I was really intrigued to be interviewing a millennial working for Avon. In all honesty, Avon, for me at least, was pretty much associated with my mom’s generation. That was until I was 16, and .Mark happened. Avon’s 2003 launch of .Mark was a memorable one for me. I’d get the catalogs and beg my mom to let me buy makeup. At one point, I had a job at Six Flags America, so I would order my own. Yet, while Avon figured out how to stay ahead of the curve, predicting the millennial market and what we’d need, I still found myself in shock when I found out I’d be interviewing an Avon millennial Representative. The legacy brand still emotes an attachment to my mom’s generation that I don’t think I’ll be able to shake, and that’s not a bad thing at all. So, hearing Ivanna Diaz’s story about how she has become a girl boss at 25 through working with Avon was one I couldn’t wait to share.
Below is Avon Representative, Ivanna Diaz’s beauty story.
I mean, I feel like because I’m a millennial and I’m in the direct selling industry, it’s kind of my duty to share it with everyone and let them know that anything’s possible. You can be a total girl-boss at 25, and really have control over your future. I feel like a lot of people our age, they tend to think that they have to do what everyone else tells them to do. [They think they need] the nine to five job. But I think people don’t look beyond what the norm is. Avon is not a normal job, but that’s why I don’t mind being a part of these calls because I feel like it’s an opportunity to inspire other people.
I think it’s inspiring that you followed in your mother’s Avon footsteps and you watched your mom quit a job …because she was feeling unappreciated.
I’ve always known Avon. My mom joined Avon when I was 4, so from a very young age, I was familiar with the brand. I pretty much was with her on her journey through Avon because she would take my sister and I to market nights. She would have meetings and we would be there passing out pamphlets and helping her with her presentations and doing little displays. It was always incorporated into the family. In the beginning, I saw Avon as a chore. As little kids, we didn’t really want to work. But at the same time, we knew that when we helped our mom, we were going to get rewarded for it. We would either go to the movies or my mom would take us to Disneyland, or we would go on a family trip.
We worked together, but then we also got to reap the benefits together, so I always had a really good view of Avon. But I never really imagined myself being a Representative. I always wanted to do something creative. I told my mom I wanted to do my own thing. I remember saying, “I know you want me to join Avon, Mom, but I want to fulfill my dream.”
So I would help her and I would still go to school for art, but I was beginning to realize that nothing’s ever handed to you. You can go to school for whatever you want, but that does not guarantee that you’re going to have a high paying job right after.
When I started college, I became a Representative because my mom thought that it would be good for the flexibility and my knowledge of the products. I already knew how to do everything because I’d observed her my entire life. I thought, “It’s a piece of cake.” By the time I graduated from college, I realized I was making more money and I had more opportunities with the Avon business than what other people were offering me.
I eventually found a job last year in the Arts, as an instructor. It’s a non-profit, so I feel like I’m still giving back to the community. I took the job and I told myself that when my Avon income gets greater than what the studio is paying me, I’m going to quit and just do Avon full-time. I’m proud to say that when I got my W-2s [a few weeks ago], I realized I made more money with my Avon business than the studio last year.
Congrats! Do you and your mom run your Avon businesses as a duo?
When I first started out, we did a lot of things together because I was still learning from her. She’s the one that brought me into the company. I also started to bring in my version of things. I started doing more social media; my mom’s more face-to-face. I’m definitely teaching her more about the online world. It’s good for us because we’re learning how to balance each other out. We should still have that face-to-face relationship with our customers and our team members, but there’s definitely a lot of opportunity with tapping into the online side of the business.
How has Avon shifted your perspective, especially being a woman and being your own boss?
I’ve developed more self-confidence. I feel a lot more comfortable building relationships with people and not being afraid to strike up a conversation. I think a lot of people in our society tend to keep to themselves.
We forget to say hello to the person walking down the street. I think this company has really helped me become empowered and not be afraid to branch out and talk to people.
How do you think Avon has mastered being inclusive? Because there’s been a lot of backlash against other brands that haven’t been.
I think that they’ve done a great job. Not only are we in the U.S., but also we are a global brand. You can go all over the world and mostly everyone knows what Avon is. Almost every culture knows about Avon, so I think that also helps us get that reputation of being inclusive. As Avon is a global brand, some businesses may decide that they want to partner up with the company, which means they may be required to send some employees over to the US or to another country to meet up with executives and company owners. I’ve heard that this could be quite a hard process, as you need to apply for an L-1 Visa or something similar depending on which country you’re traveling too. This will allow you temporary residence in that country so you can complete any business transactions that you need to. This could help to expand brands like Avon even further, as we’ve already come a long way. I remember less than…maybe five years ago, they added more colors to our foundations on the lighter and darker end, and that was a really proud moment.
You are really becoming your own boss. What do you see happening after this?
Right now I’m really thinking about the future. My husband and I eventually want to have kids. We still want to have experiences and travel and we want to buy a home. So, I’m definitely trying to continue up the ladder, just so we’re able to afford the things that we’ve dreamed about.
Now that my husband has more interest in helping me, we’re doing a lot more things together, so eventually, we want to just be able to do Avon. That way we can have the flexibility that we desire.
You know, you really took your destiny into your own hands. I think that’s super empowering, and I’m in complete admiration of you.
Thank you. I just feel like it’s better that you try it out than look back and say, “I should have done that. I should have tried it.”