Avon Foundation Helps Colleges Take Action on Sexual Assault

The Avon Foundation for Women is funding a first-of-its-kind national leadership program to address gender-based violence on college campuses.

The charitable arm of cosmetics maker Avon is behind a new collaborative of 20 colleges and universities that recently came together for The National Leadership Institute: Changing the Narrative on Campus Gender-Based Violence. The program equips schools with action plans for preventing and responding to sexual violence. Avon tapped the health and social justice nonprofit Futures Without Violence to develop the National Leadership Institute curriculum, which advocates trauma-informed care in cases of assault.

To research, design and implement the curriculum, Futures Without Violence partnered with Harvard Law School’s Gender Violence Program and the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. The resulting material was presented at the first two National Leadership Institute events, held this fall in Boston and Atlanta. According to Lonna Davis, Director of Children & Youth Program for Futures Without Violence, “The Institute is part of a long-term investment to shift the narrative and introduce a primary prevention and trauma-focused approach that engages the entire school community.”

The National Leadership Institute is the brainchild of the Avon Foundation for Women, which also underwrote the project with a $200,000 grant. The foundation has long supported domestic violence awareness and prevention through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program, launched in 2004. For more than five years now, that program has included awareness campaigns and bystander initiatives on college campuses, but with its latest initiative Avon is empowering students and schools to take the lead in addressing assault and sexual violence.

More than 70 schools applied to participate in the program, but just 20 were selected to attend the two-day event, among them Brandeis University, Morehouse College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. With ongoing support, these schools will create a campus action plan that engages students, college administration, campus police and leading consultants. “We’ve just spent two days looking at best practices and solutions to shift campus culture away from victim blaming to a more trauma-based perspective,” said Christine Jaworsky, Avon Foundation Program Director. “Now the real work begins.”

Avon Foundation Releases New Data on Breast Cancer among Hispanics

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A new study funded by the Avon Foundation for Women lays the groundwork for a better understanding of breast cancer diagnoses among Hispanics in the U.S.

The first-of-its-kind study, Breast Cancer among Hispanic Subgroups in the U.S., was conducted by the Sinai Urban Health Institute and released during the foundation’s biennial Breast Cancer Forum, held Sept. 7–9 in Miami. Furthering breast cancer research and access to quality care is one focus of the Avon Foundation for Women, alongside its efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence.

Drawing from multiple national data sources across multiple years, the new study explores breast cancer prevalence and mortality rates among Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Central and South American women in the U.S. As a whole, Hispanics represent the largest racial/ethnic minority in the country, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. The American Cancer Society reports that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the leading cause of cancer deaths, in Hispanic women.

“As the company for women, Avon is committed to taking actions that matter most to women, and that is why the Avon Foundation is passionate about funding studies like this,” said Cheryl Heinonen, President of the Avon Foundation for Women. “We want to identify where the disparities lie so we can effectively shape and support programs that will have the greatest impact.”

The data shows that breast cancer mortality rates differ widely among the various groups that make up the Hispanic population. At the high end of the spectrum were Puerto Rican women (19.04 per 100,000 women) and Mexican women (18.78), while Central and South American women (10.15 per 100,000 women) were significantly less likely to die from breast cancer than other subgroups observed. According to Bijou Hunt of the Sinai Urban Health Institute, who authored the study, the findings have the potential to greatly improve individualization of care for Hispanic women diagnosed with the disease.

Avon Sees Higher Profit in Second Quarter

After spinning off its North America business in March, Avon Products Inc. (AVP—NYSE) began to improve its bottom line in the most recent quarter.

The beauty company is implementing a cost-cutting plan introduced in January that will include trimming its staff and supply chain and moving its headquarters to the United Kingdom. After three years, the plan is expected to save Avon $350 million a year before taxes.

In the quarter ended June 30, the company cleared a profit of $33 million, up from $28.8 million a year earlier. Per-share earnings slipped to 6 cents from 7 cents a year ago. On an adjusted basis, earnings were down from 9 cents a share to 7 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 2 cents a share.

Revenue fell 8 percent to $1.43 billion, beating the $1.41 billion predicted by analysts.

Earlier this year, the beauty company inked a deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP for majority ownership of Avon’s domestic operations. Cerberus agreed to inject $435 million into the business, which it then took private as New Avon LLC, along with another $170 million investment in Avon Products.

Revenue was down across the company’s remaining segments, hurt by foreign exchange rates. Constant-dollar revenue was up in all segments except Asia Pacific, where the company logged a 5 percent decline.

“Our performance improvements were broad-base with nine of our top 10 markets growing in local currency,” said Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products. “We continue to make steady progress on a number of fronts: improving pricing discipline; driving additional cost out of the business; and continuing to build our brand and enhance the Representative experience,” said Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products.

Following Tuesday’s release, shares in Avon climbed as much as 21 percent to $5.04—the stock’s biggest intraday jump since Feb. 12. Ahead of the report, the shares were up 2.7 percent this year.

Silpada Designs Confirms Plans to Close at End of July

Jewelry and accessories maker Silpada Designs will close its doors at the end of July, company officials confirmed Wednesday.

The team at Lenexa, Kansas-based Silpada has sought to breathe new life into the brand since it parted ways with Avon Products nearly three years ago. The beauty company bought Silpada in 2010, looking to grow its North American sales. Avon paid $650 million for the family-owned business and kept the founders and management team in place.

In July 2013, amid heavy cost cuts at Avon, Silpada co-founders Jerry and Bonnie Kelly and Tom and Teresa Walsh, along with their respective daughters, Ryane Delka and Kelsey Perry, formed Rhinestone Holdings Inc. to buy back Silpada for $85 million. Delka and Perry were then appointed Co-Presidents, and later became Co-CEOs of the company.

According to Vice President of Marketing and Product Development, Andrea Carroll, Silpada has seen declines in sales and recruiting since 2010, when it joined forces with Avon. At the time, revenue had grown to $230 million annually.

Under the leadership of Delka and Perry, Silpada has ventured beyond its trademark collection of sterling silver jewelry. In 2014, it introduced the KR Collection, an updated jewelry line featuring brass, leather and Swarovski crystals in fashion-forward designs. Then, last year, an accessories line launched with a variety of handbags, scarves and travel goods.

However, fresh offerings and additional investments in the company were not enough to reverse negative trends, management said in a link made available to Silpada Representatives.

“One of the things we’ve seen since reacquiring the company is how different the party environment is from when Silpada started in 1997, particularly in two areas that drive sustained growth at a direct selling company,” Carroll told DSN. “We’re not seeing as many recruits come in as we have in past years, and women aren’t hosting traditional parties as much.”

The decision to shutter the company was relayed to Representatives in a Tuesday conference call with Silpada’s board of directors. The plan is to continue business as usual through July 31, the last day Representatives will be able to submit orders and receive commissions. At that point, Silpada will begin liquidating inventory and shutting down operations, with the goal of completing the process by Dec. 30.

Direct Selling News Unveils Industry’s Top Companies in Seventh Annual DSN Global 100

In recognition of those companies that lead the way in offering an unparalleled opportunity for individuals to start their own businesses, Direct Selling News today unveiled its seventh annual DSN Global 100, an exclusive ranking of the top revenue-generating companies in direct selling.

The DSN Global 100 is a collective effort to show the impact and potential of the $182.8 billion direct selling channel. Unveiled online at DirectSellingNews.com and featured in the June issue of Direct Selling News magazine, this year’s Global 100 companies hail from 17 countries and represent aggregate revenue of more than $82 billion.

The DSN Global 100 tells a story of impressive growth in 2015, exhibited by the fact that 20 companies surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue,” said Lauren Lawley Head, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News. “These exceptional companies represent not only corporate staff, but millions of lives impacted by the products and opportunity they offer.”

Many direct selling companies had an incredible year of growth and success in 2015. For the first time, 20 companies each reported annual revenue of $1 billion or more. For the fourth consecutive year, Ada, Michigan-based Amway claimed the No. 1 rank, with $9.5 billion in revenue. Avon, Herbalife, Vorwerk and Infinitus rounded out the top five on this year’s list.Best Places To Work 2017

DSN also presented a regional subset of the Global 100: The North America 50, which was first introduced in 2015. As its name implies, the North America 50 ranks the most significant players in one of the world’s largest direct selling markets.

The annual event celebrating the Global 100 took place on April 7, 2015, at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas. During the dinner and awards ceremony, DSN also presented its Bravo Awards for excellence. Wellness and lifestyle brand Le-Vel received the Bravo Growth Award for its extraordinary 254 percent year-over-year growth, amounting to revenue of $349 million in 2015. Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Switzerland-based Oriflame Cosmetics and keynote speaker for the evening, received the Bravo Leadership Award for leading his company to annual revenue of $1.35 billion amid a period of great economic and geopolitical turmoil in many of its top markets.

DSN created the Global 100 list to acknowledge the successes of individual direct selling companies and provide a clear picture of the magnitude of the industry. In its seventh year of undertaking this project, DSN continues its commitment to create a fair ranking that will showcase a transparent industry, thus providing credibility and consumer confidence as well as research support for those seeking information on direct selling companies.

Avon Discloses Plan to Cut Jobs, Move Headquarters to Britain

Photo: Avon’s current European headquarters in the United Kingdom. (HKS Architects)


After spinning off its North America business in a deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP, Avon Products Inc. said next steps will include job cuts and a move to the U.K.

The recent deal saw Cerberus invest $435 million for a 16.6 percent ownership stake in Avon, a maker of beauty, household and personal-care products. The private equity firm paid an additional $170 million for 80 percent ownership in Avon North America, which will now operate as a privately held entity under the name New Avon LLC. Avon, less North America, came away from the table with about $1 billion in cash on the books.

Looking to the future, management on Monday laid out the bones of a three-year plan to streamline continuing operations in more than 70 markets. The strategy includes standardizing roles and processes across commercial operations. On the corporate side, Avon said it will cut both filled and open positions to reduce its global staff by 2,500. At the close of 2015 Avon had 28,300 employees outside its North American operations.

The company also plans to transition its corporate headquarters from New York City to the U.K., where Avon has built up extensive operations. The corporate move will not impact Avon’s other New York facilities in Suffern and Rye.

“The actions we are taking today will bring our corporate and commercial businesses closer together, which will drive efficiencies, improve operational effectiveness and deliver significant cost savings,” Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products, said in a statement.

Management expects to save $50 million this year from payroll cuts and the elimination of open positions. Beginning in 2017, the measures are expected to save around $65 million to $70 million a year. Avon also will record a $60 million charge in the current quarter as a result of the layoffs.

This Week: Herbalife’s Attorney Warns off Ackman, J.Hilburn CEO Talks Holiday Style

Catch up on this week’s industry chatter with these click-worthy links:

  • Fox Business Network’s Charlie Gasparino set Herbalife’s stock price aflutter on Tuesday with news of a letter from Herbalife’s legal counsel to OTG Research Group, the outside research firm of Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management. The letter calls on the firm to cease and desist what it terms “improper conduct” on behalf of Herbalife short seller Ackman, including contacting current and former Herbalife employees and offering compensation for confidential information on the company.
  • After having her first child, model Erin Joy Henry found herself mentally and physically depleted, with less time to meet the demands of her career. That’s when she began using health products recommended by a friend in direct selling, despite her skepticism about the business model. Writing for the Huffington Post, Henry shared her evolution from skeptic to direct sales entrepreneur and holistic nutrition counselor, helping other people improve their health and finances in what she calls a “dream career.”
  • Also at HuffPost, J.Hilburn’s Veeral Rathod has some tips on how to be the best-dressed man at any holiday party. Drawing on his expertise as Co-Founder and CEO of the custom menswear company, Rathod lays out a few rules of thumb to help his fellow men celebrate the holiday season in style.
  • Two top Avon executives will exit the company at year-end, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The beauty brand’s strategy chief and supply chain head, both brought on by CEO Sheri McCoy in 2013, were named by an anonymous source (paywall). News of the decision, reportedly communicated within the company last month, comes as activist investors including Barington Capital Management LP call for restructuring and new leadership within the company.
  • Scentsy is lighting up the night with an elaborate holiday display at the company’s Meridian, Idaho headquarters. To get the job done, the home fragrance seller tapped a local husband-and-wife team, who set out in October to string 20 miles of lights on hundreds of trees across the corporate campus.

Avon Foundation for Women Awards Scholarships to Avon Reps and Family Members

In addition to funding breast cancer and domestic violence prevention programs, the Avon Foundation for Women gives back to Avon representatives and their families through its Avon Scholarships Programs. This year, the foundation awarded $210,000 in scholarships to the children and grandchildren of top Avon sellers.

“With this initiative, we are not only able to support our Representatives’ families but we are also able to further their education, which makes the Global Scholarship Program one of my favorite incentives,” Andrea Slater, Avon General Manager Western Europe, said in a statement. “We provide our Representatives with many rewards and recognition throughout the year, but this one is very special.”

The Avon Scholarships Program launched in 2011 to help representatives and their families pursue higher education. Each year, the program has awarded 100 scholarships to children and grandchildren of the company’s President’s Club members. The foundation also offers Avon Representative Scholarships to its independent sellers. To date, the nonprofit has awarded more than $5 million in scholarship funds.

Avon 39 Concludes with $8.7M Walk to End Breast Cancer

This weekend 3,500 women and men walked the streets of New York City in the final leg of Avon 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer. During the two-day event, participants from 48 states raised $8.7 million in support of breast cancer research and services.

Avon 39 New York was the last of seven walks held from April to October in cities across the U.S. Formerly known as the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, Avon 39 refers to the 39.3 miles—split into marathon and half-marathon distances—that participants cover throughout the weekend.

The New York walk concluded at Pier 84, where Avon CEO Sheri McCoy congratulated the participants, dubbed 39ers, and presented grants to 10 local organizations. Also on hand was Avon Global Brand Ambassador Fergie, who launched her latest Avon fragrance, Outspoken Party!, at a livestreamed Beauty for a Purpose event held Monday.

“As this year’s Avon 39 series comes to a close in New York, we couldn’t be more grateful for all 3,500 39ers that united together throughout this memorable weekend with one common goal: to eliminate breast cancer,” McCoy told the crowd. “The grants distributed today will help us do just that. I’m honored to have the opportunity to give them to the doctors, researchers and other medical professionals who will use these funds to help change and save lives.”

The Avon Foundation for Women selects local breast cancer organizations to receive Avon 39 funds at the close of each walk. To be eligible, organizations must commit to providing their services to all, regardless of insurance status, demographic background or ability to pay. Since Avon introduced the walks in 2003, participants have raised approximately $590 million to fund breast cancer research and education, as well as assistance for families battling the disease.

Avon North America Sees Rare Profit in Second Quarter

Sales at Avon Products Inc. (AVP—NYSE) continued to decline in the second quarter, but the beauty company’s lagging North America division posted its first quarterly profit in several years, Avon said Thursday.

Second-quarter revenue fell 17 percent to $1.8 billion, weighed down by currency pressures in several foreign markets. On a constant-dollar basis, overall sales remained flat, with growth in Russia and the Philippines offset by declines in Brazil, China and the U.S.

The New York-based company reported adjusted earnings of 11 cents a share, surpassing the 7 cents predicted by analysts but dropping 20 cents from a year ago.

Heavy cost-cutting initiatives are paying off for the company in North America, where it saw a modest profit for the first time since the first quarter of 2012. Despite an improving bottom line, the number of Avon sellers in North America fell 16 percent from the second quarter of 2014. Overall, the brand’s salesforce shrunk by 2 percent from a year ago.

Avon said its expectations for the full year remain the same. The company forecasted modest constant-dollar revenue growth, with continued negative effects from currency exchange rates.