| 17.8°C Dublin

No more 'Avon calling' as 5,000 agents lose jobs

THE days of seeing the glamorous Avon Lady pressing the doorbell are numbered. The most successful door-to-door make-up business in history is to finish its operations in Ireland.

With no notice to its door-to-door sales staff, the US firm abruptly ended operations in Ireland yesterday, hitting more than 5,000 agents.

The 'Avon Ladies', as the most famous sales representatives in the world became known, have been bringing home service to American housewives since 1886, and for many decades have been turning up on Irish doorsteps.

The American founder behind the company was proved right when he surmised that women might be more prepared to buy make-up from other women rather than men.

And, the firm found it had a bountiful sales force at its fingertips, a bevy of stay-at-home mothers prepared to sell to women in their homes and at 'Avon Parties', which became a place for a chat and a purchase of a lipstick or face cream.

The company enjoyed boom years in Ireland during the 1980s, and then after an absence re-entered the Irish market again in 1994.

Yet, the company confirmed it was pulling out of Ireland altogether, as part of a restructuring of its business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Avon employs 10 full-time staff, known as "employee associates" in Ireland, and another 5,000 people act as "active representatives" for the company.

Those 5,000 sales staff range from people working a few hours a week to supplement their income, to those who work full time.

All of the sales staff are considered self-employed agents and so are not entitled to any severance payment such as redundancy,

In a brisk notice on Avon's website, the firm said it "ceased trading in the Republic of Ireland".

The Republic was the only country specifically named by Avon yesterday. Worldwide, Avon said it will cut 400 staff in an effort to save up to $50m (€38.4m) a year.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Most Watched