In our September Women In PHCP spotlight, we invite you to meet Amy Siders, showroom manager at Waterhouse bath & kitchen studio in Perrysburg, Ohio!
PHCPPros: What is your role in the PHCP industry?
Siders: I joined the Waterhouse bath & kitchen studio team as their new showroom manager in July 2021. The job description as written was extremely broad. Waterhouse is the showroom arm of a small, family-owned, locally run distributor, Maumee Supply, and the entire leadership has a closet full of hats to wear. My role flows from traditional showroom management (making schedules, customer retention, onboarding new sales specialists, maintaining current displays, designing and implementing new displays, sales training, and cultivating vendor relations) to marketing genius, event planner extraordinaire, social media maven, and back again. Every day is wildly different, and that’s exactly the way that I like it.
PHCPPros: How and why did you decide to enter a career in the PHCP industry?
Siders: I came to Waterhouse fresh from a lengthy career with Value City Furniture as a regional visual manager. That involved seventy-hour weeks, two to four overnights each week, and an unhealthy relationship with my iPhone — paired with a desire to be a major player in a smaller pond (rather than a workhorse in an ocean). The Waterhouse position came at exactly the right time for me, offering an opportunity to work for a small (but growing) family-owned and run business that was (and still is) open to innovative ideas and new ways of doing things — paired with the seemingly lost art of honesty, integrity, grace, and humor.
PHCPPros: What have been some of your career highlights?
Siders: While I have only been here for 13 months, I have been able to put quite a few metaphorical notches on my career belt. I came out of the gate at full speed with our first annual Waterhouse Bubble Bash, a showroom event that brought 250 clients, contractors, builders, designers, and community leaders through our doors. Next came our first-ever World Toilet Day art contest. Kohler generously donated five Cimmaron two-piece toilets to our artists who produced the most ingenious designs that I have ever seen (on a toilet or otherwise). We also held an online and in-showroom vote followed by an online auction, which raised hundreds of dollars for our charity of choice: water.org.
I was able to gain a LOT of traction with social media, print and TV coverage. (I even got us the cover of The Wholesaler magazine!) We had huge growth in social media engagement, so much so that we’ve been able to up our toilet art game for World Toilet Day 2022 with 10 toilets donated by Laufen that will be adorned by some really big names!
Spring and summer 2002 brought our 16 by 30-foot outdoor mural to life. Media coverage was rampant; at one point, we had all four local news stations here at once! Better yet, we now have the most beautiful permanent “tattoo” on our showroom that we can share with our neighbors and our community. It’s not all about events, though. I’ve had the freedom to break ties with vendors that weren’t meeting our needs, add in eight new vendors to our lineup, and change out numerous displays in our gorgeous showroom. My goal with everything I do is to make Waterhouse a household name and to make us more accessible, whether it be through major events and promotions or through our day-to-day excellence in our product offerings, expertise, and customer service.
PHCPPros: What are your thoughts on mentorship for women?
Siders: Having been in this industry for only a short time and spending most of my time dealing with male builders, contractors, designers, and other industry professionals — not to mention that over 75% of my own company’s employees and leadership are male — I haven’t had much time to reach out beyond Northwest Ohio. My big hope for meeting and greeting everyone at the LPG Expo in January 2022 was squashed by COVID, so I have my fingers crossed that I can make more inroads when we meet in February 2023.
Most of my favorite manufacturer reps are women. They’re my favorites for a few reasons: They’re accessible, they’re SO knowledgeable, and they do everything in their power to earn my business, keep my business, and grow my business — which in turn, grows their businesses. I’m not sure if they are my favorites because they are women or because they are amazing. Maybe it’s both.
Every sales specialist at the Waterhouse showroom is a woman. I do everything I can to nurture them, boost their confidence, back them at every turn, and put them in front of the largest number of potential clients and accounts that I can. I have a 10-year-old daughter, so it’s in my nature to care (sometimes a little too much). So, occasionally I need to take a step back to let them soar on their own. They are an amazing group of women — funny and brash, sassy and savvy. I wouldn’t trade them for the world!
PHCPPros: What do you think the PHCP industry can do to better recruit and retain women?
Siders: Let the women who are succeeding in this industry lead the way. Share stories of successful women from all levels of the industry — from the production line to the boardroom and everywhere in between.
Ask what women want and listen. I don’t think that equal pay for equal work, an excellent work/life balance, a superb benefit package (that includes paid time off, full medical benefits, family leave, flexible schedules, continuing education, and room for advancement) are things only women care about. But, these specifics need to be advertised on a larger scale. Women see job descriptions that are looking for “a road warrior” or an “aggressive rockstar” and are immediately turned off. Women ARE rockstars. I’m one of them. But I want to know that my employer appreciates and nurtures every part of my personality — not just the go-getter, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer part of me.
Encourage your female employees to network. Join the local Chamber of Commerce. Participate in the HBA. Go to jobsites. Meet the leaders in the industry. Meet the people who make your community run. Success shouldn’t be drawn along gender lines in any industry, but we need to work harder in traditionally male-centric areas to draw attention to the short-term rewards and long-term benefits of working in an industry that is always needed, constantly changing, and has such huge growth potential.
PHCPPros: Is there anything from your personal life you would like to highlight?
Siders: I have two of the coolest kids on the planet. Jack, 14, has the driest sense of humor of anyone I have ever met. He has the quickest comebacks, the wittiest comments, and the sharpest tongue. Jack loves video games, anime, reading, and getting under my skin. Hannah, 10, is a ukulele-playing, artistic, whirling dervish of glitter, laughter, and song. We also just got a new puppy, Phoebe, who is the furry love of all our lives. At home, I coordinate chaos. It’s loud and a bit messy, but always full of joy and love — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you know someone you would like to nominate for our Women In PHCP newsletter series? Email PHCPPros Digital Strategy Manager Nicole Meyer at email@example.com!