Avon Representatives Ivanna Diaz Hansen & Lydia Osolinsky Talk Side Hustles & Flexible Work Schedules

Nowadays, anyone has the power to work closely with what they love and make a living from it. Beauty brand Avon has provided thousands of women with the opportunity to nurture a passion for makeup through its representative program, in which participants can sell products, mentor others and grow their own business as either a side hustle or a full-time career. While it works with celebrity brand ambassadors such as Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale, Avon also values everyday, relatable women who appreciate both the flexibility and the opportunity a representative position can bring.

Celebrating these Beauty Bosses at a recent lunch and panel discussion co-hosted by Marie Claire, Avon had reps such as Ivanna Diaz Hansen and Lydia Osolinsky serving as strong examples of the inspiring women that embody the brand. For Diaz Hansen, Avon has been in the family since her mother began as a representative nearly 20 years ago. Now having worked with the company since she was 18, 25-year-old Diaz Hansen has helped to bring a millennial perspective to Avon’s approach to selling. Osolinsky also comes from an Avon family, working as a full-time Beauty Boss while raising two children. She prides herself on being her own boss in an adaptable environment.  

Her Campus spoke with Diaz Hansen and Osolinsky at the Beauty Boss event about trying out a side hustle, taking risks in life and what Avon means to them.

You, Ivanna, have said in an interview with USA Today that you don’t think many people realize the flexibility of being an Avon rep and what that flexibility means in the long run. What would either of you like millennial readers to know about this kind of position and finding success from it?

Ivanna Diaz Hansen: I think when you think about what you really want out of life, whether it’s a long career or if you want to settle down and have a family, people need to think about that now in the present. I know I want to be a stay-at-home mom, so I’m taking actions earlier. I started [representing Avon] at 18 years old because I knew eventually I want to work from home, even if I have kids or not. Now that I’m married, I do want to have kids. Not now, but I know down the line I’m going to want that flexibility to really be there and spend my time enjoying life while making money—not having to be somewhere every day, not having to be afraid to ask for time off and be judged by my employer. I think having that flexibility is so wonderful because you can really focus on the important things.

My grandma passed away last year from breast cancer, and my mom is also in the business. She was able to step away from doing Avon for two full months just taking care of [my grandma] at home during her last time. We were talking about how great is it that we can do that in this business because anywhere else, you’d have to leave your job to do that. My mom has many brothers and sisters—they were having such a hard time not being able to be there during her last moments…When you think about those moments, those crucial moments in life with your family or when loved ones are sick, you really do need to have a flexible job in order to be there for them. Otherwise, you’re going to be missing out on so much.

Lydia Osolinsky: The other piece of flexibility is that so much [of it] is flexible. It’s how you work, it’s when you work, it’s where you work, and you get to make those choices when you’re your own boss. You can really pick the parts of life that you like the most and build your business around them, build it around your strengths. And as you grow and discover new parts about yourself, this business is adaptable. You can bring that in, and it actually strengthens what you do. As I grow and as I’ve aged, my business has changed, and it’s changed with me. I love knowing that as I continue to age, it will always reflect the stage of life that I’m in because I’m the boss. I get to build it on my terms, and [Avon] is a company that celebrates that. With social media and the different ways that we reach people with our business, people are drawn to that. Flexibility means so much.

What advice would either of you have for new graduates who may be afraid to look into side jobs or take this kind of work on as a full-time job, when they’re not really sure what the best path is for them to take?

IDH: I think it’s important to do something that you love. I mean, even if it’s not being an Avon rep, if you are curious about doing a side hustle, do it as a side hustle while you’re trying something else. I went to school for art, and so I wanted to be an artist or [in] some form that related to art. I still was looking for work in that field because it’s what I’m also passionate about. But at the same time, I was building up my Avon career because I knew that, in case I don’t have a job in the art world, I’m going to have this business to back me up because I nurtured it and I grew it over the years. Even if it’s something that you’re not totally sure on, you’re still going to learn something and you’re going to build very valuable skills. When nothing else is out there for you, this is going to be your baby. This is your business and you have to take care of it, and I think with all side hustles, they give you that ability to create something of your own. You don’t have to be doing something that you don’t love. If it’s something that you love, you should nurture it and keep it growing, even if it’s just a side hustle or a full-time career. Keep true to what you want and even if it’s small or big, as long as it’s yours and you’re happy.

LO: One thing I’ve learned is that things surprise you. You surprise you, right? What’s nice about this is that there’s money in your pocket right away. It can help you do whatever you want to do today, and it may end up being much more than that. I also went to school for something different. I was studying women’s issues and wanted to help women, and at the time I did not realize that having my own business would be so fulfilling in relation to that as well. Now I help women start their own businesses, and it’s just surprising how rewarding it was beyond just the money. I wouldn’t have known that unless I was in it and tried it, and so I’m so thankful that I did.

IDH: I think you really have to take risks. A lot of people after college want to do something that’s safe and they think that a job is going to be guaranteed to you, but that’s not always the case. We just had the recession, and you may have a Masters degree, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get a job. I think with life, taking risks will allow you to be bigger than ever, but if you’re always going to play it safe, then you’re just going to have a safe life. If you kind of step out of your comfort zone, then you’re going to surprise yourself, like Lydia said. You may find yourself in New York on a panel with celebrities! So that’s something that I wouldn’t have in any other field and any other job, and it’s only because I nurtured my business and I kept pushing it and believed in myself and I had people that believed in me.

Going off of that, I read that Ivanna has over 200 people working under her at the moment?

IDH: So they don’t work for me—they work for themselves, but I mentor them. They are on my team, and actually Lydia and I are part of the same team, too! Her mom is my mom’s mentor…

LO: You’re like my Avon aunt!

IDH: Yeah, so, we all work together and I earn a commission off my team, but the only way that’s going to happen is if I guide them and I give them the proper teaching, and I’m only where I am because of them. They grow if I do a good job, and I don’t grow if I’m not doing a good job, so we definitely work together as a whole unit.

LO: It’s a great structure, so instead of everyone competing, we’re all invested in each other’s success. If they don’t do good, we don’t do good. It’s mutually beneficial. They get someone who’s really invested in their success and we’re rewarded for our efforts, so it’s really great.

To go back to your last question, when I was graduating college, I remember talking to a mentor of mine and saying how afraid I was that I wouldn’t get a job. It was very nerve-wracking, like, “Oh my goodness, what now?” I remember thinking, “What if no one will hire me?,” and I remember her saying, “Or you could just create a job.” And it was one of those moments—an aha moment where I thought, “Wow.” That’s what this is. You don’t have to convince someone to hire you. You can build whatever job you want, and when you start looking at that as a possibility, you start to see opportunities in places you didn’t see before, and that’s when the magic happens.  

If either of you could sum up Avon’s message as a brand in a couple of words, what would they be?

IDH: I always think of “empowering” because it just is. Being your own boss [and] the makeup makes me feel empowered. Helping other people make their own businesses makes you feel empowered. The way we give back to causes, like domestic violence, natural disasters, breast cancer awareness, it’s all empowering to be part of something that’s so big and gives back to so [many] different things and the people that are in it. Us as representatives, we get to be heard, and I’m so humbled because [Avon is] like, “Thank you for coming out!” and we’re like, “No, thank you guys!” They treat us very well and make us feel very empowered.

LO: Maybe “dynamic.” The business is constantly changing from all different angles, and even the fact that Avon looked for us—they wanted to hear our point of view. We can see places where our influences [are] in the company. They listen, and it’s really exciting to be part of a company that wants to listen and that sees our voices as part of being successful for the future.

IDH: I definitely feel like we are seen as worthy, not just “we’re the machines keeping the company going.” Our thoughts and our opinions really do matter, and we’re out there every day interacting with the people, selling to the people, helping our team members grow their businesses. So it’s definitely nice to know that we’re taken care of in our hearts and souls and they want us to be successful…You know, you see other corporations and it’s all about taking, taking, taking. Here, it’s like everyone’s just working together, corporate and representative and customer. It’s just like a great relationship.

LO: They’re all seen as sources of knowledge, and I think that’s very true of the millennials that are part of this business. In other venues, millennials may be [disregarded]. They’re at the table and Avon seeks them out and they see those voices as really important, and not just what they have to say, but how they like to say it, right? That is something Avon wants to nurture and explore and celebrate, so let them be themselves and give them the tools to take it bigger instead of trying to make them fit into some other image of what their business should look like.  

What’s next? Do you have any other projects in store?

LO: I’m going on a cruise to Bermuda! Avon has an incentive right now that we can earn a cruise to Bermuda.

IDH: That’s another great thing—the incentives are so awesome! I went on an all-expense-paid honeymoon to the Bahamas and got to bring my husband with me, and just things like that make you so excited and pumped to really step up your game. You’re growing your business and getting rewarded for it, too. Other than that, I really do want to buy a house and I’m going to keep pushing my business. That way, I can achieve that dream.

All event photos are credited to Astrid Stawiarz.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.