#LearningCurve: Tupperware two turn plastic into millions

FAMILY TEAM: Prisca Mthimkhulu, left, and Phyllis Magana run a business selling Tupperware
Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

From selling the product to make a few extra bucks, they now employ 24 women

A mother and daughter duo are dominating the Tupperware selling business in Nelson Mandela Bay, after having decided to sell the products as a way to make some extra money.

Fed up with her teacher’s salary, Prisca Mthimkhulu, 53, joined the business as a demonstrator in 1997 before being joined by her daughter Phyllis Magana, 33, in 2013.

The pair have since climbed the Tupperware ladder and now run their own company, Khanyisa Houseware Sales, acting as the middle man between sales agents and the manufactures of the popular plastic household product.

Having started out as a small team of two, they now employ 24 women, mostly from Port Elizabeth townships.

Describe how you became involved in entrepreneurship?

While holding a teaching post, I realised that I was in need of extra money to subsidise my teacher’s salary.

I then decided to join Tupperware as a demonstrator in 1997 and soon after I progressed to become a manager and eventually a team leader.

What made you decide to choose this industry?

I was afforded the opportunity to sell a product that I had already fallen in love with, so it was easy for me to sell it.

Describe your core products or services?

We supply the quality and innovative Tupperware product to the sales agents in and around Port Elizabeth.

Describe the size of your company?

We have a turnover of R35-million per annum and 24 employees between the PE and Uitenhage branches.

Is your business labour intensive?

The business is labour intensive in that our agents go out and sell the product.

If someone wanted to copy your business model, how would they start?

They would have to approach our head office in Johannesburg and express their interest.

Describe your target market?

Most of our sales force are women from all walks of life.

Describe your vision for your business?

To grow the business and compete at international level within Tupperware® Brands.

How did you raise the funds to start your business?

Tupperware supported us with capital to start from the very beginning.

Describe some of the rewards in running your business?

It has to be the opening of the Tupperware Experience Centre in Korsten. It made it easier for the sales force to come and collect their orders as it is nearer to the public transport system. We are in a more visible location so it’s easier for people to find us.

Name some best practices that have made your business successful?

Customer Service – we strive to give an enjoyable experience to our sales force. We are also big on building relationships with our sales force. We supply a product with a lifetime guarantee; we pride ourselves in the quality of the product that we sell. Growing our sales force is very important to us. We develop demonstrators into managers and managers to team leaders. Their success is our success.

Any tips you can give entrepreneurs starting out today?

Growing a business takes time, so be patient.

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