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Tupperware Brands Corporation
Founded 1948 in Orlando, Florida
Founder Earl Tupper
Key people
Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO, Brownie Wise
Products Preparation, storage, containment, serving products for the kitchen and home and beauty products
Revenue US$2.3 billion (2010) [1]
US$326.5 million (2010)[1]
US$225.6 million (2010)[1]
Total assets US$2.0 billion (2010)[1]
Total equity US$789.8 million (2010)[1]
Number of employees
13,500 (2010) [1]
Parent Tupperware Brands

Tupperware is the name of a home products line that includes preparation, storage, containment, and serving products for the kitchen and home. In 1942, Earl Tupper developed his first bell shaped container; the brand products were introduced to the public in 1948.

Tupperware develops, manufactures, and internationally distributes its products as a wholly owned subsidiary of its parent company Tupperware Brands. It is marketed by means of approximately 1.9 million direct salespeople on contract.[2]

In 2013, the top marketplace of Tupperware was Indonesia which toppled Germany as the second. Indonesia's last year sales were more than $200 million with 250,000 sales persons.[3]


  • Company history 1
  • Tupperware parties 2
  • Cultural and historical impact 3
  • Product lines 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Company history

Tupperware was developed in 1946 by Earl Silas Tupper (1907–83) in Leominster, Massachusetts.[4] He developed plastic containers used in households to contain food and keep it airtight. The once-patented "burping seal" is a famous aspect of Tupperware, which distinguished it from competitors. Earl Tupper invented the plastic for Tupperware already in 1938, but the product only worked with the emergence of the sale through presentation in a party setting. In 1949, Tupperware introduced the 'Wonderlier Bowl' that gave a start to a revolutionary range of kitchen utensils.

Tupperware pioneered the direct marketing strategy made famous by the Tupperware party. The Tupperware Party allowed for women of the 1950s to work and enjoy the benefits of earning an income without completely taking away the independence granted to women during the Second World War when women first began entering the labor market, all the while keeping their focus in the domestic domain.[5] The "Party" model builds on characteristics generally developed by being a housewife (e.g., party planning, hosting a party, sociable relations with friends and neighbors) and created an alternative choice for women who either needed or wanted to work. Brownie Wise realized Tupperware's potential as a fun commodity. She realized, however, that she had to be creative and therefore started to throw these Tupperware parties.

Brownie Wise (1913–92), a former sales representative of Stanley Home Products, developed the strategy. Tupper was so impressed that Brownie Wise was made vice president of marketing in 1951. Wise soon created Tupperware Parties Inc.[6] During the early 1950s, Tupperware's sales and popularity exploded, thanks in large part to Wise's influence among women who sold Tupperware, and some of the famous "jubilees" celebrating the success of Tupperware ladies at lavish and outlandishly themed parties. Tupperware was known—at a time when women came back from working during World War II only to be told to "go back to the kitchen"[7]—as a method of empowering women, and giving them a toehold in the postwar business world.[8][9][10]

The tradition of Tupperware's "Jubilee" style events continues to this day, with rallies being held in major cities to recognize and reward top-selling and top-recruiting individuals, teams, and organizations.

Tupperware party in the 1950s
Tupperware containers from 2011

In 1958, Earl Tupper fired Brownie Wise over general difference of opinion in the Tupperware business operation. Officially, Tupper objected to the expenses incurred by the jubilee and other similar celebrations of Tupperware.[11] However, the real reason was that Tupper had been approached by several companies interested in buying him out; he felt that he would not be able to sell with a woman in an executive position.[12] Rexall bought Tupperware in 1958.

Tupperware spread to Europe in 1960 when Mila Pond hosted a Tupperware party in Weybridge, England, and subsequently around the world. At the time, a strict dress code was required for Tupperware ladies, with skirts and stockings (tights) worn at all times, and white gloves often accompanying the outfit.[13] A technique called "carrot calling" helped promote the parties: representatives would travel door to door in a neighborhood and ask housewives to "run an experiment" in which carrots would be placed in a Tupperware container and compared with "anything that you would ordinarily leave it in"; it would often result in the scheduling of a Tupperware party.[13]

Rexall sold its namesake drugstores in 1977, and renamed itself Dart Industries. Dart merged with Kraftco to form Dart & Kraft. The company demerged, with the former Dart assets named Premark International. Tupperware Brands was spun off from Premark in 1996; Premark was acquired by Illinois Tool Works three years later.

In 2003, Tupperware closed down operations in the UK and Ireland, citing customer dissatisfaction with their direct sales model.[14] There has been limited importer-distribution since then.[15] The company announced a formal relaunch in the UK in mid-2011,[16] and recruited UK staff, but in December the relaunch was cancelled.[17]

Tupperware is now sold in almost 100 countries, after peaking at more than a hundred after 1996.[18]

Tupperware parties

Tupperware is still sold mostly through a party plan, with rewards for hosts. A Tupperware party is run by a Tupperware "consultant" for a host who invites friends and neighbors into his or her home to see the product line. Tupperware hosts are rewarded with free products based on the level of sales made at their party. Parties also take place in workplaces, schools, and other community groups.

In most countries, Tupperware's sales force is organized in a tiered structure with consultants at the bottom, managers and star managers over them, and next various levels of directors, with Legacy Executive Directors at the top level. In recent years, Tupperware has done away with distributorships in the United States. This has allowed Tupperware more flexibility, and more generous commission and rewards for their consultants.

In recent years, Tupperware in North America has moved to a new business model which includes more emphasis on direct marketing channels and eliminated its dependency on authorized distributorships. This transition included selling through Target stores in the U.S., and Superstores in Canada, with disappointing results. Tupperware states this hurt direct sales.[19] In countries with a strong focus on marketing through parties (such as Germany, Australia, and New Zealand), Tupperware's market share and profitability continue to decline.

In many countries, Tupperware products come with a lifetime guarantee. In the UK/Ireland the guarantee is 10 years.[20] The company is best known for its plastic bowls and storage containers. However, in recent years it has branched out into stainless steel cookware, fine cutlery, chef's knives, and other kitchen gadgets. After experiencing a slump in sales and public image in the mid-1990s, the company created several new product lines to attract a younger market.

In some countries including Belgium, Australia, Ireland and the U.S., Tupperware markets their parties and career opportunities through mall kiosks from time to time.

In China, Tupperware products are sold through franchised "entrepreneurial shopfronts", of which there were 1,900 in 2005, due to pyramid selling laws enacted in 1998.[21][22] The Chinese characters 特百惠 are used as the brand name, and translate as "hundred benefit".

Cultural and historical impact

Typical authentic Tupperware

Tupperware created a way for women to remain housewives while creating an independence from the home in a sociable atmosphere.[23]

The reciprocity that emerges at the “parties,” which are traditionally composed of friends and family members of the hostess, creates a nurturing atmosphere without a direct sales feeling. Studies show that the creation of the “Tupperware party” is a gendered construct aimed at appeasing the general ethos of the domestic arrangements of the era where men were the sole earners and it was the women's responsibility to manage the housework. It was the Larkin company, however that were the forerunners of these types of "parties", during the 1890s, that were popularized by such organizations as Tupperware.[24]

Feminist views vary regarding the Tupperware format of sales through parties, and the social and economic role of women portrayed by the Tupperware model. Opposing views state that the intended gendered product and selling campaign further domesticates women, and keeps their predominant focus on homemaking.[23] The positive feminist views consider that Tupperware provided work for women who were pregnant or otherwise not guaranteed their position at work due to the unequal gender laws in the workplace. The company promoted the betterment of women and the endless opportunities Tupperware offered to women; whereas, the negative view includes the restriction of women to the domestic sphere and limiting the real separation between running the household and a career.[5] The emergence of Tupperware on the American market created a new kind of opportunity to an entirely underrepresented labor demographic; women, and especially suburban housewives, which subsequently facilitated the calls for equal rights between men and women in the workplace.

Product lines

One of the Tupperware's Ultraplus line of products

Tupperware's product ranges are often marketed under different names in different markets, and the product ranges and colors themselves differ between markets. Tupperware's most popular lines include:

  • Eleganzia (UK, DE), Illusions (AU): a "glasslike" range of serving dishes
  • Wonderlier (US, Canada, UK), Bowl Maravilloso (URU): round storage bowl sets in bright colours
  • FlatOut! (US), MiniMax (UK), Go Flex (AU), Compactware (URU): bowls that flatten for storage, and can be expanded when needed
  • FridgeSmart (US, UK, AU), PrimaKlima (DE), Marine (URU): with air control vents, FridgeSmart containers are modular containers intended for refrigerated fruits and vegetables. FridgeSmarts have air control vents intended to allow different levels of airflow around different types of fruits and vegetables, as well as a corrugated bottom to allow them to store securely on a refrigerator shelf.
  • Stuffables (US, AU), Bungee: refrigerator storage with flexible lids for overfilling
  • UltraPro (US, DE, AU, UK), UltraPlus : plastic ovenware advertised as being safe when used in a microwave or a conventional oven, with heat-resistant properties

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Form 10-K Annual Report Filed Feb 22, 2011 (FY 2010)". Tupperware Inc./ 
  2. ^ Cortese, Amy (July 7, 2007). "Tupperware Freshens Up the Party".  
  3. ^ Joe Cochrane. "Tupperware’s Sweet Spot Shifts to Indonesia". Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  4. ^ Earl Silas Tupper. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  5. ^ a b Clarke, Allison J. (1999) Tupperware, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 192–193. ISBN 1560989203.
  6. ^ Bax C. (2010). "Entrepreneur Brownie Wise: Selling Tupperware to America's Women in the 1950s". Journal of Women's History (free text) 22 (2): 171.  
  7. ^ Wortz, Eleanor Thompson. "Fly Gals of World War II". Robertson Publishing. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  8. ^ Mulkerrins, Jane, "Did Tupperware invent social networking? Fifties parties were the first Facebook claim the plastic container company", Daily Mail, 11 May 2011
  9. ^ Goudreau, Jenna, "The Tupperware Effect, Empowering Women Around The World", Forbes, February 14, 2011
  10. ^ "Empowering the Community at Risk: The Partnership of PT Tupperware Indonesia and HOPE worldwide", Public Health Institute, study, October 2009.
  11. ^ Brennan, Zoe (January 18, 2007). "How Tupperware has conquered the world".  
  12. ^ "Tupperware! Program transcript". American Experience. WGBH. 2003. Retrieved February 23, 2012. Charles McBurney, Tupperware staff: 'He wanted to sell the company. And he felt he couldn't sell it with a woman the head of it, and certainly a woman with such great power over the whole system, over the whole organization.' 
  13. ^ a b "What is today's American Dream?".  
  14. ^ "Party is over for Tupperware UK". BBC News. 23 January 2003. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  15. ^ Tupperware.
  16. ^ "Did Tupperware parties change the lives of women?". BBC News. 10 May 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  17. ^ Mike Roberts – United Kingdom. LinkedIn. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  18. ^ Hilsenrath, Jon E. (May 26, 1996). "Is Tupperware Dated? Not in the Global Market". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Tupperware to End Partnership with Target Stores". The New York Times. June 19, 2003. Retrieved May 19, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Customer Service". Tupperware UK & Ireland. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  21. ^ Tempest, Rone; Farley, Maggie (April 24, 1998). "Tupperware Party's Over, Says China".  
  22. ^ "Tupperware adapts to serve diverse markets".  
  23. ^ a b Vincent, S. (2008). "Preserving Domesticity: Reading Tupperware in Women's Changing Domestic, Social and Economic Roles". Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie 40 (2): 171.  
  24. ^ Stanger, Howard R. (2000). "From Factory to Family: The Creation of a Corporate Culture in the Larkin Company of Buffalo, New York". The Business History Review 74 (3): 407–433.  

Further reading

  • Charles Duhigg, "Why Short Sellers Want to Crash the Tupperware Party," New York Times, Nov. 17, 2006.
  • Elayne Rapping, "Tupperware and Women", Radical America, vol. 14, no. 6 (Nov.–Dec. 1980), pp. 39–49.

External links

  • Tupperware official website
  • Tupperware! program from PBS' American Experience, 2005.
  • George J. Yarbrough, The Wonderful World of Tupperware. Orlando, FL: United Film Productions, n.d. [c. 1964]. —Public Relations film.
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