By Patrick Donachie
Georgiana Haynes, 29, is an architectural designer, Avon representative and Springfield Gardens resident. She is also in a position markedly different from many recent college graduates throughout the country—free from the weight of student loan debt.
“It was like a burden was lifted off of my shoulders. I didn’t realize it when I had it. It’s like I expected I would always have it,” Haynes said, referring to a debt totaling about $18,000 she had accrued from her time at the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan.
Haynes began working as a representative selling Avon beauty products in high school and eventually all of her Avon earnings were going toward paying down her student loan debts. In the last few years alone, Haynes said she had erased more than $10,000 of debt. As an Avon representative, she works independently selling the company’s beauty products.
“It’s daunting, but doing architectural design in school, you’re used to working all nighters and working under pressure,” she said.
Haynes is a team leader for 150 other Avon representatives, though she prefers the term “coach” to stress the collaborative and friendly atmosphere of the group. She said freeing herself from student debt actually helped her relate to the struggles others had and inspired her to offer advice about how she was able to pay off the loans.
“I try to teach good skills, even when I’m out in the field talking to people. The things that I’ve learned to help myself get out of debt… I tried to share that with people,” she said.
Haynes is also working towards getting her license in architectural design and is currently specializing in interior design. She said the lessons she learned in her quick work in paying down her debt and working with Avon would be beneficial to her future endeavours, and particularly were important for women working as representatives.
“The flexibility of being your own boss and being in charge of your time is pretty empowering. I find a lot of women in the field are depending on other incomes or taking care of families … but I’ve had women on my team working two part-time jobs just to make ends meet,” she said. “With Avon, they could earn enough to quit a job or cut down on their hours.”
Haynes will also be featured in a national ad campaign for Avon that was announced this week, entitled “This is Boss Life.”
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona