Sophia Smith brings full-throttle passion to her work and play – and it’s paying off.
There’s no such thing as your typical Avon Representative, and Sophia Smith is wonderful proof of that. When she’s not tending to her hugely successful Avon business, she’s biking along the southern Texas coastline on her 1999 Harley-Davidson “Custom Softail Night Train” motorcycle.
When she feels especially daring and free, she takes off her helmet and lets the wind blow through her striking blond ringlets. As a member of the Victoria, Texas, Harley Owners Group since 1997, Sophia has logged many happy hours riding her shiny black bike. She and her husband, Randy, who introduced Sophia to the joys of motorcycle riding, have traveled all over the country together. Five years ago they rode to Milwaukee—the birthplace of Harley-Davidson—to join in the 95th-anniversary celebration of the famous company.
And that’s just a snapshot of this high-charging, adventurous Senior Executive Unit Leader who has achieved over $7 million in Total Unit Sales last year. Members of her Downline have described her as a “dynamo” and a “tornado,” and as a woman whose energy and enthusiasm fit in perfectly with the business dynamics of Avon. And how does Sophia do it? Sheer tenacity. She has a passion for making a difference in people’s lives and a talent for networking that has truly paid off. “I’ve worked with Sophia during the past 13 years and she is the hardest-working Representative I’ve ever met,” says her former District Sales Manager Bertha Vargas from Laredo. “She sets high goals for her Downline and makes sure she follows up with them on a campaign-to-campaign basis.”
Early Signs of Independence
Sophia’s ability to achieve her goals—no matter how unconventional—was evident at an early age. After high school, Sophia majored in applied sciences at the Waco Technical Institute, and then trained to become a chef, completing her culinary internship at the prestigious Cordon Bleu in London. Two years after returning home, she was off to foreign lands again when she joined the Merchant Marines as a cook.
Back on dry land, Sophia worked as a waitress in her hometown of Victoria, and became a part-time Avon Representative in 1986. “The restaurant was the perfect environment for me to prospect for Customers,” she says. In fact, Sophia’s Avon business was going so well she was soon fired for spending more time taking Avon orders than food orders. But she didn’t mind leaving the restaurant business. “I made more money on the sale of Avon products than I did on food and tips,” says Sophia. Plus, getting fired allowed her the chance to focus all her attention on her Avon business.
Avon Business is a Family Affair
By 1991, with three young children to raise, Karen, 3, Zachary, 4, and Jeffrey, 5, Sophia applied her discipline, determination and independence to her Avon business and used the Power of 3 to increase sales. With the help of Randy and her children, Sophia canvassed her neighborhood for sales, and placed Avon brochures in the hands of friends—and strangers—she met along the way. “Because people were constantly moving in and out of the neighborhood, we were successfully prospecting on a regular basis,” she says. Nowadays, Sophia is quick to point out the importance of the What’s New as a resource tool. “Representatives should always read up on the latest products available to Customers and promote the Top 7 Avon brands: Anew, Avon Solutions, Beyond Color, Avon Color, Avon Fragrance, Avon Personal Care and mark what Customers need on a daily basis.”
After a year as a full-time Representative, Sophia took advantage of the Leadership opportunity and has never been at a loss for finding new ways to create more business. She’s a regular exhibitor at area job fairs, for example, and she is also a member of the chamber of commerce, where she networks with other professionals. She relies on these and other chances to market Avon products and to scout for Customers and Recruits. Sophia currently oversees a Downline of more than 700 and out of training centers in Victoria, San Antonio and Corpus Christi. Randy is her co-applicant and together they make compelling motivational speakers. “It’s a plus when couples can work together to show the opportunity of the Leadership business,” says Sophia.
Today, Sophia shows no sign of slowing down. “I have the same amount of enthusiasm I’ve always had for this business,” she says. “I educate my Downline about the importance of selling $150 worth of our Top 10 brands every campaign. When that happens, Representatives’ paychecks will be bigger, their sales will be higher and they’re more likely to become President’s Club members.
Dreams Come True
Sophia continues to take pleasure in biking through the bucolic countryside of her hometown. She also enjoys the view from her new Ford SuperCharged Harley-Davidson F-150 100th Anniversary truck as she looks over the three commercial properties she purchased with her Avon Leadership earnings. Randy is also benefiting from his wife’s success: Sophia recently surprised him with a brand-new Harley so he can join her on her rides in style.
“There’s something about pushing yourself beyond the normal boundaries of life—like the thrill of riding along the open highway on a high-powered motorcycle—that makes you feel empowered,” she says. “It’s the same with Leadership. You need to have big dreams and the extra courage to make them a reality.”