Avon provides flexible schedule and a way to meet people

AT WORK

October 19, 2005|By NANCY JONES-BONBREST | NANCY JONES-BONBREST,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Valerie D. Townes

Sales representative, Avon, Baltimore

Age: -- 46

Years in business: -- three

Salary: -- $12,000 last year

How she got started: -- Before working for Avon, Townes was as a stay-at-home mother who home-schooled two sons. She first became associated with Avon after losing 40 pounds through its wellness and weight loss program three years ago. She then sought to become a saleswoman for the company.

The job: -- Townes works full-time for Avon. Her schedule is flexible and she reserves Tuesday as her off day. She works out of both her home and the regional Avon sales office on the basement level of Mondawmin Mall. She sells Avon products and also works as an advance unit leader overseeing a team of about 75 other sales representatives. She is also an Avon certified beauty adviser.

Typical day: -- She begins by reviewing sales in her group and returning phone messages and e-mails. She then usually heads to the regional office, where she checks messages and gears up with members of her team to hit the streets, delivering between 300 and 500 brochures about every other day to local neighborhoods. Townes said she has about 50 to 100 clients, whom she works with on a regular basis. "I like for my customers to feel like I'm their personal shopper. I don't want them to think I'm an order taker."

Sales: -- Townes makes a percentage of her sales as well as the sales of those in her team. Last year, her group had sales totaling $150,000. She sold $22,000 of that total.

The good: -- "I like the people. And I like the teaching when I'm working with the representatives and the customers. I always told my husband I wanted to be a motivational speaker. Being around them and watching each person get excited and succeed, if I can have a hand in that, it's made my day."

The hardest part of the job: -- "To keep people motivated and make sure everyone gets the training they need."

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