Abstract: Selling Fashion and Beauty: Avon International

Emanuela Scarpellini


The beauty industries certainly played a major role in "fashion" and constitute an important branch of business, which has received little attention before now. Among them, Avon Products has a long history, dating back to the California Perfume Company in 1886. Thanks to a door-to-door selling method and the recruitment of women as sales representatives, the company was able to expand in the United States and become one of the leading cosmetics companies in the early twentieth century. In the postwar period Avon Products started a new strategy of international expansion, particularly in Latin America and Western Europe, with an overall great success. This paper will focus on the international strategy of the company, in particular marketing strategy, in order to expand into different countries. Were the model of beauty, brand image, and products the same as in the United States? The paper will analyze these aspects and then focus on a case study, Italy. This work is based on an extensive research in the Hagley Archives, existing literature, Italian archives, and oral interviews. The goal is to understand the history of the company, its accomplishments and the many adaptations, hybridizations, and resistance that it faced during its long international expansion.