PBS’ American Experience launches the documentary film, Tupperware!

PBS’s American Experience program recently featured the documentary film Tupperware! This film utilizes interviews from executives and top-ranking distributors to tell the story of the early days of the Tupperware company. The famous Tupperware product was developed by Earl Silus Tupper, a man from a poor farming family who was determined to become rich. His product was initially sold in the retail environment. When he and Brownie Wise met, a duo converged and home parties brought the product into the homes of thousands of American women. 

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In 1992, a study of the direct selling industry was commissioned by the Direct Selling Association and conducted by Nathan Associates. It revealed that approximately 90 percent of the industry’s salespeople were women.

This figure has fluctuated in recent years years between 65 and 75 percent. This is not surprising, given the fact that early successes in the industry, such as Avon Mary Kay, and Tupperware, found their support among housewives. The 1992 DSA study found that “the ‘average’ person working in direct selling is a white, married woman, aged 35 to 44, with some college education, a household income of $25,000 to $30,000, a working husband, and children.” The research also revealed that this person is adding $200 to $300 per month to the family income, working between five and ten hours a week.

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On March 1, 2012, a three decade rulemaking process of the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) will result in the implementation of the final FTC Business Opportunity Rule. Although the FTC’s summary of the Rule explicitly states that it is not the intent of the Rule to apply to companies that offer opportunities in the channel of distribution alternatively referred to as MLM/Multilevel Marketing/Direct Selling/Network Marketing, the actual Rule seemingly covers many areas of support provided by MLM companies, leaving the FTC rhetoric at odds with the actual Rule that has been adopted. The quasi- assurance of MLM industry exemption, granted in the summary text of the Final Business Opportunity Rule, is unfortunately taken back in the “footnotes” to the Rule and the Rule itself.

Read more about it HERE.