Many people dream of owning and running their own business but very few manage to see their dreams through. Tucked away in Malaga, Perth – is a cosy little paint shop owned by Cedric de Saran, a man with over 50 years of experience in the paint industry.
Always keen on being his own boss, Cedric has come a long way. His adventure with paints started in the 1960s with Duresco Paints in the UK. He worked as a colour tinter – a job that required quite some talent as there were no machines to help with this task; one had to depend on a keen sense of sight and sense of colour for getting it right.
He subsequently moved to established firms in the home paints sector like Walpamur, Taubmans Paints and Wattyl Paints as a colour tinter and eventually in charge of Sales for which his efforts were applauded.
It didn’t take long for Cedric to figure out that he liked the idea of setting his own rules and working for himself. Keeping this in mind, he started Supalux Paints in the early 1970s with two partners in Bayswater. The business did well and demanded the need for larger premises and a massive factory was built in Kewdale. About five years later due to a depressed market and other problems, Supalux Paints was sold.
Cedric’s next big move was to set up two more entrepreneurial ventures, Challenge Paints and Wescote Paints, both of which did well while they lasted. Eventually, however, the former had to be closed down while the latter was sold in 2003.
Soon after, Cedric was approached by two Roof Coating applicators to oversee the manufacture of good quality Roof Coatings. In 2009, Cedric and his wife, Rose established Deluxe Coatings, and till date, the company continues to thrive on extremely loyal customer support.
So what exactly is it that makes Cedric and his paint shop so unique?
We ask his daughter Yvette, who is now managing parts of the business with Cedric, overseeing the production, checking tinted customer colours, preparing customer orders, ordering stock for resale, marketing and book keeping.
According to her, the process of mixing paints to their true tints requires a process called eye matching – where one can tell just by looking at a colour exactly what tints are required to get that particular desired colour (e.g. to make a purple, one would know that one would need a blue tinter and magenta tinter, depending on the strength of the colour required). Although Deluxe Coatings has a colour matching computer, that reads colours and can gauge what tinters are required to make that colour – this is not always 100% accurate. Sometimes, one has to add a few more tinters to get the colour correct. With bulk tinting being Cedric’s forte, Deluxe Coatings always has approximately 27 Roof Coatings colours that are in stock at all times. All of these colours are a 100% accurate and are made entirely by Cedric and his assistants. Yvette explains how Cedric, the eternal perfectionist that he is, is always on standby to check her colours before the drums are sealed and ready for the customer.
The field of home paints has just as many cases of customer deception as any other businesses. One common example of this would be tradesmen assuring their clients that they’ve used primers on brand new walls while in reality they haven’t. It is therefore always important for customers to find a vendor they can trust. Because of Cedric’s extensive knowledge and experience, quite a few of their customers have in fact, followed Cedric through all his businesses- investing complete faith in his advice and services – thus forming a niche, yet loyal customer base for Deluxe Coatings.
Like every other entrepreneurial story, this one too is full of challenges; some of them that continue to exist even after so many years of setting up shop. Getting raw materials and containers on time for instance, continuing to work towards profits in order to maintain their market share, etc.
According to Cedric and Yvette however, these come hand in hand along with the joys of working for yourself and following your own rules. Their advice to other newbies in the paints sector is simple: This is a very changeable industry, and one must be prepared for a lot of manual hard work. Also it’s not as easy as it looks if one has to start from scratch especially when it comes to making the right paints, tinting them and learning about different surfaces that can be painted. But with time and experience, it can all fall into place especially if one is passionate about his business.
When he’s not mixing paints or attending to customers, Cedric loves to sit back and relax a little, attending West Coast Eagle Football matches, playing lawn bowls twice a week, catching up with family and friends or travelling to his Beach House in Cervantes.
Yvette is currently enjoying the variety in her workload, talking to all sorts of customers that come in through the doors and enjoying the tiny joys of seeing how a coat of paint can do wonders to an otherwise plain surface!
Visit the Deluxe Coatings website for more information on our fabulous paints and products!