Tupperware: Same MLM, Different Name

Written by mkdv24

Tupperware. Need I say more? Yes, my friends – Tupperware is an MLM, just like Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Tupperware has been around for 40 years, and it started off as one of the first direct sales home based businesses in America. Today, Tupperware is not only sold by its home based sales force, but it is also sold at kiosks in the mall, and you can direct buy from the Tupperware website (and never have to contact a consultant).

Tupperware focuses mainly on food storage and food preparation products. Most products are of good quality – however, the products are very pricey. A consultant can expect to make 25% commission on product sales. The marketing plan is similar to Mary Kay in that you must recruit other consultants to achieve a higher status, and recruiting commissions are generally in the 4-9% range.

So you are probably thinking “Ok, mkdv24, give us the dirt!!” Alright gals, here’s what I have been able to find out about Tupperware – that makes it just like Mary Kay Cosmetics, and therefore – a dead-end opportunity. Now the list could go on and on, but seriously, I have picked out the major flaws that will leave you saying “An MLM, is an MLM, is an MLM”.

When you first sign up for Tupperware, you have 2 kit options. One is $79.99 and the other is $129.99. Neither kit is spectacular, and I have heard that many newer consultants do not feel this kit contains the proper products to demo at your first party. Often, new consultants purchase additional products to enhance their demonstration table at parties. To keep up with the trends of Pampered Chef, Tupperware introduced “A Taste of Tupperware” party, where consultants whipped together a quick snack or treat using the products provided in the starter kit. If you perform a “Taste of Tupperware” party, you must either foot the bill for the food, or ask your host to “provide the ingredients”. Usually the recipes call for one of the Tupperware Seasoning Blends which retail at $6.50, and a few other store bought ingredients such as tomatoes, cream cheese, chocolate, etc. That right there is an “un-foreseen” cost if the consultant is uncomfortable asking the host to pay for these types of items.

Tupperware does not encourage its consultants to keep inventory, however, there is a push for consultants to participate in “sampling”. New products are featured each season, and consultants are offered the chance to purchase these items at a 35% discount which is then counted towards “personal sales” (which means your recruiter earns a commission on the order).

The idea is that these products are then usually featured as demos for in home parties – then you sell them as “cash and carry” at the end of the season for a discount – or you keep them for personal use. From my understanding, you can easily spend over $300 on “sampling” – and if you don’t sell all the products, you are stuck with a discontinued product or product color.

Speaking of product color Tupperware changes its color schemes every 3-4 months. You may have liked that Blueberry Mist Fridgesmart line from December 2007, but to your horror, when you called to order another set for your sister – too bad, its gone, and its been replaced with its bright blue shaded cousins instead as of January 2008. Often, consultants are unaware of product line changes or product discontinuations, and minimal notice is given. In December 2007, a Tupperware manufacturing plant fire destroyed about 15 products in its full line catalog. The fire also created product shortages, last minute item substitutions, and back-ordered shipping. However, this isn’t the first time Tupperware has had product line issues, it has been reported that Tupperware is notorious for last minute product switch-a-roos and substitutions – often leaving the consultant with an unhappy customer.

As many of you are aware, not many people are willing to host “parties” anymore. People are too busy, and frankly, they are sick of bugging their friends to come to their house to purchase over priced products. This market trend lead to the creation of Tupperware kiosks at the mall (usually managed by a director), and direct shipment from Tupperware.com. With the direct shipment option of Tupperware.com you are never connected to a consultant, rather the company totals up all the orders over the course of a month and divides them up through its sales force.

Still, Tupperware produces bi-monthly sales flyers which are meant to stimulate the market and generate booking leads. They also produce full line catalogs 3 times a year which features a section with “hostess gifts” and “hostess only” product selections. Between hostess gift sampling (recommend to entice the current guests into booking a party) dating gifts (given to a customer for booking a party) catalogs, bi-monthly flyers, ordering forms, sales tickets, guest giveaways, personal website, etc – you can spend anywhere from $40-$100 on these “must have” supplies each month! If you aren’t selling actively, your expenses will eat up your profits (if any) – and remember, you only earn a 25% commission on sales.

Recruiting is definitely pushed in Tupperware – just like any other MLM. Tupperware constantly provides spotlight on its “Royalty” sales force members. Yes, that’s right: managers, DIQs, and Directors are all called “Royalty”. You do not earn commissions, you earn “royalties”. GAG! Tupperware has gone into full swing into recruiting the Hispanic population – in fact, its featured monthly in its “Tupperware Today” magazine (think Applause) and recently, Tupperware has added a whole “Hispanic Recruiting” section on its training site. They make sure to point out that Hispanic Women often feel oppressed by society due to lack of education and lower economy status – this can be their AMERICAN DREAM!

Rewards, Prizes, and Recognition!! Just like in Applause, Tupperware Today Magazine posts all the top performers, and their sales number, unit sales numbers, and recruiting totals. It’s often the same 10 faces over and over again. Tupperware rewards its sales force with weekly prizes for meeting sales goals and recruiting challenges. These prizes remind me of the “Quarterly Star Prizes” Mary Kay has, only much smaller in scale as they are weekly challenges – think wallets, fleeces, and umbrellas – but how much Tupperware logo apparel can one person have?

I also could not believe my eyes when I read that Tupperware holds its own version of Seminar call “Jubilee”. Yes, it’s the exact same thing right down to the overacting fancy-dressed ladies on stage. Tupperware also offers trips and cars for its “royalty” – but I doubt you need me to go into detail on either of those.

Just like Mary Kay, Tupperware has “training” sessions via conference calls and weekly meetings. Although there are some selling ideas presented during these trainings, I have also heard that there is quite a bit of “Rah-Rah Recognition” we are all so familiar with. There is an abundance of training online in on the Tupperware sales support website, but it is the consultant’s job to seek it out.

Of course, I have saved the best for last – Tracking Sales / Parties. When entering sales, you are required to specify whether the sale is a “Party” or “Non-Party”. From my understanding, there is not a way to truly distinguish whether or not a consultant has actually held a party. Rather, a consultant could fake a party, submit the order, and keep the products for herself – and still receive all the credit / recognition for the party. I can imagine “Tina Tupperware” herself with more modular mates than a pantry could hold – just so she can receive this week’s “Top Sales” recognition along with a “Tupperware Calculator” prize. If there is not a way to separate sales from ordering than how can you recognize sales performance??? But I digress.

So there you have it friends. Its all the same game – just a different MLM name!!