I remember hearing the concept of a “party plan” as a kid and can still feel my face scrunching up in confusion and incomprehension. It must have been in the context of a Tupperware party as that company enjoys an instant connection with the concept. The idea is largely credited to Brownie Wise for devising the actual party plan system of marketing in the 1950’s for Tupperware.
Wise was a former sales representative for Stanley Home Products who then joined Tupperware, and that is where credit for party plan marketing is slightly contested. Stanley Home Products claims on their website that the innovative selling method is theirs … “this concept was the brainchild of a Stanley dealer, who began giving product demonstrations to clubs and organizations to increase sales volume.”
Regardless of birthright, the concept was a hit because it was premised on the idea that everyone should win. The Stanley approach is described as, “Homemakers would invite small groups of friends to their homes for a product demonstration and light refreshments, and the hostess in turn would receive a gift of choice from the Stanley dealer, who took orders from attendees.”