The company was founded in 1886 by then 28-year-old David H. McConnell who sold books door-to-door and gave out perfume to entice women to buy his books. His perfume proved to be much more popular than his books, so he then founded the California Perfume Company (CPC) in New York, New York in a 500-square-foot (46 m2) manufacturing and shipping office at 126 Chambers Street. As the company grew, he hired his first representative, Mrs. P.F.E. Albee. In 1897, McConnell built a small (3000 square foot) laboratory in Suffern, New York. In 1906, the West Coast office in San Francisco was destroyed in the Great Earthquake. In 1914 the first non-US office was opened in the Canadian province of Quebec. The California Perfume Company was incorporated on January 28, 1916 by David H. McConnell and Alexander D. Henderson (businessman) in Suffern, New York. By 1918, five million units were sold in North America, and by 1928, sales reached $2 million. In October 1939, the name was changed to Avon Products, Inc; McConnell had visited Stratford-Upon-Avon (UK) and had liked the town so much, that he renamed his company after it. The company was taken public in 1946. By 1954, sales reached $55 million, and the “Avon Calling” advertising campaign introduced. By 1971 the lab would grow into the Avon Suffern Research and Development facility. By 1979, sales reached $3 billion, with one million direct sales agents. Today sales exceed $10 billion worldwide. In 2005 they opened a $100 million dollar 225,000-square-foot (20,900 m2) R&D facility to house its over 300 research and development scientists on the original site in Suffern, NY. There is a state of the art distribution facility in Zanesville, Ohio, which recently won the LEED Gold Certificate.
In June 1989, Avon became the first major cosmetic company to announce a permanent end to animal testing on all Avon-manufactured products. Avon does not conduct animal testing on any of its products or raw ingredients and does not require that suppliers of raw ingredients and finished products produced for Avon conduct animal testing on our behalf.
Info gleaned from wikipedia