Thursday, March 31, 2011

Avon Trip to NYC - March 30, 2011

You may have noticed that yesterday I didn't post a blog. Well, that's because ... I WAS IN NEW YORK CITY!

Avon invited Heidi Davis (my District Manager), Jeanne Ducasse (Worcester) and myself (Grafton) to come to corporate headquarters at 1251 Avenue of the Americas in NYC to tour the facilties.

It was a LOOOOONG day but so much fun. Heidi, Jeanne and I met up to drive down to the bus that would take us to NYC at 5:30 in the morning, which means I was up at 4:50 a.m. I forgot that time even existed.

The bus ride seemed to last forever (it's like that when you get car sick easily (as I do)). But we were super entertained with games and prizes and the like! I even won something for having the fewest items in one game (yeah for being a loser!).

4 hours later, we got to NYC and past security to the offices. Everyone was so kind, polite and helpful (nothing like you think corporate America is like!).

Heidi Davis and Jeanne Ducasse sitting at our table before Jorge Martinez-Quiroga, the senior vice-president of Avon Products Inc. (North America) stopped in to talk to our group. He was super down to earth and the kind of guy you wouldn't have trouble talking to at a BBQ or over a cup of coffee.

Avon served us a very nice lunch and then invited us to take a look at some of the holiday offerings for Christmas 2011. Some of the stuff was AWESOME.

This was a quick nap of Jeanne Ducasse before we started getting ready to go on our tour of the building!

Me and Jeanne in front of the Avon podium.

Jeanne and I in front of the of the Avon signage.

Our group was taken up two floors to the 6th floor to see the rooms where the design teams work on their product ideas for the coming campaigns. They are currently working out the kinks on the designs and storyboards for campaigns 22 through 26.

These fine ladies (standing against the wall and in the doorway) were part of the design team for all of Avon jewelry. We spent about 1/2 hourish in each of the rooms talking about the products that were coming up, how they got their ideas for the coming campaigns and trends, and then they turned to us to ask for questions, comments, customer feedback and the like. They listened to all of our concerns and I watched many of the team members take notes. It was quite awesome to learn that our opinions and statements mattered.

This shot shows some of the jewelry coming in campaigns 22 through 26. The design team head (whose name I totally forgot because I'm a terrible person) displayed this neat watch. The band of the watch is SUPER long (as you can see in the picture). It's meant to wrap around the wrist twice. It has a very youthful look to it!

I made sure to take a picture of this line of quartz-y looking jewelry that's due out in campaign 22 (if I remember right). I can't wait for it to come out. It was gorgeous!

This is the Avon holiday pin for Christmas 2011.

These are two of the novelty Christmas/holidays necklace from Avon for Christmas 2011. The one on the left is a set of candy canes that are shaped into a heart.

Next, we moved to the clothing design conference room where we got to look at the clothes for Christmas 2011 and their designs for winter/early spring 2012. If I remember right, the two terms for the story boards and design concepts were "Gyp-set" (Gypsy - Jetset) and ... well the second was Baroque something. The colors and designs were very very eye pleasing. Michael Sengstack, the lead designer in the clothing department, was more than willing to show off all the fabulous clothing!

This lacey top was one of the items in the room that really caught my eye. During our question and answer session, we learned that one of the reasons Avon doesn't carry clothing outside of the S, M, L, and XL sizes was because they can't sell those other sizes well enough! It makes sense from a logistics point of view but it still doesn't make me or all of my customers happy!

Michael was just amazing. He showed us this new line of super soft scarves, hats, and gloves that will be premiering this winter. (Not shown) He, also, explained to us how pajama sets with matching boots, hats, and scarves are super popular and Avon is working to expand the slippers and accessories to make winter lounging more relaxing for the customer!

In the holiday home goods area, Janet Parks (the senior design team member of home goods) explained some of the changes that are coming for this year's Christmas selections. Avon was accused of not having a Christmas this year. So to rectify this, they are going above and beyond with their holiday assortment.

This piece was a fabulous and detailed light up holiday scene.

A more detailed look at the holiday Winter Wonderland light up display thingy! And this picture DOES NOT do it justice!

A holiday clock. Kind of like a coo coo clock.

A high powered light up Juke Box. The ladies explained that you can plug it into your computer or iPod and download songs onto it and then plug it in elsewhere. The sound quality was AMAZING! It got so loud when they turned it all the way up which is often a concern for customers when purchasing stereo equipment.

These figurines were the manager sets from Avon for Christmas 2011. The front set is called the Holy Family, the set on the back to the left is the shepherd and animal, and the set on the back to the right are the three wise men. They are porcelain figurings and this picture do them no justice!

Heidi and Jeanne at the end of our talk (after visiting the Avon representative store where we could purchase items at 50% off the current book price! It was insane ... yeah I spent a LOT of money!!) We were given gifts for coming and there was a huge giveaway from the Curves line to various members of the Division.

This was taken out side ... Radio City Music Hall!
Jeanne, Heidi (sitting because she's too dang tall) and me with all our Avon swag bags!
Another gorgeous picture of us.

This was 1251 Avenue of the Americas where Avon Headquarters shares the building with other businesses. It was so tall. I know Boston has tall buildings but this just seemed to go on forEVER!

The fountain outside of 1251 Ave of Americas (facing 7th).

A pretzel vendor selling his wares outside of the Time & Life building on the corner of the Avenue of the Americas and 7th.

Radio City ... again.

And again (with Heidi's head in the way!)

The place we went for dinner.
Radio City ... yeah ... again.

The Rainbow Room

There were some very pretty medallions on the outside of Radio City Music Hall. This is the one the furthest to the left.

The middle one.

The one all the way to the right.

Finally, at about 10 of 6 (p.m.) the bus pulled up and we all loaded on. It took about 3 ... 3.5 hours to get home (and by home I mean Attleboro, MA) where Heidi, Jeanne and I had to drive about 35 minutes back up to Worcester and then I had to drive back down to Grafton.

It was a long long day.

Would I go again? Seriously? I wanted to live in the design conference rooms. It was so much fun and I loved learning about the way the company designs the products etc. The only thing I would have changed was to learn more from the marketing team. I'm always interested in how they go about deciding what to sell and how to sell it. How many items do each team (jewelry, home goods, makeup etc) pitch to Avon each year and how many items are turned down?

P.S. I didn't think I could be anymore in love with Avon ... and then I went to NYC. So excited!!!

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