Painting the Town Green
Delphis Eco catch up with Paint The Town Green: London's first environmentally friendly decorating company with its own range of fine eco paints.
The decorating and paint company based in South West London was founded in 2007 by Phil Robinson. The Daily Express once described Paint The Town as "a new species of tradesperson", not only is Paint the Town a high quality decorating service, but they also make their own environmentally friendly non-toxic paints to go with it.
And the paints they offer are stunning, all named after songs inspired by founder Phil's love of music and time in a band. There's even a featured "gemstone and minerals" paint collaboration with interior design royalty, Nicky Haslam.
I sat down with Paint The Town's Jo to find out more and to see how she got on using Delphis Eco's products in the showroom.
Delphis: I love that you’re being referred to as a “new species of tradesperson” - can you explain that a bit, what do you think is meant by that?
Jo: This was very much what Phil set out to do. He considers it a privilege to go and paint a person’s home - how his company behaves is of the utmost importance. The team are efficient, polite, tidy and work to a really high standard. The aim is to cause as little disruption as possible to a person’s home whilst it is being redecorated. In this country there is a bit of distrust and sometimes even dislike around tradesmen and it has given some professions a bit of a bad name. When he launched, Phil wanted to break the stereotype of plumbers and decorators being ‘hairy oafs’. This ‘new species’ was more around the high level of service the company provides. The fact Paint the Town Green was also London’s first environmentally-friendly decorating company meant that it did offer something genuinely different too.
Delphis: Tell us about the Nicky Haslam collaboration - exciting! How did that come about?
Jo: Phil met Nicky on a project in Northamptonshire and their conversation turned very quickly to a collaboration. Nicky liked the fact Paint the Town Green were eco. He says, ‘An environmental conscience is important’ and he had always wanted to design his own paint. The colours are the colours he has loved all his life but which he has never been able to find in the shops. Nicky called his collection ‘The Stones’ as he wanted to go for earthy, natural colours but also he knows the band The Rolling Stones personally and it fitted with the company’s original collection where all the paints are named after songs.
Delphis: We are super interested in the naming of the paints relating to songs. What is it about the colour that makes you know which song it relates to? How do you name them?
Jo: It was a very time consuming process that took a lot of thought but was great fun. Phil wanted to come at the colour-naming process from a different angle and have a theme that ran throughout. Some of them came more easily than others, these were mainly the literal ones - Purple Rain, Powder Blue, Fade to Grey etc. But actually the ones he’s most pleased with are the ones that are a bit more “cryptic” but convey what he’s trying to say with those colours. These include Dignity, Pictures of You and Charlotte Sometimes. Phil likes to think these names trigger the imagination by describing the colours in a more metaphorical way rather than just saying ‘Pea Green’.
Delphis: Why were you disappointed in the paint that was available? Which lead you to create your own.
Jo: It was after Paint the Town Green founder Phil got married and was doing up his house. His wife was pregnant and he started to worry about the fumes she was inhaling so he looked into eco-friendly paints and started trying products that would not be harmful to her. He realised that the only way to get what he really wanted was to create his own as at that time eco paints were niche and of varying quality. Paint the Town Green uses an Icelandic factory powered by natural underground steam. The quality of the paint is uncompromised. The opacity, flow and colour are all great.
Delphis: How did becoming a parent change your household needs?
Jo: Becoming a parent means your household staples change and you are more conscientious about what you buy. Stock piling nappies and wipes in the early days makes you think about landfill a bit more! You are more mindful too about clean and bacteria-free surfaces. With a little one in the house you do think twice about what you are using. However products that are effective and can help save you time are important too.
Delphis: What does sustainability mean to your business?
Jo: Sustainability for Paint the Town Green is decorating the home without harm to the environment or to the people in it. The Bruntland Report for the World Commission on Environment and Development (1992) defined the definition of sustainability as, "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Really, it is all about acting now in a way that will preserve this world and setting the bar for the next generations.
Delphis: How have you found Delphis eco compared to other cleaning brands?
Jo: It’s happened to us all where people have tried to do the right thing but the quality of the product simply hasn’t been up to the mark. Delphi's eco however was a delightful surprise. Using the multipurpose spray on our showroom windows was like stepping into a TV advert. Any marks on the window came off with ease and it left no smears which was impressive. Great too to not feel like you were inadvertently inhaling any nasties. Paint the Town Green will move to Delphis eco for our showroom cleaning products for sure now.
Delphis: You’ve got some pretty cool clients on your books, Marc Jacobs’ Mayfair store, Damien Hirst’s gallery… how did they hear about you?
Jo: It’s all been word of mouth really. Until the company launched the retail aspect of the company last year (allowing people for the first time to buy our paint rather than it just being available as part of the decorating service). Paint the Town has done very little marketing or advertising. When Phil launched the company in 2007, he had the philosophy that if you deliver above and beyond expectations people will recommend you to other people and that’s what has happened. The company has been lucky enough to be approached by some high profile commercial clients (as you allude to) as well as some prestigious residential projects. Obviously it’s thrilling to work for high profile companies and characters but it’s come about by treating every client as if they are an A list celebrity and that will never change.
Delphis: What do you say to people who need persuading to go green?
Jo: People don’t need so much persuading these days as educated, although there is a bit more of a movement afoot. For example, people are just cottoning on to buying local. Making choices like these are not only better for you but also better for the environment. When it comes to paint, people don’t realise that toxins can be released from traditional oil based paints for years after they have been applied. People are used to the idea that they are what they eat but they are not quite there yet in terms of what they wear or surround ourselves with in the home.
To find out more about Paint The Town Green head to their website here
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