A year after its establishment, Charlie’s Avon Cosmetics shop now enjoys support amongst thousands of beauty and skin care fanatics. Charles Nell, owner of beauty care business Avon Shop Windhoek, this week took us through his revolutionary business journey in the venture.
Nell is the founder of Charlie’s Avon Cosmetics Namibia that houses a skincare brand as and personal care products. The shop is situated at the Westlane Shopping Centre in Pioneerspark, Windhoek.
Trials and triumphs
After noticing the increasing levels and long waiting periods Avon clients were subjected to when ordering products, he saw the gap in the market and decided to conceptualize and implement the idea of opening Namibia’s first Avon shop.
“When I signed up to be a sales representative for Avon I had people around me that ordered products but they had to wait for long for products to arrive.
I saw that gap in the market and decided to fill it to ensure that clients are not subjected to long waiting periods. Now I can proudly say that Avon clients do not have to order products through catalogues, because they can walk into the shop where the products are readily available,” he said proudly.
The journey is exciting so far, he says, adding that meeting the expectations of clients gives him peace of mind.
“The most exciting part of it all is seeing the happiness and smiles when people walk into the shop and find what they are looking for. Quality is key in a business like this, especially when it comes to makeup. It[quality] definitely plays a role as far as attracting clients is concerned.
And although we sell high quality products, that does not erode the affordability aspect of our products because we have monthly sale campaigns,” he said.
The shop caters for both male and female clients as well as all age groups, he says.
“In my view, private businesses in Namibia are key for job creation and as entrepreneurs we have a responsibility to heed government’s call for innovation. Every great business started somewhere and this is us starting somewhere while hoping for greater things,” said a hopeful Nell.
He also stressed the importance of continuous staff development and the need to capacitate the staff with skills to take good business decisions.
“I often attend Avon invited excursions. At these excursions, top sellers are assisted in different aspects to remain competitive. Avon also offers training programmes for the sales persons in the shops. I believe that they[shop stewards] should attend such trainings because they are the ones who deal directly with the clients. I believe that the shop stewards are the managers, they run the operations and whatever they say goes,” he said.
Crowned as Namibia’s top seller of Avon products last year, Nell said he spends half of his free time at the shop in a bid to grow the business.
He also highlighted the influence of his mother on his entrepreneurial acumen.
“I can say without doubt that my mother is my greatest inspiration. Not everyone grew up in a home where you had a mother trying to sell different products, hence, if I could think of anyone that could really find greatest appreciation it should be her. I must admit that I got most of my skills from her,” he says fondly.
Challenges and the future
Moving forward, Nell says that while many other similar businesses would cite access to the market as a big challenge, it was not the case for him although marketing the business remains a challenge.
“The first challenge is the time it takes for stock to arrive. The second is to master our marketing strategy to inform Namibians that there is an Avon shop in the country. All of that is receiving our attention as we speak,” he said.
“We have a unique product offering that is used by thousands of Namibians, therefore I am confident that our future prospects are great,” he says.
Nell says he is looking at tapping into new markets across the country.
“So far this is the only outlet in the country, our future plans entail opening another shop in Ongwediva,” he said.
Despite the zeal to grow the business, Nell underscored the importance of patience.
“One of the key qualities to succeed in this business is patience. It takes time for the business to materialize, to grow it and to yield the desired returns,” he emphasized.