Interview with Ramon Ferrer, CEO of Novasol Spray, SA
Ramón Ferrer CEO Novasol, This year marks the 40th anniversary of the company packaging Spray paint; What is the mission and vision of Novasol Spray, SA?
Turning 40 is a milestone for all of us who work at Novasol Spray. Although I do not like to look back, I think it is a good moment to remember those who have passed through here throughout this time and who have contributed to being who we are. A legacy that we cannot forget. All these people have helped us understand what our mission is: to create, manufacture, and sell aerosol paints for all types of uses and users. This also talks about prioritizing our own brands, which does not exclude the packaging of other brands with which there is a certain harmony.
In the future, we want to become the reference brand in spray paints, not necessarily for size, but for quality of product and service, at a competitive price.
What is your soul?
Without a doubt, our people, although it sounds cliché, it is. If I had to imagine the company as a person, I would put on it a blue jumpsuit and a knowing smile. That’s how we are, grassroots workers.
How has spray paint changed in 40 years?
It has nothing to do with what was done in the eighties, not even with what we did well into 2000. On a technical level, there has been a step in the use of raw materials and solvents. We have gone from synthetic paints with toluene and lead pigments to water-based acrylic paints with organic pigments. A jump of which we are enormously proud.
On a social level, technology transitions cost a bit. A few years ago, a chemist friend in the industry told me that they had problems with the first water-based plastic paints because people expected them to smell of solvent. I think we are at this point with spray paint, although people are becoming better informed.
Can it be said that it is now a product widely known to the population?
People know exactly what an aerosol is, yes, although there is still a lot of confusion. When I joined this company almost 25 years ago, CFC gases were no longer used, but even today I still hear in some environments that aerosols damage the ozone layer. Our job is, among others, to continue training consumers so that they know what they buy. A spray paint can be as harmless as a deodorant if you know how to choose between everything that the market offers you.
Is spray paint having a good time?
Spray paint is a product of the future, and I think it will continue to grow. Proof of this is the number of competitors we have, which, by the way, seem too many to me. Every so often a new brand appears that ends up full of dust on the shelves because, although the market grows, it is not infinite. It is a niche product, not widely used.
What is the future of spray paint?
At the market level, we see how large multinationals and investment funds are gobbling up small and medium-sized companies in the sector. This worries us a bit because the way of doing it is different. You no longer look at what you can contribute but what you can earn. Hopefully, there are still a few of us who stay on the sidelines because I think it is necessary for companies that have that slightly more romantic vision of the business to survive.
And the future, taking into account the legislative changes that prevail in the manufacturing processes and the most respectful products with the environment, in the world of spray paint, how is it presented?
Technically the paintings are increasingly sustainable and in the future, they will be even more so. We will find more ways to generate pressure without loss as current LPGs do, and we will use biodegradable materials for the container. The future is yet to be written and spray paint will play a role in those lines. The how are the part that corresponds to us, the sector, and our legislators.
Is Novasol Spray, SA working, in this sense, to adapt to that future you envision?
Of course, Novasol Spray works for that future. 60% of projects in the R&D department are water-based, and that translates into new ranges and qualities in water-based for our main brand, Pintyplus. We want to be an example to follow, or at least, set the pace for others.
What are the growth paths in the coming years?
Specialization is the key. We are many competitors, and if we do not specialize, we will all end up selling the same thing. At the same time, consumers are increasingly demanding and demand customized solutions. In our catalog, we have a multitude of different ranges of paint that go from the most common to the most specific applications.
What are you most proud of as CEO OF Pintyplus?
To start with keeping the company alive! In 2008, in the middle of the financial crisis with what it entailed, we had to stop manufacturing cosmetic products due to incompatibility in the production lines. Years later, we had to stop making streamers and party products because without cosmetics, mainly colored hairspray, the market was not worth it. We reaffirmed ourselves with our mission: the manufacture of spray paint. In 2019 a fire in the finishing warehouse left us without stock, and in 2020 the global pandemic. Surviving has been a feat whose only merit is having surrounded me with people of a high personal and professional level. That is the first thing I am proud of.
Afterward, a bit of everything. We have doubled and we are on our way to triple sales in this period, we have taken a firm step towards digital transformation, we continue to export solidly in 4 continents and we have incorporated the NBQ Spray brand into our cause for the graffiti market, which adds up and goes on.
But we still have a long way to go. In 2007 I picked up the witness of my predecessor, Montse Turdiu, who could also write many lines with anecdotes and overcoming crises, and my duty is to hand it over to whoever comes behind leaving a healthy company, who looks to the future with a firm step and without complexes. Novasol Spray must continue beyond first and last names. We all work to make it so because it is a collective project based on the people who make it up.
Ramón Ferrer CEO Novasol, what would you change if you could go back to the past?
I would not change anything. I believe that everything we have done has made us better, including the mistakes, which will have been many. In our organization the error is not punished, it is valued as learning if it is not repeated.