Last week we interviewed Kristen Amanda, creator and owner of Manda Mudd.
We got more than we bargained for as we listened with rapt attention about how she was finally able to launch her product and how she used a Trade Show to do so. If you missed that you can read it here:
This week we are going to dial down and go more in-depth with specific questions we would like her to answer as we know it will definitely help you and your business!
At the end of the interview Kristen shares with us more to the story of that first experience exhibiting in a trade show with Manda Mudd. Don't miss it!
If you weren't with us last week, Kristen is an artist and entrepreneur; painting, designing, and consulting for both residential and commercial clients. Her murals are both beautiful and famous.
Kristen Amanda launched Manda Mudd, bringing previously “pro-only” painting techniques to the soon to boom “Do-It-Yourself” market. Now celebrating its 20th year on the retail market, Kristen is pleased to share her product, Manda Mudd, with all those who love to Do-it-Themselves.
So here we go with the continuation of our interview with Kristen Amanda, founder and creator of Manda Mudd.
Q: When did you first exhibit in a Trade Show?
Answer: See last week's blog post for this answer. Part 1.
Q: Approximately how many Trade Shows have you exhibited in?
Answer: apprx 30
Q: Please give 3 examples of how exhibiting in a Trade Show helps you or your business?
1) we meet potential customers that we fall in love with and then strive to deliver what they tell us they want to make them happy with a working product. We have been growing our loyal fan base from the ground up
2) sales of product at the events
3) data and information on how to improve our product and make it what our customers want
Q: Please share 3 negative experiences that made you either re-think wanting to exhibit or challenged you to find a solution to enable you/your company to continue exhibiting in Trade Shows?
1) the energy it takes to stand on your feet all day long every day for the entire length of the show--demonstrating our product!
2) talking all day to explain the product, getting to know our new customers and answer their questions--keeping our voices by the end of the event!
3) the amount of money the trade shows cost
Q: What advice (or tips) would you give to business owners on the following?
1. Booth set up?
1) create a warm atmosphere that is easy to enter, with room to move, and seating if you have the space
2) always try to demonstrate your product to show your potential customers how to use your product so they can see themselves doing/using it
3) have enough materials for each day so you don't run out and have to go get more
1) use signage that represents your company in a fun or interesting way that is easy to read and remember you by
2) use your logo so people start to remember and recognize you
3) have a clip board for people to leave you their contact information in case you are too busy with all the people to answer their question-and then follow up!
3. Choosing location for your booth?
1) if you have the advanced time to book a location near other home decor companies or high trafficked spaces--- that is ideal
2) choose the right size space for your company--so you're not crowded, have enough people to man that size space, and have room to demonstrate your product
3) we like the added exposure of being on a corner so traffic from all directions can see us
1) expect long hours and mostly on your feet
2) expect to do well, expect to speak with a lot of people and answer their questions
3) always be pleasant whether each person is a potential customer or not
5. Materials to bring, how much/many?
1) samples of your product to hand out
2) we hand out or offer cookies sometimes for that home-y feel
3) enough product to sell from the trade show floor
4) your vehicle with extra material to replenish your booth space with as you sell
6. How do you approach customers?
1) when you're demonstrating people will gather to see what you're doing and how you are doing it
2) we ask them if they have any questions or if they would like to see a certain step demonstrated
3) we're pretty friendly and sincerely love to meet and talk with people. We love to listen to their feedback.
7. Specials and offer at a Trade Show?
1) Yes we have offered specials and we’ve offered a back to school special too. Usually 10% to 20% off...or free tools with purchase of a set.
We asked Kristen for her best advice?
Answer: Be patient and diligent. Keep positive. Celebrate the small victories. Keep your team in focus by bringing out the best in them and being thankful for them. Encourage yourself and each other and remember why you're there and who you are and try to stay true to that.
Thank you Kristen!
By now you may have questions about Manda Mudd and be thinking this is a product that would increase your home's value? Below we've included a couple of FAQ's.
- Manda Mudd was designed with the Do-It-Yourselfer in mind!
- It’s is as easy as 1-2-3. Step 1 is applied with a roller and/or brush. Steps 2 and 3 are applied with the trowel provided in the Manda Mudd Application Kit, or any trowel you may have on hand. The Application DVD available through our online store will show you what to do each step of the way.
- “Manda Mudd is so easy, my 13 year-old niece demonstrated it at our first Minneapolis Home & Garden Show presentation,” says Kristen Amanda.
- Still scared? Consider booking one of our In-Home, Hands-On Workshops, or come to our warehouse for a beginner Do-It-Yourself Workshop! You’ll be amazed how much fun you can have, and how quickly you’ll have your room transformed!
- The average bedroom can be completed in a day – start to finish!
- Even less if you get your friends to help!
– There is no need to be concerned about lap marks or keeping a wet edge as is the case with most other wall finishes. You can stop and start again at anytime. You can even go back over areas that have dried, and make changes or additions as you wish; days, weeks, even YEARS later!
– Note: This is only one of many reasons why Manda Mudd is such a great product for routine wear-and-tear touch-ups!!
– Yes!!! Manda Mudd loves ugly walls! With a little preparation, Manda Mudd can transform your walls “from blah, to voila!”
– 1) First, remove any loose wall paper.
– 2) Fill any gauges or holes with wall spackle.
– 3) Next, sand the remaining wall paper seams to prevent “seam” lines appearing after Manda Mudd application.
– 4) Seal the walls with a primer designed for bonding, sealing and stain blocking (we recommend, Kilz). This will ensure proper adhesion and prevent bleeding through of any wallpaper pattern or wallpaper paste residue.
– 5) At last! Proceed with Manda Mudd Steps 1, 2, & 3. You’re on your way to beautiful!
Please visit the FAQ page on the Manda Mudd website for additional information and answers on how to apply this technique to your unique walls.
Didn't get enough of Kristen's story last week?! Maybe you can relate it to your own humble beginnings? Do you have a story to tell about your trade show experience? Please share below! Here is a bonus and continuation of last week's FIRST exhibiting experience (and launch) of Manda Mudd's story in Kristen's own words...
Every trade show Rock Star has two very important things behind them; their Team and their Tools.
Let’s start today with the Team.
Remember in my last blog post I mentioned how I showed up to see my spot in the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show and discovered that I was about to enter a world I felt completely unprepared to navigate?
I also described finding some hidden courage inside myself I never knew I had?
Ha! Well! it may have been a little more complicated than I described.
My sister Heidi may be (ten and a half months) younger than I, but she was BORN to protect and defend me no matter what the situation or opponent.
Picture Tall, Scandinavian/German, Amazon Warrior Princess and you have the right picture. 😉
From the moment she was old enough to walk and talk Heidi would bring her formidable will to force on anyone who dared bring me harm...including myself!
Case in point; I was six and we were new to our neighborhood when the neighbor boys, in a moment of gleeful provocation decided to lock me in their garage.
Heidi, who was loathe to be held hostage by anyone’s threats, promptly punched her five year old fist right through the glass of the locked door, unlocking it and freeing me from my somewhat older, and bigger “terrorist” jailers; knocking all the wind from their taunting tease.
So now back to that morning at the convention center; there I am in tears, wondering what I’d gotten myself into trying to show my stuff with all the big guys; I left, drove myself directly to my sisters house and proceeded to empty my bag of despair and desperation on my sister’s lap.
Well, she would have none of that!
“What am I going to do?!!” I tearfully said.
Looking me straight in the eye, taking me by the shoulders and firmly shaking me for emphasis she answered, “You listen to me!”
“You are going to put your walls up, plaster those walls with your INCREDIBLE plaster, bring your furniture from home, work your design magic and YOU’RE GOING TO JUST FAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH THIS!” (Pause).
“That’s what you’re going to do!”
“Go do it!”
Well I’ve always been more scared of my sister’s disappointed wrath than any obstacle impeding my way, so of course, filled with adrenaline and a new sense of urgency, I did exactly as directed.
I immediately went home and decided what pieces I would use to make my tiny booth feel like a cozy home space. Then I made a list of all the items I would need from my studio to show my samples and demonstrate my product. Then that evening, I went to the convention center and plastered my walls.
By midnight I was at the all night Kinkos (yes they were open all night in those days!) copying a blown up version of my logo to use as signage.
So here is where I need to introduce my Four Musketeers;
Bergmann then 17,
Ashford and Anja 16,
and Montana almost 15;
My biggest fans, my best support team, and my greatest inspiration, the loves of my life!
No mother ever had a greater reason to get up in the morning and work hard to make a good life for herself and her family.
So back to my story.
Morning came, I had decided I would let my kids skip school to come and help me prepare and work my booth, (Home Schooling 101: what could be a more perfect lesson in the crazy workings of a small business than setting up and working a trade show?) we rented a small truck, loaded the furniture from home that was to go, then headed to my studio to load all my tools and easels. The last stop was to pick up the carpet from the remnant store.
It was now 11:25 and the show was to begin at noon. Only a few cans of plaster, a trowel and roller, a drop cloth and an empty water bucket stood in the center of my otherwise empty booth. no carpet, no furniture, no product on display...
What kind of idiot was planning to pull this mess together?!
At 11:30 we pulled into the lot, my sister in her car following behind.;
at 11:42 the door to the convention center opened to let us in with our loaded carts (we were, of course, too late to do what everyone else does; which is to drive inside and unload right next to your booth!)
Four kids, as many carts, my sister and I carrying what didn’t fit on the carts all rolled in. We laid the pad, then the carpet, moved the furniture into place, set up my two easels; one for demos the other to display samples, put the samples in place, and hung my signage!
It was now 11:59, one minute before the show would open and we were ready for the...oh wait!
One more thing...!
...my sister came running back in after heading back to her car, and in her arms she was carrying a basket of freshly made, out of this world delicious, butter cookies for us to hand out to our would be customers...Now we were ready.
Let the show begin!!
Thank you to Kristen Amanda and Manda Mudd for her great story and tips and advice exhibiting in trade shows. If you have any questions for Kristen please feel free to post below in the comments section and we’ll get her answers posted as quickly as possible.
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