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    Volume 11 |Issue 25| June 22, 2012 |


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The Chain of Confidence

Zarin Rafiuddin

"I never imagined that I would ride a bus at night all alone but as I did I found the confidence in me.” says Pinaki Saha who finished her Masters in Accounting after she got married but lacked the support and encouragement needed by her husband and family to have a professional career. She was not happy with herself and longed to do something. After signing up with Tupperware she feels that she can now earn her own income and feel confident about herself; she can do something that not only allows her to find a new purpose but also allow her to represent her country.

Tupperware is one of “Fortune's Most Admired Companies”, their products were ranked “One of the six products of the century” by Fortune and “One of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century” by Guinness. Tupperware is a global company that specialises in employing women as their sales representatives. Their headquarters is at Orlando, Florida, USA but they have been around for 60 years and have set up in a hundred countries. People from India, Indonesia and others have the opportunity to represent their country due to Tupperware and are able to go to other countries and be their country's representative. They have given opportunities to 26 lakh women in those countries and have named their ideology the “Chain of Confidence” with its three “e's”: Education, Enlightenment and Empowerment. The women who sign up with them initially are called consultants as they will show the products to other women and give advice on how to use them. But soon the women graduate to managers, managers of a group, executive managers and then can even become the leading manager of an area. The women are trained sans payment to possess the qualities needed to run their business. After all, they are not employed under Tupperware but rather sell the products in their own way. All they need to do is buy the starting kit which costs Tk 1,500 so that they can sell those products which range from kitchen utilities, food storage materials and service utilities. Their products are made 100 percent virgin food plastic and many come with a global lifetime guarantee.

Geetiara Safia Chowdhury, CEO of Adcom Ltd and Asha Gupta, Managing Director of Tupperware with
some of the successful Bangladeshi Tupperware women. Photo: Courtesy

Asha Gupta, the managing director of Tupperware, recently visiting Dhaka, says that Tupperware has been an instant hit with women of Bangladesh in terms of an emerging profession. The women interested in doing business have approached them and with curiosity and energy asked what the products can do for them. On the effectiveness on Tupperw-are's sales-strategy Gupta comments that the Tupperware party allows one-on-one interaction and that it creates a better form of salesmanship than traditional forms. A woman interested in Tupperware products can form a support/interaction group with the other women in the party and this informality builds a unique form of interface which is easily accessible while being dynamic. Gupta explains that the popularity of the products comes from their versatility; they are quickly accepted by the community they are introduced to. One of the Tupperware products, the multi-cook, for instance, sold out immediately when a bhapa-pitha maker was brought in to help demonstrate how bhapa-pitha can easily be made with the multi-cook.

So does this business ever attract men? Gupta says that it does though male employees are kept to a minimum since the whole mission is to provide employment to women and empower them.

“I want to keep busy and active,” says Rokeya Perveen, who graduated from Asian University with an HR Major. She was impressed with Tupperware's unveiling on the 27th of the last month. Perveen already works in another private company and her husband and family are supportive of her decision to work with Tupperware. So Tupperware is not only aimed at woman without jobs but even women who have jobs and who may have previous experiences with jobs.

Mehnaz Khan had to leave her job at World Food Program due to the obligations that come with motherhood. Her husband thought this was the best decision. But for a graduate of Dhaka University who majored in Food and Nutrition she felt she could do more. The most promising aspect of her present job is that it is not nine to five. The flexible hours make it easy for her to both complete her obligations as a mother and build a career. Tupperware sells its products through “Tupperware parties” which the recruits can host anywhere including their own homes. The aim of this party seems simple: display the products and show their uniqueness compared to other materials. Yet there is a target point – they must sell a certain amount of the products. The recruits are shown videos and given two month training so that the parties can become a success.

Confidence, dynamism and uniqueness are the tags that seem to be attached to Tupperware as their new recruits say. Only in the future will we know how much this endeavour will really empower women and promote the model of the financially independent woman. As Gupta says she hopes to make ripples into tidal waves.


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