AFTER CEDIA 2017, MANTELMOUNT GAINS SEAT AT “ADULTS" TABLE”
Sometimes at Thanksgiving dinners, there is a kids’ table. It is literally a table for children – the place where anyone ranging from 2-16 is required to sit so they don’t bother the grown-ups. Because grown-ups have important things to talk about and although they love their children, the kids simply don’t have the maturity or the gravitas to be in the company of the adults.
That’s where MantelMount was just two years ago; we were figuratively sitting at the kids’ table. More specifically, as a tiny little start-up, we were at CEDIA 2015 on “rookie row,” sandwiched in with the other youngsters. We had a quaint little 10 x 10 booth where we were showing our only version of the MantelMount Pull Down TV Mount: the T1MA. It was a great product which solved a very specific need: TV’s placed over the fireplace or high on a wall create horrible, neck-breaking viewing angles. MantelMount solved that problem with a well-engineered, solidly built unit that was both aesthetically pleasing and affordable.
We attracted a great deal of interest at that show. Still, we had a long way to go before we would be able to sit at the adults’ table, the one where the long-established manufacturers of mature, reputable and best-selling electronic products and accessories – most of them household names – were congregated. These were companies with high-profile market presence, significant market share, and sufficient financial resources to buy an actual market if they wanted. While we had made what we felt was a noticeable impression at CEDIA 2015, we wondered what the resulting market impact would be. Had we simply hit an elephant with a pea shooter?
Apparently, we had a little more impact than we imagined. We were named a “Best New Product Finalist” at the show. At the same show, we were recognized as “Most Creative New TV Mount” by rAVe Publications. Obviously, we impressed someone besides our family, friends, and attendees who wandered into our booth on their way to somewhere else.
Awards kept coming. We attended the HPBExpo on 2016 and snagged a prize from Hearth & Home Magazine for Best Outdoor Room equipment. Plus, we won a 2016 Product of the Year from Electronic House, a well-respected publication covering all areas of electronic products and accessories for the home.
Awards are nice, but sales are even better. And sales were going quite well. In fact, so well that we were convinced it was time to introduce two new models, the MM340 andMM540. Both were well-received, and we now had a real “product line.” (OK, it was only three products long, but it was still a line.)
Award were rolling in faster than we could accept them. The CE Pro Best TV Mount Winner at CEDIA 2016. The NewBay Media Best in Show for AV Technology at InfoComm 2016. Then an exciting new model: the MM700, geared towards the professional channel. New distribution channels. Increasing sales. We were firmly on people’s radar, not just consumers but integrators, electronic dealers, and distributors.
Just a few weeks ago, we exhibited at CEDIA 2017. It’s no exaggeration to say that was our coming-out party. We had a huge 30x30 booth right in the middle of the action. And we introduced a truly groundbreaking product: our MM850 automated mount. A motorized mount that works via IP over internet and interfaces with most popular home automation systems (Control4, RTI, Crestron, to name a few), the MM850 hit a home run with everyone who saw it. No, make that a grand slam. The media noticed, as evidenced by all the coverage we received. Attendees noticed, based on the multiple “oohs” and “ahhs” we heard. Dealers noticed, as we signed up hundreds of them who couldn’t wait to sell the new unit. And we noticed, based on how tired we were when the show was over.
Oh, and did we mention we also won three awards for the MM850 – a unit that isn’t even available until December? These were heavyweight awards: Innovation and Tech Today. Residential Systems. CE Pro. (We might have also won Most Congenial, but we can’t remember.)
So what does this all mean? Have we reached the top of the proverbial mountain? Are we at the pinnacle of our industry? Far from it. We still have much to do, and many new products to create and perfect.
What it does means is that in just a few short years, we have arrived. We went from a barely noticeable start-up with one nice product to a up-and-coming force in the television accessory market. We’ll never stop trying to do better and to develop innovative products that don’t just follow the latest trends but that set them.
In other words, we’ve left the kids’ table and can now take our place with the heavyweights in the consumer electronics industry at the adults’ table. Don’t get us wrong; the kids’ table was fun. But the adults’ table is all business.