Tag Archives: Lallenia Birge

Lallenia Birge

March 9, 2017 by

This sponsored content appears in the Winter 2017 edition of B2B. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/b2b_0217_125/56

The website for Big Birge Plumbing has an old-fashioned look. “That’s intentional,” says Vice President Lallenia Birge. The theme is displayed on the company trucks, websites, and social media pages. “We started our company with the slogan ‘Old-fashioned values reborn.’”

Throughout their marketing, you will notice Lallenia wearing 1950s-style outfits; her husband, president of the company, Brad Birge, appears dressed like a lumberjack. Their logo is of Brad’s muscular arm in a red and black flannel shirt holding an oversized pipe wrench. “It’s very tongue-in-cheek marketing,” she says, adding, “We try to be honest and fair with everything we do, and believe our marketing reflects that.”

“It’s is unusual for a woman to own a plumbing company,” she says. It all began when she fell in love while working at the gym. “I saw this super attractive guy and found out he [Brad] was a plumber. Not realizing what went into the plumbing business, I would make jokes about it to my clients.”

The jokes must have paid off! They were married in 2009. “He quit his job at another plumbing company, and in 2012, we officially started [Big Birge] together,” she says. “I was still working as a trainer, started learning marketing, and dug into the business side.”

Hiring their first employee in 2013, they have expanded to nine employees. Lallenia enjoys the supportive workplace atmosphere, which they encourage with regular company outings and weekly meetings. “It’s kind of like a brotherhood; we have each others’ backs,” she exclaims.

Every Monday morning, they hold a meeting with their employees to discuss company core values. Protect the health of our community, tighten every bolt, and take ownership are three of the six values they review with the crew.

“If something doesn’t go right, we do everything in our power to fix it. Plumbers sometimes get a bad rep, and I want to prove that is not the case with our company.” She goes on to explain the company has three plumbing divisions: service, residential remodeling, and commercial.

“My role isn’t only marketing and business but to keep learning and growing myself and our team. I am even taking business classes at Metro. Someone has to keep those guys on their toes!” She says with a laugh. Her resilience on the job reflects the old-fashioned values that she holds dear from her diverse childhood.

Lallenia learned to be self-reliant at a young age. Born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, her parents separated around the time she was 2. She was in and out foster care and family friends’ homes until age 9, then adopted. By the time she was 16, she was working three jobs while going to high school and living on her own. Following a friend to Blair Nebraska at age 18, she eventually made Omaha her home.

“I give a lot of credit to the fact that I surround myself with positive people, people who are smarter than me, better than me,” Lallenia explains.

Having already accomplished her dream of becoming a personal trainer, she now wants to be remembered as a loving mother to her children (Wyatt 6, Brielle, 11 months), a great wife, and an inspiration to others in and out of business.

“I want to be known as a woman who is able to overcome and achieve something greater than herself,” she says.

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Marketing Turns Sexy

August 1, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann & Justin Barnes

Plumbing has never looked like this.

An Omaha couple is turning heads with online teasers for their Big Birge Plumbing Company and gaining new customers in the process. Brad and Lallenia Birge lend their killer smiles and buff, model good looks to Pop Art-style ads that emphasize primary colors, tongue-in-cheek graphics and sex appeal dynamics.

The company logo features an illustration of Brad’s flexed arm, adorned in a rolled-up red and black flannel shirt to expose a bulging bicep. His burly hand grips a red wrench. In a profile pose they stand back to back. He’s dressed in the iconic working man’s garb of a flannel shirt, blue jeans and work boots, an oversized wrench dangling from one hand. Lallenia’s attired in a blouse, shorts and heels as she holds a plunger. In some shots she wears a retro, red and white polka dot dress. In others she dons a white sweater with a blue or red skirt to evoke a cheeky vibe. In still more poses she clutches a giant wrench or a frying pan in an oven-gloved hand. Her expressions range from mock distress to amour.

In these fanciful turns he’s the strong, dependable man and she’s the woman in need of rescue. The campaign echoes vintage television situation comedies, Technicolor romance movies, comic strips, pulp novels and pinup glossies. It’s Betty Page exotica meets Doris Day-Rock Hudson fantasy meets Li’l Abner-Daisy Mae shtick.

Completing this throwback homage is the tagline: “Honesty, quality, American craftsmanship. Old-fashioned values reborn.” The alter-ego personas are exaggerations of the couple’s real selves, but the expressed values are how they live and do business.

“We take it very seriously,” says Brad. “We stay true to what we say we are. I can’t stand bad service. The way you treat somebody is everything. It’s totally how you present yourself. On any job I do I try to make it a positive experience for clients.

“We do have a lot of repeat customers and there’s a reason why. We treat people right. We give people a good price and good service. Our clients become our friends.”

He’s a master licensed plumber with years in the trade. She’s a personal fitness trainer who’s opted to devote more time to their son, Wyatt, and to the business. Her entrepreneurial skills have proven invaluable. She conceives the marketing strategy and executes it with help from his mother and photographer Justin Barnes.

“She’s turned out to be a really big part of the company,” Brad says of Lallenia. “Without her backing me, and giving me feedback, and throwing ideas out and putting it into play, the business wouldn’t be where it is today. As far as our image, it’s all her.”

Lallenia, who enjoys finding frilly props and playing adult dress-up, says it’s all about finding creative ways to make the Big Birge brand stand out among all the clutter.

“When you see other plumbing ads it’s all guys,” she says. “I was like, ‘We need a woman’s touch here.’ It’s just fun for us to do our own thing right now and to be ourselves. People think we shell out big bucks for our marketing, but we don’t. As long as we can do it ourselves, we’re going to continue doing it.”

The couple says their business website garners high traffic and positive feedback. The same is true for their Facebook page and for the YouTube videos they’ve made. Their eye-catching promos extend to T-shirts, yard signs, and company vehicles.

Coming soon is Lallenia’s own website, The Plumber’s Wife.

“It’s about wives helping their husbands as entrepreneurs,” she says.

“I am a plumber’s wife and I’m darn proud of it.”