Rick Goings: No. 1 is pure old population. The
bulk of the world's population lives in Asia/Pacific. Second,
there's this incredible emerging middle class. The last statistic I
read was that the Asian middle class will [grow to] 1.7 billion by
2020. That's the way it was in the U.S. in the '50s and '60s. The
third thing is simply: women. China's a different story, but in the
bulk of Asia, less than 30% of women work outside the home. And
finally, in countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia,
India and, to a lesser degree, China, you don't have a very
well-developed retail infrastructure, particularly away from the
high-density metropolitan areas. … You're seeing the advent
of consumer-products brands there, but they've got to wait until
the Walmarts of the world get there first. We don't have to wait
for that. We're an off-road vehicle.
Ad Age: In China, people don't host Tupperware
parties at home. Why?
Mr. Goings: In many cities there, you'll get
one-and-a-half families living in 350 or 400 square feet. It wasn't
really conducive to a typical Tupperware party, and the weather
wasn't conducive to doing it outside. So we came up with a model
there where she opens a little storefront -- it looks like a retail
store but it really isn't -- it's a place where the neighborhood
comes for Tupperware parties and cooking demonstrations. It acts in
the neighborhood like a sorority house. Now we have more than 4,000
of those throughout China.
Ad Age: You don't advertise, and you say your
selling method is all about relationships. Do you
use social media?
Mr. Goings: I have 42,000 Facebook followers.
… But think of it this way: Twitter is at the bottom of the
intimacy scale. Next up is texting, next email, next a handwritten
letter, next a phone call and then face-to-face. … So we're
not against social media. But nothing is ever better than
Ad Age: What could more-typical consumer-goods
companies learn from your experience in emerging markets?
Mr. Goings: Do what others are not doing. Think
about what conditions exist in emerging markets, like lack of
retail infrastructure or a limited earning opportunity for women in
these kinds of markets. … We just had 9,000 of our Asians in
Macau and I was there. Macau is doing 7.5 times the gambling
revenue of Las Vegas. I'm not giving up on the U.S. But the way all
of us have looked at Europe these last 30 years since the great
American boom of the '60s, '70s and '80s -- that's the way the
Asians are going to be looking at us. We better wake up!