She’s been an Avon lady for 50 years and is still at the top of her game.
Sally Pilbeam, 77, of Wrestwood Road has been helping ladies choose their lipstick and powder for half a century - ever since she answered an advert and started off on her new routine of visiting, advising, ordering and delivering for her clients’ beauty needs.
She has been doing this for longer than anyone else in Bexhill, Hastings or Eastbourne and has always enjoyed the sociable contact of her role - she has clients who have been with her from the start, and her oldest contact is a lady of 90 who is still making regular orders.
“I wanted something to do, so I thought I would give it a go,” she told the Observer.
“It was completely different then. I was working in an office in Bexhill but I paid my £3.50 for my first campaign, and I sold more than that £3.50 and got my money back. I was doing it quite well, so I started it as a hobby and it grew from there.”
Sally covers an area local to her which takes in St James’s Avenue, Bodiam Close, and Wrestwood Road even though it is more difficult for her to get around as she suffers osteo arthritis.
She says the most popular items continue to be what they always were - talcum powder, cream perfume, bubble bath and hand cream - and that her ladies tend to be resistant to change but do get annoyed when their favourite items are discontinued.
She has got to know clients well over the years, and remembers one couple when they moved into their home having just married - decades later they are grandparents now. She has around 30-35 at present, and tends to see them every three weeks or so - she will deliver the order book and then return a few days later to see what they want.
“When I was not very well some of my ladies would come and collect the orders from me and deliver them. I have some very nice ladies - they are really very good.”
Her area manager Marian Ashdown commented: “She has been with us for 50 years - she joined soon after Avon came to Britain, and has been with us almost from the word ‘go.’
“Over the years she has been in the President Club for the top ten percent...She is still 52nd in our area out of 600 Avon ladies, and she is still doing better than most. For most years she has been in the top 20-25 percent. We are very proud of her. It is about customer service, it is looking after the customers and being a friendly and approachable person. The customers think highly of her.”