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Selling lipstick got me a BMW!

Hard work allowed a determined Mary to buy her dream car.

Pennie Morris, 36, Ultimo, NSW

My husband Sergio sighed. 'It's so hard to get work at the moment,' he said, resigned. 'How will we get by?'

It was 2004 and Sergio, now 68, was a painter. But jobs were scarce and the company he worked for didn't need his expertise anymore.

Suddenly I had an idea. 'What about Avon?' I said. 'You could help me out. I'll increase my customers to make more money.'

Avon sells make-up and skin-care products through catalogue orders. I'd worked for them for a few years, delivering catalogues in an area nearby. I was slowly saving for my dream car - a BMW Executive. But with Sergio out of work, we would now need extra money just to live.

He agreed to help and together, we delivered extra catalogues and spread the word through my existing customers. I earned a percentage of the money for each product sold and the more I sold, the larger the percentage became.

Sergio followed up on catalogue deliveries and we started getting more customers. They'd often comment on our approach to the job. We were always honest, reliable and happy to help.

I made sure we were prompt and organised with deliveries, and my area grew and grew. Money was coming in thick and fast.

I even got free holidays for being one of Australia's top-10 sellers!

Soon I was putting food on the table and saving for my car too.

I'd often drive past the BMW dealership in my little Mazda 121 and dream of my brand-new BMW. Then in 2006, I finally got it.

Cash in hand, I went to the dealership with my daughter Rita. I got all the special options, including an in-car television, and grabbed a good deal at $62,000!

Sergio was so proud, and I was too. I still sell for Avon, and now I save my money for holidays.

My business helped us out of a sticky patch and ended up being bigger than ever. But honesty, determination, reliability and a friendly manner certainly helped.

And I have a BMW to prove it!

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