Avon started out as the California Perfume Company when founder, Mr. David McConnell, of New York, NY, USA discovered that the rose oil perfumes he was giving away were the reason people were buying his books. He named the company Avon in 1939 in tribute to his favorite playwright, William Shakespeare and Stratford of Avon. Mrs. P.F.E. Albee of Winchester New Hampshire, USA pioneered the company's now-famous direct-selling method. Today, with sales representatives numbering three and a half million, Avon products are sold in 143 countries around the world. Women have been selling Avon since 1886 – 34 years before women in the US won the right to vote!