Brownie Wise, the FIRST woman to be featured on the cover of Business Week in 1954 was a sales rep for Stanley Home Products.
Long before Martha Stewart and Mary Kay and other celebrated mavens of domesticity, there was Brownie Wise. Almost every American home has plastic storage containers for leftover food or homemade goodies. She proved to be masterful at implementing a direct sales method that led to skyrocketing company sales and domination of the food storage market. In 1936 Brownie won an art contest, and because of this she was invited to paint a mural at the Texas Centennial in Dallas where she met Robert Wise and was later married. Brownie gave birth to their only son but within three years, the couple divorced leaving Brownie to raise their son on her own. To support herself and her son, Brownie took various jobs including becoming a sales representative for Stanley Home Products. Back then the company sold cleaning supplies, kitchen necessities, and mops and brushes via home parties that could be scheduled around her other work commitments. Brownie excelled at selling Stanley Home Products, and she and a few other reps began adding in Tupperware products to their home party system. Her sales results caught the attention of Earl Tupper who soon recruited her to run his marketing program and be vice president of the company. Tupper and Wise removed Tupperware from store shelves and switched it to be sold exclusively on the home party plan. In 1951 Wise had about 200 women selling Tupperware; by 1954 the sales force had grown to over 9000. This extraordinary growth led to her begin featured on the cover of Business Week magazine.