Ok, so recently I attended a day behind the scenes at Dunlop Pro Decor at Building Adhesives. It was set up by Dunlop and by a Facebook forum for Decorators I am part of. I went up a day earlier for a meal and drinks with a few others, had a great evening but don't want to talk much about that!
I've been using the Dunlop Pro Decor range for almost two years now and I have always had good things to say about their products so I was really interested to see some of the process behind it all. I don't pretend to have a greater knowledge on the science behind it all and never make out I do, to be perfectly honest at times the whole breakdown of paint products confuse the hell out of me!
Walking around the factory seeing how they mix the adhesives was interesting, mainly to see that the processes are still mostly done by humans not fully automated. Going in the labs next to speak to the chemists gave us all a real insight into how they about creating the products for us to use, how they break it down and build up the formulas over years before release to us consumers. If they have any issues from customers they will take the product and analyse it to see if any fault is down to their own part. Most manufacturers or companies always try to fob you off with vouchers. They also have a phone line dedicated to any issues we might have with the product and if necessary will send out someone to help out. That level of customer service is a valuable addition and in comparison to many other paint companies a personal touch which we don't see anymore. What I took away from this part was how much they care about the product, how they would rather make a good quality product at slightly higher price than to cut costs and make a inferior product. From past experience I can say the products are more than capable and higher quality. For example I pay almost £20 more for a box of caulk yet I don't get any issues using it, that alone is worth the extra money.
Sitting down to discuss the range of products with two people who are clearly passionate about them brought a lot to the table. Comments about them bounced from us to them and it was informative for both sides. Moving on to practical application to trial the products showed off the way they can be used. Having used a few before I was already aware but I hadn't used the Deep Filling Compound so wanted to see if it would work like they said it would. Pleased to say it did and I found out I had been using the lightweight filler wrong for over a year! Mixing between two knifes made its performance so much better and easier so glad to have found this out.
Giving feedback to Dunlop at the end was valuable for both sides. The main problems these products have, in my own view, are availability in stores(not online) and design. They are all so packaged alike it is hard to see what each one is apart from one label on box. Not being able to go in to stores to pick some off the shelf is still a big problem for me. Whilst I use online stores a lot I always prefer to be able to go into my local ddc/cdc/johnstones etc store to fetch things and I would hope that these products will be available there soon. All in all a very enjoyable experience and was a joy meeting other like minded people, for something that is way out of my comfort zone I am glad I took part.
The past few months have been the busiest I have had since starting up alone. The sheer amount of enquiries I, and from what I gather others, are receiving are astounding. Many of my peers are booked up from 6 to 12 weeks ahead, which is a good thing. Myself at time of writing am booked up 10 weeks ahead with a further 3 weeks for later in the year already confirmed. Hopefully a lot is from previous recommendations and the good reviews I have been getting lately. Currently I am juggling this workload with sharing parental duties with my wife who's own work has picked up, so it is quite hectic! It's during this busy period I am beginning to find ways to combine pricing, paperwork and workloads easier whilst keeping the high standards I put upon myself, as on a couple of occasions I have found myself overwhelmed. I'm hoping to update a few things so I can do more of it out and about, using cloud based storage a bit more and certain apps to help and speed it up.
Have recently purchased a couple of accessories to help my business, in my next blog I will write a couple of reviews on them.