Interview with Pamela Heller and Jessica Heller, Avon Independent Sales Representatives
Tell us about your company, it’s purpose, mission, target audience, goals, what makes it unique.
Avon is the world’s leading direct seller of beauty and related products, with over $10 billion in annual revenues. Avon markets to women around the world through over five million independent sales Representatives. As an independent sales Representative, we own our own businesses. The purpose of selling Avon, is to try to offer men and women the best product in the world with the best value and top notch service. We also want to empower women to be able to provide financial independence on their own terms. Avon is diversified so we as sellers can relate to the most people of all different level of socio-economic standings. It is unique because we can make our own hours and determine how much money we make by how much time we put in.
How did you come to work together in the first place?
Jessica started out as Pamela’s assistant and became aware of the possibilities in Avon. She was in college and she had to make a career choice decision. Jessica had been part-time with Avon, starting a business of her own, and not necessarily serious. Knowing what Avon has to offer – the flexibility, the people, the support that is available – was so appealing to her. Jessica decided to join her mother on her own, without any influence or direction from Pamela. With a mother and daughter you cannot influence each other in any particular way so working should always be organic. Seeing successful top people in Avon are, and seeing how self-motivated Jessica is, Pamela was able to balance her work as an Avon Representative and her full-time job as a mother. Jessica worked full time as an Avon Representative in her senior year.
Please describe your respective roles in the company.
Role – Pamela and Jessica both do their own thing. Pamela has total ownership of her part of the business and Jessica has full ownership of her own part of the business. But, we are connected in that Pamela supports Jessica and her team. Pamela is Jessica’s leader. We do not consider it to be a case of “my business” and “her business.” Each of us have our own approach.
How has working together affected your relationship outside the “office.”
It’s intermingled with the personal side, but working together has definitely enhanced the closeness that we share. We are so proud of each other. We wouldn’t be so close if not for the opportunity to share the business together. Pamela thinks she is especially fortunate. We both share the same goal and aspirations and we as a team as mother-daughter at the same time. Our business opportunity has allowed us to take their non-business relationship to a different level.
What are some of the challenges you have faced working together?
The biggest challenge is allowing each of us to make our own mistakes. Pamela says that as a mother, letting Jessica make her mistakes and learn from them builds a sense of personal ownership and confidence. Pamela says that as a mother, it is so easy to want to jump in and help her daughter learn to run her business. But, in general, there is no need for power struggles with Avon because you are CEO of your own business.
Pamela sees her greatest triumph as watching Jessica have a full-time business. Watching her success to see her be focused and determined to be on the top and doing so well in a short amount of time is beyond rewarding for Pamela. Since May, Jessica has recruited over 300 team members to work for her team. Jessica has doubled her work force in less than 1 year. She’s an executive Unit leader. She’s critical and a big player. Pamela thinks that there is no feeling that can describe helping other people be successful and take on and enjoy their business. The money is great too but Pamela never expected it to be a fulfilling experience. She never thought it would become so important to her to care about other people and see them be successful.
What do you like best about working together? Least?
Best: We continually inspire each other on a daily basis. Pamela is struck by how big of an impression Jessica is making with others for her business. Jessica has given other the hope of success with Avon and being that she is so young, she is an inspiration. Jessica’s success has solidified Pamela’s belief that no matter what age you are, you be your own successful businesswoman, especially with Avon.
Least: There is a fine line of being a mother and a partner in business. The part where people feel that preferential treatment is being given because Jessica is Pamela’s daughter is the worst for them. Jessica then feels like she has to overcome these misconception made by others and prove even more that she is worthy.
What, if any big challenges or little annoyances have occurred as a result of working together and how have you managed to overcome them?
Pamela feels like a small challenge of working with Jessica is to let her make her own mistakes. Sometimes Pamela feels like she needs to answer Jessica’s every question. But we both are making ongoing progress with learning to let each other make our own mistakes..
What tips would you share with our readers for working with a member of the family?
Be open to new ideas and criticism despite wanting to hold back due to being a family member.
Make a point to keep business and personal family time separate (although it is tough to do at times when the business is such a big part of both our lives – so much of the time the business and personal time absorbs into each other)
Do not give “preferential” treatment to family members and be sure that spirit of fairness amongst all team members (especially in a group setting).
What’s been the most exciting thing that has happened as a result of working together?
The opportunity to do an infomercial and a commercial together.
What’s next for this mother daughter team?
Going together on the Atlantis Avon honors trip. We can’t wait to go have fun together!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Being on the same mother-daughter team makes everything more meaningful. Pamela believes strongly that Jessica and she will continue their mother-daughter success and wants nothing else for her daughter.
You can learn more about Pam and Jessica at www.youravon.com
This article can be read in the Spring/Summer Issue of WE Magazine for Women