General Paints launching new paint brand after €1m investment

‘Curator’ brand is first Irish-owned product in the designer segment of the market

General Paints is launching a new brand to the Irish market having invested €1 million in its development over the past three years.

The group will launch the “Curator” brand on Wednesday, introducing the first Irish super premium designer paint brand to the market.

While UK brands are on offer in this high-end segment of the market, no Irish brand has launched in this space.

“They would appeal to your higher-end consumer, who is very colour conscious. They’d appeal to the interior designer, who’s always looking for something different and a little better,” explained General Paints managing director Kevin O’Connor.


General Paints owns the Colourtrend brand, which it sells through its own store network and 200 independent stockists across Ireland.

Founded in 1953 by Ronan O'Connor, General Paints employs 100 people in its Celbridge headquarters in Co Kildare and in seven stores it owns in Celbridge, Waterford, Mullingar, Swords, Dundalk, Newbridge and Belfast.

Designer space

Mr O’Connor said the Curator brand will retail at €99 for a five litre container across any of the 144 colours. He said the superpremium segment accounts for between 5 and 10 per cent of the Irish market. In the UK, about 15 per cent of the market is in the designer space.

The brand will initially be available in up to 40 locations through paint retailers already serving the designer segments in addition to General Paints' own stores. The company intends to export to the US market as well and is presently working with Enterprise Ireland on its overseas exports plans.

Although the company sells Colourtrend in the UK, Mr O’Connor said they were “going to hold off on Curator” because of uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The UK market is quite saturated, he noted, with the three biggest brands owning about 700 stores between them.

The company’s “chief colour consultant” interviewed Irish designers including milliners and potters at the planning stage for the design brand to find out “what colours inspired their work”, Mr O’Connor said.

“We have attributed a colour on the range to each designer and built a full palette of colours around that,” he said.

Doubled in size

While General Paints wasn’t necessarily buoyed by the Government’s home renovation incentive, the company has almost doubled in size since 2011, Mr O’Connor said, adding that its turnover was now about €20 million.

"We believe we can double our company in the next 10 years," he said. Colourtrend is still growing in both the Irish and British markets. The business has increased its senior management team and board of directors in recent years, adding former Diageo executive Tommy Murray as chairman in addition to a number of other executive and non-executive directors. General Paints will launch its new product in the Douglas Hyde gallery.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business