Charles Hamilton was apprenticed in 1798, and after seven years apprenticeship, he became an accredited tradesman, who established his own business in 1811 in London, namely Hamilton’s.
DIY Trade News asked Juan Engelbrecht, Hamiltons managing director a few questions about the business in South Africa.
“You may think Hamilton’s is in the business of manufacturing and distributing paintbrushes, rollers and associated products, but you’d be wrong. At Hamilton’s we’re in the business of creating perfect finishes,” says Juan Engelbrecht, managing director at Hamilton’s.
What is your career background?
I started in the retail trade as a trainee manager in the early 80’s and progressed to managing director. I then entered the franchise market where we owned Master Franchise rights of three well known food Franchises in the Western Cape. I also qualified and spent several years in the Business Turn around and Rescue field.
When and how did you get involved with Hamiltons?
I was first approached by another poor performing brushware company’s auditors to turn its clients business around and rescue it. During this process I successfully negotiated with Kansai Plascon to buy Hamiltons brush from them. This was effective from 01 March 2014.
Who are the owners?
Management owns 31% and Dawn Ltd Pty owns 69%.
How big is Hamiltons today in comparison to the first days?
We have managed to grow sales by 33% since the takeover 18 months ago. This is in what is being described as a ‘tough and depressed market’. Our sales force has grown significantly since the takeover with professional qualified sales teams and many of the old stalwarts opting to return to Hamiltons. We have a strong ally in WHD, through a distribution and partners agreement under the Dawn umbrella.
What is it that Hamitons sells?
Hamiltons is market leaders in quality brushware products and a wide range of paint tray sets for various applications. We also brought the Congo Brush range, branded abrasive products and tape back due to big demand from our clients. We just launched Hamilton’s branded silicone which consumers will also see on the shelves. The paint associated products is proving to be an opportunity for strong growth. We are very excited about the latest Pink Drive campaign where we donate R1.00 per Pink trayset sold to CANSA.
What makes Hamiton’s different from other suppliers?
Brushware is our core business and our flat management structure ensures that we can react quickly to clients and sales team needs and requests.
Tell us one exceptional thing you learned in this industry?
If you want it –work hard for it. It’s that simple.
What can we expect from Hamilton’s in the future?
We are blessed to be in a big growth phase and we have recently launched new exciting products at good prices to our valued clients. It’s now about servicing them and delivering on the promise of the Hamiltons brand.
Describe your time as managing director at Hamiltons.
It is an absolute honour and pleasure to have been able to lead such a well-recognised brand and my colleagues within Hamilton’s. We are working hard at restoring relationships with old clients and offering new clients value for money and a quality product.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
One has to acknowledge the Hamitons team and their work ethic and efforts to re-build the business. We are proud of each one of our hardworking staff.