Living Goods Applies the 'Avon' Model to Fight Poverty and Disease

Sep 22, 2011, 17:51 ET from Living Goods

NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Living Goods, a San Francisco based social enterprise, is applying Avon's model of franchised door-to-door sales agents to dramatically increase access to products designed to fight poverty and disease in the developing world. Roughly 270 million people in Africa still lack access to life's most essential products.  As a result, every four seconds, a child dies for want of simple health products that cost less than a cup of coffee.  

Chuck Slaughter, Founder and President of Living Goods, says, "traditional aid is vital, but cannot alone address these problems at the scale they persist today. We must also harness truly sustainable, globally scalable business models."  The model Mr. Slaughter developed at Living Goods harnesses the power of women entrepreneurs to build a fully sustainable system for defeating disease and poverty. The program's progress to-date demonstrates that people living in poverty are not simply waiting for handouts from the aid community; rather, they are value conscious consumers willing to pay a fair price for quality products and services.  

Living Goods supports networks of 'Avon-like' Health Entrepreneurs who go door-to-door teaching families how to improve their health and wealth, while selling low-cost, life-saving and life-changing products like fortified foods, bed nets, simple treatments for malaria and diarrhea, water filters, clean cook stoves, and solar lights.   Living Goods harnesses the buying power of its agent network to offer significantly lower prices for customers.  In addition, the door-to-door model helps poor consumers save transport costs, which often exceed the price of products alone.  

Living Goods and its key partner BRAC currently support over 700 micro-franchised agents in Uganda serving over 500,000 poor consumers.  One of Living Goods' first agents, Betty Kyazike, was recently invited by President Clinton to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).  This was Ms. Kyazike's first time leaving Uganda.  Ms. Kyazike joined leaders from Unilever and The Nature Conservancy to speak on CGI's "Girls, Women, and Water" panel on Thursday, September 22, 2011. The panel explored how women like Ms. Kyazike and the women entrepreneurs she supports can improve outcomes for the health and wealth of poor families.

In her address to CGI, Ms. Kyazike said, "Living Goods model is focused on women helping women.  All our franchised agents are women and they make their living by helping other women and their families improve their health and their lives."

Ms. Kyazike joined Living Goods in 2009 as a franchised sales agent and quickly became a top-performer breaking records in both sales performance and health impact.  A year later, Ms. Kyazike was promoted to Branch Manager for a new Living Goods outpost located in a slum on the edge of Kampala, Uganda. Ms. Kyazike now mentors 50 women entrepreneurs who go door-to-door throughout the Tula community. Her branch quickly became the top-performing outlet in the growing Living Goods network.

About Living Goods
Living Goods operates 'Avon-like' networks of women entrepreneurs who go door-to-door selling vital pro-poor products. Living Goods, which seeks to be fully self-funding at scale, utilizes the key characteristics of successful franchises, harnessing the volume of thousands of sellers and cutting out multiple layers of resellers, thus delivering better margins for agents and lower prices for customers. Living Goods partners with some of the top consumer and pharmaceutical brands like P&G and Novartis to extend their reach into new markets. Living Goods seeks nothing less than a disruptive re-invention of rural trade that uses the power of micro-franchising to save the poor money on essential goods and dramatically scale delivery of a wide range of life-saving and life-changing products from bed nets to solar lamps. Empowered Living Goods agents serve their home villages, own a business, and earn a decent income.  The many poor families they serve suffer fewer childhood deaths and enjoy longer, healthier, and more productive lives.  Living Goods is led by serial entrepreneur Chuck Slaughter, who founded TravelSmith a leading travel wear catalog and website with over $100 million in sales. For more information, visit or call 415-430-3575.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20-22 in New York City.

This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit

SOURCE Living Goods