Can you have Tupperware without parties?

Tupperware, once only sold via direct sales “parties,” is coming to Target.

Zachary Crockett

Tupperware, once only available at parties, is now at Target — which is arguably less fun and doesn’t include homemade canapés.

Tupperware CEO Miguel Fernandez recently wrote in a LinkedIn post that the food storage brand is trying to reinvent itself for a new generation of consumers unfamiliar with direct sales.

Chemist and Tupperware founder…

Earl Tupper patented his double-sealed plastic lid in 1947, per Smithsonian, but it was advice columnist Brownie Wise who pioneered the Tupperware party.

Because most households hadn’t used plastic containers, Wise started a successful business recruiting women to host parties where they’d demo and sell products on commission.

  • Tupper hired Wise as VP of marketing in 1951.
  • By 1954, 20k people were involved in its direct sales network.

Their partnership didn’t last — in 1958, Tupper ousted Wise and sold the company for $16m — but Wise’s parties did. In 2019, there were 3m+ sellers worldwide.

Tupperware has tried and failed…

… to move into traditional retail. A 2003 Target partnership resulted in a decline in both sellers and sales.

Then-CEO Rick Goings said it would take two years to recover, and vowed to never do another “major deal with a retailer.”

But could it work this time?

It likely depends on where people prefer to buy their Tupperware.

There’s been backlash against direct sales and the many MLMs that have since borrowed Wise’s tactics, but Tupperware remains popular.

In 2020, amid the pandemic, sales jumped 72% in the US and Canada thanks to virtual parties and a home-cooking boom, per Modern Retail.

And now, a man who is very excited to tour the Tupperware Museum.

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