Jennifer Schulz went from burping babies to burping Tupperware. This was not her plan. The native of Kitchener, Ont., studied early childhood education and taught in Montessori school.
After getting married and having two kids and settling in nearby Waterloo, Schultz decided she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. When her youngest was three years old, in 2005, she went to a Tupperware party at a friend’s house, after which she agreed to hold her own.
Her first party raked in $1,000 — a success — but when a salesperson offered her a kit to run her own parties, she only halfheartedly agreed:
“I was a bit embarrassed at first. It wasn’t cool. I’d done things in my life. Me, a Tupperware lady?”
She began hosting parties a few nights a week. The time demand was minimal and the products sold themselves: Along with plastic containers, the company offered knives, kitchen linens, teas and pots and pans. But she often lost heart and wondered how anyone ever made real money at the job.
About 10 months later, and after almost giving up a few times, she realized that she could be a lot more successful if she didn’t just focus on selling Tupperware, but tried as well to recruit new salespeople.
Schultz’s sales force grew and soon she began getting rewards from the company — including trips to Disney World and Argentina, as well as a new convertible.
She now has 60 sales representatives who pay her a portion of their sales. Some she recruited from parties, others through her website, many of whom live far enough away that she’s never met them.
For those who do live nearby, she holds regular meetings to offer selling tips. Schultz also regularly meets and talks with other Tupperware salespeople to keep her own skills sharp.
Her workday begins at 9:30 a.m., when her kids are at school. At least three nights a week she’s out to run parties or attend meetings. It adds up to about 20 hours a week, which suits her and her kids just fine: “Every time I do something on the weekend, it bothers me.”
Diane Peters once hawked magic pens at the Canadian National Exhibition. She’s now a writer and part-time journalism instructor.