My name is Trevor Pierrepont and as Ronseal’s longest-serving employee, I’m here to tell you about our history.
Between 1967 and the present, I’ve helped to develop new products, set up new programmes, coordinate packing development and to this day I’m one of Ronseal’s Research and Development Managers.
I’ve been here for 47 years, so it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about Ronseal’s story.
Newton Chambers company founded
Before DIY, Ronseal’s parent products were predominantly cleaning and polishing products, but this was all to change…
Like most companies during
World War I, Ronuk had to adapt.
Tin shortage meant that Ronuk
Wax was packed
in sausage skins.
We often had visits from Royals, but when the Duke and Duchess of York (later George VI and Queen Elizabeth) visited the Ronuk factory in 1924, spirits were high.
In the years after the war, there was an air of change and we were tightening our belts. To set ourselves apart from the competition, in 1927 Colron Wood Dye was introduced. Marking the transition from cleaning products to DIY.
Source: "Brighton Diaries” Memories of a young man in peace and war 1929-1943 published with permission from the author, Ken Chambers. The book is published by Hanover Books. A number of images supplied by Ronuk Memorabilia held by Ken Chambers
“On Sunday 9th May 1937, when I was just 15 years old and about to leave Brighton Intermediate School where I was taught shorthand, typing and commercial subjects, I wrote to Ronuk applying for a job. A week later I commenced work in the Correspondence room as a Junior Clerk. My salary was 12/6d a week.”
With a nod to the royal seal of approval, Ronseal launched onto the DIY market, with Ronseal – Floor & Wood Seal.
Ronseal Floor Seal was longer lasting, harder wearing and lower maintenance than wax. So was ideal for coating gymnasium floors and school halls, which was the main market at the time.
The workforce was changing - young girls were joined by wives and mothers too.
“Over 50 years ago my friend Brenda and I started work at the Ronuk factory in Portslade. We were 17 years old and worked on a conveyor belt, packing tins of wax polish”
In the 60's we had Mary Quant, mini-skirts, Carnaby Street and The Beatles - bringing a new era in pop culture. Ronseal took advantage of this and launched a range of coloured varnishes in 'pop' colours named Carnaby Yellow, Pimlico Red, Lambeth Green, Portobello Purple, Chelsea Blue and Soho Orange.
The 1960s were exciting. We upped sticks from Brighton and moved to a new development in Sheffield for the Ronuk, Colron and Ronseal brands. And we’ve been here ever since (in fact, it’s 50 years this year!). I arrived in 1967 when DIY products were booming; there were plenty of social activities, sports societies and trips too.
Roncraft name adopted to cover Colron and Ronseal brands.
Our world famous slogan was created this year and helped establish the Ronseal brand as world leaders in the DIY market.
“It's not just a famous advertising line, it's a promise to the people using our products that we'll be straight and honest with them. And they know what to expect from a Ronseal product, which is rare in the modern world.” James Smith, Marketing Director at Ronseal.
Does exactly what it says on the tin (DEWISOTT) voted the third most quoted advertising line in the UK.
David Cameron tells the mid-term press conference that the coalition government between the Conservatives and Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats is a "Ronseal deal - it does exactly what it says on the tin".
Today we're part of global paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams. But we're still in touch with what our customers need.
"The company and the Ronseal Brand are very similar really. We always try to do exactly what it says on the tin. At our Sheffield site, where Ronseal products are made, the company has a family feel about it. We are honest with each other and always deliver on our promises."
Our ‘Does exactly what it says on the tin’ strapline still stands in our advertising. But, nowadays, we’re more honest than ever – even going as far as saying that we understand DIY can be boring!
I’ve been at Ronseal for 47 years. What I love is that every day is different.
We’ve had plenty of staff walk through our doors, here’s what father and son Graham and Jon Fiddler have to say about their time at Ronseal.
“I was fortunate during my 14 years at Ronseal to work with some of the best people in our industry. It was their dedication and commitment that helped the Ronseal brand achieve its continued success. I look back with a lot of pride and satisfaction at our achievements over those years. After almost 10 years retirement I still miss it.”
-Graham Fiddler, Multiple Sales Director
“Having been with Ronseal for 13 years now, it's fair to say that I am equally as proud as my Father. There is a wealth of experience here with a genuine passion for the brand, spreading right across the business. With such a dedicated team, it is a fantastic place to work and the success of the business is a credit to everyone, employees past and present.”
-Jon Fiddler, National Account Manager
Our products are known the world over. Whether that’s our 5 Year Woodstain, Our Fence Life or a classic Decking Stain. I can say that I’m proud to have been part of their history.