Tupperware Provides Opportunity for Women Entrepreneurs in Frontier Markets

January 8, 2014

By Yolanda Londono, Vice President, Global Social Responsibility, Tupperware Brands Corporation

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Women play a vital role in powering the global economy—and providing women and girls with opportunities to gain confidence and achieve economic and social empowerment is critical for success. For more than 60 years, Tupperware Brands has been at the forefront of providing women the confidence, tools, and entrepreneurial skills they need to build thriving businesses and improve their lives, which in turn improves the lives of those around them. Tupperware believes in enlightening, educating, and empowering women, both in its global sales force and in the communities it serves.

One of those key communities is Mexico, where Tupperware Brands operates two successful businesses: Tupperware Mexico and Fuller Cosmetics. Together, these two businesses have a sales force of more than 700,000 strong.

To quantify the economic and social impact of the “Tupperware Effect”—that a business model of training and recognition leads to the empowerment of women that lifts an entire society—the company commissioned a research study of its sales force in Mexico.

Outcomes:

Economic impact—Working in direct sales greatly increases a woman’s (and her family’s) economic status. This study found that working with Tupperware Mexico and Fuller Cosmetics gives access to household goods that would normally be out of reach. In fact, 99% of the sales force reported their financial status improved as a result of joining Tupperware. Long term, this work has shown it helps improve the sales force’s socio- economic level, and a corresponding doubling of expenditures on education. This means that by working with Tupperware or Fuller, women are not only improving their immediate financial position, but also building a better future for themselves, their children, and generations to come.

Social impact—The Tupperware and Fuller business models not only teach financial literacy and business management, they also empower women by developing their skills in public speaking, sales, and the ability to represent oneself in a positive way. After working in direct sales, women built a confident self- image, describing themselves as leaders and enterprising.

Lessons Learned:

An important social impact that became clear through this study was how working with Tupperware Brands allows women to build a meaningful network outside of the home that contributes to their social well-being and also offers professional opportunities. Tupperware and Fuller sales force members motivate and learn from each other.

Because of the unique culture of giving that is engrained in Tupperware Brands’ business model and promoted throughout the organization, the sales force members not only build a network among themselves, they also develop a strong connection with their community and actively support social programs. Instead of making financial contributions, women have shown a great interest in organizing service projects and volunteering in their local communities.

This social network and value set is perhaps best described through the eyes of the Tupperware sales force: “We are intertwined because we live common experiences,” said the operations manager of workforce expansion, Tupperware Mexico. “We are united by a product, a philosophy. We are a Tupperware family.”

[Editor's note: This article is part of The Role of Business in Emerging Markets.]