Paint Hub

Painting the town red (and green, and blue, and yellow)

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Paint Hub Photo

If blood is thicker than water, in the Gaynor family, paint is thicker still. Kate Gaynor, managing director of The Paint Hub, just off Carlow Town’s O’Brien Road, is leading her family business’s first foray into household and retail paint supplies after decades serving heavy industry. “My parents met in a paint lab in Cork in 1979 and they set up an industrial specialised paint factory. We were supplying to the engineering sector and all the industrial sectors in Ireland.” “For us, setting up The Paint Hub was a diversification strategy to safeguard our growth for the future. We saw a gap for bringing total technical expertise in paint to homeowners and trade.” Whereas many large homeware and DIY retailers offer a broad product range that includes paint (as well as power tools, garden sheds, lightbulbs, and Christmas decorations), Kate says that with The Paint Hub they wanted to create a “purely paint destination” with no other distractions. “We service all ends of the market, from your cheaper entry-level paint all the way up to your premium, highquality, long-lasting functional paints.” At The Paint Hub, which Kate describes as “small, techy, and funky”, customers can sample and purchase a large array of indoor and outdoor paints and equipment to match their needs and budget. A full-time colour consultant, paint chemist, and paint inspectors are on hand to provide personalised consultations. Despite an attractive offering and an energetic, innovative brand, setting up a new retail business has been no easy task for The Paint Hub team. Although the Gaynor family has decades of experience and loyal clients in the B2B sector, when they opened The Paint Hub in February 2019, they had no network of household Start Kate Gaynor (The Paint Hub) In partnership with #MakingItHappen Making It Happen customers to tap into, nor any reputation for expertise in the market. “Retail is really difficult. There was one day we had nobody come in. You expect when you open up that everyone’s heard of you and they haven’t,” Kate recalls. “That’s where the Local Enterprise Office in Carlow came into force for us.” Taking on the titans with expert strategy Kate says that she has always maintained a relationship with the Local Enterprise Office Carlow, but the opening of The Paint Hub was a new challenge that required specialist expertise and supports. “With the new shop, I felt it was a David versus Goliath situation. We’re up against a load of large retailers. The LEO Carlow’s Lean programme allowed us to streamline and declutter our business. “They’ve had really good one-on-one mentoring sessions too, including one for Brexit and one for finance. The experts are massive people in their fields. When they come to your premises, you can tell they’re really gunning for your business.” The Local Enterprise Office Carlow’s networking opportunities have also proved immensely useful for The Paint Hub. “I was the ambassador for National Women’s Enterprise Day for the Local Enterprise Office, and I was able to speak to people in our target market. It’s been invaluable for us.” The Local Enterprise Office Carlow offers a comprehensive range of training programmes, workshops, consultations, seminars, grants, funds, and networking opportunities to local businesses, regardless of where they are on their business journey. “The Paint Hub is a wonderful local business story,” says Kieran Comerford, Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office Carlow. “It’s a story where a mother and father started a business and passed it on their daughter, who’s really taken it to the next level.” Kieran says that the support of the Local Enterprise Office in a business’s initial stages can be vital, especially if the owner is new to business or to their specific market. Business planning advice ensures a start-up is directing all its energy and funds to the right places at the right time, while a feasibility grant can help to guide a marketing budget and prototype development. “The services that we offer are confidential business advice, which are really about signposting a journey for developing your business, whether that be mentoring, whether that be training, whether that be the Lean programme for micro-businesses, whether that be networking. Our job is to signpost you to opportunities relevant to your business in order to drive it forward.” For Kate and The Paint Hub team, backing from the Local Enterprise Office has already generated business-boosting returns. “People are travelling nationwide to see us. Every day, we see someone from Cavan or Limerick who’s driven all the way here for the expertise and the honest advice on what works. “We’re growing and hiring more people. As the business evolves, we’ll be linking in even more with our Local Enterprise Office for training and supports.”