Tupperware has been a household name for over 65 years and is arguably one of the founders of the direct marketing/MLM model business. Back in the 1950’s the company, via its VP of marketing, Brownie Wise, refined the “Party Plan” aspect of product selling, enabling Tupperware to achieve impressive yearly revenues. Successful Tupperware consultants were rewarded with lavish ‘jubilee’ events and sales awards, a tradition that continues to this day.

What is Tupperware all about?

Tupperware currently offers a line of kitchen accessories and food storage products that are not only functional and durable but even pretty to look at. The following photo showcases a representative group of Tupperware products:

Regular individuals can sign up to sell Tupperware from their home, office or even online. Such Tupperware consultants, as they are called, join the company by first purchasing a starter pack for $99. 

If a potential consultant doesn’t have the $99, there is the Confident Start Program, wherein one puts down only a $35 down payment. If that consultant then makes $1,000 or more in personal sales in his first 90 days, the remaining $64 is compensated for by the company.

Consultants make 25% commissions from product sales up to $1,500. After that amount, an additional 5% bonus is received from the company. At $10,000, the company bonus becomes 10%. So, a truly successful consultant can earn up to 35% in commissions even with no downline.

However, the downline, called a unit by Tupperware, enables consultants to earn even more money. Beginner consultants who recruit others are called managers and earn a percentage of sales from their unit up to three levels down. In addition, managers who achieve a team sales volume of at least $2,500 start earning an additional bonus, called the Vanguard Bonus. The Vanguard Bonus applies until managers exit their rank and become directors.

Once at director level, which actually consists of eight total levels, a different commission structure comes into play. Directors still earn 25% on their personal sales and up to 35% depending on sales volume. However, directors also earn a 6-8% bonus in commissionable team sales. This commissionable amount is calculated as 75% of team total sales. So, if a director’s team sells $20,000 of product, its commissionable sales will be $15,000, which will result in a personal bonus of $1,050/month.  

Obviously, using this bonus and incentives structure, higher level consultants are encouraged to motivate others to sell, and to sell more.

Tupperware’s MLM model

In the Tupperware MLM structure, each consultant, whether a beginner consultant, manager or director, is encouraged to complete three tasks on a regular basis:

Welcome and/or promote 1-2 consultants each week. This means that you are either recruiting 8 new consultants each month or, if you are a director, promoting consultants from within your team to higher level positions. At the top-level director positions, you are actually encouraging your already promoted consultants (i.e., managers and directors) to promote other consultants. Promotion means that these consultants are qualifying for those advanced positions via their selling and recruitment activities.

Host 2 personal parties each week. No matter what their level, all Tupperware consultants are expected to host parties per week in order to sell their expected volume.

Tupperware pros and cons

As with any business, there are positives and negatives to entering and working at Tupperware.

Pros:

Quality brand– Tupperware has decades of brand name recognition and there are very few complaints about its products.

Large market– Anyone who eats can use Tupperware products. Also, Tupperware items are often used for non-food storage purposes such as holding sewing kits, bait, office supplies, screws and nails, etc.

Generous recruitment commissions– If a consultant is talented at recruiting others to sell Tupperware, she can earn sizable bonuses on her team’s sales. Once sales reach the 100K to million dollar ranges, the bonuses include trips to exotic locales and even sports cars.

Cons:

Required quarterly volume– Consultants must sell at least $250 of product every 4 months or they are deactivated. While $250 in product sales doesn’t sound like a lot, it can become a pivotal factor if you need to take a break from selling because of a vacation, sickness, new baby or other disruption in your schedule.

Warm market emphasis– I’m not sure what information is presented at the events that Tupperware throws for its consultants; however, the content on its website is all about selling to one’s “warm” market (i.e., family and friends). Unfortunately, a warm market won’t sustain repeated and large volume sales. To truly become successful in an MLM, one must learn how to reach out to cold markets and have them buy- and buy repeatedly. It’s uncertain if Tupperware provides any sales training to this end.

High wholesale cost– Consultants purchase Tupperware products at only 25% off their suggested retail price. This is not a huge discount and creates a problem for consultants who may want to sell their products through a promotion or product discount. It also leads to the nagging question of who exactly is the real customer here, the consultant or their ‘customer?’

Discounted products– eBay, Amazon and even yard sales all offer lots of discounted Tupperware product. When one can purchase an entire box of pre-owned Tupperware for $25, why should he pay a consultant ten times that amount for brand new items?

Tupperware is a great product but a so-so business

Tupperware is sold in almost 100 countries and its quality is known the world over. Supposedly, 9/10 households in the U.S. own at least one Tupperware product. Frankly, the bright colors and unique designs of Tupperware containers make them fun to use.

However, selling Tupperware as a personal business is fraught with risk. To begin with, the wholesale inventory isn’t cheap- and if it doesn’t sell, one is stuck with some rather expensive product. Also, selling successfully requires a large customer base, not just one’s network of friends and relatives. Finally, it doesn’t appear that Tupperware teaches its consultants how to vary their selling strategies to include online advertisement, brick-and-mortar stores, kiosks, fairs and trade shows, etc.

Do you currently sell or have you sold Tupperware as a consultant? Please leave a comment about your experiences below.

Last Updated: May 15, 2017

Join the Discussion

  • Hollie Rose
    Hollie Rose
    Reply

    I love tupperware products! When I grew up they were the only containers my mother had in her house. However, I think now that there are a lot of disposable containers around people don’t buy washable ones so much anymore. I don’t think the market is for me- too stressful but I enjoyed reading it.

  • Margaret
    Margaret
    Reply

    Tupperware has been around for a very long time and I guess it is because it really is a great product. A lot of my friends have a cupboard full of it and they tell me they can get replacement lids for all their products which is an excellent benefit. Tupperware does have a lot of pros as far as product quality is concerned but my pet hate is MLM. I would not get involved with selling Tupperware because the only one who makes a lot of money is the guy at the top.

    • Steve Razinski
      Steve RazinskiFounder

      I agree Margaret. My mom has Tupperware that is older than I am so the quality and the brand has stood the test of time for sure. However, I am not a fan of the MLM business model overall eitehr.

  • th3Invisibl3man
    th3Invisibl3man
    Reply

    My family and I use Tupperware products at home. They are pretty good products. Never quite know how the business works cause I am just a user. Well to me its just another MLM business opportunity. Kudos to Steve to outline how this business works. This will be a great reference to whom would like to start this business and to consider its pros and cons.

    • Steve Razinski
      Steve RazinskiFounder

      Tupperware certainly has the brand recognition down. They are a household name pretty much the world over and have consistently delivered quality products. There are still issues with the MLM aspect of it all though. The heavy emphasis on recruiting and party hosting just isn’t for me.

  • Johel
    Johel
    Reply

    Very insightful! This is sure to help anyone who is trying to decided whether or not to join the Tupperware consultants programs. I like how you broke down the earnings and bonuses / company incentives. With a minimum sales obligations and the need to purchase the product before making any profit makes it too risky. Not my kind of business. Thank you for sharing and great job!

  • fernglow
    fernglow
    Reply

    Hi Steve! Really interesting article you’ve got here! I have actually considered selling products from home but the idea vanished when I imagined how much work it would take because you would have to constantly find people that you want to sell to. Do you have any methods for doing it effectively?
    Looking forward to your reply!

    Cheers,
    Kai

    • Steve Razinski
      Steve RazinskiFounder

      Hi Kai-

      I actually don’t participate in any MLMs myself. My business background is strictly within affiliate marketing. It’s a lot of the same stuff actually. You sell other people’s products but you can easily have a global reach and not have to deal with any of the customer service side of things. Plus, startup costs are insanely low and you aren’t on the hook for minimum numbers each month.

  • Mikael
    Mikael
    Reply

    I recently became curious about how the Tupperware business model works, as one of my family members where asked to host one of the Tupperware parties.

    Very interesting to read about how the structure is actually made. I am assuming that this is the structure worldwide, as I live in Europe?

    No doubt that Tupperware products are of great quality. But I was not sure about the business model, and after reading this I am not any more convinced:-) Even though it is a great product, it is expensive and I would find it exhausting to keep finding family and friends to sell to. And by now there are also more and more similar products with high quality, but just a lot cheaper, so do not think it is an easy job.

    Thanks,
    Mikael

    • Steve Razinski
      Steve RazinskiFounder

      Thanks for the comment Mikael. Tupperware definitely has great brand recognition and a quality product, but you’re absolutely right that it can be exhausting trying to sell only to your friends and family. You would need a wide social circle or to be an excellent network marketer for these things to last as a long term business strategy. Unfortunately, most people don’t meet that criteria and end up losing money.

  • Maxx
    Maxx
    Reply

    Hey Steve, Great review towards Tupperware. I have observed them quite a while because they actually have opened up physical stores in my country and perhaps I will saw they are selling at kiosk whenever I pass by the high crowded area. Normally I realize there are consultants who open up the store or kiosk.

    I personally own Tupperware and What I could say that the products are good and high quality.

    Although the products are good but I still didn’t join their sales team. Due to I personally, do not like to buy it at physical stores. Instead, i bought all from online which I can be entitled to the cheaper price.

    • Steve Razinski
      Steve RazinskiFounder

      Tupperware has been around forever and really is a quality brand with a great reputation. The products are solid, but I’m still not sold on the MLM aspect of it all, especially when there are minimum sales numbers to hit each month. Sellers start digging into their own pockets with hopes of “I’ll just buy from myself now and resell this next quarter.” What usually ends up happening is the seller is then on the hook for tons of products they can’t move and in a deeper hole than when they started.

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