Bound by Tradition
In the Avon storybook, the tale of Anna Arria reads with as much traditional charm as the legendary company itself. In fact, you could say that Anna is the contemporary incarnation of the original Avon Lady.
For more than 40 years, Avon has been the only career Anna has known, and given her numerous award trips and many loyal Customers, Anna says she wouldn’t change a minute of that time. “I got started in Avon because somebody rang my door bell—imagine that—and asked if I’d like to buy or sell Avon,” says Anna, 78.
That chance encounter with Avon was the beginning of a lifelong association that is still going strong today. Born and raised in the picturesque town of Belmont, Massachusetts, where Anna and her husband of 57 years, John, still live, the couple continue to be a familiar sight delivering Avon orders together. Now a retired construction foreman, John shared his wife’s enthusiasm for Avon from the start.
“I wanted to become a Representative because I had small children and being able to work and take care of things at home caught my attention,” says Anna, the mother of four sons. When her first son, Leo, was born in the early 1950s, Anna set out selling Avon products door-to-door, leaving behind her job as a seamstress at Maidenform Bras.
Those early years with Avon brought Anna the adventure of once-a-month Sales Meeting excursions into Boston. With a professionalism and dedication to her work that was quickly noticed, Anna was frequently asked to be a team leader or to stand in as District Sales Manager.
The Avon Lady Strikes Again!
As the company evolved and the territory restrictions were lifted, Anna doubled her sales efforts. Although she didn’t drive a car, that didn’t hinder her willingness to get out on foot or public transportation to make her business succeed.
People around Belmont grew familiar with the sight of Anna, often with at least two of her boys in tow, selling Avon. “In the summertime, I’d see people out in their backyards and I’d ring their doorbells,” recalls Anna. “Once, the local police stopped me because someone called to say that an intruder was lurking in the neighbors’ yards. But all concerned disappeared once they realized it was just the Avon Lady calling.” Eventually, Anna’s children, who took turns driving Anna around town after school, convinced her to get her driver’s license.
Defining Her Own Success
Her passion for her business has garnered her more than 200 Customers and over $112,000 in President’s Council-level sales last cycle. Although some faithful Customers have relocated to distance states like Arizona, California and Texas, Anna maintains their business via phone and mail. “My Customers are friends who have become like family members, and I know they feel the same way about me,” says Anna.
Several years ago, Anna decided to rent a small space in her local supermarket where store customers can help themselves to Avon brochures. The supermarket, within walking distance from Anna’s home, has become a hub of business activity, turning store employees and shoppers into loyal Avon Customers.
Reflecting on her life, Anna is grateful for all that she has, including 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. “Look what we started, I tell my husband about our growing family,” says Anna. The same could be said about her growing Avon family as well.