- Avon, originally known as The California Perfume Company (CPC), was created in 1886 by David Hall McConnell.
- David H. McConnell, as he is known, entered the business life at the age of 16 as a traveling salesman for the Union Publishing Company of Chicago, eventually buying and taking over the business himself.
- Initially, McConnell believed that the company of his dreams would be selling books. He often gave his women customers a gift of inexpensive perfume with their purchases and soon realized that his perfume was more popular with the women than his books!
- Inspired by his former employer’s glowing reports of life in a western state, McConnell named his New York-based business the California Perfume Company.
- McConnell not only created the perfumes, he was also the California Perfume Company’s bookkeeper, cashier, correspondent, shipping clerk, and office boy — and he did it all from a single room measuring just 20×26 feet.
- McConnell was the son of Irish immigrants and grew up on a farm. Yet, it was this young man from rural New York, a visionary leader decades ahead of his time, who would become a pioneer in empowering women, offering women a rarity in the 19th century in America…the opportunity to create and manage their own businesses with a chance at achieving financial independence.
To McConnell, the product and the people were everything to the company, and he dedicated himself to ensuring that both would be successful. In addition to inspiring the Representatives, McConnell also wanted to encourage the company’s employees with the same positive spirit. A century before it would become customary for companies to institute employee incentive programs and hire hordes of consultants to make sure employees were happy, motivated and productive, McConnell knew just how to rally the troops. The motivational leader created a set of guiding principles that are still the heart and spirit of Avon today. They include:
- Providing an earnings opportunity so individuals can achieve financial independence and enjoy all that comes with such an accomplishment.
- Recognizing everyone’s unique contributions.
- Giving back to the communities Avon serves.
- Offering the highest-quality products with a guarantee of satisfaction.
- Maintaining and cherishing the “friendly spirit of Avon.”McConnell believed strongly in the potential of people and that in that potential lay the power of possibility and, eventually, success.
“If we stop and look over the past and then into the future, we can see that the possibilities are growing greater and greater every day; that we have scarcely begun to reach the proper results from the field we have before us.”
– David H. McConnell, Avon’s Founder