Daughter Janelle Elliot found success and drew mom Janie Stuart into it
WHATCOM — Who hasn’t taken a stab at selling product “on the side” in direct sales at some point? A Lynden daughter and mother have not only ventured into it. They are among the best in the business for Tupperware.
In this case, it was the daughter who influenced the mother to join her, not by pressure but because of her success.
In July 2020 Janelle (Stuart) Elliot reached a new level at Tupperware by being named the first Presidential Director for the United States and Canada. A month or so later, another sales director joined her, so there are now two at this level. In a December 2020 Tupperware online report, Janelle is listed as earning six figures. Her team is now in the thousands.
“It was a really exciting achievement,” Janelle said.
Tupperware is a home products line of plastic preparation, storage and serving containers. In 1942 Earl Tupper created his first bell-shaped container after developing the plastic for it in 1938. The products went public in 1948. Tupperware is now global.
Step back to the beginning. Janelle went through her youth with an intermixing of home schooling and Lynden public schools before entering Running Start at Whatcom Community College and completing her four-year degree at Emmaus Bible College in Iowa. Not only did she do biblical and international studies, but she also met her future husband, Scott Elliot.
Family income needed
In marriage Scott was working primarily in youth ministry and Janelle, a self-proclaimed entrepreneur, was baking wedding cakes and operating a daycare. Often it isn’t until a need arises that change occurs. This time it was that Scott lost his job as a youth pastor. In the 2008-09 Great Recession they lost money in the stock market. Their family needed income. It was a $1 product bag event that drew Janelle to a Tupperware party and she took along her mom, Janie Stuart. They both wanted a good deal. Janelle loves to cook and bake, so she didn’t mind hearing about the business.
Afterward she asked her mom, “Do you think I can do it?” Having had idea after idea for this business and that, Janelle expected her mom to talk her out of it as she had a few times before. But Janie didn’t. She agreed it was a good opportunity. Janelle talked to her husband as well, prayed about it and figured it was worth trying for even a month or two.
After hitting $2,500 in sales that first month, she thought, “I guess this is working.” Due to Scott’s job loss, she put in more hours.
Their family moved to Wisconsin for her husband’s job in 2014 and returned to Lynden in 2019. Janelle had to reestablish her customers while working with home parties on the move. That first winter in the Midwest brought blizzards and home party cancellations. So she devised a creative solution: shifting parties online. The weather wouldn’t matter. It didn’t require much of the hostess. The next thing she knew, she had not four or five but 50 parties in a month — in January!
What worked for Janelle worked well in making business easier for her team. If her recruits weren’t initially confident about public speaking or in their product knowledge, they could start by copying and pasting information to create online parties — and learn more as they went. While Facebook and social media events were initially frowned on in the company, the success couldn’t be argued with, and it was embraced.
To sales success
It’s in the last six years that Janelle has really made her time investment count with Tupperware.
A decade after starting, Janelle, now 35, not only has the contents of the $1 bag, but also is the mother of two children, Sarah and David, who both help with meals and “want to sell Tupperware” themselves some day (they need to be 18 years of age). The Elliots’ garage and driveway have three Tupperware-earned vehicles including a Ford Mustang, a Honda from exchanging another Mustang in, and a leased minivan that is a far cry from the two “rusty vehicles before.” Soon they will start building their dream home near Berthusen Park with views of the mountains. Her team of approximately 4,500 independent contractor sales people has sold $18 million in product so far in 2020, tripling 2019.
Janelle’s favorite products are the trademarked Modular Mates and Fridge-Smart containers. They easily store her family’s food and keep fruits and veggies fresh much longer, both women said. One of the newest Tupperware products not many may have seen is the MicroPro Grill. It is made of metal that can go into the microwave and grills food while blocking the microwaves. Due to the $199 retail price tag, Janelle encourages customers to host parties to get it free or at reduced cost.
Janelle said she is motivated by earning trips. When she saw a trip to Hawaii as a prize, she dug in. “I’d do anything to earn that trip.”
She has earned free trips to quite a few places since then: two more to Hawaii, Cancun, two trips to New York City, Disney World in Florida, Buenos Aires, Amsterdam and Belgium, six trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (where the company has a factory), two to California, the Dominican Republic, Seattle and Leavenworth at Christmas. In addition, she can earn air miles.
Her income from Tupperware has freed up husband Scott to help with their children and to focus on ministry using his own gifting with young adults, young marrieds and in one-on-one settings.
Even during Christmas, Janelle managed to book five parties. “None of this would be possible without God,” she said. “The thing that has always been so amazing to me is the joy that comes from a relationship with Him, as my favorite Bible verse states, ‘Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.’” (1 Peter 1:8)
Janie said of Janelle, “She’s really good at meeting goals.” While Janelle is a “visionary,” Janie said she herself strives for hard work and consistency. “It’s so much fun to share this with each other,” Janie said.
Mom Janie enters the business
Janie, 61, was an administrative assistant for international mission organizations and she also was an executive assistant at then-Logos Software before turning her skills to teach English to international students at Whatcom Community College and Western Washington University as well as overseas. Then students became fewer. Eventually her position was cut in summer 2019.
Actually, by then Janie was already working hard on Tupperware. Four years ago, Janelle had showed a paycheck to her mom. Janie was shocked. It gave her an idea. That night she talked to husband Harvey about going into Tupperware sales herself. They agreed on it as a couple.
While she initially — like her daughter — worked at the business part-time and enjoyed her teaching career, she eventually transitioned into Tupperware full-time. Her teaching skills have been put to use working with her team. Janie is now a five-star director in the organization with 21 teams under her and she wants to keep moving up. Her motivation was to pay off the 30-year mortgage on their home.
Instead of taking any earned cars, she takes the option of cash. Applied to the house, it was recently paid off — 16 years early. “It’s amazing,” she said. “There is no limit to the earning potential.”
Her extra efforts in Tupperware bring in more pay and opportunity and prizes such as computers and televisions. Her own earned trips have been to New York City, Myrtle Beach, Leavenworth and Disney World. She even took Harvey on a cruise to Cuba that she earned (during the short window the country was open to U.S. visitors). Janelle also earned this all-expenses-paid trip for two to Cuba. The two couples traveled together and delighted in seeing historic buildings, traditional dancing and Ernest Hemingway’s home there.
While many businesses put money toward advertising, Tupperware rewards its people, she said. “It’s a wonderful company to work for.”
Janelle, who is warm and friendly but also businesslike, attributes her strong confidence and communication skills to her job. After considering selling Mary Kay prior to Tupperware, she needed a better product match since she didn’t wear much makeup.
People need, she said, to know what motivates them. She was less motivated by money and more by earning trips to enjoy with people she cares about. Her mother, in contrast, had a goal to pay off her home. Her large team is all ages and she said even those who are “bedridden could learn to do a thriving business.”
The key factors for Janelle are finding a quality product you love, having a personal drive to succeed, and building a good team. She enjoys encouraging and helping others.
While many businesses have been challenged or even closed during the 2020 COVID-19 year, Janelle’s has not only doubled but tripled. Since more people are working and living at home or closer to home, they are doing more of their own food preparation and cooking. Tupperware meets that need by providing quality products that extend the life of food.
Janelle and Janie are very grateful for the unlimited opportunities they have to help others and to grow their Tupperware business.