Charm Cosmetics was a nationally established film selling their wares door-to-door through a network of saleswoman organised into divisions and, beneath that, areas.
Elsie Howard got a job with them in September 1970 traipsing round the streets following husband Alan's business failings. Elsie seems to have prospered in her new work for she was almost instantly promoted to area supervisor following a three-week course in London with a list of women under her control. In January 1971 though things went wrong for Elsie when one of her charges, Mavis Sidlow, came to the attention of the imperious North West divisional director Dawn Painter for achieving no sales in the previous December. Elsie found out that she had been undergoing personal problems (most of which, in the event, proved to be untrue). Dawn grew tired of the excuses that Elsie made for Mavis and ordered her to be sacked. Elsie refused and was herself fired.