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Cosmetics and more at Suz Avon

That was just over two years ago. She now has two Suz Avon stores in West Des Moines, one in Jordan Creek Town Center and the other in Valley West Mall.

Eggers, 45, said she originally planned to open just one store, in Jordan Creek, but there were delays in getting the space ready, Christmas 2004 was looming and she was accumulating a houseful of products ordered for her store.

She approached Valley West Mall about putting products in a space there, just until her Jordan Creek store was ready. The shop opened in November 2004.

Traffic was so good she kept the Valley West Mall store open. When her Jordan Creek space was ready, she opened there in February 2005.

The shops carry cosmetics, skin-care products for women, men and children, lingerie and handbags. Eggers, who answered these questions, has about 20 part-time employees.

Q. When did you begin your business with Avon?
A. It was the end of February 2004. I signed up through my representative and just one week later I came up with the idea for a store. I intended to open just one, in Jordan Creek Mall when it first opened.

Q. What did it take to do that?
A. Just a little bit of paperwork. I had to give Avon information on the mall, the anchor stores there, the size of the mall, the demographics of the surrounding area, including the population and median income, the number of representatives already in the area and the outside competition from other cosmetic companies. I had to go through marketing requirements and tell them what I'd accomplish. I had to become a Certified Beauty Advisor, which included going to Chicago and taking one day of training in skin care and color.

Q. Are you still an Avon representative?
A. Yes, I still hand out catalogs to my original customers. At my high point, I was ordering 500 books every two weeks. Now I'm ordering about 100 books every two weeks.

Q. When do you have time for that?
A. Usually at night. My customers might wake up and find a surprise (catalog and products) on their doors. All is well and good as long as the dog doesn't bark. My customers call in or e-mail their orders. I have an account separate from the store for that.

Q. How many other Avon stores are there?
A. When I applied for Jordan Creek, I was told that it was the 26th in the nation. When you count kiosks, there are 100. In the United States, there are 650,000 Avon representatives, so that 100 is not very many.

Q. The lingerie is not what I expected. It's very sexy. Tell me about it.
A. We carry extra small to 1X. We can special order to 3X. Pricewise, it's more affordable than a lot of other places. Prices range from $18 to $38, averaging about $23.

Q. When there are so many representatives, why open a store?
A. It's here for someone who doesn't have a representative, or for someone who needs something quick. More people are bringing in clips from magazines, or seeing products on TV on "Oprah," "Desperate Housewives" or "CSI." Sometimes, the ads are out before the product. Fortunately, I can, as a store, get them before the representatives do.

Q. What is a popular product?
A. Our Anew Clinical Line, products you can use instead of having surgery. They are a blend of Eastern plant therapies and Western technology. It's the best of both worlds.

I sell a lot of Clinical eyelift. It has two products in one container - an upper eye gel and an undereye cream. The upper helps with sagging and drooping and the undereye takes care of those dark circles. You apply it morning and night and it boosts the collagen level so it helps reduce puffiness, drooping and sagging. It's about $30. It lasts a couple of months.

My Anew products are always near the top of my sales report. At an annual recognition banquet, out of 8,500 representatives, I got No. 1 or No. 2 for volume spent on skin care.

Q. What are your favorite products?
A. Everything I use, from shampoo to soaps to lotions. Pretty much everything they come out with, I have. I don't carry clothes here, though. There's no room.

I think my favorite right now is the Anew face cream. And the instant manicure is oh, so cool. It's real nail enamel that you can apply to your own fingernails or acrylic nails. You peel it off and apply it to your nail. I was getting ready for my son's college graduation and I was scrubbing grout and cutting fruit until my hands were like raisins. The polish stayed on. I wish I'd invented them. We have 10 shades right now, but six new colors are coming out in the fall.