The Tupperware Empire: The Development of Direct to Consumer Marketing
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius
“Tupperware was created by inventor, Earl Silas Tupper however it was partner Brownie Wise who catapulted Tupperware onto the national stage and into the living rooms of Americans. In 1938, Wise was 24 years old and stuck in a bad marriage, with an infant son, in Detroit, United States of America. Wise grew up in rural Georgia, United States of America, the product of a broken marriage with a mother who traveled as a union organizer, often leaving Wise with her cousins for years at a time. Wise eventually divorced 2 years later, married a Ford Motor Company employee, and moved north. Wise took night classes to become a secretary and was a gifted and quick typist.
In 1947, Wise’s life changed dramatically when she met a door to door sales person from a company entitled “Stanley Home” which sold products designed for a domestic environment (e.g. vacuum, brushes, pots and pans etc.). Wise felt she could do a better demonstration than the woman who attempted to sell her product and began selling product for Stanley Home by taking advantage of her social network of friends and relatives and marketing to them during group sales parties. Wise was one of Stanley Home’s best sales representatives and soon became a manager, motivating others.
Another star Stanley Home sales person in the Detroit area was 16 year old Gary McDonald. It was McDonald who introduced Wise to Tupperware. McDonald’s first introduction to Tupperware was in the J.L. Hudson Department Store, a product lineup which he felt would sell much better if demonstrated. Tupper’s sales manager tracked down and called McDonald to ask him what he was doing to move Tupperware product at such a blistering pace.
Tupper grew up extremely poor in central Massachusetts, United States of America, barely graduated from high school, and was obsessed with becoming a millionaire, convinced that he could become the next Thomas Edison or Henry Ford. Working as a tree surgeon, and filling his notebook with inventions like the fish shaped boat which propelled itself by flailing its body like a fish, the no drip ice cream cone, and a belt with a picture inlayed under the buckle of a persons significant other.”