Ding Dong! Avon Calling! The Women and Men of Avon Products Incorporated

Ding Dong! Avon Calling! The Women and Men of Avon Products Incorporated

History Hangout: Conversation with Katina Manko

 

The Avon lady going door to door is a part of the popular American memory. From its founding in the nineteenth century Avon recruited women to make up its direct sales force, and later its emerging middle management class, encouraging them to take ownership of their own small business and to earn an income on their own. Many women were enthusiastic to heed this call and sell beauty and household products to their friends and neighbors. In her recently published book, Ding Dong! Avon Calling! The Women and Men of Avon Products Incorporated, Katina Manko traces the origins and growth of Avon from its founding as the California Perfume Company to the restructuring of the 2010s. Using company records and the personal correspondence of sales representatives, Manko writes a history of the company’s growth from a small seller of perfumes in the United States to an international beauty behemoth. She also explores the reasons behind how, in spite of Avon's emphasis on hiring women and allowing them to run their own business, women did not join the highest levels of Avon’s management until the latter part of the 1990s  

 

Dr. Katina Manko is an independent historian and a graduate of the University of Delaware’s Hagley program. She currently teaches history for the Yeshiva University High School for girls. She previously taught at Bard College, Ramapo College, and Merrimack College More information on her book can be found here