A transgender woman who had to give up work to look after her sick mum said she had hit rock bottom, with no food in the cupboards - until Avon saved her.
Daniella Schofield, of South Shore, said she cannot believe how much becoming a sales leader at the popular make-up and beauty company has transformed her life.
Over the course of two years, Daniella had gone from being a full time area manager for a group of care homes, to being unemployed and relying heavily on food banks and housing benefit to support her 62-year-old mum who has schizophrenia.
Things had started to slip in 2017 when her mum’s partner died. As he had been her carer, Daniella had to drop her well paid job to go part time to look after her mum at her St Annes home. But even this became too much and in February, she quit her job and moved her mum into her house in South Shore.
She said: “It was a very lonely time as we had no-one else to support us. Mum had developed schizophrenia more than 12 years ago and her partner was her carer. When he died, I stepped into the role. I only had housing benefit and I had no money coming in. It was horrendous. I had no food in my cupboards and I was needing help from food banks. I was waiting on benefits and I could not survive.
“I never had any support as a carer, which was very scary, but we did it.”
As well as the financial strain, Daniella was also in the process of transitioning from male to female and she could not afford her hormonal drugs. Left feeling isolated and frustrated, she then spotted an opportunity which answered her prayers.
She explained: “Avon was something I went to out of desperation. Everything got too much as the bills were coming in. It was such a dark time. I was crying whilst looking on Facebook and I saw an ad that changed my life.”
Daniella signed up and as her sales grew, she is now earning up to £1,300 a month. Her sales technique has not gone unnoticed by Avon, who nominated her for part time direct seller of the year at the Direct Selling Association Awards. The winner will be announced on November 1.
She said: “I can’t believe I have even been nominated. I am up against some really big people. I started of selling but now I am in a leadership role and I lead a big team.
“It is all about network marketing, which is selling on social media. I go live on Facebook and showcase products.
“You sell yourself, rather than the product, as the product sells itself. You are getting people to buy from you.”
Daniella has also been selected as the Trans Face of Avon, championing the cause for all genders.
She said: “I am not the only transwoman in Avon so it is amazing to be chosen. It is all about equality. Avon centres are for everybody, no matter your background, skin colour or gender. Avon embraces everybody and I feel everyone accepts me.”
Daniella added that Avon has not just transformed her life, but others in a similar financial position.
She said: “People don’t realise how much being with Avon can help people. There are so many people in financial hardship who are struggling and it is nice to be able to show them there is light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to fight for it.
“I have spoken at a few events about my journey and there is more to come.”