Friday, April 1, 2011

A is for Avon

A is for…Avon.
No, not the Stratford-on-Avon, although that would also be a good choice for the April 1st post.
I am talking about Avon, the maker of women’s cosmetics.

At least, it used to sell  only women’s cosmetics. That was back in the 1960s, when I was a
child. Living in a rural community where cornfields surrounded our farm on all sides,
and shopping was something we did on Saturdays at the local grocery store in our small
Thank you, Toulouse!
town, cosmetics were a rarity in our house.

Then the Avon Lady came on the scene. She visited our house, with her catalog of lipsticks, lotions, perfumes, facial cream, and whatever. She carried a sharp briefcase that opened out to display the rainbow selection of everything. I stood behind my mother, looking over her shoulder, and audibly gasped whenever Mom took a minute tube of lipstick and streaked it across the back of her hand. It only took two or three streaks before she selected a color, and placed her order. Mom always chose a vivid red.
Then we kept the sample miniature lipsticks.

To some this may seem a “So what?” But, in 1960 in a remote rural setting, cosmetics
were not widely available or commonly used. Grocery stores sold groceries, meats, and
the personal items like shampoo and Kotex. (The Kotex boxes were wrapped in brown paper bags, for discreet purchases.) Drug stores sold health items and some make-up. 
Cosmetics didn’t have a big following.

The Avon Lady knocked at doors, and transformed the lives of farm women and small town housewives nationwide. They looked forward to the Avon Lady’s visit, and a chance to sit down with someone else besides the farmer husband. With coffee and pie
on the table, ladies of the house (and their daughters) saw how they could look, and it was a touch of glamour.
I salute you, Avon Ladies of the World.
Many thanks to Arlee Bird and your amazing crew, for having such a great idea, and being the instigators! 


  1. Yes, I remember the Avon ladies too. When I started to work I would save out a little stash every month to treat myself with something from the Avon book. Those little perfume creams in the pots with the pretty lids looked so nice on my dresser. I felt so girly. Now the Avon book is more like a department store, everything from cosmetics, to kitchen aids, to furniture and clothing and beyond. Not quite the same somehow.
    Great start to the A to Z

  2. What a clever idea. I'm amazed at the different ways people are tackling this challenge, loved this.

  3. Wow...what a great story!!!!! My mom used to get Avon and always gave me those little mini tube samples!! So bummed when they stopped giving those out :( I love Avon stuff...wish i had more money to spend on makeup!! I just got a free kit form Avon- their Anew creams.

  4. What a great tribute to all the Avon ladies!

  5. Growing up in a family with five girls, we loved when the Avon lady arrived at our house. Great post! Nice to meet another A-Z'er. Thanks for the comment on my blog. I'm following your beautiful blog now :))

  6. Great post. My mother-in-law is an Avon Lady. LOL!

    Found you through A to Z and am now a follower. I look forward to the rest of your posts. It's going to be a fun month :)

    Poe Family Blog
    Razzy's Corner

  7. I didn't know about Avon until I was Avon ladies in the islands in the 60s. But then I wasn't much interesting in make-up any way. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  8. In the seventies I was a wife with four young children, and the Avon Lady would come to my house. Those were the days, the one on one. The days when you invited people who were strangers at first into your home. Great memories. Thanks for this A.

  9. Who would have thought that an Avon lady could represent the world outside. Great story!

  10. Ahh Avon. My mom sold that once, I think. Living in a small rural town we don't have much though we have more now than we used to store-wise. I think my stepsister even sold a little avon a couple of years ago. Interesting blog post.

  11. This put the Avon ladies in a whole new light for me - a very positive one! Not that I didn't like them before, but guess I never really thought about what they meant to other people!

  12. Avon certainly has changed!

    really enjoyed your take on the letter B, can't wait to see what you do for C

  13. Avon - a name/company that is standing against the test of time.Just stopped by from the A-Z Challenge!!

  14. We would always order these cute, plastic little pins / broaches with a secret compartment which contained perfume, and give them to our teachers for Christmas gifts. I believe my own first perfume experiences were Avon-based, too.

    Go A-Z!


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