving as they rely more on new technologies (the Internet, Twitter, iPhone aps) to stay young, accessible and relevant. Our Melissa Magsaysay took a look at this new world and found it intriguing.

-- Susan Denley 

Photo: Independent director Arlene Lizarraga, left, sprays Julia Castaneda with a Votre Vu product during a home party in Whittier in October 2010. The line, created in France, sells big with women who want to unlock "the secret to French skin care secrets." Credit: Christina House / For The Times