Nobody’s home: Storied D2D cosmetics company, Avon, sells to Natura Cosmeticos

Natura Cosmeticos just purchased Avon, its biggest direct marketing beauty rival, in a takeover deal that could help the struggling cosmetics OG find its way back to success.

May 24, 2019

Natura Cosmeticos, a Brazilian beauty conglomerate, purchased Avon, the iconic London-based company known for its vast network of door-to-door-knockin’, ‘Avon calling!’ saleswomen.

But lately, it’s been more like “Avon struggling” as Avon and other old guard (generally male-run) cosmetics companies struggle to compete in the Glossier era.

On to the next chapter…

Since 1886, Avon (formerly the California Perfume Company) has used a direct-marketing system that, when launched, was one of the few models that offered women a chance to work outside the home.

Today, Avon is still the 5th-largest beauty company in the world, generating $5.5B globally in 2018 with a sales team of 6.4m reps worldwide.

Still, D2D can’t contend with D2C

But, like many legacy companies, Avon fell behind on keeping up with consumer behavior as beauty startups like Glossier (which is now worth $1B) slid into people’s dm’s.

And while Avon’s stance of removing animal testing on its products in the ’80s was far ahead of the curve, startups these days, like Beautycounter (which creates products free of over 1.3k known toxins or questionable ingredients), are taking the “do no harm” ethos a step further.

Natura could help Avon ladies get back in the saddle

With the sale to Natura, owner of high-end retail shops like Aesop and The Body Shop, Natura plans to use its vast distribution channels of 3.2k stores to sell Avon products throughout Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

But Natura salespeople pound the pavement as well, and as social and economic trends in Brazil continue to protect the direct sales model from the threat of online retail, this could be the light at the end of the tunnel for ol’ Avon.

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