Growing up in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, you may remember watching your mother hosting a Tupperware party at home. Perhaps you followed her lead, and did the same with your own friends?
More than buying and selling the kitchen containers, it was a chance for women to get together with friends and neighbours to catch up on family life, and enjoy some time away from the daily grind.
While the brand itself is just as popular now, the home-hosted parties have slowly begun to die out – instead becoming more commercial in recent years.
Groups of family members, friends and neighbours would gather in someone’s home, often with teas and coffees or alcohol on hand, and enjoy a drink, a bite to eat and a few hours of conversation.
Hosts would need a little training, before they went on to spread the word – and the parties became a huge social occasion in many Aussie women’s calendars.
Grandmother Pat Murphy began selling the home products line five decades ago, and speaking to the Queensland Times previously, she explained: “It was an opportunity to work part time which also allowed me to choose my own hours so I could still look after my four children.”
She added: “There is a great social aspect to doing this job.”
While the parties were an excuse to have some fun with friends, they have received a mixed reaction over the years. While some argue they reinforced the old idea that women should be tied to the domestic world, others say it was the start of a new age of more business-minded women.
Alison Clarke, author of Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s America, says they were actually revolutionary for women in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.
“The actual networks of Tupperware parties were about women helping other women and enabling them,” she previously said. “It wasn’t discussed as work – it was an extension of socialising.”
Tupperware itself was launched onto the market by inventor Earl Tupper in the 1940s. The parties followed shortly after, when businesswoman Brownie Wise began selling the containers to help her pay off her sick son’s medical bills, the BBC reports.
She was later appointed as head of home sales, and her love of sales and business spread right round the world from then on.