BRAND / CANDY : Mandi Rudd Arnold Specializes in Promotional Goodies

Mandi Rudd Arnold isn’t just the CEO of her own promotional products company. She’s a master of professional and personal branding.

Arnold has almost 20 years of experience in advertising, and she brings that knowledge to Brand Candy Marketing (Brand Candy Marketing). Its logo is a nostalgic, rainbow-colored lollipop.

“The idea behind it is that when you give somebody a tangible piece of your brand, you want it to evoke some kind of emotion and trigger a positive response. So it seemed the most logical logo would be a swirly lollipop, because there’s nothing more fun than a swirly lollipop,” Arnold says with a smile.

Arnold, who is easy to talk to, genuine and welcoming, embodies the spirit of her logo. She also has a lot of passion for her business.

“I’ve always been interested in this industry,” she says. Her company offers every imaginable kind of branded merchandise — from pens and cups to clothing, electronics and more — and she prides herself on bringing people the right product at the right time.

“One of my favorite parts of my job is being able to help my clients find the exact products they want. My goal is to help them plan ahead and save money. But I’ve also gotten those last-minute phone calls that say ‘I need 2,000 of something purple on Thursday!’ Being able to find just that right thing and pull off a miracle for my clients always feels great. It’s exciting and challenging at the same time!”

When Arnold’s not busy running her company or spending time with her family — she is married with a 6-year-old son — she actively involves herself in the community. One example is the Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, of which she and her mother, Gloria Rudd, are members.

“It’s a passionate cause for our entire family,” she says. “I like being a part of something that is making a personal and professional impact.”

Arnold also volunteers on the marketing committee for KC Pet Project. Her appreciation for pets showed when two friendly and affectionate rescue dogs greeted us at her house as we arrived for the interview.

Additionally, she’s part of the executive committee that pulls off “The Big Slick Celebrity Weekend,” a charity event that benefits the Children’s Mercy Hospital Cancer Center. The fundraiser features five actors who grew up in the Kansas City area and come back to town for the occasion.

One of those celebrities is her brother, actor Paul Rudd. The other hosts are actors Rob Riggle, Jason Sudeikis, Eric Stonestreet and David Koechner. The families of the stars all come together to organize the long weekend of auctions, hospital visits, parties and more .The fundraiser has surpassed all original expectations, raising millions of dollars in the last five years for Children’s Mercy.

Despite her success (and her famous brother), Arnold is very down-to-earth.

When asked what she does in her free time, she laughs — presumably because she doesn’t have much of it. But after some thought, she says, “I like to read. I still check books out of the library. …

“And I love seeing the world through my son’s eyes. His imagination is the most fun thing in the world.”

That brightly colored lollipop that she hands us seems a perfect match for her outlook.

“I’m in a great place, and I feel very lucky!” she says.

The Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MAGLCC) is an organization that advocates, promotes and facilitates the success of the LGBT business community and its allies. Learn more at MAGLCC.org.

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