Of the countless vehicles plying the Philippines’ busiest streets and highways, there are only 13 units of Honda City, 4 Mistubishi Montero Sports and one Mercedes-Benz bearing the shade known as “Avon Lipstick Red.”
Patented in the LTO by Avon Philippines, the fiery color is the appropriate choice for cars rewarded to 18 of the beauty company’s top sales leaders as incentives for creating leaders out of their downlines.
“There is nothing more special than a car,” avers Bob Briddon, Avon senior vice president and president, Asia Pacific, in a special lunch held at Makati City’s Dusit Thani Hotel to honor the Avon sales leaders.
“No other direct selling company can say that you could win a car—and not just one or two cars, but 18 cars! That just goes to show the strength and power of the wonderful company we work for.”
“So wherever you go with your new car, drive it with pride,” he reminds those in attendance, “because you represent Avon whenever you drive your car.”
For Mercedita Evangelista, recipient of the coveted Mercedes-Benz, a car is just “dessert” for 40 years of hard work and perseverance. Originally from Manila, she and her husband moved to Davao City because of his job. After joining Avon through a friend and starting out as a franchise dealer, the sales leader today has not only been able to send her three kids to good schools, she put one up herself, in the John Paul II College of Davao. Working for Avon has also brought the family together: the children now help out with the business, as does her husband, who looks after the school.
“Work hard, be sincere, honest, and have hope,” says Mercedita with a smile when asked how women can follow in her footsteps. “It helps that I joined a company known for its quality products.”
Mitsubishi Montero Sport winner Dulce de Leon agrees. “Avon is already a world-famous beauty brand, so you only have to do your part,” she says. Thirty-five years ago, the secretary in an adjustments firm did just that when a colleague recruited her into the direct selling company. “I only joined so I could learn how to use makeup,” she admits with a laugh. Then she discovered the kind of money she could make from selling makeup: P2,000 a month versus her P4 daily wage at the time.
Ultimately, it was family that pushed Dulce to leave her job and join the direct selling company fulltime. Years ago, her youngest child, a daughter, was so sick, doctors could barely feel her pulse. “They had to put her dextrose on her forehead,” Dulce recalls grimly. Once she focused her attention on her daughter and three other kids, Dulce discovered a knack for sales. “I was very timid, I didn’t know I could be good at it,” she says.
Very good is more like it. Thanks to Avon, all of Dulce’s kids have graduated from exclusive schools, while one is completing a master’s degree in San Francisco. The family owns four buildings, three of which have Avon stores. Meanwhile, her husband has opted for early retirement from his job in a multinational company to help supervise their thriving business.
“Everybody will tell you that you need sipag at tiyaga to be successful,” says Dulce, “but I’d like to add one more quality you need to succeed: that’s diskarte.”
Filipino for “street-smart” and “technique,” diskarte was what Honda City recipient Mila P. Flores drew upon during her early years as a certified beauty consultant for Avon. “I called people from the phone book, and I recruited people from the jeepney and tricycle stops,” she says of how she sold her wares. “Some people said no, but some said yes, too, so it wasn’t a total loss.”
Coming from humble beginnings and with a family to support, Mila recalls making P10 from eyeshadow, the first Avon item she ever sold. Though a modest commission, it was enough to inspire and motivate. In a matter of years, she was making millions and reaping the rewards of her hard work.
The family now lives in their own house, and every summer, she, her husband, and their two kids pack their bags for a well-deserved two-month vacation abroad.
Nothing, of course, came easy for her. “There was a lot of sacrifice,” she emphasizes, tearing at the thought. “Before I got the car, there were many floods I had to cross, meals I didn’t take and sleep that I missed. But I enjoyed whatever I did! And I never thought I’d go this far.”
Avon may have blessed Mila with luxuries and a life beyond her wildest dreams, but to this day, the former working student who nearly accepted a job overseas to provide for her family, remains as grounded as the day she began with the direct selling company. “If I am hard-working, please make me more hard-working,” prays this co-owner of Avon branches in Tondo and Bicutan. “Make me an instrument to the success of this company.”