Wholly-owned by Zimbabweans, Nash Paints is one of the fastest growing indigenous business entities boasting of 20 branches throughout the country with a plant manufactures 50 000 litres of paint a day.
The Daily News Assistant Editor Maxwell Sibanda recently spoke to Tinashe Mutarisi, 37 the founder and brains behind Nash Paints, which this year commissioned state-of-the-art plant worth $3 million.
As Group Executive Chairperson Mutarisi believes the strides made to date by Nash Paints are largely because of government policies like the Indigenisation Act which gave space to the usually marginalised black citizens.
He says Nash Paints’ strength is in working with communities and designing tailor made services that suit their demands in painting solutions and that school of thought has seen them thrive where others falter.
Born and bred in Wedza in a mining town called Inyati, the young Tinashe was very much in love with television as well as reading novels and short stories.
Below are some extracts from the interview.
Q: What drove you into the paint business?
A: Besides the fact that I saw a gap in the market, colour brings happiness in people’s lives, so does love, money and a lot of other things. So I find joy in beautifying people’s lives.
I also think the self-belief in building something for my life and those around me inspired me to venture into this business.
Q: Nash Paints has rapidly grown and from a staff of three to the current 220 employees; tell us the company’s story from when you started in Chitungwiza.
A: We started operations as a small company with only three employees at our first branch located at Chikwanha shopping centre in Chitungwiza.
Propelled by hard work in the right territory, dedication to excellence and a stubborn determination to succeed, and driven by a passion and vision to establish a large business corporation, I registered the company on March 27, 2007.
Today, Nash Paints boasts of a manufacturing plant in Harare and currently has a staff complement of more than 220 people throughout Zimbabwe.
In 2010, Nash Paints acquired 75 percent shares in Eastlea Paints as well as a building previously owned by Rafiq Khan.
Between 2008 and 2016 Nash Paints spread its wings wide in the country with a network of branches in Bluffhill, Msasa, Gazaland, Mbare, Graniteside, Masvingo, Kwe-Kwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Mutare, Bindura, Chinhoyi, and Kadoma.
Today, Nash Paints has become a household name among, panel beaters, Zimbabwean vehicle assemblers, and the automobile industry at large as well as furniture manufactures, housing cooperatives and property developers.
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges that you encountered when building your business and how did you overcome them?
A: The first challenge was brand acceptance as the market was used to certain traditional paint brands. However, with marketing efforts and product quality, we overcame this and our brand is highly accepted.
Another challenge was competition from low-cost production base suppliers of finished products such as South Africa and China. This was overcome by the government policy that prohibited the importation of finished products which levelled the playing field for us.
The supply of raw materials and goods was overcome by establishing relationships with suppliers for consistent supply of quality materials.
For example, we made a strategic agreement with Luxor Paints South Africa that gave Nash Paints sole distributorship of its products in Zimbabwe.
As for distribution challenges we overcome them by establishing own retail outlets throughout the country.
Q: Did you get any funding or seed money to start your business?
A: Initially my capital was from my personal savings but later on I obtained financial support from financial institutions for expansion and growth in the later years.
Q: We have noted that Nash Paints has been announcing new recruits, especially in management. What do you look for in an employee?
A: There are quite a lot of employee characteristic that we value, but let me just highlight a few: A strong work ethic, reliability, flexibility and adapting to change, enthusiasm and a good team spirit.
All these are some of the things that we look for in an employee especially in our manufacturing business where the customer satisfaction is very key.
So far we have expanded our managerial staff and our team is now being led by Tagarira Mutenda as the CEO, Sue Bolt also joined us from Dandemutande a telecoms company, she is our new sales and marketing Manager.
Lisa Varaidzo Madzivire, also recently joined the Nash Family as the assistant business development manager.
Q: In October this year, Nash Paints attained the internationally recognised standardisation of ISO 9000: 2008 certification, what does this mean for your company in terms of its global competitiveness.
A: Being part of a globally accepted standard is something that every business hoping to grow should attain for. As Nash Paints, we sought for the ISO certification and we are glad to say we attained the standard.
Achieving a worldwide standard of quality currently in use by a very select group in the world positions our company and the country in a better position for attracting business.
Q: You recently won business awards, what would you say is the major factor in your business’ success?
A: These awards are attributable to leadership (tenacity in a challenging environment), brand visibility; the Nash Paints Brand positioning based on quality and consistent customer services and the impact of marketing activities.
Q: What does the future hold for Nash Paints?
A: Nash Paints has to conquer Africa and penetrate markets in the region. We have to show what Zimbabwe can offer, we will be opening in Botswana and this will be a partnership between me and my young brother, Talkmore Mutarisi who has been loyal to me for close to eight years as we established the business.
Q: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
A: The formula for making it in business is not one dimensional but if I were to advise anyone with such prospects I will tell them of a simple thing — work hard! There is no substitute for hard work. Go out there and explore your ideas, see what works and what doesn’t.
It is vital that you have a plan for your business but it’s also equally important for you to have flexible rigidity. Business environments change and if you are not flexible to it you run the risk of extinction.
Q: Tell us about your early childhood, where did you grow up and how it was?
A: I was born in Hwedza and grew up in a family of 27 children, my father had three wives. Growing up in such a family I always had the premonition that I was the best of the bunch, but so did the rest of the 26 children.
My father made us all believe we were special in a different way and that allowed us to chase better lives in our various pursuits. The most important lesson from my father was how he loved all his children and together with my mum they taught me to be a real man and love all my six children equally.
Q: Which schools did you attend?
A: As part of my education, I went to Inyati Mine for my primary school, after that, I did my high school in Mavhudzi before proceeding with my tertiary education in Mutare.
Q: What are some of the charity initiatives that you are involved in, as a company and individually?
A: Nash Paints also undertakes corporate social responsibility activities in areas of education, health and food-aid support to the vulnerable members of society.
In this regard, Nash Paints has been and will continue to support local colleges and universities by taking students on industrial attachment, assist the vulnerable and orphaned children with food.
I have university students I’m paying school fees for and next January I will have 10 new students who I will fund until they complete their degrees.
I also run House of Hope Foundation that looks after orphans while Nash Paints also supports several other charity organisations.
Q: Why did you decide to give back to the community?
A: I believe in helping the needy because of what one stranger did in my life. I remember sometime back when I was pushing my mother in a wheelbarrow on our way to a hospital in Zengeza 2 in Harare when a stranger came to offer me help. Although I told him I was able he insisted that he helped me push the wheelbarrow and I let him.
He pushed for a distance and I could not help but thank him in a broken voice as I was already crying. From that day I said to myself that in future I have to help hundreds of people by pushing their wheelbarrows — this is exactly what inspired me to embark on these charity projects.
Q: You have a passion for the Arts and Entertainment industry and we have seen you supporting a lot of artists, can you tell us more about that.
A: Arts and Entertainment are a passion of mine. Zimbabwe has lots of talented artists but they fail to grow simply because of lack of support. It is my hope that the day we start treating talent as an existing industry, the lives of many will change for the better.
As a country, we are sitting on a gold mine of talented artists who could easily contribute to the GDP of the country. Art not only helps sell the culture of our country but is a huge business. I have assisted a number of local creatives and this year I ventured into supporting stand-up comedy and will be doing more shows from next year.
Q: Who is your favourite artist in Zimbabwe?
A: I am spoilt for choice because there are many; Jah Prahzah and his whole military touch movement, Cindy, Alick Macheso and as for Zimdancehall I can settle for Blot and Jah Signal among others. Daily News