NEW YORK – This is not your mother's Avon (search) lady.
At after-school hangouts and in dorm rooms across the country, young women are primping and profiting as a result of mark, (search) beauty veteran Avon's trendy new line that targets the next generation of makeup users and claims to help them get a start in the world at the same time.
Eighteen-year-old Lauren Marzano of New Jersey, a freshman at the University of Miami, said mark — stylishly spelled with a lower-case 'm' — has allowed her to bond with her new roommate and earn some money, too.
"I have the latest magalog (the company's youth-oriented magazine and catalog), and Jen (her roommate) just placed an order with me for some lip glosses and skin care products."
Avon says mark, which consists of nearly 300 products, helps make high school and college gals look like a million bucks at a price they can afford.
But looks aren't everything when it comes to this campaign, which also aims to tackle statistics showing employment for young women at a 30-year low.
"By introducing this new business now, we offer young women not only great beauty options, but also an extraordinary earnings opportunity and empowering alternative to the limited-opportunity jobs in the retail and food service industries they may otherwise have to turn to," said Deborah I. Fine, president of Avon Future (search). Mark representatives earn 40 percent on beauty items sold, and 25 percent on non-beauty items.
However, not all coeds agree that mark is more promising than other work options. Erin Mariani, 21, a senior at the University of Delaware, said the prospect of buying or selling beauty products doesn't entice her.
"Makeup just doesn't really interest me — out of all my friends I am definitely the least into makeup."
Mariani, who works as an office assistant at Delaware's Art Conservation Graduate Program, said she wouldn't trade her $9-an-hour job to open up shop in the beauty industry.
"I wouldn't, but some of my friends probably would," she said.
Marzano wasn't always into beauty products herself, but mark changed all of that.
"I wasn't the biggest fan of makeup, but I love marketing and business. Once I got started up as a representative, I began to sell to friends in and out of school … I loved all of it and actually started to occasionally wear makeup."
Marzano even gave her mother a beauty — and business — lesson.
"After she saw me doing so well with mark, she opened an Avon account of her own," she said.
The beauty buck didn't stop there. The mother and daughter team held a joint Avon/mark party at their home last January, bringing two generations together for a glamour gala. And Lauren's younger sister Dana is ready to launch her own mark business in December, after she celebrates her 16th birthday.
According to Fine, mark was created for a new generation of young women who are independent and who mean business.
"We call this 'generation m' ... it's all about mark, makeup and making money. It's not defined by age, it's all attitude. They are modern, motivated and multicultural young women, and they have the desires, needs and abilities to earn their own money," Fine said.
But for practical Mariani, she's got only one concern when it comes to makeup — the price.
"I don't even know [what brand I buy]. The cheapest," she said.