How Murphy Door Transformed & Grew from the Builders’ Show

White open door in kitchen with shelves on the inside

Feedback from Builders’ Show attendees helped the specialty door company make quick adjustments and achieve long-term success.

The problem/goal

Murphy Door founder, Jeremy Barker, found himself with a problem the first time he attended the NAHB International Builders’ Show as an exhibitor. At the time, Murphy Door was offering hidden doors for panic rooms. The challenge was that not everyone has a panic room in their home, so home builders didn’t need a door for a room they weren’t including in their home builds.

Jeremy says, “The key to being successful at a trade show with a new product is to gather customer feedback to see what the customer really wants. I don’t think there’s a better way to gather that feedback than to be in front of the customer, one-on-one, face-to-face to hear the constructive criticism that they give you.”

The solution

One customer specifically garnered Jeremy’s attention. She approached his exhibit area at the show and mentioned how great of a product the panic room door was. She also pointed out that not a lot of people need a door for a panic room. But they do need storage solutions for their home.

Instead of letting a difficult situation get the best of him, Jeremy saw an opportunity to turn the circumstances into a positive. He took the woman’s constructive criticism from the Builders’ Show to transform his safe room door idea into something customers want and need – doors that offer storage solutions in homes.

Murphy Door, hidden door solutions, was born.

“In 2014, we met the Home Depot buyers, which ended up getting us online with a couple different doors in 2015. It was because of the International Builders’ Show that we made those kinds of relationships. It helped us experience the trajectory that we’ve experienced over the last couple of years,” Jeremy shares.

The results

  • First IBS show: 1 door and the founder at the show in a small booth space – staying at the Motel 6 and eating hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. Received constructive feedback that their hidden door for panic rooms was a really cool idea, but not fulfilling a need in the industry. Jeremy pivoted, taking the hidden door concept to create hidden door storage solutions, which fills a need in the industry.
  • 2014 NAHB International Builders’ Show: Met Home Depot buyers that helped Murphy Door to put some of their storage doors for sale on in 2015.
  • 2022 NAHB International Builders’ Show: $750,000 booth space because IBS is the only show Murphy Door does now and they owe the majority of their success to the lady at their first Builders’ Show that propelled them to offer storage doors rather than panic room doors.

“We dedicate about 25% of our total advertising budget to the Builders’ Show. As much as the sales process is important, the data is too. The current trends that you’re able to see at Builders’ Show and taking the opportunity to walk the show to see what is coming up, what is popular and what may be popular soon because there’s more of a focus from manufacturers there. You have to stay on top of or ahead of the curve. Where else can you immerse yourself with all those data points. Nowhere else but the Builders’ Show.”

When asked if Jeremy plans to attend the 2023 NAHB International Builders’ Show, he replies, “For the last few years, the Builder’s Show is the only show we do. We’ll definitely be there.”

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