Tupperware's queen bee: How a man in drag became the top seller of American housewives' favourite product
Adored by housewives across the country, The Tupperware brand has been a mainstay in American kitchens since the Fifties when it became synonymous with in-home sales parties.
Nowadays, in the era of online buying, a flamboyant drag queen known as 'Aunt Barbara', is keeping fans of the iconic storage products loyal with her over-the-top parties and eccentric sales techniques.
Owing to the enormous popularity of the outrageous character, the sales representative who plays the role, Robert Suchan of Long Island, NY, has become the number
one seller of Tupperware in North America.
Who's your aunty Drag queen Aunt Barbara is Tupperware's number one seller of the brand on account of her witty and eccentric sales pitches
The former social worker, 43, describes Aunt Barbara on her website as 'an immediately identifiable potpourri of the Long Island housewives of the 60's and 70's.'
The crude and hilarious character, he explained to Newsweek, is in reality based on his very own aunt, who he described as, 'very sassy, very outspoken, very bright and just very forward.'
Indeed at one event, she pitched an ice cream scoop by describing it as a multi-purpose tool: 'Somebody raps on
the window – they're like, “Hey good looking how you
'I'm like, “Listen, you get the hell away from me or I'm gonna hit
you over the head and scoop your freakin' eyes out with that.” It's a
powerful weapon and it goes through your ice cream like nothing.'
Transformation: Robert Suchan, the man behind Aunt Barbara who is invited to 20 parties a month by Tupperware fans, takes 30 minutes to get into costume
Recalling his decision to dress in drag
for the job, the brand ambassador said: 'I thought it might be kind of
funny to do this job in
character, to actually sell Tupperware as a character and I never did
it and I was kind of sorry that I didn't.
'And years later when I was
approaching 40 I said, “The heck with it I'm just going to do it.”'
These days, such is the demand for Aunt Barbara, whose entertaining sales quips range from the light-humoured to the daringly racy, Mr Suchan is invited to around 20 parties every month.
Fifties fun: The eccentric and theatrical brand ambassador wanted to revolutionise the in-home sales parties of old so adored by housewives
Showing up an hour and a half before quests arrive to set up, the theatrical sales rep says it takes him about half an hour to don the dress, the hair and the make-up needed to transform into character.
He told Newsweek: 'What I find at parties is that a lot of people have an emotional
connection to the product because they remember it growing up. That's
what I want to bring people back to: the traditional Tupperware party
with a little bit of a twist.'
Aunt Barbara has become such a celebrity
in households across Long Island that Mr Suchan created a website for
her and a YouTube channel on which he has posted more than 40 videos.
Show girl: Aunt Barbara sells $250,000 worth of Tupperware products a month at parties hosted by eager housewives
The top-selling associate is booked from six months to a year in advance by eager fans of the ubiquitous brand and its 6ft 5in advocate.
And last year alone, Aunt Barbara was responsible for shifting $250,000 worth of products for the legendary company.
Working from home, and making his own schedule, Mr Suchan told Newsweek: 'I love it.
'It's always just being the character of Aunt Barbara – that is quite challenging at times. It's all about getting outfits, getting my hair done; making sure I look okay. That's the challenge. Tupperware's a breeze.'