Avon History

Avon first started in 1886 as a company called “California Perfume Company.”  The first product sold under the brand name of Avon was in 1928.  Since then the company has grown world wide.  Avon core products have stood the test of time and at the same time it has developed over 1,000 different products for women and men.  Avon not only sales cosmetics but, electronics, clothing and housewares.  It is the most well known cosmetic company in the world.  Avon became the first major cosmetics manufacturer to end animal testing in the safety testing of its products.

For more information on Avon and its history please check out more “Avon Company History.”


Avon Beginnings

Avon started out as the California Perfume Company when founder, Mr. David McConnell, 28 of New York, NY, USA discovered that the rose oil perfumes he was giving away were the reason people were buying his books.
The company was named Avon in 1939, after the river that runs through Stratford-On-Avon in the English Midlands. The name is a tribute to McConnell's favorite playwright, William Shakespeare, who hailed from the town.
Women have been selling Avon since 1886 - 34 years before women in the US won the right to vote! Mrs. P.F.E. Albee of Winchester, New Hampshire pioneered the company's now-famous direct-selling method, and her name is still honored today in the company. Avon's sales Representatives - men and women - to now number almost five million, and Avon products are sold in over 100 countries around the world.

Avon Firsts


  • California Perfume Company (CPC) founded in New York City by David H. McConnell.
  • First Avon Sales Representative, Mrs. P.F.E. Albee
  • First product produced called the Little Dot Perfume Set included five fragrances: Violet, White Rose, Heliotrope, Lily-of-the-Valley, and Hyacinth
  • 1896
  • First catalog issued (text only) Nov. 2.
  • 1897
  • First laboratory built in Suffern, NY.
  • First $500 day (recorded in December.)
  • 1905
  • First print ads published in Good Housekeeping Magazine.
  • First color catalog - CP Book - (October)
  • 1914
  • First international office opened: Montreal, Canada. Manufacturing starts in 1915.
  • 1916
  • California Perfume Company first incorporated in New York State.
  • 1920
  • First time sales top $1 million.
  • 1931
  • First time Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval awarded to 11 CPC products. In subsequent years, guarantee extended to all applicable products.
  • 1939
  • California Perfume Company name changed to Avon Products, Inc. (10/6/39.)
  • 1942
  • First war contract: 40 percent of Suffern's output devoted to military manufacturing, expanded to 50 percent in 1943.
  • 1946
  • First OTC (over-the-counter) offering of stock to public.
  • 1950
  • First cream sachet featured in To A Wild Rose fragrance.
  • 1953
  • First television advertising launched.
  • 1964
  • Avon listed on New York Stock Exchange, trading starts April 20.
  • 1972
  • First time sales top $1 billion.
  • 1973
  • Computer program first developed to store ingredient formulations (on file for FDA.)
  • 1979
  • Avon's first year as participant in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA (participation ends after 1982 parade.)
  • 1986
  • Avon celebrates its centennial: 1886-1986
  • 1987
  • First Spanish-language television commercial begins airing in October.
  • 1989
  • Avon becomes the first major cosmetics manufacturer to announce a permanent end to animal testing in the safety testing of its products.
  • 1991
  • Avon becomes the first beauty company to bring the alpha hydroxy (AHA) technology to the mass market with the launch of a breakthrough perfecting cream, Anew Perfecting Complex for Face.
  • 1992
  • Avon U.K. launches the company’s first women’s health care initiative to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.
  • 1993
  • Avon launches its first women's health care initiative program in the U.S. with the "Breast Cancer Awareness Crusade" enlisting over 500,000 U.S. Sales Representatives to raise awareness and funds through the sale of 'pink ribbon' products.
  • 1996
  • For the first time in its history, Avon Products becomes an official Olympic sponsor during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA.
  • 1998
  • First 10K race of Avon Running Global Women’s Circuit (March.)
  • First Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day fundraising walk takes place in southern California.
  • 1999
  • Avon names its first-ever female CEO with the appointment of Andrea Jung in November.
  • Avon Announces its first ever global advertising campaign. The campaign themed 'Let’s Talk', focuses on Avon’s unique relationships with women around the world as well as its latest beauty product innovations.
  • Avon awards first multi-million grants for breast cancer research and clinical care.
  • First Global Championship 10K race of Avon Running Global Women’s Circuit (New York City); running great Telga Loroupe finishes first.
  • 2000
  • Avon signs tennis greats, Venus and Serena Williams, to be the company’s first global celebrity spokespersons to promote Avon and its products through Avon’s 'Let’s Talk' advertising campaign.
  • 2001
  • More Avon sales brochures printed annually than U.S. $100 bills printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
  • 2003
  • Avon launches Mark (TM) – mark is the makeup you can buy and sell, and was created in celebration of young women making their ‘mark’ in the world today. mark is providing millions of women with an opportunity to buy and sell makeup they love – and ultimately, to become the CEO of their own beauty business.
  • 2004
  • Avon launches its first-ever Men’s Catalog, called M, which offers 16-pages of men’s grooming products and accessories
  • Avon Foundation launches its new domestic violence program, Speak Out Against Domestic Violence with celebrity spokesperson Salma Hayek.
  • 2005
  • Avon is the first company to be selected by the Chinese government to test direct selling in Beijing, Tianjin, and Guangdong Province in China.
  • The first fragrance in the newly-launched Today.Tomorrow.Always trilogy wins a FiFi Award.
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