1. Great things start with ingenuity and a good idea.
David McConnell, a traveling book salesman from Oswego, New York, didn’t initially set out to create a revolutionary beauty company. But as he traveled door to door, his homemade perfume samples emerged as a popular way to strike up conversation with clients and boost sales. This novel strategy eventually grew into a full-time gig once McConnell realized his customers were more interested in his fragrances than his books.
2. Be courageous and seek change.
In the late 19th century, just one in five women worked outside the home. This all began to change when intrepid salesman McConnell challenged the status quo and created the iconic Avon Representative — encouraging the #girlboss of generations to come.
3. Empowerment always wins.
McConnell saw his new venture as an opportunity to offer women a chance at financial independence. During a time when it was practically unheard of for a woman to run her own business, McConnell created the California Perfume Company in 1886, which eventually became the Avon we know today.
4. Conviction conquers all.
For McConnell, the people and the product were the heart of his company, and he dedicated himself to ensure both were tops. His secret? Making sure Representatives were happy, motivated and productive—guiding principles that remain true for any successful venture.
5. True wisdom is timeless.
Many lessons fit for the 21st century can be learned from the salesman and pioneer who advocated achievement for women around the globe. Not only was Avon founded on guiding principles that are more relevant than ever – including the importance of giving back to local communities and recognizing everyone’s unique strengths – but McConnell’s sage advice still feels fresh (could his quotes be any more shareable?).