They say you should never go into business with your relatives, but what about going into business as one of your relatives?
Robert Suchan has made a small fortune by selling Tupperware… as his Aunt Barbara.
The 6’5” Long Island man dons a giant beehive wig, a face full of spackle, and one of his signature 1970s print dresses to shill plastic kitchen wares at up to 20 parties per week.
With sales at the $250,000-per-year mark and designation as the company’s top salesperson in North America, the 43-year-old appears to have discovered that elusive winning formula between art and commerce.
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“Tupperware kind of had a reputation that people really didn’t want to go to the parties,” he told 1010 WINS. “They thought they were boring; they were going to be conjured into buying things, and I thought, you know, if she just turned it into a little bit of a show, and she had another reason for people to come, the Tupperware would just sell itself.”
It’s taken the former social worker more than a decade to perfect his Aunt Barbara character, an idea that sparked back in 1995 after he attended a Tupperware party at his sister’s house.
A natural performer, Suchan spotted an opportunity once the economy began to tank several years ago. He started dressing up in drag while borrowing liberally from his dear old aunt, whom he describes as "very sassy, very outspoken, very bright and just very forward.”
Toss in a few jokes, a big personality and several creative new ways to use Tupperware products and you have yourself a free one-woman vaudeville show with the added bonus of something useful you can take home and use around the house.
Plus, it’s hard not to fall for the charm of someone who suggests bringing a Costco-sized martini to the beach in a plastic jug intended for pancake batter.
Or how about this foolproof new self-defence mechanism:
"I tell them: 'I live alone. I get fearful of home invasions. If someone is there, I'll reach for my cheese grater and say, 'I'll grate your freaking face off. Then I'll call 911 and say there's a man with a bloody face outside and I collected most of his DNA,'" he cracked to ABC News.
Suchan is one of four Tupperware salesfolk who perform in drag and the company notes that they’re all doing extremely well.
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Dixie Longate [Ed. note: Do not read this name out loud if there are minors present] previously held the top sales spot and now tours the country with her “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” show, which earned a Drama Desk Award nomination back in 2008.
Meanwhile, for anyone who plans to make any nasty remarks about Aunt Barbara’s routine, please note that she can’t hear you over the roar of the Ford Mustang convertible and free trip to Hawaii she earned last year for being so awesome.