By Prudence Minayo
Basco paints has grown to be a leading paints manufacturer and distributor in the country. For the past 46 years, the company has steadily offered customers a wide range of paints and paints related products including internal and external paints. Their flagship product DuraCoat became one of the country’s leading paints thanks to their creative and memorable advertisement played by Peter Marangi. To date, this remains to be arguably one of their best advertisements.
Here is the background of Bipin Shah as told by WoK.
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Bipin Shah began the company with a loan of Sh6,500 from a friend. He used this cash to start selling foam glue to carpenters around Ngara. Coming from a humble background meant that their finances were dire. After high school he was unable to continue with his studies. To eke a living, he started selling carpenter glue and later on turpentine and wood preservatives. The business boomed and he was making good profit. As time went by, competitors also increased forcing him to expand his range of products. His brother Kamlesh Shah would help him in the running of the business after school.
With the help of Kamlesh, he started manufacturing paint. To fund the business, they used Sh500,000 savings and a loan from two local financial institutions.
“We started off with economy paint targeting individuals who wanted a product that fits their pocket,” said Bipin Shah.
They were not interested in competing with the well established manufacturers as they were just a small company at the time. The business grew at a steady pace and at first they had to convince potential buyers of their paint. To sell their paints, the brothers would convince contractors to try out their range of paints. They sold all their products under the name Basco.
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The business’ growth forced them out of Ngara to River Road followed by Globe Cinema. The prices for getting metal packs to pack their paints increased and to cut on costs he decided to make them himself from 1992. They went on to build a Sh25 million factory with a capacity of manufacturing Sh1.5 million cans annually. Today, they have expanded its capacity to 9 million cans annually.
Two years after venturing into can manufacturing, they bought a 4.6 acre land in Embakasi and moved their production there.
Then came the product that would catapult Basco to a household brand, DuraCoat. This was now a premium brand for people who were ready to pay the extra cash.
“The Basco range of paints targets individuals who want a neat and quality paint at a low price. Duracoat on the other hand is a premium brand,” said the company founder.
They import raw materials, like titanium dioxide, pigments, tin plates and resins from China, Egypt, India and Germany.
Duracoat range has since expanded with the company improving and adding to their products range.
In 2012, they introduced to the market an anti-bacterial range with the purpose of controlling communicable diseases and microorganisms
In March 2015, they launched their fragrance range with their first launched product being a vanilla scented paint, and the same year decided to invest Sh800 million to expand to Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.