“The fact that everything was so uncertain when we started the business made us determined to make it adaptable and sustainable - both financially and environmentally,” says Rob Abrahams (picture above left). Last year, Rob, 32, co-founded online paint company COAT with Robert Green, 33 (picture above right).
“We left our jobs in June 2020 and raised startup capital from our immediate network, which got us from idea to production,” he says. “It means that lots of our family and friends have shares, which motivates us even more to do well.”
Since its launch in September 2020, COAT has received 250,000 visits to its website. It has been featured in Vogue magazine and several major newspapers. Their social media following has grown to around 20,000.
COAT prides itself on simplicity, speed and being as sustainable as possible in terms of packaging and ingredients for its paint. For banking, the co-founders use Starling, a digital, forward-thinking bank for business and personal customers.
Launching in lockdown
“At the beginning, it was very difficult to meet suppliers because of the pandemic,” says Rob. “The paint supply chain is very traditional - it wasn’t set up for video calls or remote working.”
Yet these challenges in communication became a good test: the suppliers that were flexible and adaptable were the ones they chose. Even though the team still hasn’t physically met the majority of their suppliers, they have managed to create strong working relationships to ensure that all orders are processed smoothly.
All paint is not made equal
Every pot of COAT paint is made to order. “We make every order fresh, which means there’s no production waste, and send it out the same day.” The paint is water-based, low odour, vegan (house paint often contains the milk protein casein, as a binder) and has minimal toxins, which is a positive for the environment and for customers.