What does Mary Kay have over Avon?


I used to be a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant many years ago. I am still a happy customer of Mary Kay.

I’ll be straight up with you!

But I’m also an engineer, a digital marketing consultant and homeschooling mom! It’s because of Mary Kay that the world of entrepreneurship entered my life and has allowed me to have a consultancy and homeschool my children.

A very long time ago I decided to run a short social media survey to see what people were saying about Mary Kay and Avon.

Why would this interest me?

Better question – Why should it interest you?

Well it’s part of what marketers call competitive analysis.

For those who are looking for a product that both Mary Kay and Avon carry

then it’s good if you do your research first.

For those who are looking at these two companies as a business opportunity

You should be doing even more research.

It’s one thing to buy a product, hate it and never buy again.

It’s a completely different thing to invest in a business.

When I say invest I mean – no matter what business you’re getting into THERE WILL BE AN INVESTMENT

Whether it’s $100 or $2000

You must invest something!

AVON as compared to Mary Kay

So let’s talk AVON first!

So if you went to google and did a quick search on Avon,

you’ll probably find their company website and immediately asked to buy something.

The same may happen with Mary Kay.

But here’s something that I heard very few people do.

They often always forget to look at the “non-company” websites that have AVON information.

What I like to call the “un-biased” sites.

If you were to look for example Wikipedia’s entry for AVON

You’d actually find that AVON is a publicly traded company!

Something that Mary Kay has stayed away from for many years. (who’s to say if they won’t change)

For now Mary Kay is still a privately held company.

For those who know a little bit about finance, economics, and business in general

you know that once a company goes public, their objectives change.

Specifically PROFIT is the driving factor.

Now this doesn’t have to be such a bad thing, but for some people they don’t want that kind of pressure.

Which is why in AVON there are much tighter quotas for the representative to stay active.

But as one of the longest (founded in 1886) standing companies founded for women to own a business it has done well historically, up until a few years ago.

It is the fifth-largest beauty company and second largest direct selling enterprise in the world, with 6.4 million representatives.

In the last few years, however, AVON has seen a lot of bad press but nothing that other companies included Mary Kay hasn’t faced before.

Globally AVON is facing some challenges and stock prices aren’t increasing. So there is definite pressure from investors.

Needless to say in the US Avon still seems to carry a great brand.

My survey comparing the two companies specifically yielding an overwhelming response of favoring Mary Kay to AVON skin care!

What makes Mary Kay different to AVON

In a nutshell you can say Mary Kay has focused its market. (you’ve probably seen a lot of talk about being focused on this blog)

When I asked the question Mary Kay vs AVON I never asked about make up or lipsticks, or skin care or even the company.

I just put the question out there.

Nearly every response however came back with a comment about the Skin Care.

What that told me was that Mary Kay’s brand is in skin care!

AVON doesn’t seem to have a core competency.

Mary Kay has carved a huge brand and its own market in Skin Care.


Everything else is secondary.

What I have also found with Mary Kay is that it isn’t for everyone.

That’s because not everyone cares about skin care.

I remember when I was first introduced to it in college I didn’t think  Skin care was for me.

I was young!

My skin looked great!

What did I need skin care for?


If I had been introduced to Avon at that time maybe I’d be an AVON rep today.

But history being what it is Mary Kay is it for me!

But there is something we can learn and take a bit from with these two companies.

One thing in my research that struck me was that they both sacrificed being on PETA’s list of companies that do not test on animals because of their business relations with China.

Although Mary Kay has publicly stated that it does not and continues not to test on animals for all products not for the Chinese market!

They both diversified their business portfolio into other products

….. Mary Kay seems to have gone Deep with their Skin Care making them a household name for Skin Care.

….. whereas AVON seemed to go wide of product diversity!

Personally I know people who didn’t know Mary Kay had a make up line!

And I know people who equally didn’t know AVON has a skin care line!

My favorite difference between Mary Kay and AVON is that Mary Kay is and continues to be a privately held company.

It’s not that I’m not into the stock market.

But I don’t want to create a business around a company who’s only objective is profit to make the stock prices look good!

Please share your comments.

I’d love to hear what you have to say about Mary Kay vs AVON


Hilary De Freitas is a wife, mother, engineer and marketer. She is dedicated to helping mothers build a successful online business from their passions, so that they don't have to choose between career and family. Hilary has been involved in network marketing, affiliate marketing and digital marketing consulting for the past 10 years. Some of the links in this post are 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

    5 replies to "Survey Says – Avon Vs Mary Kay"

    • Carol

      With Avon, you are not required to make a quota to stay with them, whereas, with Mary Kay, you do. If you don’t order at least 225 every three months, you are ousted until you purchase at least 225. Mary Kay is more expensive. Avon may have a vast line of basically everything from lipstick to banana stands. Not fair that you dissed them for that. Avon’s fragrances are incredible.
      I am currently a Mary Kay consultant as well. I’m thinking on changing that. I think I will be an Avon consultant in the near future, thanks to this article.

      • Hilary

        Love the feedback! I think it’s increased to $250 now. I’m a happy customer of Mary Kay now. But the three months isn’t set in stone. Ever tried logging in after 9 months of not purchasing and then you order. What you have to realize is that they set rules for their business model but you can create your own rules for your business model. When I was a consultant I purchased twice a year. When I moved overseas I purchased once a year! You have to do what fits your business model!

        • LMJones

          No. It’s still $225 every 3 months. But the stability with Mary Kay…Look Books ONLY once a qtr. With Avon there’s a Campaign every other week. Because Avon is publicly traded. Therefore they have meet the demands of their owns. Mary Kay is still privately owned by her family. And to stay a consultant–you only have to do a $225 wholesale ONCE A YEAR. Mary Kay operates their company to a higher standard with a better quality product. They are transparent with the ingredients in their products. And the cost? If your face isn’t worth a buck and a half a day then….oh well. And yes–I sold Avon for about 10 years – my mom and I. We were in the top percentile of the company-The Miss Abby club. My growth and income levels are not dictated by my recruiter. Mary Kay rewards her for my sales but I don’t pay her a dime. When women exchange money it’s messy! I still buy Avon’s Skin So Soft. But the quality of the skincare and color cosmetics…no comparison.

    • Tina

      Thanks for the information on both well recognized names in direct beauty product sales. I have a very dear friend who has done extremely well with Avon monetarily. However, I am disappointed that some MK reps seem to soar & others do not. I realize there are many factors as to why, but would like your comments/data take on the why?

      • Hilary

        Hi Tina, thanks for your feedback. I’d say that for most network marketers they are trained the wrong way, where as Direct Sales like Avon they seem to have more business like training that allows them to be more successful than a traditional network marketing company like Mary Kay or Amway. I believe generic network marketing training is a key factor to that success. Not only will it help you in your network marketing business but it can help you with any business.

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