LYNDEN - Stephanie Meester surprised herself by becoming one of the most successful Tupperware consultants in the program's history, but she still considers her true role to be a bit different.
"I think of myself as a 'Tupperware teacher' more than a salesperson," said Meester, a former elementary school music teacher.
She recently became the third person in Tupperware sales history to earn a second new Ford Mustang for the success of a team of consultants (about 30). In an 18-month period through February, they logged $700,000 in sales, including $55,000 in the final month.
There are more than 100,000 Tupperware consultants in the United States and Canada.
Meester, 33, and her husband, Daniel, live in Lynden with their 21/2-year-old son, Alex. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Whitworth College and serves as a substitute in Blaine School District.
Question: Was there pent-up demand for Tupperware in Whatcom County?
Answer: I think there was. Since Tupperware is not advertised or sold in stores, only about 2 percent of the population knows about the benefits of Tupperware.
My first party, in 2008, was given with a friend who told me, "I've always wanted to meet a Tupperware lady. Could you do a Tupperware party for me?" Everything just snowballed from there.
Q: How many parties do you coordinate?
A: Two or three a week on the average. I work at making Tupperware parties the kind of fun parties I would want to attend. I like to say, "I get to hang out with great women and laugh a lot."
Q: How did you become involved in Tupperware?
A: My mother, my two sisters and my aunt all placed orders with me out of a catalog they requested. The total was $500. When I called the Tupperware consultant who became my director, Kirstin Jones from Bothell, to see if I could order Tupperware labels for my aunt, Kirstin told me I already had an order big enough to earn a free starter kit.
Kirstin (the first person to earn two cars) kept asking me if I was interested in selling Tupperware, but I kept saying no at first. I'm not the type to be in sales, but the party system works well for us.
Q: Why isn't Tupperware sold in stores?
A: The concept was invented by Earl Tupper. The family has always believed that Tupperware parties work better than advertising.
Q: What are the big advantages of Tupperware?
A: I explain how I can triple to quadruple the life of your produce with our FridgeSmarts. I teach how I can get a month out of lettuce and two to three weeks out of strawberries, for example. I can show how our Modular Mates can organize your pantry using half the space and keeping dry goods fresh.
Q: Is vintage Tupperware valuable?
A: It's very collectible, with thousands sold on eBay. And there are women who say, "I want to make my salads in the same Tupperware bowl my grandmother used."
Stephanie Meester can be reached at 360-393-5775 or Tupperware@meester.us.
Michelle Nolan is a Bellingham freelance writer.