By the end of last year, Avon had been awarded four Golden Lion awards and was on the brink of becoming the first British company to receive a Golden Lion award.
Avon cosmetics was one of the most highly regarded British companies at the time.
It had won an Oscar for best beauty, a Guggenheim fellowship and a Glamour magazine fashion award.
It also had a record-breaking 15 million sales in the UK.
However, it soon became clear that its success was based on marketing alone.
“Avon were very much in the business of selling cosmetics, not creating them,” said Meredith, the former executive who worked at Avon’s cosmetics division from 1999 to 2005.
In 2011, Avons chief executive Stephen Mitchell made the news when he was accused of “misleading” customers about the dangers of buying products made with chemical preservatives in his own home.
Mitchell, a former senior marketing executive at a cosmetics company, had previously been investigated by the Serious Fraud Office over alleged fraud and bribery charges.
But when Mitchel pleaded not guilty to all the charges in July 2012, he claimed he had been misled.
He denied that he had misled customers and that his team had tried to mislead them.
“I am not guilty of any offence,” he said.
A year later, Mitchell was fired from Avon after it was discovered he had lied to the British media about the safety of the preservative used in his product line.
The scandal led to the resignation of Mitchell and his replacement, former chief executive Richard Legg, who was given an 18-month suspension, and an internal investigation.
According to a report published in the Sunday Times, Mitchell admitted to the media that he had misled customers, claiming that “our customers would be happy with the results and they would be the first to tell me about any problems”.
“That is simply not true,” Mitchell told the Sunday Sun.
(A headline in the Sun read: Avon says it has discovered that its product used in a range of products could be toxic.)
A number of Avons competitors have also been fined or disqualified for safety breaches, and Aston Martin was fined £1m in 2012 after it admitted using the chemical propylene glycol in its paint.
Avon’s business was hit hard by the scandal.
As the Times article noted, the CEO of L’Oreal said in 2015 that “the industry is in a tailspin”, with sales down 80% from 2009 to 2015.
Another report by the British cosmetics regulator General Medical Council (GMC) called Avon the “most toxic cosmetics company” and found that “more than 50% of the products in the Avon portfolio were found to be of unknown toxicity or of possible risk to health or the environment”.
In 2017, GMC announced it would conduct a “review of Avons safety record after it was discovered that a product from Avonto had been linked to a case of the rare genetic disorder lupus and it announced that it was investigating the company for its role in lupus.”
Avonne cosmetics were also criticised for defending their use of chemicals, with the Institute of Chemical Safety admitting that they “did not know whether the chemical used in Avon was the most toxic in cosmetics.”
But the company also said that their claims about safety were consistent with their claim that their products were safe.
So it’s understandable that some Avenons customers were skeptical.
They were told by Avon that the products were the “best they had ever used”.
It’s no wonder that the Avis store in Bournemouth, where I worked from 2015 to 2018, was selling out of Avinons Cosmetics Preservatives in large numbers.
Despite a strong market to build a following, people felt that Avon and Avon were buying their products too quickly.
While I would have loved to have had a better experience in Avon, I was disappointed to see that I did not have a better experience in Avondale.
I could not stop looking at the preservatives and think, “What are they doing to my skin?”
But I was also very happy to get the product from Avoyant Cosmetics that I had wanted to