Brownie Wise was the first women to appear on the cover of BusinessWeek in 1954. Who was she? The genius behind taking Tupperware from just another good idea to a cultural phenenomon. Brownie Wise was a divorced, single, working mom who made extra money selling cleaning supplies through home parties – gatherings of friends and friends of friends. She saw Tupperware (invented by Earl Tupper) and realized that the reason it wasn’t selling was because people – women, needed to see it to believe it…So she started selling Tupperware through house parties, eventually getting noticed by the inventor himself.
He invited her to become a Vice President and she focused on marketing and building up the direct sales, home party avenue for sales – and the rest is history. Tupperware went from obscurity to a cultural icon. As for Brownie, she managed to become a celebrity in her own right, throwing parties, being hailed by the media, and of course appearing on BusinessWeek. She was lauded for giving housewives an opportunity to gain some financial freedom while still being able to “stay home.”
Eventually her celebrity caused a rift with company founder Earle Tupper and he uncermoniously fired her. She was given one year’s severance and walked away with nothing else…. She never saw to it she got any equity. Somehow her acumen and notoriety never really translated into a successful act. I haven’t read the book – Unsealed, but reviews and press seem to indicate that it has a lot more information about that part of the story.
So Brownie Wise -pioneering GirlMogul of Her Day – just goes to show that you can do quite a bit without leaving the house.