For the past five years, Living Goods has been using direct selling to advance health and entrepreneurship in Uganda. Chuck Slaughter, Living Goods Founder and CEO, first developed his direct sales savvy as an Avon distributor. Noting the sales volume Avon generates through selling non-vital products, Slaughter saw an untapped opportunity to apply the model to a category of products people urgently need—life-saving drugs.
In a recent interview with NBC, Slaughter says that when he dug deeper into the history of Avon, he discovered its roots are not so very different from what his team is working to accomplish in the developing world. Like Living Goods, Avon began with women in rural communities bound by tight social connections, who needed a source of income.
However, Living Goods’ micro-entrepreneurs have several advantages over the original Avon Lady. “We’re in this really compelling time now,” Slaughter said, “where the combination of direct selling models like Avon, microfinance, and the emergence of mobile technology is making possible a whole new generation of social entrepreneurs who can address some of these massive social problems in an incredibly efficient, sustainable way.”