Tupperware was developed in 1946 by Earl Silas Tupper (1907–83) in Leominster, Massachusetts. He developed plastic containers used in households to contain food and keep it airtight, which featured a then-patented "burping seal". Tupper had already invented the plastic for Tupperware in 1938, but the product only worked with the emergence of the "sale through presentation" idea, held in a party setting.
Tupperware developed a direct marketing strategy to sell products known as the Tupperware party. The Tupperware party allowed women of the 1950s to work and enjoy the benefits of earning an income without completely taking away the independence granted to women during the Second World War, when women first began entering the labor market, all the while keeping their focus in the domestic domain.
The "party plan" model builds on characteristics generally developed by being a housewife (e.g., party planning, hosting a party, sociable relations with friends and neighbors) and created an alternative choice for women who either needed or wanted to work.
Brownie Wise (1913–92) realized Tupperware's potential as a fun commodity.She realized, however, that she had to be creative and therefore started to throw these Tupperware parties. Wise, a former sales representative of Stanley Home Products, developed the strategy. Tupper was so impressed, that Brownie Wise was made vice president of marketing in 1951. Wise soon created Tupperware Parties Inc.
During the early 1950s, Tupperware's sales and popularity exploded, thanks in large part to Wise's influence among women who sold Tupperware, and some of the famous "jubilees" celebrating the success of Tupperware ladies at lavish and outlandishly themed parties. Tupperware was known—at a time when women came back from working during World War II only to be told to "go back to the kitchen"—as a method of empowering women, and giving them a toehold in the postwar business world.[
Tupperware is still sold mostly through a party plan, with rewards for hosts and hostesses. A Tupperware party is run by a Tupperware "consultant" for a host or hostess who invites friends and neighbours into his or her home to see the product line. Tupperware hosts and hostesses are rewarded with free products based on the level of sales made at their party. Parties also take place in workplaces, schools, and other community groups.