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  • David Coles, Founder and Managing Director of Langridge Artist Colours (SBS)
Art has always been in David Coles’ blood, but he soon found a passion in the niche business of making art materials for other artists.
Source:
SBS Small Business Secrets
15 Oct 2017 - 5:35 PM  UPDATED 1 Feb 2018 - 9:37 AM

David Coles had always known his destiny was in the arts, Coming from an artist family, he trained as a full-time artist and went to art school. To fund his passion, he started working in art materials. However, he eventually developed an appreciation for the materials themselves.

When Coles arrived in Australia from the UK, he found that there was a huge gap in the market for quality art materials. So, using the only $2000 he had on him, he started up Langridge Artist Colours.

“The first 10 years were tough, and tough in the sense that I'm in an industry that is extremely small, it's a very specific industry, mostly aimed at artists that don't have that much readily available money.”

“I was doing it because I was driven by passion so even if I was not making that much money… I kept going because I was enjoying it and passionate about it.”

The business is split into two sections: there’s a manufacturing side, where they source oil paints and artist pigments from around the world, source them and sell them to artists to create their own paint.

They also distribute for four international paint brands.

David says his artistic background creates a point of difference between Langridge Artist Colours and many other paint brands.

“Being a practitioner of the use of the materials has made it important in creating materials that the artist needs, rather than looking at it from a balance sheet point of view, even something like a laboratory startup.

“We are looking at it from the actual application for the user.”

“If I could give any advice to anybody it's whatever you think you will need to start your business, double it and double it again and probably double it one more time again.”

In the last 18 months, Langridge Artist Colours has looked more towards international expansion, and seen moderate success.

“We got into NYC with Soho Art Materials - one of the world's best art shops - and we also got into UK retailers and now we are in negotiations with the Europeans, so that's the future for us to be working on the international scene.”

“We are still growing in Australia but I really want to take on the world.  I think we have a product that can beat the world.”

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