Willa, Avon for the Instagram Generation

3e8200d6-8119-4375-8c7d-680955fb2ee7Years ago Christy Prunier came into my office to tell me about Willa.  She had a vision.  She was already had the product, she was already selling the product and it was an uphill battle, as it always is.  She told me her vision and why she built this company and it resonated with me.  So I committed to invest and help her think through the future of Willa.  I had have her back since.

The girls that used the product loved it.  My nieces loved it.  Their friends at camp loved it.  Willa empowered these young women to want and use skin care products that they could call their own.  So how could we connect their love of the product into something else.  Could we create the next generation of women entrepreneurs?

Willa launched yesterday giving the next generation of women entrepreneurs the ability to build a business, sell a product they love and make money.  Think the next generation of the Avon lady but is a young woman who has a mobile phone and she is able to leverage her business with social media and do all her transactions in the palm of her hand.  Fortune wrote about the launch yesterday.

Willa is launching across the country with thousands of girls.  Check out the site.  Maybe you know someone who wants to be a Willa Girl?  My niece is going to be one and she is beyond psyched.  She is going to be able to actively sell and access their “My Office” providing them news, stats on their business, training and marketing materials.

I know that if this product was around when I was a teen, I’d be first in line to be a Willa Girl.

Comments (Archived):

  1. JLM

    .This is the updating of an old idea — new wine in old bottles.What it is also is blatant gender discrimination — where are the Willa Boys?Coming to a courtroom near you soon. JKGood luck.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Donna Brewington White

      We’re talking adolescent males, JLM. As the mom of three teenage sons, I say this could be ripe for a “fox in the hen house” situation.

    2. Tereza

      Dollar shave club!Miss ya, JLM.

  2. karen_e

    It is a great age to be an entrepreneur. My first business took place during the five minute breaks between classes in 7th grade, when my best friend and I sold our hand-painted barrettes like li’l hot cakes. And that was the first of many …

    1. Gotham Gal

      love that!!

  3. pointsnfigures

    The updated version of Junior Achievement.

  4. Matt Kruza

    The interesting dynamic of this will be from the buyers side (many of the girls wanting to sell I can see getting excited, and I can see from their family, friends etc. why they would want them too– learning about entreprneuership and all which his great). However, from the girls who would buy, in many cases the money would be coming from their parents (at least in the 16 and under without a job type) and their could be some interesting (read bad) reactions. The big problem many people have with MLM and direct selling is how those most successful often “prey” upon family, friends and monetize that social bond.. aka become pushy or rude. I certainly hope that doesn’t happen in this case, but DEFINITELY something I think that the company needs to be very on the look out for and try to ensure that is kept to a minimum.

  5. Sherry Abdou

    I love learning a mother-daughter team conceived this business idea. They are introducing young girls to entrepreneurship in a fun and engaging fashion. Simply awesome!

  6. Shelly Lipton

    Love this! So many life lessons rolled up into a great experience.

  7. Donna Brewington White

    I am excited for the day when you ask a girl what she wants to do when she grows up and she shares a business idea. Boys for that matter, too. Nothing wrong with growing up and getting a job, buy how much better if that is an option, not the default.This is a great step in the right direction. Congratulations!

  8. LE

    I’ve always like the willa concept and it’s great that they have launched this. It looks great.But I think that they need to also get across a message that makes the connection for kids that earning money is useful because you need money, and you need to make your own, not to rely on your parents to buy you everything and anything.When I was growing up only way to get that stereo was to work so you could buy it. Parents didn’t shell out money like they do today for kids.So my question really is what can willa do to re-instill that value in parents? So they don’t spoil their kids? Is that even possible in this day and age? Part (not all but part) of the success of this will almost certainly be tied to whether kids actually have a use for the money that they are earning. And to have a use for that money they need to have their parents essentially not buy them everything that they need or that they want.

    1. Gotham Gal

      They are all over this. Saving for college, setting up bank accounts, perhaps giving some to a charity they believe in. It is a huge component.

    2. Tereza

      Check out “The Opposite of Spoiled” new book out by Ron Lieber.

  9. Tereza

    My daughter just got her kit to get started, too. Will be interested to see where she takes it.

    1. Gotham Gal


  10. Tereza

    Quick comment — my daughter got her kit. She’s a little young on the young side (12) but and there is a huge push to host the parties — which means mom has to organize the parties. So at first I was not sure bc I really don’t have time. However, I see Margot getting website up and making sure it links to her Instagram correctly, etc. I think she’ll focus on the digital side and intuiting through digital marketing is certainly great experience in and of itself, even if Mommy decides to go low on the Weekend parties. I’m telling her this is her business to run, not mine.

    1. Gotham Gal

      as it should be. it is her business.

  11. Tracy C

    Great business, but I have a fundamental problem with girls making a commission of 10-25% when other peer to peer models like BeautyCounter and Arbonne pay higher commissions to their salespeople. Is this their first lesson in income inequality?

    1. Gotham Gal

      it is totally based on the what direct marketing companies pay.