For mother and daughter duo Sandra and Ivanna Diaz, passion for beauty runs in the family. Sandra, of Corona, California, has been a successful Avon Representative for almost 20 years, attracting a wide network she continues to train and motivate. Naturally, her daughter Ivanna of Riverside, California, grew up surrounded by great skincare and makeup and officially joined her mom in the business six years ago when she turned 18.
In honor of Avon’s 130 years of multigenerational bonds, and in celebration of Mother’s Day, Beauty for a Purpose spoke with the Diaz women about the business lessons they continue to learn and share together.
What initially attracted you to work with Avon?
Sandra: My sister had sold Avon for 10 years but had to stop, and I missed my products. I had recently quit my job because I felt underappreciated and had little time with my family. Because I was no longer working, I could not afford my high-end skincare products and I stopped taking care of myself, as I didn’t feel I had a reason to “get ready.” Hence, my self-esteem began to diminish. Also, I was desperately craving adult interaction, as I was spending all of my time with my 2-and 4-year-olds. Additionally, I was new to the neighborhood, but too shy to get out to meet my neighbors. I thought Avon would force me to come out of my shell, and have me outdoors talking and making new friends, walking and getting some exercise and sun!
Ivanna, what inspired you to follow in your mother’s footsteps as a Representative?
Ivanna: One of my favorite memories from growing up is going through all of my mom’s makeup and jewelry. I was always intrigued by the beauty products, and I felt so glamorous playing with her things. My mom made me realize that it was important for me to start something of my own, so that when I eventually have children, I can be there for my family and work on my own terms. Avon can provide that future for me. Now, I can’t imagine myself working anywhere else but this company. I have my mom to thank for that.
Sandra: As soon as she became of age, she became a Representative. This business enabled her to work flexible hours and earn money while in college with her two loves: people and makeup! As a studio art major, Ivanna brings her creativity and color expertise to Avon. She thrives on skincare and cosmetic consultations. She enjoys the physical transformations in her customers, but gains even more satisfaction by what the change represents to the customers.
How has working with Avon changed over the years?
Sandra: Technology and training. I started when orders were done manually, not via Internet, and therefore you could not take online classes or participate in webcasts like you can now. The Internet has changed our world, not only in simplifying the business and saving time, but also to be able to connect and learn from others through social media, and being able to have a national business with online sales and recruits.
Ivanna: I can offer a different perspective and style of doing things because of my age. I am often surrounded by much wiser and more experienced Avon Reps, which is great because I am learning so much from them. I take what I’ve learned and try to add a more modern approach to doing business that can also target millennials. Being a Representative is very different now than it was 50, 25, and even 15 years ago, but the underlying reason why we are in the business is generally the same—to be in business for yourself. I think my generation is beginning to see that our futures aren’t promised. There is a lot of potential in having your own business and being your own boss. I don’t want to rely on someone else to define my future. The only person that can define my income and my future is myself.
What does it mean to be your own boss?
Sandra: Owning your own business gives you the freedom to be, to do, to choose, and to be paid according to your efforts. When you are your boss, the possibilities are endless because you customize your world to fit your needs. This is especially important when raising young children. I want my daughters to know that they can be the moms for their children, not only by title but also by presence.
How does having family support help each of you in your business?
Ivanna: What I like about working with my mom is that we can be there for each other during our triumphs and failures. We never experience a major moment alone. It’s pretty awesome knowing I have her to talk to whenever I have an issue or to just be silly with. We both bring our different personalities and talents to the business, which is great for getting more things done and making “work” not feel like work.
Sandra: Two heads work better than one, especially when you’re each more skilled and knowledgeable in different things. We can also attract and impact a variety of age groups when working together. I find it amusing when women my age or older prefer Ivanna to help them, because I think they believe it will help them look younger. On the other hand, my presence and input helps when we are prospecting for more mature Representatives. When others see us together, they are more open-minded about Avon being a brand and career for all ages. Many that join immediately consider partnering with other family members.
How have other members of your family gotten involved in Avon?
Sandra: I have eight sisters and one brother, so there is lots of business in the family! All homes have a minimum of 70 percent of product that is Avon. They have each been a Representative at one time or another over the past 20 years. Currently, my mom, three sisters, a brother-in-law, and two nieces are in Avon.
How has Avon empowered each of you as an entrepreneur?
Sandra: Avon has empowered me from day one, when the district sales manager saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. Not only does the belief in yourself and in the possibilities increase, but so does the passionate desire to share that with others so they can believe in themselves and in changing their futures. Avon has always invited us to dream big and map out an action plan that matches the dream. Avon has empowered me to connect people with the solution to their needs, which is greatly satisfying to know you have helped make a difference, as well as being financially rewarding.
Ivanna: The more time I’ve been in Avon, the more empowered I’ve become. Avon has given me courage to take risks and dream big. I’ve definitely gained more self-esteem and belief in myself. As an entrepreneur, those qualities are vital because we constantly have to empower our team members.
What are your must-have products?
Ivanna: At the moment one of my favorites is Anew Clinical Retexturizing Peel. This skincare treatment has helped with my skin’s clarity, post-acne scars and texture. I always recommend it to my customers who are struggling with sunspots or acne-prone skin. Normally, I would also say the Glimmersticks lip liners or mark. Powder Buff, but mark. Naked Love Body Butter is a new favorite of mine that everyone needs to try. The smell is addicting.
Sandra: Magix Face Perfector is a must-have in the bathroom and in my purse. It keeps my T-zone shine-free, hides imperfections, erases the look of pores and protects skin from makeup and sun. You can use it under makeup, alone, or even over makeup. The entire Anew Ultimate line literally transforms the skin. It’s a luxuriously rich moisturizer. I feel my skin coming “alive” upon application! And mark. Powder Buff Foundation is an amazing product that gives incredible coverage and makes skin look flawless and very natural.
What has been one of the most memorable moments of your career?
Sandra: Earning and experiencing a wonderful Avon trip to Puerto Rico in 2014, along with several family members who are Representatives and also achieved the trip. I was there with my daughter, sister, niece, and brother-in-law. It was a free family vacation!
Ivanna: I was one out of three Reps in the U.S. chosen to be on a panel with Fergie in NYC at her fragrance launch party for Outspoken Party! Avon rolled out the red carpet for me and it made me feel so special. I am always reading fashion and makeup blogs, and here I am in the spotlight in a crowded room full of bloggers! I was so nervous, yet the feedback I got from young girls who attended the panel and watched it online made me proud I was representing my company. I wanted these young women to know that we have a place in this company, and we can thrive. Avon is for everyone and although she is turning 130 years old this year, she has never been younger! I was sharing my story and my love for the company with the nation. What an amazing opportunity!