by Kirby Lindsay Laney, posted 12 May 2015
On May 22nd, the annual Neighborhood Expo will bring North Seattle businesses, services and causes to Fremont – and everyone is welcome, for free, to start their holiday weekend by sampling delicious restaurants, tasty beverage suppliers, talented artists, hard-working providers, quality businesses, and other oft-overlooked neighborhood treasures, on-display in the elegant setting of the Fremont Studios.
One of Fremont’s least known treasures is our Tupperware Lady, Barbara Kempf. Kempf works days in Fremont, at one of our local software companies, and lives just north of the Greenwood neighborhood. With some of her free time, she works as a Consultant for Tupperware, the second most recognized brand after Coca-Cola.
“I went to my first Tupperware party as a baby,” Kempf observed lately, “because my mom wanted to get a cake taker. So, I’m the Tupperware baby, …but I didn’t start selling it until much later.”
Tupperware For Life
Talking Tupperware with Kempf, her enthusiasm and pride comes across clearly. “Tupperware provides the best quality, and guarantee, food preparation and storage products. We are to these products as Nordstrom is to shoes,” she equated.
Today Tupperware has a growing market with Hispanic-Americans, and Kempf thinks some of that comes from women (and men) who cook at home, and depend upon the highest-quality products. “They understand having better tools of the trade for their kitchen,” she said. “If they have good tools, they can do their job better.”
Kempf grew up with Tupperware. She inherited pieces her grandmother had, such as the pie wedge container that her grandfather used every day. “Tupperware is carrying it again,” Kempf reported. She also has a predecessor with the company as her mother, a 2nd grade teacher, took a job there for a short time between school postings.
“I had bought things off and on,” Kempf explained. She attended Tupperware parties and, “my Tupperware Lady tried to get me to sell, but I didn’t listen.” It wasn’t until a catalogue pick up, with another Consultant who also suggested she sell, “and ding, ding, ding!” So, in 2003, Kempf finally took the leap.
Many Sales Options
At first, Kempf thought to just do ‘Friends & Family’, and sell only to people she knew. Yet, she found she enjoyed selling – particularly at events like the Neighborhood Expo, and other vendor fairs like the Bite Of Broadview, the Washington State Spring Fair, the Puyallup Victorian Country Christmas, etc. “There are very few chances like [the Neighborhood Expo,” Kempf observed, “We do big fairs in the south but there are very few shows north,” to create local contacts. After all, we in Fremont need Tupperware every bit as much as the folks in Pierce County.
Kempf prefers the vendor fairs over the more traditional Tupperware parties. “I enjoy the parties,” she explained, “but I don’t enjoy pushing people to have parities.” She likes the chance to teach people how products work – how to open and close lids – and to introduce new items. She doesn’t like the hard-sell, or demanding attention when attendees want to chat rather than getting a Snack Press or the new Power ChefTM System.
Kempf also maintains a website, to allow her clients to shop, order and ask questions – and contact her directly. “My very best customer lives in Texas,” she observed, “She met me at a vendor fair.”
A Vast Catalogue
“If all I do is get people to sign-up for e-mail [newsletters],” Kempf said about the Neighborhood Expo, “It’s worth it for me.” She has gifts for those who sign-up, and products to sell if attendees need a new Quick Shake or Vent ‘N Serve Container. Kempf will also have catalogues available, so that those unfamiliar with modern Tupperware can see the vast selection currently available.
Every year, at the Tupperware Jubilee for Consultants, Kempf learns all about new products being introduced, including the extensive testing done on the new Press Master Juicer, or the ways they’ve improved the classic Tumblers.
This makes her most knowledgeable when people ask questions about a piece their mother, or grandmother, had – or when they need to use the lifetime guarantee Tupperware extends against cracking, chipping or peeling.
This month Tupperware, which makes most of its products in Hemingway, South Carolina, turns 67-years-old, and its products barely show its ages. Every year they introduce new products, with more and more aimed at enabling a healthier, more mobile lifestyle. “The catalogue could be three-inches thick,” Kempf acknowledges, since Tupperware also has to cycle through the classics. The company suspends many of its favorite, classic pieces – to make room for the new – before re-introducing them for fans to snap up again.
To learn more about Tupperware, and what is available now, and to meet Fremont’s Tupperware Lady, to talk one of her favorite subjects, attend the free Neighborhood Expo on May 22nd from 4:30p – 7:30p at Fremont Studios. Enjoy this rare opportunity to meet this neighborhood gem in person, and in our own backyard.
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©2015 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.