When Avon representative of 44 years Judy Meehan heard the company was ceasing operations in Australia she didn’t believe it.
For her, the catch cry of ‘Avon calling’ was more than a job, she was a friend, confidante and saleswoman.
“It’s hard to say goodbye,” Mrs Meehan said. “There’s a lot of friends made over the years. You see the families growing up.”
Mrs Meehan is one of the more than 21,400 representatives without jobs after the company announced in February it had “made the difficult decision to exit the Australia – New Zealand market”.
“My eldest started school that day (I started) and I had one that was 13-months-old so I could go off and sell with him in the pram because women didn’t go out to work those days.
“I’ve attended weddings of customers I’ve been a godmother. I’ve been invited to a private funeral. You name it. It was just one big family.”
In her peak, Mrs Meehan visited 100 homes every three weeks to sell make up, face creams and fragrances.
She said the closure was estimated to be one of the largest single job losses in Australian history and there would have been more of an outcry if it was a factory or multinational business. “It was like there was a death because that afternoon and the next day the phone continuously rang and people, customers and representatives, asked ‘Is it true?’ People didn’t believe it.”
The second-last catalogue, campaign five, is currently out and customers are already buying up big, each ordering 12 foundations, 12 bottles of shampoo and six conditioners and 20 deodorants to stockpile before their favorite products were no longer available. “They’re advising customers to not wait for campaign six because they may not have enough stock left.”
Mrs Meehan said she would have to find a new hobby after hearing of the demise of both Avon and Fun4Kids children’s festival she volunteered at for 16 years within four days of each other. She thanked her customers for their support and friendship over the years.