Biz Idea: Tupperware Parties for Dog Products

What a Cute Dog This idea makes me totally want a dog. Well, I plan on getting a dog already. With this idea, I want one even more now.

How about a business that helps dog product vendors set up Tupperware party-esque gatherings?

The Tupperware party concept was the brainchild of Brownie Wise, a customer who held Tupperware parties on her own just because she loved the product so much. She was later hired by Tupperware after they discovered she was outselling their local retail distributors.

This wise marketing tactic (pun intended), known as a party plan, hinges on intimate social interactions and a relaxed atmosphere to inform participants of a product’s value. The event is hosted by a commissioned salesperson. Participants are given a nominal token gift to attend, though many come along just for the fun of it. Through such an environment, most attendees end up making a purchase, either because they have been won over by the product’s value, or because of the subtle social pressure to do what everyone else is doing.

With that in mind, I thought: what other kinds of products could be sold in such an environment? There already are party plans for kitchen utensils, home decor items, jewelry, skincare, cosmetics, lingerie, and sex toys. What else would make sense?

Ah, dog products!

Dog owners love to socialize. You can see this at dog parks. Dog owners love to have their dogs socialize with other dogs. And dog owners are willing to spend money buying fun and useful new products for their beloved canines. Selling dog products via a party plan seems like an obvious idea, doesn’t it?

Although this idea could be extended to other pets, such as cats, birds, hamsters, fish, ferrets, etc, the camaraderie just isn’t the same. Owners of such pets don’t regularly get together, though it is certainly a possibility. Dogs and dog products, in my opinion, have the most potential for a party plan.

Dog product parties could be held at dog parks or the sales representative’s house. Various dog treats could be laid out like appetizers. Water bowls too. Pooper scoopers would need to be easily accessible, and perhaps some paper towels too. Colorful catalogs of the dog products could be offered along with free treats in “doggie bags.”

For the dog owners, their dogs would have a chance to taste-test various products before buying them. That alone is worth the trek to a dog product party. How many times have you purchased a seemingly tasty dog treat, only to find Fido spitting it out in disgust?

As a business that helps dog product vendors set up such parties, it would need a detailed How-To guide and package of reference materials to get a client set up. The business would recruit sales representatives in various target markets, help prepare the necessary materials (catalog, order forms, invitations, doggie bags, pooper scoopers, etc), track the number of participants & sales to offer success metrics, offer tips and best practices, etc.

By outsourcing these marketing efforts, a small dog products vendor wouldn’t need to hire a full marketing & sales staff. It could be a cost-effective way to earn potentially massive sales, especially for boutique vendors like Three Dog Bakery or Polkadog Bakery. (If you guys want to do this, drop me a line!)

Large pet shop retailers like PetSmart and Petco, however, probably already have the marketing muscle to pull this off alone. But the market could support quite a few dog product parties right now, especially since they are tied to geographic social networks.

If this party planning business took off, it could begin offering such services to other products too. I’m sure you can think of a bunch right now. Off the top of my head: environmental products, spices, snacks, wine, toys, wedding favors, scrapbooking materials, school supplies… What do you think?

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.

7 thoughts on “Biz Idea: Tupperware Parties for Dog Products”

  1. Hey that actually isn’t a bad idea. I have 3 large dogs and it is a pain to buy dog food for them that they won’t like. What would it take to start a dog party in Atlanta, GA?

  2. @ben, I would say look into Tupperware’s party planning services first. Learn from their system. Perhaps even enroll to be one of their sales reps. With their years of experience, I’m sure they have a lot of best practices from which to gleam.

    Then contact a local pet shop or vendor. See if they’re interested in such an idea. It will require an upfront investment from them in terms of free treats, catalogs, and test samples of their products. You will also need to work out a commission plan with them.

    Then set up a date and place. Perhaps your own home. Perhaps a local dog park. Make sure you’re allowed to use the dog park though – some parks may require permits. Check with your city council for more information on that.

    Then go to your local dog park and promote this party. Send out invitations, post up fliers, contact friends, advertise on Craigslist, etc.

    Finally, hold your party and encourage everyone to try out the treats and make a purchase! It may help to have an actual representative from the pet shop or vendor there too. You will also need to facilitate the party and keep it from becoming a big mess of people just there for free treats. That’s where your Tupperware training would kick in.

    That’s just off the top of my head. Turning this into a formal business would require a bit more thinking. But I think it’s totally possible!
    Ooops, forgot have added good post! Waiting on your next one!

  3. There’s a dog party place like this in Chicago, but they make their own products.

    I’ve looked into this model last year (I own poochieparty.com; poochyparty.com, etc.) and similar to Pampered Chef; you don’t really make $$ from it until you are making your OWN products and selling @ the parties.

    The party planners usually make 50% of what they sell their products for and then they get 20%’ish from those under them. Thus the markups need to be @ about 100%+ (more if you include freebies, etc.) It’d be easy enough to order this stuff, but for someone to start out from petedge.com or another drop shipper; they’d need a HECK of a more discount than 10-20% (from what their list prices are)

    Some good & widespread deals would need to be made with many manufacturers/distributors.

    I own a large dog service business now in the Chicago area and would be interested in persuing this with someone at any point. I have plans, just not ALL the time to build a new business (unless of course, someone wishes to join on.)

  4. @Paul, thanks for that great info! It’s good to hear about the realities of this business. That kind of feedback is invaluable.

    Alas, time is what I lack too, otherwise I would be pursuing all these ideas to some extent. Perhaps another reader will be inclined to help jumpstart this business. I think it’s got potential!

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