Avon Calling: Game Changer

It is the company that empowered generations of women with a ring of a doorbell. Avon spread from North America to Russia and soon to China. But allegations of bribery have appeared on Avon's doorstep, as increasing numbers of saleswomen walk away. Today, our project Game Changer looks at Avon's future and whether a new kind of retail will push it out of the game.




Three of The Current

Avon Calling: Game Changer - Phil Wahba

For 125 years, Avon has called on the women of the world. Not just to look their best, but also encouraging them to be their best. Since 1886, Avon ladies have knocked on millions and millions of doors, selling billions of dollars in products in more than 100 markets around the world. Avon founder, David H. McConnell first recruited female sales reps to sell his perfume door-to-door. At a time of limited employment options for women, Avon offered a revolutionary and game-changing chance at financial independence.

Avon's first foreign expansion came in 1914 in Montreal. Since then, Avon ladies have sold in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In 2006, Avon became the first Western company to win a license to sell door-to-door in China -- a big coup for CEO, Andrea Jung.

But the last few years have been challenging and it's latest forth quarter results were much weaker than expected, leading some to wonder if the Avon model still works. Phil Wahba is the Consumer Goods and Retail Correspondent for Reuters News and he is in New York City.

Avon Calling: Game Changer - Birdie Jaworski

One of the fingers pushing doorbells for Avon belongs to our next guest. Birdie Jaworski is a former Avon Sales Representative and the author of Don't Shoot! I'm Just the Avon Lady! Birdie Jaworski was in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Avon Calling: Game Changer - Laura Klepacki

Laura Klepacki wrote extensively about Avon in her book, Avon: Building The World's Premier Company For Women. She's a freelance journalist who covers the beauty, marketing, and consumer products industries. And she was in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania.

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Last Word - Falklands Tour Guide

It's been nearly thirty years since soldiers burst into the Falklands island radio station and forced it to play the Argentine national anthem. The occupation didn't last long, but the bad feelings sure did. Tomorrow on The Current, we're looking at why they have lingered and what's next in the dispute. There are of course a few spots on the islands that will always be Argentine. One is on a hill not far from Goose Green, where a few hundred crosses mark the graves of soldiers who would never return home.

Today's last word goes to Falklands tour guide Tony Smith as he shows Chris Moss of the British newspaper The Telegraph where enemy prisoners were kept during the war... and where many soldiers remain.

Other segments from today's show:

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