Mom Profile: Rosemarie Kahn of Avon

Avon has long been a company that has given back worldwide.  The Avon foundation for women has donated a great deal of money to the University of Colorado for their breast cancer research program.  A huge number of moms in Colorado Springs participate in the annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

The Avon Foundation Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence program has been a charity partner in the Wild West Relay. 

Avon has contributed a lot of money locally for both the research of breast cancer and the fight against domestic violence and many moms in Colorado Springs have been the beneficiaries of their generosity.

Avon also provides women with a great opportunity: from the start, the company embraced the revolutionary concept of women’s economic empowerment, and this continues to be the driving force for Avon.  There are so many moms in Colorado Springs that use Avon as a tool to improve their economic situation while at the same time the company uses it’s profits to benefit women in Colorado Springs and worldwide.

One such mom who has taken advantage of the opportunities offered by Avon is Rosemarie Kahn.  You can see a video of Rosemarie with Suze Orman here.

Rosemarie, tell us about yourself.

My name is Rosemarie Kahn. I am a wife, a mother and a work at home parent.  Ever since I was a teenager I had dreams of having my own business.  I tried quite a few before finding my perfect fit.  What’s most funny is that when I finally became an Avon Representative I was primarily interested in doing it as a hobby because none of the other businesses I had ventured into worked out as I had planned.  I figured this one would not either.  That was 14 years ago and now my once hobby has turned into a profitable business  allowing me to leave the 9-5 world.

Tell us about your business.

Avon is a direct selling multi-level business.  The cost to join is currently only $10.  Most reps sell directly through the catalog although you can also hold home parties, sell through your Avon website or at vendor tables.  I was not an Avon customer for long prior to joining the company.  When I was first married, I was looking for ways to save money since I now had a mortgage and other household expenses.  Every couple of weeks, an Avon rep would leave a brochure on my door.  Although I was not an Avon customer prior to that, the affordable prices and wide variety of products sparked my interest.  So I gave them a try and found I liked what I ordered.  I thought, “why not sell it myself”.  At the very least I could receive the Rep discount and if I sold it to a few friends I could cover the cost of my own products.  It was after attending my first district sales meeting that I realized the potential of the company.  I was very impressed with the sales levels of the representatives in the room and it encouraged me to take the opportunity more seriously.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

My biggest challenge was learning how not to be overwhelmed with the juggling act.  As my business was growing, I was still working full-time.  I was putting in a lot of working hours between both jobs.  Through trial and error I learned to manage my time better.  For instance, I currently offer to pay my customer’s tax if they agree to pick up their order as opposed to me delivering it.  So although I lose on some of my profit, it saves me gas and time.  I now truly have a business that I can work around the needs of my family.  The flexibility is very important to me and one of the reasons I love being my own boss.  My ultimate goal was to be able to stay at home once I became a mom while still contributing to our family’s expenses and now the dream is becoming a reality.

What has come the easiest for you?

Building a strong customer base actually was easier than I thought it would be.  Once I was committed to making this business work I made sure to hand out approximately 100 of the brochures every two weeks and little by little my customer list grew.  The first year as a Rep I sold over $10,000 in products.  Still the income I earned was not enough to give up my full time job so I simultaneously became a Leadership Rep.  In Leadership, you start to build your own Avon team.  You simply find other people who are interested in selling Avon and help them build a business.  Actually, this is the aspect of my business I enjoy the most.  I love to train and encourage my team’s reps and help them meet their goals and dreams.  It’s a business of giving and you are rewarded based on helping others.

Where do you advertise…or do you?

I advertise, according to Avon policies, in many different areas including online and print ads.  I also have done mailings, emails, vendor tables, etc.  I am always open to new ways to promote my business.

What advice would you give to a mom who is interested in starting her own business?

There are a few things I would suggest to a new mom looking to start her own business. 

  • First, be aware of what it takes and don’t expect to get rich overnight.  Being a business woman is completely different  that being a paid employee.  It takes time to build a successful business.  If you don’t keep this in mind you may be discouraged early on.  Also it takes consistent work but that does not mean you can’t have fun.
  • Make sure to schedule “business time”.  You are your own boss but that does not mean you can constantly give yourself vacation days.  If you want to see profits then you have to “show up at work”.  Many work from home jobs will allow you to combine work with family time.  It’s a great thing for me that I can go deliver books and orders with my 5 year old at my side.  We have fun doing it together.
  • Set goals.  This is really important.  One of my first short term goals was to hire a cleaning woman for my home.  I carefully calculated what I needed to earn to make that possible.  Within three months I was able to hire someone.  Being aware of how much I needed to sell in a certain time frame encourage me to hand out the appropriate amount of brochures to make that happen.  Once you hit that goal start another.
  • Don’t let a little obstacle stand in your way.  If sales are not as good as you expect, don’t immediately assume it’s not going to work.  Remember it takes time.  You need to consistently market your business and get your hands on as much information as possible to help you better understand the concept of small business.  Go to the library or book store and read books on the subject.  Search the internet for related materials.  Just because you work from home does not mean you should not be following all the basics of how to be successful.  If you are serious then the only difference between owning a restaurant, retail store or service business means that your address is simply the same place you live.
  • Get the word out.  Make up business cards, flyers, advertise and let everyone know of your business or service and be proud about it whether someone is open to what you are offering or not.
  • Most important, be real.  Listen to your potential customer’s needs and not just your own.  Sincerely recommend products or services that will help their lives.
  • If you are someone who is still looking into different work from home businesses make sure to look at who your market will be and how accessible they are to you.  If you are considering joining a direct selling/mlm company do a little research and seek out a representative of that company that you would enjoy working with.

Many thanks to Rosemarie for sharing a company that has had such a positive local impact on women and moms.  Thanks to her also for her wonderful advice for moms you might be interested in working from home so they can continue to be stay at home moms.

Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

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