Patrick: Heidi joined Kitchen Tune-Up back in 2003 and was a bit pushed into the role given her father was the founder of Kitchen Tune-Up. Before I get too much into the bio on Heidi, Kitchen Tune-Up, Bath Tune-Up, you should hear it directly from her. I’d love to just start, Heidi. Tell us a little bit about how you re-entered this industry with your father’s urging.
Heidi: Great. Thank you so much. My dad had a cabinet business before he started Kitchen Tune-Up. I did my own thing. I went to school and became a teacher. So my first profession was as an educator. I went into my own business for about 11 years and then raised my son. Until my father proposed I come and help him in the business. Especially in the training part. He felt that the training program needed improvement in its integration. I wasn’t very interested at first, because I didn’t know much about the industry. But he brought up the grandson’s letter and told me that the grandchildren would probably like to be closer. My father was a great salesperson.
Heidi: I thought I’d give it a try, at least for a year. In 2003, it wasn’t planned that I would one day take over the company. It was just to come in and help Dad get out and go on vacation once in a while. When I started studying the training program, I found the gaps that needed to be filled in sales and marketing. So, studying everything I could about sales and marketing, I went in and started teaching that. From there, you either fall in love with the industry or you don’t. So obviously, in my case, I fell in love with the idea of these entrepreneurs who were willing to risk everything to start a business.
Patrick: You sure live a stable paycheck, right?
Heidi: Yes. It was inspiring to meet people who are willing to do that. And I want to grow this team, support and help those on it. As we started doing that, it became more and more apparent over the years that I would be the heir apparent. People started to assume that I was already running the business. In 2017, when I took over, I think most people thought I was already the president. And it was an easy transition.
Heidi: In general, women are the ones buying home improvement projects. When I came in, I found it very interesting that there were no women in leadership positions. Some of the marketing seemed more male. I had that feeling. Women over 55 are usually the ones who influence what’s going to happen in the home and change. I wasn’t that old then. I am now, but I realized then that a woman’s touch was needed. Both from a sales and marketing standpoint. I started to understand the needs of the consumer. Many people think about improving their homes and are afraid to do so. That’s how I figured out how we could take this industry that doesn’t have the best reputation and make it better.
Heidi: In the industry, a lot of people leave messes. So. We had a really big space that we could go into and fill this void. We could be different right away, and we did. The exciting thing for me is bringing an experience to people. When people have their kitchens remodeled they cry from happiness. They just can’t believe that it’s the space that they’re going to feed their families.
Patrick: Given the pandemic, people are spending a lot more time at home are conscious about what they eat, how they cook it.
Heidi: And also they use that space differently. A lot of people were using their kitchen maybe three times a week, and all of a sudden you went to use it 21 times a week because you had to cook every meal there. That inspired people to wanna get that space updated as fast as possible.
Patrick: Tell me a little bit, who’s the competition. Both your service brands, who are you competing with? Like, is it Mom & Pops? Are there big companies in the space?
Heidi: Probably the Mom & Pop. But interestingly in the spaces, there isn’t anyone that owns a lot of market share. It’s just very fractured. There are a couple of other franchises, of course, that are also in that space. But because the fracturing is happening across the U.S. my goal is to create that market share that’s going to be leaning obviously on the Tune-Up brands.
Patrick: And how are you differentiating like, I imagine the Mom & Pop’s is very relationship-based, and then the Big-Box retailers have the brand recognition. How do you differentiate both Kitchen Tune-Up at both your brands?
Heidi: Sure. Well, it’s all about the experience, right? How many times do you think in your lifetime you’re gonna remodel a kitchen?
Patrick: I would guess like three times.
Heidi: Yeah. Maybe three times. It’s not a common purchase. One thing that consumers, always feel like when it’s not something that they commonly purchase, they feel a little bit nervous about it. We have a whole process from the time we start talking with them to things that we send out to the way we interact. That’s just so different and we hear it all the time. They’ll say, “I had some other bids, but nobody was doing it as you did it.” And we hear about that experience that they’re interactive, but at the same time, we’re educational. I think that maybe comes from my background.
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