Author(s): Bob Kealing
Brownie Wise was one of the most important businesswomen of the 20th century, the prototype for all these Facebook and Google women who are leaning in.
Before Martha Stewart and Mary Kay, there was Brownie Wise, the charismatic Tupperware executive who converted postwar optimism into a record breaking sales engine powered by ordinary housewives. Having started her own business after divorcing her alcoholic husband, the plucky Southern businesswoman caught the eye of Tupperware inventor Earl Tupper, whose plastic containers were collecting dust on store shelves.
The now legendary Tupperware Party that Wise popularised, a masterclass in the soft sell, drove Tupperware's sales to stratospheric heights. It also gave poorly educated and economically invisible postwar women, including many African-American women, an acceptable outlet for making their own money for their families and for being rewarded for their efforts.
With the people skills of Dale Carnegie, the looks of Doris Day, and the magnetism of Eva Peron, Wise was as popular among her many devoted followers as she was among the press, and in 1954 she became the first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week. Then, at the height of her success, Earl Tupper fired her under mysterious circumstances, wrote her out of Tupperware's success story, and left her with a pittance. He walked away with a fortune and she disappeared until now.
Originally published as Tupperware Unsealed, Life of the Party is a revised and updated edition perfectly timed to take advantage of this trail-blazing dynamo returning to the spotlight where she belongs.
"In the 1950s Brownie Wise accomplished for sales what Elvis Presley did for music. She shook it all up." --USA Today
"Kealing's writing could help restore Ms. Wise to her rightful place in the history of American business. Don't wait for the movie. Join the 'Party' now." -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
'This is the riveting and unaccountably forgotten story of Brownie Wise, the single mom and 1950s Tupperware saleswoman extraordinaire who captivated the heart of everyone in postwar America everyone, that is, except her boss, Earl Tupper. The drama that ensued is must read business history. ' --Tilar J. Mazzeo, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot
"[In this] vivid portrait of Tupperware's origins... Kealing celebrates Wise's struggles against sexist, chauvinist corporate America . [It s] a book that certainly does her justice." --Wall Street Journal
Bob Kealing is an Edward R. Murrow and four-time Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist based in Orlando Florida at WESH-TV. He has appeared on national programs such as Dateline NBC, the Today Show, CBS This Morning, and has appeared as a guest on NPR, CNN, MSNBC, NBC and C-SPAN. The author of four non-fiction books, Kealing’s research led to the establishment of the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, a literary landmark in the National Register of Historic Places, and Gram Parsons Derry Down, a Florida Heritage site honoring the pioneering country rock musician in his birthplace, Winter Haven. Kealing lives north of Orlando with his wife, son and daughter.