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There's no hiding the surprise on their faces: you're no Avon lady.. you're an Avon man; THEY MAY FACE JOKES BUT THESE TWO GUYS ARE HAVING THE LAST LAUGH.

Byline: JENNY MORRISON

THE Avon lady was once as much part of the brand as the perfume and make-up she sold door-to-door.

But new figures released by Avon UK reveal a growing trend for the Avon man.

They now make up more than five per cent of the company's army of sales reps.

Avon say many men are signing up as a stepping stone to fill a gap in their earnings, but many are running their own Avon business as a full-time job.

JENNY MORRISON meets two of Scotland's growing breed of Avon men.

I'M EARNING MORE THAN THE MATES WHO TEASE ME DAD-OF-FOUR Kevin Gibney, 31, of Broxburn, West Lothian "Ding dong!" my friends call out as they see me.

"It's been a year now since I first told friends and family that I was giving up my job as a factory manager to work for Avon. And still the jokes continue.

"But it doesn't bother me - it's water off a duck's back. I love what I do. I know I'm making more money than many of those same friends who rib me.

"And as my own boss, I can fit my work around my most important job - being a dad to Caitlin, 13, Ajay, nine, Ryan, eight, and one-year-old David.

"Selling make-up might not have been the job I dreamed of doing as a child. But when my fiancee Penny announced she was thinking of giving up her part-time job as an Avon rep, I found myself taking a real interest in the business.

"Penny, 25, only offered the catalogues to family, friends and neighbours. To her, it was only a way of earning a few extra pounds.

"But I wasn't enjoying my job and thought I would try my hand at not only pushing sales where Penny delivered her catalogues, but further afield too.

"Instead of having just 100 catalogues to deliver, I soon had 400 and a bigger area to take them to.

"'Hi, I'm Kevin, your new Avon guy,' I'd say. There was no hiding the surprise on many of their faces. I knew they were thinking, 'You're not an Avon lady, you're an Avon man!' "But it was a good ice-breaker. If anything, people got to know me as the guy who sold Avon.

"My sales started going up, and when Avon saw how well I was doing, they invited me to consider becoming a sales leader - which meant doing my own sales, but recruiting other people to sell, too.

"It would mean giving up my other job and pushing ahead my Avon business. But it felt right. Twelve months on and I couldn't be happier with how things have worked out.

"Lots of people think of Avon as being a company where young girls make themselves a bit of extra pocket money by selling make-up - but I have never looked upon my Avon business like that.

"I do sell make-up and I have made it my business to know all about the products I sell so that I can answer any customer questions on them.

"But Avon now sell a lot more than just make-up - in fact, everything from men's watches to kids' pyjamas. And my Avon business is about so much more to me.

"I do still go round the doors but I have found other outlets, too. I've found our Skin So Soft range - which many people swear keeps away midges - goes down very well at golf courses and fisheries.

"I do car boot sales, where I have regular customers. I make the most of social media and I even use my time on the school run and watching my son's football to have a chat with mums and dads about Avon.

chat "I'm now an advanced sales leader, with my own team of more than 100 sales people. I'm making the same amount of money as I made as a factory manager - and I know that as I grow my business, my income will grow.

"When I was a lad, I remember my sister used to buy make-up from the Avon lady. I don't think there was such a thing as an Avon man then, but now there are more and more of us."

I CAN FIT THE WORK PERFECTLY AROUND MY WIFE'S SHIFTS DOUGLAS Ruffhead, 41, of Dunfermline, is a dad-of-two "I used to have an Avon lady who visited my house when I was a child and I never imagined that one day I would be selling Avon products too.

"But it doesn't bother me at all that I sell make-up door-to-door, or that I might get jokes made about me being an Avon man.

"What is important to me is that I can work for Avon around my other job as a research consultant.

"In my job carrying out market research-style surveys I get sent all over Scotland, so take my Avon things with me and once my research consultancy work is done, I head out looking for new Avon reps to join my team. I've now got a team of about 30 reps and three sales leaders working all across Scotland. And on top of that, I have about 200 customers of my own.

"I don't think being a man holds me back at all and if anything I might be picking up more male customers than my female counterparts.

"Avon sell much more than just make-up and I have quite a few male customers who buy everything from deodorant, to foot cream, to moisturising cream from me.

"I think a lot of men find it easier to come to me than to go to the shops, where they might be a bit embarrassed buying skin cream.

"I've even had men buy lingerie gifts for their wives and partners from my Avon catalogues and again I think they find it easier to buy them from me than buying from the shops.

"In the five years I've been doing this job, I have had lots of jokes made about it from other guys but they don't really understand what it is I actually do.

"Yes, I do sell make up door-to-door, but as a team leader, I have other people out selling as part of my team all the time. My wife Shirley is a staff nurse, so working for Avon means that I can fit my work perfectly around her shifts and make sure I'm there for my children, Thomas, seven, and Jennifer, six, which a lot of other jobs wouldn't allow me to do.

"Avon are a good company to work for and if you put the hours in, you get the rewards back.

"I don't go round knocking on everyone's door straight away. Instead, I let the Avon book do the work and put it through the letterbox. When I go back to collect it, I ask if they'd like the book again, and we take it from there.

"I enjoy the job and I'm not surprised at all that the number of men working for Avon is increasing."

run 'I've used the school run to chat to mums and dads about Avon' KEVIN I manager'Men may find it easier to buy from me than buying at the shops' DOUGLAS

CAPTION(S):

DRIVEN Kevin was motivated to increase sales

FAMILY MAN J With partner Penny and sons

MOVING UP 3 DOUGLAS is a team leader and has 30 staff working for him selling Avon products

POSITIVE J Dad-of-two Douglas says Avon are a good firm to work for
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 30, 2013
Words:1254
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