PRINCETON — Joan Chase of Princeton can still remember the exact time and day she signed a contract to be an independent sales representative with Avon – a little after 3 p.m. on Halloween in 1963.
At that time in her life, she was working as a hostess where she had a break between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m. Her mother told her she needed to find something to do between those hours and suggested she sell Avon.
Chase admits she never saw herself as a salesperson at that time. She wasn’t even totally sold on wearing make-up. But she decided to give it a shot, so she left the restaurant on break and headed over to the area manager’s home on Homer Street. By 3 p.m., it was official; she was an independent sales representative.
Chase can still recall her first selling day in her assigned territory. With only one brochure, Chase walked door-to-door to gain her customer base.
Fifty years later, she has never missed an order. If you ask her what motivates her to keep going, she is quick to say the visits with customers.
“I just enjoy talking. There’s times today when I go into a home; and I don’t have to pull out the Avon brochure and I already have an order,” she said.
Chase revealed the secret to being a successful sales representative is to know the customer, remember what they like to buy and be there for them.
Looking around Chase’s home her dedication and success with Avon is very evident as she has cabinets full of awards and achievements from selling several thousands of dollars of merchandise throughout the years. One of her favorite and most prominent prizes, however, was the 1988 “flirtatious red” Dodge Shadow she won through a selling contest.
“I was the fast woman in the flirtatious red,” she said. “I had a lot of fun and drove that car for 20 years.”
Of course throughout 50 years Chase has witnessed several changes in Avon. The products have gotten better with more technology; the variety of products has expanded; and prices have increased, of course. Reasons behind customers purchasing Avon has also shifted over the years.
“Things have changed with the economy the way it is today. It’s a little harder for people to say, ‘Oh, I want something frivolous.’ They don’t buy as many frivolous things as they did. It’s more the necessities,” she said.
After 50 years, someone might think it’s time to slow down and maybe retire. But not Chase. Without missing a beat, she said she is still going strong.
“The only thing that will stop me from selling Avon would be the fact that I can’t drive anymore,” she laughed.
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