As part of our ongoing Open Mike section, Blogging Painters continues to reach out to leaders in the industry. Recently we spoke to Karl Schmitt, VP of Marketing and Research Design at Sherwin Williams.
Contractor Education Resources
BP: What resources does Sherwin Williams offer to contractors to help them improve their business?
KS: It starts with the knowledge base of our employees in the local stores and the dedication of our store managers and reps. Sherwin Williams has helped over 40,000 painters become RRP Certified by sponsoring EPA Lead trainings, we distribute a monthly electronic newsletter with product offers, coupons and painting tips and our quarterly magazine, Painting Contractor, is available in all stores and online. Contractors can use these resources to find out about new products, tools and business advice. In addition, we have Pro Shows at our stores where painting contractors can try out new equipment, meet vendors and learn about new products.
BP: Most of the online Social Media involving Sherwin Williams seems geared toward promoting HGTV and the DIY market, why does Sherwin William not have more online resources for contractors?
KS: We are preparing to launch a Facebook page for contractors and have recently redesigned our website to be able to provide a more interactive resource for contractors. We have also been adding more to our YouTube Channel and are constantly looking for ways to reach out to painting contractors.
KS: We recently launched Chipit, (an interactive and the first-of-its-kind web-based tool that allows you to select any online image and instantly identify the Sherwin-Williams colors that correspond to the colors contained within the picture.) and Color Palettes (8 collections of colors that work together). And we also feature trending colors every year with ColorMix. We want Sherwin Williams to be the place contractors go to get solutions to the color questions their customers are asking.
BP: What can you tell us about the new Emerald paint?
KS: Emerald is the result of a singular focus to develop the best performing paint while being environmentally responsible. The interior paint is GREENGAURD Certified , low odor, 0VOC and microbial. The exterior can be used in temperatures down to 35 degrees. It is currently available in over half of our stores and we expect it to be available in all stores by July. With the new ColorCast Ecotoners, Emerald will be available in all 1500 Sherwin William colors as well as custom colors.
BP: What is ColorCast Ecotoners?
KS: ColorCast Ecotoners is a 0VOC tinting system, colorant affects the viscosity, thickness and vibrancy of paint. ColorCast Ecotoners have been formulated to avoid this, and work well in deep base tones.
Profits and Pricing
BP: Sherwin Williams recorded profits in first qtr of 47%, after raising prices to contractors as much as 20%. Many contractors are hit hard by these increases, a typical example of the resentment of many paint contractors.
KS: We are not going to use cheaper materials to offset raw material increases. Sherwin Williams invests greatly in research and development to insure product stability and improve the contractor’s experience and results.
BP: Thank you Karl for taking the time to share with our readers, we hope they will comment below and let us know what think or ask a question!
BP: While it is no secret that paint contractors are growing weary of the constant barrage of new products and lines…and ever increasing prices, what we must consider is not only the material in the can, but the service, research and development that goes into that can. Companies like Sherwin Williams continue to provide these benefits that we as paint contractors need to depend on to run our businesses. In order to build our business, we must build a relationship with our local paint store, whether it is SW, BM or any other label. Building that relationship will help the paint company learn your business and find the best products to serve your needs.
Heidi said it best here:
Our relationship with our paint suppliers is about more than just pricing. It is about an owner or sales rep that knows his stuff, a staff at each store that is helpful and professional, a company that is interested in helping us grow our business because they get that it is good for them too, a product that delivers on performance and an entire organization that stands behind their products and their contractors. It’s way more than just a good price on a gallon of paint. It’s a like-minded business operating on the same set of principles that we run our own business on.
We would love to hear what you think, leave a comment below!