Avon Products (NYSE: AVP) makes and sells beauty, fashion, and home products through individual sales representatives, i.e. "the Avon lady."
Avon is probably best-known for its make-up, perfume, and skin care products; its products also include fashion jewelry and accessories and decorative housewares. There are almost 5 million Avon sales representatives selling products in more than 100 countries, according to the company.
Avon was founded in 1886 in New York City as the California Perfume Company. The first company lab was built in 1897 and the first color catalog appeared in 1905. The company's name was changed to Avon Products Inc. in 1939.
Mrs. P.F.E. Albee of Winchester, N.H., pioneered the company's direct-selling method, and the job of Avon lady has been a boon to females looking to make money or work for themselves, but the company didn't appoint a female CEO until 1999.