Getting to know Phil Robinson and Paint the Town Green:
Earlier on this year, we found ourselves facing a very new landscape in the grip of the pandemic – a challenge for us all. But just because lockdown was asking us to stay indoors, didn’t mean that we couldn’t still meet, connect and that our events couldn’t continue – we just had to be a little more inventive – think outside the box, perhaps?
Ironically, we thought inside the box that is our computers and technology and Phil Robinson of eco-friendly paint and decorating company Paint the Town Green, became our very first Guest Speaker to attend our Brunch via webinar. This was a first for us…but hopefully the first of many! So we grabbed a coffee, a Danish pastry and pulled up a chair to be entertained and enlightened.
Please share with our readers how you, Phil Robinson, came to form Paint the Town Green? How did you get started?
I actually set out in life to be a musician and spent over a decade doing that. As a result of that career choice, I became quite good at painting houses! When I decided my days on the road were over the obvious alternative was to set up a decorating company. This all happened around the time my daughter (now 14) was born. I’d been experimenting with eco-friendly paints when decorating her bedroom and had noticed a gap in the market for a genuinely eco-friendly range with great colours.
The whole concept of Paint the Town Green, a decorating company with its own range of eco-friendly paint, evolved in one evening chatting with my wife. She came up with the name of the company that same evening. It turned out to be a very thought-inducing bottle of wine!
Who or what are your biggest inspirations or influences within your own business?
I’m always looking at how other companies are run and how cohesive they are as a collection of people. Learning from other business owners I find very inspiring. When I see someone doing something really well I immediately want to know how they’ve done it. The biggest ongoing influence is undoubtedly customer feedback. It’s free and if you can persuade them to be 100% honest with you it’s the most valuable advice you can get.
With all your knowledge about choosing a paint, what top 3 tips / pieces of advice would you offer for a new Interior Designer starting out in the Interior Design industry?
1) Keep it simple: less is more with colours
2) Ignore brand hype: make your choices based on colour and content i.e. research the story behind the paint, don’t just gravitate towards fashionable labels (unless of course the fashionable label happens to be Paint the Town Green in which case gravitate away).
3) Specify the finish you want as well as the colour.
Who is your main customer type?
Anyone who values a reliable, efficient service and/or a good quality, genuinely eco-friendly product. That’s the only common thread amongst our clients; that aside, we work for all sorts of people on all sorts of projects and properties. For example, we are currently working in the Library at St Paul’s Cathedral, Google’s offices as well as several residential properties both large and small. I’ve literally just done a quote to wallpaper someone’s downstairs loo in Putney!
Have you had any challenges or “teething issues” over the years and how have you overcome them?
Constantly! I think any business that is steadily growing faces one challenge after another; that’s basically what business growth is. I’d say the one I am most consistently focused on is how to maintain the same level of customer experience/ service that we offered when I first started Paint the Town Green whilst up-scaling. Maintaining that personable service and interaction is at the heart of everything we do. If that ever goes then it ceases to be the company I started.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
My father-in-law told me never to be afraid to employ people who are better at doing things than you. It’s a great search criteria when recruiting!
Did you enjoy your guest speaker appearance at Metier Rendezvous recently? What did you bring away with you from that?
I loved it and was thrilled to be asked. I think however busy people get with the day-to-day running of their business, it’s really important they take time to get together with others to share ideas and information. Otherwise we all become like hamsters on a wheel, running like crazy but never evolving or learning. Whether a speaker or listener at these events, everyone learns, either from questions asked or answers given.
What are the key benefits for Interior Designers to be working with PTTG?
Good question! We offer a “one-stop-shop” not just for decorating, but also supply of eco-friendly paint and general refurbishment when required. We have plumbers, plasterers, electricians, carpenters etc who we often bring in on projects all under our supervision. It’s also very important to me that, as a company, we are extremely collaborative with anyone we work with; identifying problems before they happen, where possible, and finding quick solutions when they do.
What has been the most interesting or enlightening moment for you, while working with an Interior Designer?
There have been loads. When I see something I would never have thought of suggesting working so well – I love that. Particularly when it’s been driven by creativity and clever combinations rather than simply finding expensive things!
What is the greatest sacrifice you’ve made while getting your business established?
My hair colour, and somewhere in the region of 5000 hours sleep since we started! Also, I think the ability to totally switch off on holiday or at the weekend.
And your proudest achievement?
That people seem to enjoy working for and with my company.
What has been your biggest home extravagance?
We’ve got a trampoline that’s so big I think it occupies two postcodes: my wife’s impulse buy for the children. I’d have bought them an abacus which is probably why I wasn’t consulted!
And what is on your coffee table?
A load of CDs (I know, wrong in so many ways!), Languages of Light by Rebecca Weir.
What is next for you and Paint the Town Green?
The future is looking very exciting at the moment. We’re about to start working with English Heritage as part of the refurbishment project at Marble Hill House in Twickenham. Just being involved in the meetings with the curator there, and historic paint specialists such as Richard Ireland is a real buzz.
As a business we continue to grow and hopefully improve. Always looking for interior designers to collaborate with and opportunities to help create spaces to be proud of.
Lastly, if you had a blank cheque, what would you be splashing out on for your own home?
Following this heat over this year and most recently this summer… a swimming pool!
A huge thank you to Phil for being our fantastic debut speaker at our Webinar Brunch and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Such an entertaining and interesting presentation on his business Paint the Town Green, filled with humour, knowledge and experience. Who said being eco-friendly ever had to be dull? Phil and Paint the Town Green prove that you can really have your cake (or Danish pastry) and eat it – eco-friendly paint in a varied palette to meet all tastes and choices. So if you want to use eco-friendly paint in a project, need refurbishment advice, colour consultancy or the decorating services of Phil and his team, find out more at Paint the Town Green.
If you would like to join us in a webinar and have the opportunity to listen to some engaging speakers, like Phil, over a delightful brunch, then sign up for membership here.