As we enter into the first year of the new decade, Fleetwood Paints are proud to be marking a year of celebration of 70 years in business in the Irish paint market.
Where it all began
1950’s Ireland was an era of austerity and resilience with only a slight glimmer of optimism. People learned to be resourceful and inventive, allowing nothing to go to waste that could be used to preserve or create items for future use. One such visionary who saw an opportunity for business was Andrew Doyle and his two sons Brian and Conor.
The early days
Fleetwood Paints as we now know it, began in 1950 on Marlborough Street in Dublin’s City Centre. Andrew Doyle and his sons Brian and Conor perfected the art of making ferrules – the metal bands that hold brush bristles in place.
The Doyle brothers bought the surplus metal cut-offs from tins of Jacobs Afternoon Tea biscuits and transformed the scrap metal into a thriving business.
A brush with success
Fleetwood began to diversify. The company started to make paintbrushes by hand and when they sold well, it moved into creating artists brushes and cosmetic brushes. By the mid 1950s, the Doyles were well positioned to open their first paintbrush factory in Cabra, Dublin 7.
As Ireland entered 1960, the worldwide economic boom brought along international trade and industry to the country and so once again, the Doyles were able to expand.
The paintbrushes were sold in Ireland and abroad which then brought the business to a two-acre site in Inchicore, Dublin 8. Domestic sales were booming at this time and exports were totalling at more than half a million brushes. Fleetwood was one of the first companies in Ireland to invest in R&D.
In the mid-1960s, Fleetwood took the then unusual step of hiring a chemist to develop fillers and wallpaper pastes. (The paste that emerged would ‘stay stuck when others give up’, as the advertising slogan had it.)
Keeping the ball rolling
Fleetwood welcomed the seventies in style!
Fleetwood was the largest manufacturer and supplier of DIY products in Ireland, a position it still holds to this day. The Doyle brothers were experiencing such phenomenal success within the paint industry with their hand-crafted paint brushes, that they expanded once more! Virginia, Co. Cavan rolled out the red carpet and our main factory was opened in 1972 to
make rollers and assemble frames.
Combining brush with colour
Both Brian and Conor wanted a paint that would be worthy of the high standard of brushes they were producing and so they decided to make their own. The Doyles partnered with US paint giant Sherwin Williams in 1977.
By using the combined technology of both companies, together they brought the first can of Fleetwood Paint off the production line on Friday 12th January 1979 in Virginia, Co. Cavan.
The proof is in the paint
From the beginning, Brian and Conor Doyle had prided themselves on producing paint of superior quality using leading edge technology.
They loved colour and design and wanted to bring a high standard of manufacturing to the paint business in Ireland. “As a company, we continue to invest in R&D to ensure that we are achieving the superior quality in our paints which we are known for. It is the use of only the finest raw materials and acrylic resins that gives our colours the richness and depth that makes them truly unique. We rely on our experience and expertise to develop paints that are not only rich in colour, but rich in innovation”.
The Fleetwood Team
The people that make up Fleetwood Paints are an integral part to our story for without the continued dedication of our 130+ team of employees we would not be here celebrating our Platinum Jubilee.
We have 3rd generation of families in the company, with Conor Doyle’s son Alex as Commercial Director of the company.